On Saturday June 27th we packed our entire car and prepared our two daughte...
On Saturday June 27th we packed our entire car and prepared our two daughters (age 2 and 6) for a 14 day camping trip. We then drove to NJ to pick up our mavericks campervan. The troubles actually began even earlier as I had repeatedly emailed the contact for the NJ office to find out our pick up time and no one had responded--even right up until the day of pick up. Finally I called and was told that I could pick up at 1. I later found out that the email you gave me as a contact was someone who was in the process of resigning, so he just didn't bother to answer any of my emails.
We arrived in NJ and completely filled the campervan with our things in the rain. As we are putting the girls car seat and booster seat into the van we realized that there were NO SHOULDER BELTS in the entire back seat. It is against the law for a 6 year old to sit in a seat without a shoulder belt. It also makes a booster seat completely irrelevant. We told this to Claudia, the person who was at the NJ location. She seemed defensive and not willing to admit that this was not ok. She kept saying things like "we have had many satisfied people use these vans with kids" and "I know our vehicles are legal for kids". Since we planned to cover a lot of ground in the van and it was just just a short drive to a campsite, my husband and I decided that we just couldn't put our daughter in an unsafe situation. Claudia got someone on the phone from escape campervans and she said our two options were to get our money back or take a Big Sur van that was available because of a last minute cancellation. but....we would have to pay the difference of the upgrade. Basically we were asked to pay a lot of extra money just to go on our scheduled trip even though the van that we had paid for was unsafe through no fault of our own.
In the end we were forced to get our money back and completely rethink and change our plans. I was told a manager would follow up with me, which never happened. Escape campervans could have made it right by offering us a different van that had acceptable safety belts with no added cost but that didn't happen.
2 Camper vens broke 2 days in a row.
0 road assistance
The cars are not well maintained.
First car, no AC, found this when we left the city. Got a bigger van, much older one, I asked for the new one because I was afraid that the Marvik one will have problems, it seems old. In the next morning, in Utah, the car engine started ticking, the engine light turned on. We were told to get to the closest auto zone. Right before we arrived there the engine shutdown.We were stuck.
They are not sending a placement car if you stuck.!!
They wanted us either fix the car or tow it to Vegas (get a new car there or get refund(and then what!?)), Vegas is 2 hours away in our opposite way to go . I couldn't trust the car not to be stuck again, but I couldn't go to Vegas.
It was 2 days out of 4 days trip that totally destroyed by their unchecked, Untreated cars. The cars are in a bad mechanical shape. So you probably get stuck, far from home ( Because that's the point) and no chance of getting proper help if you stuck. We ended by fix the spark plug and get back the road after full day in the situation.
No matter what, they won't provide you a way to get back to the road quickly. They say they don't do that.
I asked the car for 2 more days and got $150 discount. I payed around $500, I spent two days in crying. I had to pay twice to all my campground, I missed the visit in grand canyon which was the purpose of the trip because of the delay ( they opened the park only for the weekend), and I almost killed myself when the engine shutdown in the middle of the traffic.
Cars can break. I know.I
For me, *safety + get back on the road quickly *are the most important things in rental companies. And they failed big time.
Would not recommend.
Escape Campervans review: Renting and picking up the van
To be honest, we had a great time with the van, but a mixed experience with the rental company, which I guess is not surprising. I guess my takeaway is that despite the brightly colored van, and the low-tech warehouse-chic esthetic, this is a car rental company just like any other. Don’t let your guard down when it comes to things like inspecting for previous damage, noting start and end mileage and gas.
The van itself was an older Ford van, tried and tested at 200,000+ miles on the odometer. It handled great and was a smooth ride throughout, after the small growing pains of adjusting to being much higher up than in a normal car. Good news is that your regular US drivers license is enough to drive these vans, no commercial license needed.
Escape Campervans review: Van tour
We had the Mavericks build, which sleeps up to 5 people, but that is with the optional roof tent. Inside, a queen size bed folds out and is quite comfortable, and can be folded away in the morning to provide van seats with adequate safety belts. A third state is to turn it into a mini living room with benches and a removable table. The table was surprisingly sturdy is how we ate dinner and played tabletop games after dinner, given the cold outdoor temperatures where we camped.
The bed itself provided a great nights sleep! Honestly, the older I get, the more I am reluctant to go tent camping just because I feel like I can no longer handle the cold hard ground, no matter how thick the sleeping pad or sleeping mat is. This makes Escape Campervan a wonderful alternative for those who want to still enjoy the outdoors but dont want to tent camp, or are unable to tent camp due to accessibility issues.
More on kitchen, amenities and other add ons at https://maxplusmariatravel.com/escape-campervans-review/
Now that I have tested the #vanlife, I would tend to look at other campervan rental sites, which provide a variety of campervans, some by owner in an Airbnb model. While the brightly painted van exterior seemed cute at first, it did attract some unwanted attention occasionally. If I were taking an extended trip, I’d definitely want a more nondescript van.