11+ Pros & Cons Of Renting A Camper, RV Or Motorhomes

Are you just confused between rent vs buy a camper? Like, which will give more ROI and best for your family!

Camping is one of the most fun and rewarding ways to travel as a family. Not only do you and your loved ones get to experience the awe and beauty of nature, but it’s very often much cheaper than paying for hotels again and again.

That said, in order to get the most out of the experience, you have to make sure that your wilderness accommodations are comfortable and conducive to your needs. For many families, a camper offers the perfect solution.

But should you buy your own camper, or rent one when you need it? That’s a tough choice to make. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled this comprehensive list of pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

Renting Vs Buying An RV

Airstream travel trailer standing on river bank
Airstream travel trailer

Owning a Camper

First, let’s discuss the pros and cons of camper ownership.

Pros:

There are definite advantages to owning your camper.

  • You can customize camper according to your needs and wants: In other words, it’s yours. You can store all your camping gear inside it and have it ready to go when you are without any worries or hassles.
  • Compared to renting, one of the significant advantages of owning a camper is that you’ll feel compelled to use it. You’ll be more likely to head out to exciting new campsites when you don’t need to worry about the added hassle of finding an affordable rental. That might mean a lot more family togetherness, and you can’t put a price on that.
  • You may be able to earn some income from it: Lots of people who own campers rent them out to others. You can also arrange to have them hooked up on your own land and use them as a short-term rental space.

Cons:

There are potential problems as well.

  • It’s expensive: You may have guessed that the biggest downside to owning a camper is the cost. They aren’t cheap. What’s more, as the owner, you’re responsible for all the required maintenance and upkeep (although this is usually less with a camper than an RV).
  • It depreciates: While owning a camper may save you money in the end, it loses value over time, so it isn’t considered a good investment.
  • You have to store it: If you have a lot of land or garage storage, this may not be an issue. But if you don’t, or if you live in a community that doesn’t let you keep your camper at home, storage can be an extra hassle for ownership.

Renting a Camper

Now that we know all about the advantages and disadvantages of owning a camper.  Let’s consider the pros and cons of renting.

Pros:

  • You will save money: Unless you’re renting a camper multiple times each year, renting will almost always be less expensive than owning.
  • You’re not responsible for RV maintenance & service: Owning a camper can be a big responsibility that you may not be ready to take on.
Camper maintenance tool kit
Tool kit
  • You don’t have to worry about storing it. Yes, storage can be a big hassle and expense for camper owners.
  • You can customize your rental for your travel needs: If you buy a camper that’s only big enough for your family, what happens when your kids want to bring a friend along? With rentals, you can get precisely what you want for each particular trip.
  • You may be able to go further: Driving your camper across the country can be fun, but it’s a massive undertaking. With rentals, you can fly to your destination and rent a camper from there.

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Cons:

  • If you camp regularly, several times a year, you might save money by buying for many years. It depends on your lifestyle.
  • You’re subject to what’s available: When you buy, you can customize your camper to your needs. But when you rent, you only have the option to choose from what is available on the dates you want. During peak seasons, that selection can be minimal.
  • It won’t feel like home: A rented camper doesn’t have that home-away-from-home feeling that your own does.
Couple Camping with Airstream
Campsite with Airstream travel trailer
  • You have to follow the owner’s rules: Camping is all about freedom, but you’re often limited as far as where you can go and what you can do when you rent someone else’s camper.

Can You Tow It?

Now, one question that you must ask yourself before buying or renting a camper is whether or not your current vehicle has the towing capability. If you need to buy or rent a new truck or SUV, that may determine if you can even afford to own a camper right now.

SUV towing Airstream travel trailer
SUVs towing Airstream travel trailers

There is an advantage to owning a camper: once you know you have a vehicle with the appropriate towing capabilities and you know how to hook up your camper and get on the road, you won’t have to tackle that problem again. If you rent, there will be a learning curve each time to hook it up correctly.

The next step is to determine whether your SUV or truck can tow the camper you want. If not, you need to check its truck trade-in value to determine if you can get a new one. Here is a simple guide that tells you the size range and towing needs of a variety of campers:

  • A pop-up trailer weighs 1500 lbs (680 kg) and can be towed by most SUVs and trucks. 
  • A small trailer (under 25 feet) usually weighs 3500 lbs (1588 kg), midsize SUVs, and small trucks can tow it.
  • A large trailer (over 25 feet) typically weighs 6300 lbs (2858 kg) and requires a large SUV or half-ton pickup truck for towing.
  • An average small fifth wheel (under 35 feet) weighs 9000 lbs (4082 kg) and needs a 3/4 ton truck.
  • An average large fifth wheel (over 35 feet) weighs 12000 lbs (5443 kg) and needs a heavy 3/4 ton or one-ton truck.

Final Thoughts

Whether renting or buying a camper is right for you is an entirely individual choice. Use these pros and cons to help you make the right decision. Whichever way you go, make sure that you’re able to tow the purchased or rented camper; nothing can derail a vacation faster than an unsuitable vehicle.

And, of course, most importantly, enjoy your camper adventures!

Image source: Airstream & Anete Lusina

by Shailesh Thakran
Hi, I am a Marketing professional with expertise in SEO. I help Organizations/Startups in Structural, Design and Content Marketing to become online entities. I love blogging, mainly about automobiles, travel trailers & everything related to wheels. With the help of Thorttlebias, I want to educate and share in-depth articles/tips for other RVers. Outside of work, I love to read & play with my Rottweiler. Guess what! We can be friends, below are my social profiles.
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