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Vanlife has become as pervasive in real life as it has as a hashtag on social media. Everywhere you look across America’s public lands, it seems that people are taking to the open road and bringing a whole host of creature comforts along with them.
To keep up with the flurry of new demand, dozens of campervan rental companies have popped up across the country, with most centered around large urban areas like Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, Las Vegas, and San Francisco.
But not all van rentals are created equal. Some offer free, unlimited miles to roam as you please, and others charge if you drive over 150 miles a day. Some are fully-loaded with kitchen supplies and linens, while others rent them out for an extra fee. And some rentals are, well, a bit more luxe than others (think full bathrooms with toilets and hot water showers, microwaves, and interior heaters at night).
We’ve done the research for you and put together a list of the best campervan rental companies in Southern California so that your California dreamin’ road trip ideas can become a reality this season.
Just remember to book a campsite and download maps before you head out into the wilderness, as cell service might not be available, and most campgrounds are booking up well In advance of summer travel. Check road conditions and fire restrictions for any areas you are traveling through, and please pack it in and pack it out. (Yes, even toilet paper for you intrepid van renters without a full bath!)
Read on for the top campervan rentals in SoCal.
1. Escape Campervans
You know them, you love them, you’ve probably seen them in every national park from Yosemite to Acadia. Escape Campervans is one of the OG camper van rental companies in Southern California, with bright, street art-style murals wrapped around each shiny exterior for maximum style and visibility on the road.
Based out of major cities across the United States, Escape Campervans has a big hub in Los Angeles, full of road trip-ready options from their signature Mavericks build (a Ford E-150 with a convertible queen-sized bed and a kitchen out the back), to the fuel efficient Santa Cruz, to the family-sized Big Sur.
All of their models come packed with features like a Dometic cooler/fridge, a sink, a propane stove, and storage areas. Plus, renters can add-on important extras like rooftop tents, kitchen kits, linens, door canopies for shade, snow chains, and camp chairs.Check Availability
Related Read: 7 Beautiful Camping Spots in Mammoth Lakes, California
Outdoorsy bills itself as the “Airbnb” of online van rentals, and with their wide variety of available vehicles at every price point, it’s an accurate description. Want to rent a 4WD Jeep with a pop-top roof tent? They’ve got it. Want a fully decked out Sprinter that’s polished and perfect for Instagram photoshoots? They’ve got that too.
The site also has specialty vehicles like bigger, family-friendly RVs and travel trailers available to rent. Every vehicle on the site is listed by a private individual, so the options are many and as diverse as society itself! Available nearly everywhere in the U.S.
That being said, Outdoorsy prides itself on providing a safe platform for campers to rent from. Each rental comes with 24/7 roadside assistance, $1M insurance covering the renter, owner, and vehicle, and 24/7 customer service support.
Some van rentals come with cook sets, linens, and unlimited mileage, while some many not or may provide it at a fee, so just be sure to read the small print before you click “rent.”Check Availability
With a full bathroom and hot shower, impeccably white interiors, clean design, and storage space galore, it’s hard not to fall in love with Cabana’s line of chic Ford Transit vans, currently renting out of Los Angeles.
Each rental van comes with a shower, toilet, and luxe toiletries from Beekman 1802 in the private bathroom. The bedroom features a queen-sized memory foam mattress with pillows and blankets, while the kitchen offers an electric kettle, a 30L Dometic drawer fridge, an indoor sink, and an outdoor 2-burner stove. It’s a setup that’s fit for any outdoor-lovin’ chef.
Cabana also offers additional insurance (in case your private vehicle insurance doesn’t cover them) for a fee. Pets are allowed for a $100 fee, and tire chains are included in their winter rentals, for added safety.
With good looks like these and amenities galore, Cabana promises to deliver RV-level comfort but in a smaller, more fuel-efficient package that’s easier to drive and better for the environment.Check Availability
Related Read: 11 Unique Places to Stay in Southern California
4. Travellers Autobarn
Slightly newer to the SoCal van rental game is Travellers Autobarn, which hails originally from Australia. They’ve since hopped the pond, and are offering high-top campervan rentals out of Los Angeles, with sleek 70s-style racing stripes stretching across each one.
Unlike many other companies on this list, Travellers Autobarn uses a Chevrolet Express as its chassis, with a custom, add-on high top so that guests up to 6’5’’ can stand up and move freely inside. Each of their signature High Top and Kuga rentals comes with a fridge, gas cooker, microwave, and sink, plus a built-in USB power station to charge your electronics on the go. The newer Kuga models also have solar panels for added electricity off the grid.
This company also provides free unlimited miles on all of their rentals, for road trippers who want to go big. They offer additional insurance add-ons to fully cover the cost of any damage done to the van while you’re out. Looking for something a bit smaller or more affordable? Travellers even rents out minivans with a bevy of car camping equipment for adventurers who don’t mind roughin’ it.Check Availability
Related Read: 5 Serene Hot Springs Near Mammoth Lakes, California
5. California Surf Campers
Aiming to keep their original Hawaiian aloha spirit alive, California Surf Campers is a San Diego-based van rental company hell bent on one thing and one thing only–bringing seriously tubular campervans to the people of Southern California.
Offering two automatic vintage VW Westfalias (one from the 70s and one from the 80s) and one converted Ford E150 for rent, the company is one of the few in the game that rents out stellar, old school vans that are easy to drive and small enough to fit into a standard parking space.
Their vans come with a sink, stove, and fridge, plus a double bed in the back for two people. The Westys have pop tops for comfy standing inside the vehicle or for sleeping two children up top. Full comprehensive insurance is provided for drivers over 25 years of age. Mileage limits on the Volkswagens is only 200 miles (each way) from San Diego, making them true Southern California surfing dream machines. Their E150 can be checked out for longer mileage stretches when the mountains are calling.Check Availability
VanCraft, based in Oceanside, CA, is the perfect van rental company for anyone thinking about taking the plunge and actually purchasing a van for themselves, but wants to try before they buy. Not only do they rent out fabulous Mercedes Sprinter and Nissan NV200 vans, but they also build them out and sell them to consumers.
They offer long wheel base and short wheel base Sprinter vans for rent, plus tiny Nissan NV 200 build-outs as well. Interior height on the bigger vans is 6’3’’, and each rental comes with a two burner stove, a fridge, a stainless steel sink, window shades, a full size memory foam bed, a cabin heater, and off-grid solar power to charge all electronics (even laptops!) while you’re out in the wild.
Their smaller NV200 “micro” van rentals are pretty epic, too. They’re stocked with an electric pump sink, roof fan, full sized bed, small fridge, kitchen kit, lighting, storage, rooftop solar power, and an awning for those hot days when you just want to lounge in the shade.
VanCraft is a full-service rental company, meaning that essentials like camp gear, kitchen supplies, linens, snow chains, and a cleaning supply kit are included. Add to that the 150 free miles per day on your rental, and it’s easy to see why this SoCal fave made our list.Check Availability
We love roadsurfer’s ultra-luxe, larger campervan rentals for the sheer number of amenities that they manage to pack into a compact space. An international van rental company by trade, they have recently moved into the U.S. market with an office in Los Angeles.
The company offers two different rental types: the Couple Condo (suitable for two people) and the larger Road House XL (sleeps up to four). The Couple Condo has a sleek beige interior, bedecked with a microwave, refrigerator, sink, and stove top, plus a large lounge/living room area with a TV that converts to an enormous bed (or can sleep two friends and remain twin beds). In the rear is a wet bath with a hot shower and toilet. Extras like camp chairs, a table, and a bike rack can be easily added on.
Meanwhile, the Road House XL has a full kitchen, complete with fridge, sink, stove, and microwave. It’s also got a front dinette and a rear lounge area with a TV that converts into a large bed for when it’s time to catch some Zs. Two more adults can sleep up top in the pop-up roof tent, though it might be best to draw straws to see who gets the outside bunk.Check Availability
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