VW Westfalia pop-up camper van rental at campsite

We’re Renting Our Way to Our Next RV Purchase

Inside: Find out why we’re renting RVs of every kind before we dive into our next RV purchase.

Renting an RV Before Buying

Ideally, our experiences in life should teach us valuable lessons.

If we’re paying attention, instead of just mindlessly passing through the world, we can discover nuggets of wisdom that surface from the struggle, pain and chaos we experience.

But sometimes, those nuggets can come as the result of very positive experiences as well. This is our situation as we now set our eyes on purchasing an RV for the second time.

For our first RV purchase in 2017, we had absolutely no first-hand experience to rely on during the decision making process. We were brand new to the world of RVing.

Without that experience under our belt, we had to do our best to just “picture” ourselves in the different types of RVs available to us and hope we made the right choice.

Renting an RV Before Buying

I am very grateful to report that we did not regret our RV choice, even after 17 months living in our 26-ft travel trailer full-time.  It truly was a phenomenal experience.

But even with that positive experience, we realize that the best path for us for “Round 2” of purchasing an RV 2021) is to really try different RVs on for size and actually experience them for ourselves.

We’re still not sure if we will be buying with another full-time RV adventure in our future or more for “extended RV escapes”. Plenty of pieces to figure out still on that front.

Our first RV rental experience
Our first RV rental experience: we had a travel trailer delivered to the campground.

That’s why we are very glad to have an RV rental platform like Outdoorsy to help us navigate this phase of the RV research and purchase process.

This Is How We’re Renting Our Way to Our Next RV Purchase

Let me start out by saying that we completely understand this approach to purchasing an RV may not make sense for everyone out there.

You might be thinking, “But all of that RV rental money is just being ‘thrown away’ when it could be used toward the RV purchase!” Yes, you read my mind. Because I’m the resident “tightwad” in my family, I found myself resisting this approach at first.

Renting an RV with Outdoorsy
Our first RV rental was only $99 a night + delivery fee.

But here’s why it makes sense for our particular situation:

  • For our next phase of RVing, we will be in a very different family situation (from 3 kids down to 0 kids). So we need to feel that new “fit” for ourselves.
  • We are confident that by going this route, we can provide some valuable information to you, even if you are not able to follow our lead with rentals.
  • This process will provide TONS of great content for the TREKKN site and can, therefore, be justified as a deductible business expense. (Note: This is NOT tax advice for you.)
  • Getting out and adventuring in these different RVs will help keep us from going crazy with being locked into one location. (Can you say, “WANDERLUST!” It’s real.)

All of those pieces combined seem to make this a Win-Win-Win situation, benefiting both you and us, and not truly hurting us financially in the final analysis due to the business aspect.

So with that, let’s jump into what our general plan looks like for 2020.

Full-time RVing couple

Starting Small Is Smart

During our RV travels, there is one word that was probably said more than just about any other as we rolled down the highway: “Westy!”

Yes, we’ve had a significant infatuation with Volkswagen Westfalia camper vans for quite some time. We couldn’t possibly pass one on the road without pointing it out to the rest of the family in the truck. They’re just…awesome.

And now finally, it’s time to experience one for ourselves! That’s right, we are starting off with a weekend in this 1984 Volkswagen Westfalia Vanagon.

Tips on Renting an RV

It’s true that some folks have decided to go the full-time travel route in rigs like this one. Is that a realistic option for us? Well, probably not so much.

But the fact is that we most likely have nearly 2 1/2 years before full-time RVing is a realistic option for us again since our youngest is about to turn 16. So a beauty like this one might just turn out to be the right rig to allow us to adventure during this “gap period”, giving us the option to resell it later on and get that full-time rig we need.

Since we live in an apartment now and I don’t really want to pay for RV storage fees, this one would also be perfect since it can fit in a standard parking space right in front of our apartment.

campervan rental
Livin’ that campervan life

But Which RVs Will We Rent Next?

There is no telling how all of the pieces of this puzzle are going to come together over the next year, but this is step one and we will just have to see where it takes us.

All I know is that we are PUMPED to finally be experiencing this beautiful piece of camping history for ourselves! And trust me, we will let you know all of the details about how it goes and what we learn along the way.

We have already had several folks that are part of the TREKKN Tribe recommend different types of RVs they would like for us to rent over the coming year. (If you want to join the tribe, just jump right over here and fill out the quick form!)

Super C Motorhome

One tribe member recommended renting a Super C rig, like this one. And I have to say it is tempting…very tempting. Yes, it will set us back a pile 0′ cash, but we believe the experience will be invaluable in the long run as we work to discover the right fit for us.

Tips on renting an RV

Casita Tiny Travel Trailer

Here’s another small option that a Tribe member said that would love to see us try out: the Casita travel trailer. Truthfully, I have always wanted to try one of these little beauties out. Yep, it’s small. But it’s sturdy and packed with conveniences. Try a search for a Casita in your area by clicking here.

RV Rental Tips

Truthfully, we may end up trying out more than one small travel trailer like this. Our Keystone Passport travel trailer served us so well on our first full-time adventure that we would be crazy not to consider this is an option for our next round. You can read our post about the pros and cons of life in a travel trailer here.

Small(ish) Fifth Wheel

Even though I didn’t feel like it was the right choice for us the first time around, I am currently very infatuated with the small fifth wheel trailer options on the market today. I wrote a post about quite a few of the best small fifth wheel choices available so that I could have a reason to research them some more. You would be smart to take a peek at it if you are considering this option for your next RV purchase.

Types of RVs to rent

Almost every single one of the fifth wheels I covered in that post is under 30 ft in length, and that really appeals to me. I am hoping that I will be able to find something similar to this when it’s time to search for a fifth wheel to rent on Outdoorsy.

Just remember: The specifics of “RV Life” depend a great deal on your RV purchase decision

If you are in the RV purchase decision process like we are, one thing you must remember is that the type of RV you choose truly does dictate the type of “RV life” you will live.

Here are a few examples to explain what I mean:

  • The length of your RV will dictate which National Parks you can safely take your RV into.
  • The absence of a bathroom in your RV (e.g. a camper van) will limit the overnight parking options you can take advantage of.
  • If you are not set up for boondocking (good size holding tanks, good batteries, generator/solar panels), you will miss out on some remarkable “off the grid” opportunities.
Harvest Hosts
The view from a Harvest Host location we camped at.

Those are just a few of the things you should be considering as you move through this process. I can tell you that based on my experience full-time RVing, I will NOT head out again on the open road without a rig adequately equipped for significant boondocking opportunities (such as Harvest Hosts, my favorite boondocking option out there today).

So know your “must-haves”. Know your “luxuries” that you would love to have included. But always be sure to point yourself toward the type of RV lifestyle that really excites you as you strive to make this important purchase decision.

We’re on your side and we’re here to help you RV with confidence in any way that we can. Let us know how we can help!


Should you rent an RV before buying one?

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *