If you’re worried about how the current campsite and rental-car shortages are going to impact your summer travels, consider these options. We’ve rounded up our favorite companies in six cities, plus the itineraries to test them out on.
This summer is set to be another huge season for camping and road trips. Already many places are seeing major campsite and rental-car shortages, with reports of travelers to Hawaii resorting to U-Hauls to get around. Luckily, a growing crop of companies are leasing overlanding rigs and camper vans to road-trippers looking to get away without the burden of hard-to-get bookings.
These outfits also allow those who want to sample nomadic life a way to test out options before committing to ownership and the dizzying array of equipment choices that now confront van builders. “The [overlanding] gear industry has grown so big that it’s easy to get overwhelmed,” says Cypress Overland owner Alex Birukova, who explains that many of her customers appreciate the ability to test out the various features and systems on her rental rigs before they purchase their own.
Others rent Birukova’s vehicles while theirs are being built. Waiting lists at van conversion companies and camper manufacturers only lengthened after COVID-19 normalized remote work and made an untethered lifestyle more plausible for many. Four Wheel Campers, a company that makes pop-up truck-bed campers designed for off-road travel, reported a dramatic increase in sales (and wait times) since last May, when its factory reopened. And Sprinter Adventure Van, a website dedicated to converting Sprinters to campers, has seen a 50 percent increase in site traffic since the pandemic began—and wait times for new vans ranging from several months (for a Ford Transit) to nearly a year (for a 4×4 Mercedes).
We rounded up our favorite rental companies in six cities, plus the best weekend trips to test your rig out on.