Should one of these trailers be your next hotel room? Find your camper style
Photo by Thomas J. Story
- Related: Explore the coast in an Airstream
The iconic RV isn’t widely available to rent, but Airstreams4Rent.com (from $225/3 nights; you provide the tow vehicle) rents 23-footers, with pickup in Phoenix. And Venice, California’s Restoration Destinations (from $300/2 nights) delivers, sets up, and picks up Airstreams throughout the West. If you’re looking to buy, try the 16-foot Bambi Sport model (from $30,000 used), which an SUV can tow.
Westhoff / Getty Images
This tiny “RV” is so handleable that, in some cases, it can be hitched to a Mini Cooper. Standard design includes a full- or queen-size bed, kitchen, and cabinets, but custom add-ons get as crazy as espresso makers and solar showers. Teardrops range from $3,500 used to $12,500 and up for custom. Buy or rent them at San Diego’s Little Guy Trailers (from $380/week) or Vacations in a Can (from $175/2 nights) in Penngrove, California.
Camper vans, including throwback VW buses, are easy to drive, and you can rent standard campers at most RV dealers for about $1,400 a week. Find VW rentals at Vintage Surfari Wagons (from $750/week) in Costa Mesa, California; at California Campers (from $345/3 nights) in Redwood City, California; and at Westfalia Rentals (from $693 U.S./week) in Victoria, B.C., which also serves Vancouver and Seattle.
Diehm / Getty Images
Although not as chic as Airstreams, traditional RVs ooze practicality and are far more available to rent. Cruiseamerica.com, ElMonteRV.com, and GoRVing.com are great resources for finding local dealers. Rent a standard RV for about $1,450 per week. Or buy one starting at $8,000 used to as much as $500,000 new.
These luxury tents fold into trailers (hence the name), giving you the feeling of tent camping with the perks of an RV. One of our favorite classic styles, the Coleman pictured here, is no longer manufactured but is still available used from some RV dealers; it can be set up in 10 minutes and sleep 4 to 10. The Jayco Jay Series Sport camping trailer (from $6,000) sets up in less than 10 minutes and sleeps 5 to 8. Many RV dealers carry pop-ups to buy (from $3,000 used & from $5,000 new), and these spots around the West rent them (from $325/week): RVRentalsOfAmerica.com, TowTally Camping in Northern California, Camper & Trailer Outlet in Southern California, Adventure Camper in Colorado and Wyoming, and RV Northwest in Oregon.
Thomas J. Story
Whether perched on a coastal campsite or parked in your backyard as a high-design guest cottage, the Hut will have neighbors gawking. In design, it recalls the work of Charles and Ray Eames; in price tag, the Tesla. The Carpinteria, California–based company uses a Joubert Okoume marine plywood exterior, Baltic birch interior, and a waterproof cotton canvas canopy. Interior lighting, outlets, USB ports, and a full-size futon come standard. huttehut.com; from $63,900; sleeps 2.
- happiercamper.com, from $18,950
Weight: 1,100 pounds
Hitch it to: Mini Cooper Countryman or similar
Good for: Highways
Amenities: Modular components that turn into a queen bed, dinette, storage space, pullout refrigerator and freezer, two-burner cooktop, outdoor seating, and solar-heated exterior shower; shatterproof glass; light fiberglass shell
Tech specs: Dimmable LED lights, solar power system, iPad dock, exterior AC inlet
- homegrowntrailers.com; from $26,500
Weight: 2,500 pounds
Hitch it to: Nissan Murano V6 or similar
Good for: Maintained gravel roads
Amenities: Pullout queen bed, twin extra-long bunks, mini fridge, induction cooktop, cork floors, composting toilet, cedar siding, wool insulation, pop top
Tech specs: Solar panels, lithium-ion batteries, dimmable LED lights, USB ports
- airstream.com; from $35,900
Weight: 2,585 pounds
Hitch it to: Toyota 4Runner or similar
Good for: Campgrounds
Amenities: Heater, convertible banquette-to-queen-bed, seamless vinyl flooring, refrigerator, two-burner cooktop, bathroom with china toilet, exterior shower, retractable clothesline, flexible seating, patio awning
Tech specs: Wireless speaker, solar panel wiring, LED lights, USB ports
- timberleaftrailers.com; from $17,650
Weight: 1,400 pounds
Hitch it to: Subaru Outback or similar
Good for: Off-roading
Amenities: Queen mattress, birch-wood cabinetry, generous galley counter space, plumbing, skylight, cooler, and stove pullouts
Tech specs: A battery that charges while you drive or through solar power, LED lights, USB ports
Thomas J. Story
With its sleek design and birch interior paired with a heavy-duty axle and off-road tires, the Canyonland Teardrop by Boulder-based Colorado Teardrops offers cozy shelter for the rugged outdoors. The solar-power package includes a 65-watt solar panel that powers the hatchback kitchen galley LED lights, interior cabin lights, and vent fan. From $10,700, solar upgrade $1,100; sleeps 2; coloradoteardropcamper.com.
Rent it: The Basecamp Teardrop (pictured) is available in the Boulder area and includes a queen-size memory foam mattress and an ice cooler, water tank, and camp stove for the galley kitchen. $83/day.
Thomas J. Story
The Cricket gives you NASA-inspired design with integrated plumbing and electrical and plenty of storage. The standard pop-top comes with space for a queen bed, interior sink, water heater, exterior shower, and battery power to keep you off the grid for up to five days. The new sport edition offers higher ground clearance and a roof rack. crickettrailer.com; from $21,700; sleeps 2 adults, 2 kids.
Thomas J. Story
The HC1 trailer by Los Angeles–based Happier Camper is built of durable and ultralightweight fiberglass. The interior’s modular cube system allows you to configure your own space; customizations include a kitchenette with sink, stove, and refrigerator. From $15,000; sleeps 3–5; happier camper.com.
Rent it: Available in the Los Angeles area. $125/day.
Thomas J. Story
Remember those VW camper vans so ubiquitous in the 1960s and ’70s? Oregon-based Dub Box USA’s trailer design pays homage to those homely, winning vehicles and adds modern conveniences. The fiberglass-mold trailer comes with a pop-top; a full-size convertible couch; a kitchenette with a two-burner stove, refrigerator, and hot/cold faucet; and an outdoor shower. Options include berths for children, solar panels, and heating. Flooring, paint, fabric, and cabinet finish can be customized. dub-box-usa.com; from $22,000; sleeps 2 adults, 2 kids.
Courtesy of Airstream Adventures Northwest
If Airstreams are your thing and you're ready to take the plunge and buy one, check out West-based Airstream Adventures Northwest for the largest inventory in the country.