High Camp Teardrop trailer. Courtesy High Camp
Hitch your own: renting or buying a camping rig
Ready to give it a whirl? Here’s the lowdown on renting or buying a travel trailer or camper van.
- RV Share and Outdoorsy are websites where owners of travel trailers and RVs post them for rent by the night. You’ll find everything from small Airstreams to huge motorhomes.
- PacWesty on Bainbridge Island rents Volkswagen Vanagon campers outfitted with everything from stoves to beach chairs and sleeping bags.
- Escape Campervans in Seattle converts boring cargo vans into custom-outfitted campers hand-painted in fun, psychedelic colors. Each has a kitchen, table that converts to a queen bed, most of the camping gear you’ll need and an optional rooftop bunk for more sleeping room. Powered by solar and propane, no hookups are needed.
- Peace Vans, also in Seattle, repairs, restores and rents classic VW camper vans and modern Mercedes campers; they also have a line of business for renting camping gear.
- Airstream Adventures Northwest in Covington boasts a huge inventory of polished aluminum Airstreams. Touring the interior of various models is a fun way to spend an afternoon. Airstream recently acquired Bend-based NEST Caravans and this new sleek fiberglass compact trailer just came in stock in April.
- Modern and compact: If you’re into functional design and mod aesthetic, you’ll be delighted with the plethora of unique options in compact travel trailers for smaller families (most can sleep 2 adults and 1–2 small children). Made in Portland, High Camp Trailers creates steel-frame teardrop campers with a queen bed and back-open galley kitchen. The HC1 fiberglass trailer from Happier Camper has a modular interior that can sleep up to 5 and haul gear like bikes or small kayaks.
- Vintage: Love the retro vibe and curved corners of vintage “canned ham” campers like those from Shasta, Scotty and Aristocrat? Trailer camping was uber-popular in the mid-century era, and many of the thousands used by road-trippin’ families then are still in good shape today. You can find and restore an original yourself, or purchase an already-rehabbed trailer that’s been restored to mint condition. Browse models for sale on Tin Can Tourists, Vintage Camper Trailers or eBay.
- Contemporary: Poulsbo RV (also in Kent, Fife, Auburn and Everett) stocks a huge selection of new and used mass-market travel trailers and RVs. The contemporary RV style is less outdoorsy and more tiny motel room, with carpeting, traditional cabinetry and mounted television, but they can sleep several people if you have a large family. Poulsbo RV also stocks pop-up tent trailers.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2018, and updated in 2020.