Winter camping with a Goboony van

by Igor
Goboony Campervan

Goboony is a European (Dutch) online RV sharing platform where renters can book a vehicle directly from the RV owner. Goboony was probably inspired by the success of the AirBnB platform; they lists thousands of private rentals in Europe. From vintage fire truck custom built camper to family motorhome and everything in between.

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The concept of renting a camping trailer or campervan on an online platform has been around for a long time already in the USA. Goboony is one of those in Europe and in this article we will share our experience with renting at the Goboony platform. We’ve rented an awesome Sprinter Adventure Van for our winter camping trip to the Veluwe National Park in The Netherlands.

Winter camping with a offroad campervan

 

Goboony, the story

In 2011 the roads of two Dutchmen, Foppe and Mark, crossed at the foot of Mount Fox Glacier in New Zealand. Foppe was travelling north with his family and Mark’s was travelling south. They came to talk and after half a day of drinking coffee and exchanging tips about the beautiful camper spots in the country, it was time for everyone to move on. Not knowing that they would meet again 4 years later and start a business together.

Because the ‘campervan virus’ of Mark and Foppe originated in New Zealand, they liked to choose a business name that had a connection with their travel adventure in which they had met. People in New Zealand speak plain English, but like in every country they also use a lot of ‘slang’: words that only locals understand well. ‘In the boonies’ is such a New Zealand pronunciation, and it actually means ‘in the middle of nowhere’. In fact, this word has produced its own motorhome verb: ‘boondocking’. That means you park your motorhome in the middle of nowhere and just use all the facilities your own motorhome has to offer.

For Mark and Foppe this is the essence of camping with a motorhome: choosing your own path and experience freedom. Because with a motorhome you’re not tied to anything and you can go wherever you want, whenever you like. You can stay longer in the beautiful places and leave quickly if it’s disappointing.

From this philosophy they started Goboony; to let everyone experience the freedom of travelling with a motorhome.

Goboony booking website

How booking at the Goboony platform works

The process of renting an RV or campervan can be complicated, as there are many personal factors to consider. However, Goboony makes things simple. As part of this Goboony review, we’ll walk you through each step of renting an RV or campervan.

Besides taking account for the daily rental price, it’s important to note the extra charges that may occur during your trip. Extra miles, fuel refilling, cleaning fees and campsite rates are just a few examples of things which will add to your budget.

Step 1: Browsing for an Adventure Van

Once we decided on a destination for your road trip, it was time to pick the best vehicle for our winter camping adventure. Searching for the best fit for us was easy on Goboony. We started by entering the location, as well as the pick-up and drop-off date.

Hit ‘search’, and you’ll see a list of available and compatible vehicles. From here, you can refine your search based on different criteria such as the number of beds, vehicle type and on board amenities.

One of the interesting search filter options is ‘vehicle type’. Ranging from adventurous (rugged, sportive), classic (vintage with a large selection of VW T2 and T3) and family-style (includes a toilet, shower, kitchen and at least 4 beds).

Goboony rental classic list

Like most peer-to-peer marketplaces, Goboony cannot verify the condition nor quality of the RV rentals. So, it’s your own responsibility to look at the rental reviews and photos to see if the RV is up to your standard and expectations.

We knew we wanted a campervan, so filtering down the selection was easy. Besides this, we wanted an Insta-proof campervan ;-) and one that would stand out.

I found a beautiful, rugged Adventure Van in Tilburg. This is exactly what we were looking for! With this Adventure Van we should be able to shoot some amazing photos for our blog.

Offroad Camper Van Goboony

Step 2: Booking your RV or Camper Van with Goboony.com

The next step of the booking process is pretty straightforward. It’s just like booking a hotel room or an AirBnB. After selecting the desired vehicle, you submit a booking request to the owner (just like at the AirBnB platform) and you can type a short message to introduce yourself.  Then, you enter your personal information and payment details. Goboony requires a refundable security deposit, which is taken from your debit or credit card immediately after the booking is made. In our case, there was a €1000 security deposit. Pretty high, if you ask me, but as long as we took care of the vehicle, we had nothing to worry about. We got the security deposit back as soon as we returned the vehicle.

Side note: Don’t forget to review the rental rules to which Goboony refers as ‘house rules’. Some owners might have
restrictions on where you can travel and if you’re allowed to stay (overnight) at festivals.

After that you can complete the form and confirm your booking. If your rental requires approval, the owner will respond most likely within 24 hours. You can also ask questions directly to the RV owner through the Goboony chat system which is very easy to use.

Step 3: Pick up your RV rental

We picked up our Adventure Van at the owner’s house after arranging a time via text message (through the Goboony chat system).

It’s a good idea to give yourself some extra time when picking up your rental. The owner will give you a walkthrough of the vehicle and together you have to perform a damage inspection. During this inspection you can take photos or a video of the vehicle to avoid unnecessary disputes about damages when handing back the RV. You will also go through the contract and sign a renter return form to keep track of your mileage.  Once the owner hands over the keys, you’re ready to start your adventure!

After having packed the Adventure Van with our luggage and gear, we headed off towards Veluwe National Park.

Welcome at National Park VeluwePosbank, VeluweVeluwe Zoom National Park

Our winter camping adventure was ON!

We went winter camping for 2 nights. One of the greatest advantages of winter camping is the absolute silence at the campsite and that most likely you have the entire area to yourself.

Temperatures during the day were above zero which made it perfect for hiking in the national park and spotting wildlife. On one of our hikes, we saw 7 wild pigs crossing our trail!

Although the Adventure Van was super comfortable and had a heater inside, we had our breakfast and dinner outside on our camp stove. With the parking heater in the van and our merino wool wear, we spent the nights pretty warm and cosy inside. Rather than feeling trapped inside, we gave in to the relaxation of reading, playing games and watching some series on Netflix.

binge watching inside the campervancamping breakfast with Dutch (mini) pancakeswinter camping with stovewinter camping diner timewinter camping with the campervan

 

All in all, we enjoyed our first winter camping trip in an RV more than we expected. This is something we will definitely plan again and we even wanted to bring the van home! Depending on your campervan or RV, it really can be cosy and comfortable inside when the weather is challenging. If we knew the fun of winter camping earlier, we would have done this already years ago.

Our verdict on renting with Goboony

When it comes to planning your road trip, your RV or campervan can make or break your trip. There are lots of factors to consider when renting an RV such as vehicle type, included amenities and even insurance protection.

After personally renting with Goboony, we believe it’s a great platform for either first-time or experienced RV and campervan drivers. The Goboony platform offers a wide range of vehicles and provides Carefree Travel insurance in case something goes wrong on your trip.

So, whether you’re renting a RV for 2 weeks or simply spending the weekend in a campervan under the stars, we suggest to give Goboony a try!

Are you considering winter camping with a campervan? Here are our 5 tips:

  1. Start a campfire or bring a small camp stove

Summer campfires are nice and most of the time easy to start. Don’t let the cold weather stop you from enjoying a nice campfire in the winter. As always, but especially in the winter, it’s important to prepare your stack for the fire. Best is to bring some firewood when you’re not sure if firewood is available on your campground.

  1. Bring a warm base layer

Moving around in cold temperatures can be challenging. To stay warm while cooking outside or enjoying your freshly brewed coffee, make sure to wear some type of warm base layer underneath your outfit. A merino woolen or fleece-lined top and tights (or long underwear type combo) will help to keep the heat close to your body.

  1. Consider a lightweight hooded down jacket

A lightweight hooded down (or synthetic insulated) jacket that covers your head and your torso will help keep you much warmer than a regular street wear winter jacket.

  1. Pack thick socks

Hiking in the winter, hanging out by the campfire, and sleeping in the van can leave you with chilly toes. Pack some warm, thick socks. We like the Smartwool’s merino wool socks.

  1. Important: bring a warm sleeping bag

While the van is cozy to sleep in, it can get pretty cold when the temperatures drop below freezing point. We highly recommend bringing a warm and comfy sleeping bag. A sleeping bag is an easy way to keep everyone comfortable, especially if your sleeping partner is usually a lot warmer (or colder) than you are. We both have our own different sleeping bags  that are very packable and keep us comfortable. Also, we like to use the normal sleeping bags together with our sleeping bag liner. Are you a warm sleeper? A lighter weight synthetic bag will do the trick and can be opened and used as an extra blanket as well.

Pro tip: If you need a little extra warmth to get you snoozing, use this trick: a water bottle filled with hot water and tucked under the sheets with you when you go to bed will provide a extra heat.

 

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