Outervan caters to adventurers with a taste for the finer things
Volkswagen took the road-tripping world by storm, ever since the late 1940s introduction of the Type II camper van, allegedly inspired by motorized trolley cars. Nowadays, camper vans are making a comeback, with everyone from Instagram influencers to new-age hippies packing them full of new-world amenities and hitting the road, be it cross-country or internationally.
But planning the perfect camper van trip takes a lot more than just a set of wheels, as Lindsey and Chris Lyle learned a few years back. Rather than opting for new silverware and sheet sets for their wedding registry, the Oakland-based couple asked for experiences, like a camper van trip. After tying the knot, they found a van in Oregon to rent and hit the road for nearly a week. Soon, they were hooked.
“It was so different than car or tent camping, which we’d done before,” explains Lindsey. “You have everything in your van, so you can easily spend a night in one place, then pack up and keep going. It became an obsession.”
Fast forward three years, and the pair has launched Outervan, a service that outfits camper vans with every modern amenity you could possibly think of, so all you have to do is show up and drive.
Based in the Bay Area, Outervan operates on a largely DIY basis (you pick your route and you’re the captain), and is available for round-trip and one-way excursions across the West. Their first vehicle, lovingly dubbed “Forest,” will become your mobile home base, with sleeping accommodations for two adults plus optional add-on tents for rent (and a rooftop tent, coming soon) if you’d rather sleep under the stars. Otherwise, cozy up on the Casper queen bed when you’ve anchored for the night, and make use of the onboard luxuries.
That means top-of-the-line amenities that cover every category, with a focus on local Bay Area makers whenever possible. Camp cooking is a breeze, thanks to the provided dishes, pots and pans of every kind, top-of-the-line cutlery, and even a French press. There’s also plenty of outdoor gear to help you settle into your surrounds, like folding tables and chairs, lanterns and string lights, and cozy throws and firewood to keep you warm. For longer stretches of travel and downtime, the onboard entertainment doesn’t disappoint. Take advantage of the rotating selection of reads, a pileup of games like Bananagrams, Yahtzee, and backgammon, and even an iPod filled with road trip jams and a wireless Bluetooth speaker so you can play your own.
“We wanted to encourage anyone who maybe is not a traditional camper to get outside—so we provided everything you need, plus more,” Lindsey explains. “We tried to create an at-home experience on the road.”
Voyages are booking out through the summer, with many travelers heading north of the Bay Area towards the Sonoma Coast. For road trips traveling further, Outervan also offers one-way trips, making the beautiful stretch along Highway 1 or east into the desert states a little more feasible. Nightly rates start at $159, and the couple plans to roll in features like on-the-road meal kits and curated travel itineraries later this summer.