Renting an RV for a summer trip has long been a popular choice, but a new class of rentals is focusing on the camper of the moment: the Class B van. We’ve reported in the past on companies that rent custom conversion vans, and recently Curbed wrote a story on Blacksford—a Montana-based operation focused on renting Winnebago campers. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.
Now, Blacksford has announced an RV Club that will be launching in January 2020 in nine different cities. You might be familiar with the RV Clubs of the past; versions like the Good Sam Club and Passport America provide discounts on campgrounds for low annual fees of around $30-$40.
Blacksford, however, is rethinking the concept with an RV rental club. Memberships will be offered in five cities year-round (Portland, Seattle, Austin, Nashville, and Savannah) and in three cities (Bozeman, Denver, and Minneapolis) seasonally, from April 1 to November 30.
With each paid membership, clients will have access to a dedicated fleet of Winnebago Revels and Views. Each location’s club is limited to a certain number of memberships to ensure access, and the membership includes the use of the campers for 21 or 30 total days each year. The home city is where you pick up and drop off your RV, and members can have only one reservation on the books at a time (with some flexibility for bookings within 72 hours).
Each camper comes fully stocked with bedding, bath, and kitchen supplies, and trips must be at least three days long and no longer than seven days long. Membership also includes unlimited miles, unlimited generator use, and a 10 percent discount for friends and families looking to rent other Blacksford RVs.
According to RV Club and Blacksford founder, Jonathan Distad, “We are constantly asking our customers and the broader public what is needed to make RV adventures better. They clearly said that RV purchasing isn’t what they were looking for and wanted alternatives. So we decided the RV club is the perfect solution.”
The cost of the memberships depends on which home base you choose—a 21 day membership in Austin costs $6,800 while that same membership is $8,800 in Denver. Still, the rates are comparable if not lower than the nightly rentals offered by Blacksford, where a fully outfitted Revel rentals cost $359 per day and the Views cost $499 per day. Blacksford also offers seasonal leases, which you can read more about here.
It’s the natural next step in an industry that is looking to innovate. For people with cash to spend that want to try out van life or don’t want the hassle of owning a camper, an RV Club hits the spot.