Vanlife in 2019 is alive and well, and that makes us very happy. We know we’re not alone in our love of simple, charming campers like the classic VW Westfalia, but it’s nearly impossible to enjoy the retro camping experience without taking the plunge and buying a classic Volkswagen of your own. That’s much easier said than done, because original buses are dancing with six-figure prices and even the later Type 2 vans are getting pricey. Should you happen to find yourself in the Pacific Northwest, however, a company called Honest Camper has a cost-effective solution.
Based in Vancouver, Honest Camper offers a small fleet of Type 2 Westfalias that folks can rent for a proper VW Vanlife adventure. The vans aren’t just old campers with a fresh paint job either – Honest Camper has each model properly restored and modernized with some extra camping conveniences to make the outdoor holiday even better. Nestled inside the vans you’ll find a two-burner propane stove, sink with cold water, a small refrigerator/freezer, and lots of storage. The raised roof camper can also convert to sleep four people, and it comes fully equipped with bedding, dining utensils, and a plethora of camping gear.
Gallery: Honest Camper VW Westfalia
One aspect of VW bus ownership not as prevalent in this rental is the ever-present possibility of roadside repairs. That’s not to say the classic bus can’t break down, but Honest Camper swaps out the standard mill for a newer 2.5-liter Ford engine for a bit more power and reliability. A set of beefy all-terrain tires further helps the classic camper navigate back roads, but if you still have a mechanical mishap, Honest Camper can come to the rescue through various means.
Speaking of which, the company offers all kinds of rental perks. Honest Camper will meet renters at various Translink Skytrain Stations around Vancouver for pick-up and drop-off, and arrangements can be made to return vans to different cities as well. Rentals include 150 kilometers (93 miles) of travel per day, and should you so desire, the company will even pre-stock the fridge for you. If for some strange reason you don’t want to go camping in a Westfalia, there are also a fleet of new Mercedes-Benz Sprinters available but let’s be honest, you didn’t click this feature to see another neat-o Merc.
There is some cost associated with the retro VW experience, but it’s far less than what you’d pay to buy your own upfitted Westfalia. Off-season rentals in the fall are $200 CDN per night with a three-night minimum; during the summer months that goes to $300 CDN, which translates to around $150 and $224 in U.S. greenbacks. That’s not out-of-line for any camper rental, never mind one that offers a turn-key retro camping experience with a fully stocked vehicle.
Should you be smitten by the thought of a week in the wilderness with a classic VW camper, Honest Camper is currently taking reservations for the 2019 season. We just might sign up ourselves.