The concept of renting an RV or campervan has been around for a long time. But over the last few years, new rental companies have popped up to enhance and streamline the RV renting experience.
Outdoorsy is one of those companies, and in this Outdoorsy review, I’ll share with you my personal experience using the company to rent a 1979 Volkswagen Westfalia campervan for my road trip to Yosemite National Park.
And although this review is mainly from a renter’s perspective, I’ll also talk about how you can rent your own RV to other travelers through Outdoorsy to make some extra cash on the side!
Whether you’re simply wanting to find the ideal vehicle for your outdoor adventure or you’re planning to start your own RV business, use this Outdoorsy review to help you decide if it’s the right platform for you.
So, Who is Outdoorsy?
Before we dive into this Outdoorsy review where I tell you about my first-hand experience using them, I want to tell you a little about who they are as a company.
In 2015, full-time RVers Jeff Cavins and Jen Young had a goal of connecting travelers to outdoor travel. They wanted to make it easy for travelers to experience the excitement of an RV without the hassle of ownership.
So they created Outdoorsy.
Essentially the Airbnb of the RV and campervan world, Outdoorsy is a peer-to-peer marketplace where renters can book a vehicle directly from the RV owner. The platform lists millions of rentals around the world, from vintage airstream trailers to luxury motorhomes and everything in between.
In addition, if you own an RV yourself and want to make extra income on the side, you could list your RV on the platform for others to rent. Instead of letting your RV sit idly by for weeks or months at a time, rent it to other eager travelers and road-trippers.
Outdoorsy Review: Quick Answers
I love Outdoorsy. After getting to know the team, learning about their processes, how they insure the vehicles and ensure safety for both the renter and the host, I truly believe they are the best peer-to-peer RV rental company in the world. I have rented from them numerous times and can say they are 100% trustworthy!
Here are a few key points, though, just in case you needed more convincing:
- There are millions of rentals including campervans, RVs, motorhomes and trailers
- It’s easy to browse online, reserve RVs and use the chat platform
- Both first-time and experienced RV renters can use the platform
- Some rentals are available for “Instant Booking”
- There is 24/7 customer support and roadside assistance
- There is comprehensive insurance for renters
- Only DMV checked and verified drivers are allowed
- There is comprehensive insurance for owners
- It’s an easy way to make extra money
➡️ NOTE: I’ve partnered with Outdoorsy to provide you with a $40 discount! Just use the promo code “TRAVELFREAK” at checkout!
Outdoorsy Pros and Cons
While Outdoorsy may be a great option for some renters, it’s not for everyone. Just like with most RV rental companies, there are advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind.
- Variety of Rentals – Operating in over 14 countries, Outdoorsy has millions of vehicles available for rent. I haven’t seen such a wide selection like this on any other RV rental site so far.
- Excellent customer service – With 24/7 technical and customer support, Outdoorsy thrives when it comes to their customer service. Their representatives are friendly, helpful and, most importantly, easy to reach.
- Provided Insurance – Most rentals are covered by Outdoorsy’s comprehensive insurance policy. That means there’s no need to take out an additional policy if you plan to drive an RV or campervan.
- Trustworthy – Outdoorsy has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and a 91 percent approval on TrustPilot.
- Quality is not guaranteed – Like most peer-to-peer marketplaces, Outdoorsy does not verify the condition or quality of the RV rentals. It’s your responsibility to look at the rental reviews and photos to see if the RV is up to standard.
- High fees for owners – If you plan to rent out your RV with Outdoorsy, you can expect them to take 20 to 25 percent of the booking cost.
- Extra costs can add up – Besides the daily rental price, it’s important to note the extra charges that you may incur during your trip. Extra miles, fuel refilling, cleaning fees and pet deposits are just a few examples of things you could pay more for.
How Outdoorsy Works
The process of renting an RV can be complicated, as there are many factors to consider. However, Outdoorsy makes it really simple. As part of this Outdoorsy review, I’ll walk you through each step of renting an RV or campervan.
Browsing for a Vehicle
Once you decide on a destination for your road trip, it’s time to pick out the best vehicle for the job. Searching for the perfect vehicle is easy on Outdoorsy. Start by entering the location, as well as the pick-up and drop-off date.
Hit search, and you’ll see a list of compatible vehicles in the area (or neighboring areas). From here, you can refine your search based on different criteria like price, amenities and rating.
My favorite feature is that you can filter by vehicle type. From campervans and airstream trailers to luxurious Class A, B and C RVs, you can use the Outdoorsy search to find the right vehicle for your trip.
Just try it out using the widget below:
Now, I’m not one for big RVs and I knew I wanted a campervan, so filtering the selection down was easy. Since I was going on a photography road trip, I knew that I wanted a photogenic campervan—and one that would stand out.
I was flying into the Sacramento airport, so I searched for campervans in Sacramento and ultimately found a beautiful, lime-green 1979 Volkswagen Westfalia in Livermore, just about 20 miles outside of Sacramento.
This is exactly what I was looking for.
I knew I’d be able to get some amazing photos. I’ll be honest—at $250/night, this particular rental was a bit expensive.
Ultimately, it’s the owner of the vehicle who chooses the rate, so I easily could have kept looking and chosen a different camper for much, much less. But this is what I wanted and I was willing to pay for it.
Booking Your RV or Campervan with Outdoorsy
The next step of the process was pretty straightforward. It was just like booking a hotel.
On the rental page, you’ll find all the details, amenities and rates for your specific rental.
If the RV or campervan is available for automatic booking, you’ll find an “Instant Book” button. However, most rentals require that you go through an approval process with the owner (just like Airbnb), where you submit a booking request and the owner approves or denies it).
I didn’t feel like going through the approval process, so, when searching for my campervan, I made sure I was only looking at vehicles with Instant Book availability. That way I could rest easy knowing my booking was secure.
Then, you just enter your personal information, trip plans and payment details. Keep in mind that most rentals also require a refundable security deposit, which is taken from your credit card two days before the booking starts.
In my case, there was a $1,000 security deposit. Pretty hefty, if you ask me, but as long as I took care of the vehicle, I had nothing to worry about. I got the security deposit back as soon as I returned the vehicle.
➡️ TIP: Don’t forget to review the rental rules. Some owners might have restrictions on where you can travel, or if you’re allowed to smoke or bring pets onboard.
Your next step is to choose an insurance plan to protect you on your trip. I’ll discuss each plan in more detail later.
After everything is filled out, confirm your booking. If your rental requires approval, the owner will respond within 24 hours. You can also ask questions and arrange pick-up times directly with the RV owner through Outdoorsy’s easy-to-use chat system.
The chats also sync to your phone, so it’s just like texting. It was incredibly intuitive and easy to use!
Keep in mind that nothing else is required from you as the driver to book your rental. No extra paperwork and no copies of your license. Just like Airbnb, everything is handled on the Outdoorsy platform. It’s best to keep all communication—and all payment—on the platform.
I ran into a bit of an issue here with the owner of the vehicle as he wanted extra copies of my license and he requested that I fill out a bunch of extra paperwork. I vehemently denied his request and made sure he knew that any and all paperwork—including identity verification—is handled by Outdoorsy.
He said he was new to the platform and didn’t know, so it’s important that you know how to use the platform before booking (and now I’m here to tell you, so you don’t make a mistake like I almost did!).
Ultimately, Outdoorsy is the intermediary who is there to protect both parties. Under no circumstance should you request or provide extra documentation outside of the platform.
Picking up Your RV Rental
The details of your RV rental pickup will usually be outlined online. If a specific pick-up time is not listed, then you can use the Outdoorsy chat to determine a time that works best for you and the owner.
Generally speaking, you must pick up the rental directly from the owner. However, some owners will agree to meet in a specific location or deliver the rental to the airport.
In my case, my friends and I picked up our rental at the owner’s house after arranging a time via text message (through the chat system).
It’s a good idea to give yourself extra time when picking up your rental. In most situations, the owner will give you a walkthrough of the vehicle and perform a damage inspection. You will also go through the contract and sign a renter return form to keep track of your mileage and generator usage.
Since our vehicle was quite old, the owner showed us some parts of the van that had a little more character. A loose gearbox and no power steering made for a small learning curve, but we picked it up right away.
And don’t forget to confirm any optional add-ons and extra charges, like cleaning fees, equipment rentals and overage charges (including mileage).
Once the owner hands over the keys, you’re ready to start your adventure! After we drove up and down the street just to make sure we were comfortable driving, we headed off towards Yosemite.
The adventure was ON!
The Benefits of Renting with Outdoorsy
There are several reasons why you should rent an RV or campervan with Outdoorsy. As I continue with my Outdoorsy review, I’ll cover some of the benefits that I think make them better than some of the other traditional RV rental sites.
Firstly, insurance. This is a must have, and I opted for the highest tier of insurance for my rental—just in case. The fact is, anything could happen!
If you’re traveling in the US and renting with Outdoorsy, you’ll be backed by Liberty Mutual insurance.
Outdoorsy offers three different insurance packages.
- The cheapest “Risk Taker” tier offers property damage protection up to $15,000, and a $2,500 deductible for vehicles, and $2,000 deductible for trailers.
- For better coverage, opt for the “Essential” plan, which includes $150,000 in property damage and lower deductibles.
- The “Peace of Mind” plan is the most comprehensive package. It comes with $500,000 in property damage and $1 million in liability insurance. Although it may be more expensive, we believe it’s worth the investment to have full protection in case anything goes wrong.
Free Roadside Assistance
Outdoorsy offers 24/7 Roadside Assistance to protect you against emergencies that happen on your trip. They’ve partnered with Coach-Net to provide technical support and emergency assistance.
From flat tires to dead batteries, you’ll be able to call for support when you need it the most. And, if you happen to lock your key inside your RV, then they can help with that too.
Roadside Assistance is included with the “Essential” and “Peace of Mind” insurance plans. It can also be added to any rental for an extra fee.
With Outdoorsy, RV owners choose what type of cancellation policy to offer their renters. They choose from three different policies, Flexible, Moderate and Strict.
- Flexible – Renters who cancel five days prior to the pickup date will a refunded for 100 percent of the cost minus service fees. If you cancel within five days of your pickup date, you’ll receive 75 percent of the reservation cost.
- Moderate – Renters can cancel within seven days of the pickup date and receive 75 percent of the reservation cost minus service fees. Cancel within seven days of the pickup date and get a refund for 50 percent of the cost.
- Strict – Cancellations within 14 days of the pickup date are non-refundable. If you cancel before 14 days of the pickup date, you can receive up to 50 percent of the reservation cost minus service fees.
All rentals come with a 48-hour grace period for canceling, which in our opinion, is pretty generous. If you cancel a booking during this period for a rental over 14 days in advance, you’ll receive a full refund including fees.
Outdoorsy offers top of the line customer service for renters and RV owners.
You can call their hotline (1-877-723-7232) for any questions you may have about your rental. Likewise, you can also call the RV Technical Support Hotline for specific troubleshooting and operational issues when you’re already on the road.
You can also reach the Outdoorsy customer service team through email, at [email protected].
Rent Your RV on Outdoorsy for Extra Income
Now, let’s say you’re an RV owner and you’re thinking about renting it out for some extra income.
Instead of keeping it parked in your driveway for months on end, you could be making money in between your trips by renting it through Outdoorsy. And as part of this Outdoorsy review, I’ll explain how lucrative it can be to rent your RV when it’s not being used.
Think of renting out your RV like renting out a room on Airbnb. And while it might seem daunting to rent your RV to a complete stranger, that’s where Outdoorsy comes in.
They provide $1 million liability insurance on every rental, even for theft and damage.
And, Outdoorsy verifies each renter with a detailed DMV background check. While it’s free to list your RV, Outdoorsy does take a small percentage from the reservation booking.
Outdoorsy is one of the most trusted RV rental sites on the market. Renting out your vehicle is a great option if you’re looking to subsidize the purchase cost, pay for insurance and maintenance, or simply earn extra cash. According to Outdoorsy, you can make up to $32,000 a year just by renting your RV.
You’ll also be helping other travelers fulfill their dreams by allowing them to make their own memories in your RV!
Outdoorsy Review: Conclusion
When it comes to planning the ultimate road trip, your RV or campervan can make or break your trip. There are lots of factors to consider when renting an RV, such as vehicle type, included amenities and even insurance protection.
After renting with Outdoorsy, myself, I believe they’re a great option for either first-time or experienced RV and campervan drivers. They offer a wide range of vehicles and even provide comprehensive insurance in case something goes wrong on your trip.
Likewise, RV owners also have insurance protection with Outdoorsy. Outdoorsy guarantees you DMV-checked renters, and liability and property damage protection coverage will save you if something goes awry. And, although Outdoorsy takes a percentage of your earnings, you can still make extra money with your rental.
So whether you’re renting an RV in Colorado or simply spending the weekend camping under the stars, give Outdoorsy a look. You just might find your dream RV waiting for you.
➡️ NOTE: I’ve partnered with Outdoorsy to provide you with a $40 discount. Just use the promo code “TRAVELFREAK” at checkout!