El Monte RV Review

Rated 2.7 / 5 from 9 reviews

Editors Review

I visited the Las Vegas branch of El Monte RV rentals in May to find out what's going on with one of Americas largest RV rental companies. My little review here  will tell you everything you need to know before renting an RV from them. Don't forget to scroll down afterwards and read the reviews by others who have used El Monte for their road trips...


El Monte RV has been a family run company for over 40 years. It has grown to have 31 locations over that time and approximately 1500 in the rental fleet, making it one of the largest in the USA. They supply 2 berth up to 8 berth RVs in both A Class (bus style) and C Class (motorhome style). Their RVs range from brand new to up to 6 years old but “times they are a changing” there at El Monte. Read on and find out what to expect in the now and in to the future.

The Skinny

After 47 years of being a family company, El Monte sold 100% to THL in December 2016. THL are a massive, New Zealand stock market listed company that specialise in RV, Campervan and Motorhome rental world wide. A few years ago they also took a 51% holding in Road Bear which have similar but newer models to El Monte. Going forward you can expect the premium, 1 year RVs to be with Road Bear, then they will be passed to El Monte for years 2 through 4, then sold. Prediction only :-) but there will also be some brand new vehicles of their own in El Monte because they have about twice the RVs of Road Bear. Of the 31 branches only 6 are operated by El Monte themselves with the rest being franchises.

What El Monte Tell Us

El Monte RV rentals want you to know they are large with claims to world fame. El Monte have a right to be proud of their journey starting from a little town in California with only 1 or 2 RVs  to becoming one of the larges RV renters in the US. From El Monte themselves... “El Monte RV rents 5 unit types, and we have hundreds of each size. So not only to we have the most variety of models, but the availability as well..”

They also offer a 5th wheeler and trailer service but they pale in comparison to its huge RV rental side. And with over 40 years of knowledge to share there is a heap of itinerary and RV park information available on their website that is worth looking over too.


El Monte RV rentals stock their fleet with RV's manufactured by Thor and Coachmen. - they are not customised. Coachmen branded RVs seem to make up the majority of the fleet. My last visit to the Las Vegas branch saw barely a handful of Thor brand in there. The models range from 2 berth to 8 berth and can be brand new or up to 6 years old. However, there is a mandate by the new owners to get rid of anything over 4 years, so going forward you can expect that. Seeing as the RV's are stock standard purchases from the factory, you can expect competitors to stock similar or same models in many cases.


Cabover Style C Class RV 22'  – 4 Berth

Despite being able to sleep 4 this model is popular with European renters as a 2 berth. A permanent queen bed in the rear and another over the cab means this RV is comfortable with 4 people and there is even enough storage for 4. The reason it is popular with Europeans is because it is the smallest in the fleet and they are used to smaller vehicles and thinner roads than are found in the US.

It has all the modern conveniences you would expect in an RV rental these days EXCEPT no TV or DVD player. You are on your own when it comes to entertainment. Good bench space.

Cabover Style C Class RV 25' – 4/5 Berth

This RV is similar to the 22' except for a little more room and 1 extra seat. There is a captains chair on the right as you enter that is not there in the smaller model. Also there is a separated vanity basin and mirror as opposed to being jammed into the bathroom, this means a lot more storage for bathroom products – yay! There is also a double sink in some models which to me is a waste of bench space, but sadly, no one asks for my design input when they make these things.

Dinette can be become a bed. Only really suitable to one short adult or up to 2 kids but I'm still saying max of 5 berth here with 4 being a better option.

Note in the photos wear and tear signs on the drivers seat. This is the kind of thing you can expect in any RV rental that is over 1 year old really.

Cabover Style C Class RV 28' – 6 Berth

We're getting in to the BIG style now, the kind of thing that many overseas people get scared of driving in a foreign nation – this model is more popular with Americans. A lot more room in the master bedroom at the back and the first model that allows you to get out of bed on both sides. A full couch to sit on as well as the dinette so you can easily seat 6 and even squash in 7. I mean, technically you can seat-belt 9 people while travelling, but you'd have trouble sleeping them.

There's a compromise on kitchen bench space in order to have a larger seating capacity and that means that if prepping dinner for 6 you are probably going to have to use the dinette table as a chopping table because there is not a lot of chopping space in the main kitchen area.

Other than that there is plenty of storage for all the people. But again, a risk of no TV or DVD for those rainy days as the older models don't have (and newer models might not either)

Cabover Style C Class RV 31' – 8 Berth

OMG what a monster! With a double slide out this beast of an RV is the most popular rental model with Americans.

2 dinette sections, a full size couch, 2 queen beds, 2 double beds and 2 single bunks. It could sleep more than 8 but the 'double' beds are bit squashy for adults. A spacious bathroom setup, TV included for a change, and did I mention the slide outs? 2 of them! The rear dinette slides out and the couch slides out. This gives a feel of a lot more room inside when parked. Slide outs are great except if they break while they are open – then you can't drive anywhere. But lets assume they are going to work here and revel in the idea of driving an RV that is bigger than your apartment. You simply just can't get better than this in cabover RV, but the cost (apart from the cost $) is going to be parking. City parking will be a nightmare and even RV parks have limited spaces for RV's this size. So if you are going to rent it, maybe check in advance of the kind of places you are planning on going and make sure there are plenty of wide open spaces.

Bus Style A Class RV 34' – 6 Berth

Now we get in to driving a bus. In many other nations to drive an RV this big you need a special licence – not so in the USA. You're stepping up in luxury here with lots of space, storage and plushness – some of the best you with find in an RV rental. 2 TV's, additional mirrors, slide out walls and a myriad of other inclusions really do mean they have managed to turn a bus in to an apartment. A permanent queen bed at the back and permanent bunk beds along the side mean less converting tables to beds at the end of the day and a bathroom that many New Yorkers would be envious of. A plush and beautiful ride but again massive size might be an issue for some and you must really also start to consider fuel costs with this 6.8L engine and a lot of wind resistance.

Bus Style A Class RV 37' – 7 Berth

What luxury - this is the biggest RV in the fleet. Double vanity and mirrors in the bathroom, a full size domestic fridge, 2 TV's, double sink, masses of bench space and more. You are never going to want to go home! Leather style seats and oodles of room make this RV the plushest in the fleet. Only those needing the absolute best and biggest are going to be interested in this. And the bravest! At 31' it is going to need special driving skills to manoeuvre and park. But if you think you have the skills, and the cash to rent this most expensive of beasts, then you will be up for an amazing vacation. Personally I think I'll stick to the 25' C Class, they suit me just fine and I can get a parking spot at Safeway.


El Monte require a $1000 security deposit imprint of a non-debit credit card on pick up. This will be used in case of tolls, fines, incorrect fuel return level or propane return level etc. My understanding is that this does NOT cover damage to the vehicles. My conversation at the Las Vegas branch led me to believe that if you damage the RV extensively you are simply up for the damages to the value of the repairs.

However, there is a $16pd 'damage waiver' that can be paid to reduce the amount you pay in case of damage but that still won't cover tires, windscreen, undercarriage or overcarriage. I have actively looked in the published terms and conditions on the El Monte RV website and can't find anything anywhere about this so it is worth asking about it when picking up or at time of booking.

Other Stuff

El Monte do offer ONE WAY travel however are a bit coy about it. In my last trip to the USA I tried to rent an El Monte to go one way from Las Vegas to San Francisco. All searches of dates resulted in me having to call directly. I called and discussed it but was not able to get a one-way rental. I was surprised as San Francisco and Las Vegas are 2 of the busiest branches and thought it would be easy to find  someone wanting to go the other way. Alas it was not to happen.

Travelling in an El Monte RV rental gets you 10% off at KOA RV parks.


El Monte RV Rentals are one of the top 3 RV rental companies in the USA (see also Road Bear RV and Cruise America). They have earned a well deserved reputation for being able to supply you with the style of RV you need at the time you need it. With one of the largest ranges to choose from in the USA we can't see them going away any time soon.


From the Agency

No word from this agency yet. Come back and see if they checked in soon.


  • Lots of branches
  • Lots of vehicles
  • Range of choice


  • Vehicles starting to age
  • Pricier than some
  • No small campervan option

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Write Your Own Review

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B. W - avatar not loaded
, United States
2 Review

"RV Failure from the Start"

  • Reviewed 3 months ago

I have been trailer camping for over 15 years and decided to try out an RV. The RV we rented from El Monte RV in short ruined our trip and confirmed why I will never rent from El Monte and never own a RV. When we showed up to rent the RV, I should have started to question the "New" 2021 RV when they could not get the fridge to cool and told me it takes 4 to 6 hours before you will notice it. As well, the AC would switch to heat which really caused issues when the west coast is experiencing 100 plus degree days. Nonetheless I trusted the person who walked me through the operations walk thru. As the week progressed the fridge finally failed and we lost all our food. The AC never work right either. And the biggest issue that final killed everything was when we ran our generator and started to smell gas to only figure out that the generator started to leak gas and the camper almost exploded. The circuit breaker would not shutoff the generator and I had to manually disconnect the generator from the battery and let the camper vent out for the night before we could try to start the camper. We also followed their roadside assistance program but they had no one to assist us camping in the north rim. The name they provided finally got ahold of us and said they only service the south rim. At the end of the day, I am thankful no one in my family died from this experience. FIND A DIFFERENT RV RENTER.

4Service 1Mechanical 2Interior 1Value
D. P - avatar not loaded
, United States
1 Review

"Terrible experience"

  • Reviewed 3 months ago

Customer service was terrible! Good luck when something breaks on the RV. Our water pump broke, tried twice to get it fixed with no success. We were without water for 4 days (had RV for 13 days total), unable to wash hands, dishes or flush the toilet (!), and had two of our children with us. We were told "you could have used a water hose"...?!, unacceptable and RUDE! That's the whole point to rent an RV, for the convenience of your trip, so you don't have to pull over to the gas station if you or your child needs to use the bathroom, or you want to cook and wash dishes. Then only got a $165 discount. Also would NOT use their insurance as it has a $1K deductible. Caught a rock from a semi and there went $400. Also, they gave us at checkout a broken coax cable and leaking water hose. I would NEVER rent from them again and will tell everyone who wants to rent an RV to stay away from El Monte RV rentals in McKinney.

1Service 1Mechanical 1Interior 1Value
S. S - avatar not loaded
, United Kingdom
1 Review

"Stay away from El Monte"

  • Reviewed 9 months ago

We hired a class A family sleeper from El Monte (Dublin, San Fransisco) in early July for a once in a lifetime holiday, travelling around the U.S. We are from Australia and have done RV holidays within our own country before and knew that we loved that type of travel.

For some reason it took 2.5-3 hours just to pick up our RV. Other families were coming and going but due to a "system error" ours was taking hours longer. Eventually they said it was all good and we just wanted to get the hell out of there.

The guy showing us around the RV really had no knowledge about it. He just kept telling us to find our manuals online. He wasn't sure how things worked and didn't know where the physical manuals were. One thing he did mention was that they advise not to use the auto levelling system as some people drive off with the pegs still lowered (this is an important feature of the van) but if we were confident we wouldn't do that, we could use it.

The first issue we had was the cleanliness of the van. Within 10 min our feet were completely black, the shower hadn't been cleaned and there was hair everywhere. There were curtains missing in the van, one curtain rod on one of the bunks was broken and had screws sticking out. A piece of wood flew off from above the dining table during travel. Luckily it didn't hit our children. We were unable to shower in the van as the one time the shower was used, it leaked water all through the van and the drain blocked up. A dealership in Colorado had to re silicone the shower. Our toilet was only used for wee but had been blocked from the first day we picked up the van and required plunging every day. El Monte claimed we used the wrong paper but it had been blocked from before we picked it up. Our tv antenna system never worked so we only had tv if the rv parks had cable.

Next up, the levelling system. This is required to be used for slide out vans as they need to be levelled to properly slide out. It worked sometimes. Most of the time only 2-3 pegs would lower. Sometimes they wouldn't retract and we would be stuck in the rv parks trying to get them to retract. The really kicker happened when we were driving and the system turned on and started lowering as we were driving. Scary and dangerous. We then were told over the phone how to disconnect the system. We were asked to take the van in to Colorado to have it looked at. The dealership in Colorado were not happy to have us there and did not want to even check the system. They just said to leave it disconnected.

We travelled to Texas and it was the middle of the heat wave. Our aircon leaked water all over our bed during the night, saturating everything including our mattress. This left the aircon unable to be used until wr took it to another servicing place to be fixed. This place was not affiliated with El Monte and said the RV was in terrible condition. So much so that they rang el Monte and told them how bad it was. They fixed the aircon by removing dirt and buildup in the draining hose (but this was another day wasted).

The tv in the bedroom was not properly secured and swung open and snapped off during travel. Power points throughout the van didn't always work.

Also the van was just terrible to drive. Felt every little bump and the wind was constantly pushing the van off the road. Biggest waste of money we have ever spent and really ruined our trip.

We returned our rv 6 days early due to all the issues. We couldn't stand it anymore. El Monte had a record of all of the problems we had and still did not refund us for the 6 days. There was no compensation given to us regardless of all the time we wasted.

Would NOT recommend these poorly maintained vehicles from el Monte. Hire elsewhere so your holiday doesn't get ruined like ours.

1Service 1Mechanical 1Interior 1Value
C. L - avatar not loaded
, United States
1 Review

"Stay away from El Monte!"

  • Reviewed 2 years ago

Worst experience of my life. Left us stranded in the middle of the desert, during summer, and with storms all around. We had 5 adults, 4 children and 3 dogs with us. 7 hours of waiting on hold to be told to get our stuff out and find a different way home. Completely unacceptable for any company to treat people this way.

1Service 2Mechanical 3Interior 1Value
Ken - avatar not loaded
, United States
1 Review

"RV Purchase"

  • Reviewed 2 years ago

Worked with Ammar on the purchase of Thor Class C motor home. Ammar and the entire organization was a pleasure to deal with. They were quick to reply to questions and did everything they told me they would do. Very professional organization and would recommend them if you are looking to purchase a RV.

5Service 5Mechanical 5Interior 5Value
Diane - avatar not loaded
, Canada
1 Review

"Entreprise à éviter"

  • Reviewed 4 years ago

Expérience désolante. Dans le contexte de la pandémie COVID 19, l'entreprise ne fait pas de remboursement lorsqu'un véhicule doit être rapporté plus tôt que prévu. Pourtant, l'industrie touristique en général (Air Bnb, hôtellerie, campings) a assoupli ses politiques de cancellation et rembourse ses clients El monte RV et l'agence Camper travel située à Dallas (partenaire) nous ont avisés qu'ils allaient conserver la totalité du montant versé initialement ce qui nous apparaît inacceptable et abusif comme pratique dans le contexte de pandémie qui sévit actuellement.

1Service 3Mechanical 5Interior 3Value
Traveler Chris - avatar not loaded
, United States
1 Review

"Caution: nearly 100% of damage to the RV will not be covered by any insurance El Monte offers."

  • Reviewed 4 years ago

El Monte's best insurance does not covers you for almost any damage to the RV. The "VIP" insurance, which is meant to cover the RV, has the following stipulations: 1) the first $1,000 of any damage of any kind is your responsibility, 2) things NOT covered: the ENTIRE interior, the windshield, "overhead damage" (that would be the entire top/roof and anything mounted there), damage incurred while backing up, damage from hot or cold weather, the slide-out, the awning, the undercarriage, tires, wheels, entry-step, vandalism, and more...

2Service 3Mechanical 3Interior 1Value
S. Stein - avatar not loaded
, United States
1 Review

"Renting from El Monte RV McKinney, Texas"

  • Reviewed 4 years ago

We rented a 22 foot RV and were very satisfied! The unit was a 2020 model, and we had no mechanical issues at all. This was our first rental, and we had heard horror stories from friends in other cities about difficult rental agents, poorly maintained vehicles and hidden charges. We experienced none of these problems at El Monte in McKinney! The entire staff was friendly, helpful, and answered all of our questions. They even helped me with a packing checklist. The vehicle was totally ready at the designated time and the pre-rental inspection thoroughly explained all related features. The vehicle was clean and ran well to/from Albuquerque. When we returned, there were no hidden/previously undisclosed charges. There's a sign in the office that says, "integrity above profit." I believe the staff exemplifies this. We had a great time in our rental RV and will certainly come back to El Monte when we're planning our next road trip!

5Service 5Mechanical 5Interior 5Value
W. Demaree - avatar not loaded
, New Zealand
1 Review

"Be careful with El Monte RV"

  • Reviewed 5 years ago

Customer service at pickup, while in the vehicle, and dropoff was very courteous and professional.


I have not had any of my $US1,000 bond returned, nor will they respond to emails.

Personal summation: Avoid. Especially avoid if you are from overseas (I am from New Zealand).

4Service 4Mechanical 4Interior 2Value