Dirtbag Hack: Rent-A-#Vanlife
If you’ve ever sat in your office cubicle, dreaming of waking up in the desert, snug in your ProMaster or Sprinter, or whatever your large white van of choice may be, rolling down the dusty open road of endless possibility and pulling up to the crag or the ski resort ready to rage sans packing—well, dream no longer. Turns out, #vanlife is available for rent at a U-Haul neighborhood dealer near you, all for the low price of $19.95/day.
Since 1945, unbeknownst to them, U-Haul has been offering aspiring dirtbags a low-commitment, low-cost opportunity to try their hand at the glamorous, insta-banging road life. If you’re not convinced, here are a few more reasons why your next trip should be in a U-Haul:
1. Instant Dirtbag Street Cred
Pulling into the Buttermilks parking lot or the Creek Pasture campground in Indian Creek, regardless of who you are and what you’re driving, you’re the new center of attention. Whereas a Jucy Van or other rental camper van might hint more toward “wannabe,” a U-Haul van screams $19.95 a day (literally), “resourceful,” and “big and white," granting you instant entry into the community of dirtbags.
2. Infinite Insta-Banger Opportunities
As long as you avoid taking photos of the exterior of your van, renting a U-Haul offers endless instagramming possibilities and a legitimate membership in the exclusive world of #vanlife. The inside looks a little rough and unfinished, you might worry, but hey, you’re just waiting for the designer teak to get shipped from Indonesia to start the custom build.
3. $50 + 1 hour = Road Ready
You’re bored in the Midwest, you have a weeklong break from work, and dreams of pristine granite have been clinging to you with remarkable friction. On a whim, you pack up your climbing and sleeping gear and a quick plane flight later, you're renting your U-Haul in LA and beelining it to a thrift store. Half a Benjamin buys you cooking supplies, camping chairs, and maybe even a plush carpet for your floor, and you’re off to the desert to soak up the sun, camp, and climb.
4. Van Life > Tent Camping
If your next climbing trip has you flying somewhere and renting a car, paying extra baggage fees to bring copious amounts of camping gear, consider renting a U-Haul instead. Traveling in a van minimizes the packing and unpacking—and packing and unpacking—of a tent-based road trip, and maximizes the possibility for spontaneity. Want to sleep at the hot springs tonight instead of the campground? Sure! You can camp almost anywhere, have your gear with you at all times, and be as foot loose and fancy free as the best of them.
I should note, as with all things that seem too good to be true, this deal is, in fact, too good to be true. U-Haul charges a fee per mile once you exceed your allotted amount, so if you’re drifting far from where you rented, the cost could add up quickly. However, depending on your travel plans, the U-Haul van might still be the cheapest van-without-seats rental option out there.
Photos by Forest Woodward.