If you’re reading this chances are you are looking to rent a camper van in Montreal to explore the provinces of Quebec or Ontario or even farther.
Perhaps you want to drive to Gaspesie to see the beautiful Rocher Percé, or you want to go see whales in Tadoussac, or perhaps you are feeling adventurous and want to visit the crystalline waters of the Bruce Peninsula Park in Ontario.
Camper vans are very popular, and with good reason: they provide accommodation, transportation and sometimes a full kitchen, all at once.
But finding the right camper van for your needs may be a bit confusing and time consuming given the number of offers on the market.
This is why in this article we will give you some useful tips and questions to ask yourself, so you can find the type of van and budget that works for you:
The number of people travelling:
The first thing to ask yourself is how many people will be traveling in the camper van. In our opinion, camper vans are best for two people, especially if you are looking for something small, easy to drive and to park. However, it’s possible to find cars that aren’t necessarily gigantic RVs if you are more than two people (keep reading to find the answer to this).
Also, if you are a couple with a young child… and are used to co-sleeping, you’re probably good to rent something with a bed that is for two people, BUT (and this is very important) make sure that there’s an actual full third seat inside the van – with a seatbelt, of course – and that you bring your own child seat or the company offers one.
Bottom line, if you are only two people – or a solo traveler – renting a small camper van such as a Dodge Caravan, Toyota Sienna or Westfalia is going to be the best for you, in our opinion. At the end of the article we will let you know which companies offer these models and what’s the approximate price.
Evaluating your level of “comfort with discomfort”:
Going camping in a camper van is already more luxurious than traveling with a tent.
However, if you are renting a small, minimalist camper van – like Siennas, Caravans or Westfalia – don’t expect to have a LOT of luxury. Most camper van conversions have at least access to clean water – and a tank for dirty waters – as well as basic kitchen equipment either inside or outside, like a portable camping stove.
In terms of toilets, many companies – ourselves included – don’t rent portable toilets, in order to keep logistics simple and prices low – and also because we live in a province and a country with good facilities in terms of parks, rest stops and gas stations.
However, if you really want to have a luxurious experience where you have a full toilet and perhaps even a shower, you’re better off renting a Dodge Promaster or Mercedes Sprinter conversion. See the end of the article to know which companies in Montreal offer these models.
Another advantage of these bigger models is that they tend to be big and tall, like cargo vans, so if you care about being able to stand up and walk inside the van, this is a PLUS. Of course the downside of bigger cars is parking, fuel consumption and their generally higher costs.
Time spent inside the van vs. outside the van:
If your goal with renting a camper van is to do things like hikes, visit national parks, reserves, do kayaking or other water activities: chances are you’re going to spend most of your time out and about.
In this case, having a bigger van (which is often more expensive) is probably not the best idea, given that most of the day the van will be empty, sitting in a parking lot or on your campground.
One case where you may be spending more time inside the van is if you are planning on traveling in the spring or in the fall (those “transition seasons”) as the time you spend hiking or doing outdoor activities may be more limited.
PS: In these “transition” seasons, temperatures may or may not be super cold. But what’s more annoying than the cold itself it’s the fact that it gets humid!
If you are renting a bigger van during the transition seasons – or in the winter – make sure the van is insulated or has some kind of heating technology, as none of the big space will be that useful if it’s super humid inside.
That being said, if you are traveling with a small, minimalistic van (Siennas, Caravans, etc.) with no real insulation or heater – other than the one when the engine is on – it’s still possible to have a great time – as long as you don’t leave when it’s -20°.
At Lazy Camper Van we have gotten clients starting their trips as soon as April 15, and others coming back as late as December 5, and they all reported having a great experience, although they did have to spend a bit more time inside coffee shops, restaurants or museums – and some of them who left for a long time reported spending one or two night in an Airbnb’s when it was too humid or rainy – or to get a little break.
Where to find campervans that suit your needs (and how much do they cost, approximately, in 2023) departing from Montreal?
No camper van option is perfect 100%. Some may be too small, or too expensive, or too big to park. The most important thing to find the option that fits your needs is to be clear in your priorities, so you can be realistic about your expectations.
If you are one or two passengers, max, and you are into the minimalist type of camper vans….
And if you want to be able to park in nature or in the city with no one really guessing that there’s a full bed and fridge and water faucet inside your van, then you are welcome to consider Lazy Camper Van (that is us):
- We ONLY rent Toyota Siennas, our fleet runs from models ranging from 2005 to 2019, but they are all well cared for. Plus when you only have ONE make and one model, the maintenance is way easier 😉
- We are currently accepting reservations for the 2023 season. Departures and drop offs take place in Verdun, two minutes away from Metro de L’Église, all days of the week from 10h00 and 12h00.
- We are a small business run by a couple, so we give you personalized attention and a full tour + tutorial of the van, in person, when you come pick it up.
Our vans come with everything you need to sleep, eat and travel in comfort. We have discounts if you leave during the spring and the fall, but to give you an idea of prices in the high season, a week in July in 2023 (e.g. Friday to Friday) in a classic van is 1232 $ + taxes., full insurance included.
Pro tip: Always double check the pricing page…
If our offer is not for you either because you want something less minimalistic or because you are 3-4 people, here’s other places that we recommend you check out and how much to expect in terms of price, approximately:
- Rvezy: this is like an Airbnb but for camper vans. The prices tend to range from 60$ per night for very very basic vans, great if you literally just need a bed and some basics – to 280$ – 400$ per night for Sprinter-type conversions. Make sure you use the filters to see how many people can sleep in and ask where all the beds are if it’s not clear. Sometimes it says it has 3-4 seats to transport passengers, but the bed situation inside is something else – or they may be a roof tent situation.
- Outdoorsy: very similar to Rvezy. In this website you may be able to find “Chevy” type conversions which are like the middle point between a mini camper van (like a Dodge Caravan or a Toyota Sienna) and the big “delivery” type vans like Promasters. Some of these models even have 3 beds *inside* the car, so something to think about if you are more than two people but don’t want to have a roof tent.
A note on Rvezy and Outdoorsy and “Airbnb” type websites….
- Vanpackers – Le Baroudeur: they have a big fleet of campervans for 2 and 4 people (with roof tents) in the style of Dodge Caravans. The cheapest rentals for 2 people vans start at about 1574 $ + taxes for a full week (e.g. Friday to Friday) or at 1815$ + taxes for 4 people vans, for the same time frame. Note that this company charges by day (not by “night” or cycle of 24 hours), so when you go from Friday to Friday, you are billed 8 days. On their website you can really choose the exact van you want, including the model, year, etc. and they also offer other things like buying your own camper kit.
- Vanlife MTL: these are the best option for the “fancy” types of conversion, like Sprinters or Promasters. That being said, the fancyness comes with a price tag, as a full week in July 2023 may cost you about 2280$ + taxes, and again, here they charge you by “day” (instead of nights), so from Friday to Friday you are being billed 8 days. If having to park a bigger vehicle is not an issue for you and you have the budget, this can be a very interesting experience. Also, this company also sells converted vans, so if you are looking into buying a camper van, renting for a few days can be a great way to test the product before investing.
That is it for the tips today. If you have any questions feel free to drop us a line to lazycampervan (at) gmail (dot) com. We have social media profiles but we don’t often check our DMs, so email is the best way to reach us 🙂
Team Lazy Camper van
We are Jonathan and Sonia, owners of Lazy Camper Van.
Since 2019 we manage our small business from A to Z. We are travel enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and life partners – and clearly we don’t know how not to mix pleasure and work.
The writing of this article was the result of team work 💪