Camping. Some people are die-hard tent campers. Others go “glamping” all the way. But maybe you’re looking for a happy medium – an authentic camping experience without sleeping on the ground. How about a campervan rental? The JUCY mini RV is the way to go! This campervan sleeps four and has a full kitchen in the back. But there are a few things you need to know before you go.
JUCY Campervan Rental: A Step Above Tent Camping
Do you enjoy road tripping to National Parks and getting out in nature? Do you like the idea of camping but not sleeping in a tent on the ground? Yeah, me too. So when I read about the JUCY RV, I was intrigued.
My husband, my 12-year-old daughter, and I picked up our JUCY Trailblazer in Los Angeles. We set off on a California camping adventure that took us to Sequoia National Park, Lake Tahoe, and finally San Francisco.
Here’s everything you need to know about a campervan rental with JUCY.
What is a JUCY RV?
A JUCY is a mini RV, also called a campervan. It’s created from a Dodge Caravan minivan. The main features are:
- Sleeping space for 4 people.
- Foldable cushions that convert the backseat of the van into a bed to sleep two people.
- Small storage space under the bed cushions.
- Pop-up, waterproof tent with full size cushion to sleep two people on top of the van. They call it “The Penthouse.”
- Kitchen in the back of the van with refrigerator, stove, sink, and storage for dishes, pots, pans, and utensils.
- Interior lights, USB plugs, and 12V power outlets (no household outlets).
- JUCYs are currently available for rent in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. They are also in Australia and New Zealand, where the company originated.
JUCY’s mission is to “give travelers the green light to have the time of their lives.” And their bright green and purple branded vans certainly attract attention. From tent campers and RV owners to people on the streets, everyone asked us about the JUCY RV.
How many people does the JUCY RV sleep?
The Trailblazer we drove sleeps four people. JUCY also offers the Wavefarer, which sleeps two people and doesn’t have the “Penthouse” pop-up tent on top.
My husband and I LOVED sleeping up in the Penthouse. It was comfortable, easy to set up, and well ventilated with screened windows that zipped open. My daughter was comfortable sleeping inside the car. But ventilation can be an issue. If she was too hot, she had to open the windows. And then? Bugs in the car. Something to keep in mind if you’ll be camping when it’s really hot outside or in an area that has a lot of mosquitoes.
The sleeping space is fine for up to four adults. However, you do need to be careful to not overpack.
How much luggage can you fit in the JUCY?
Check out this photo:
You can see that our luggage, food, pillows, sheets and blankets take up a ton of space in the back of the van. There is enough room for my daughter, but if you have two kids or kids with car seats? It could be a tight squeeze. And there is limited bag storage in the trunk of the van because that’s where the kitchen is.
Since we flew from New Jersey to L.A. for a nearly two-week stay in California (only 6 days in the JUCY), we had a good amount of luggage. We had a large duffel bag, two carry-on sized bags, plus food and bedding. But for a shorter weekend adventure, luggage shouldn’t be a problem.
With our campervan rental, we added on the JUCY bedding set. It comes folded in a huge bag with two towels, two sheets, two pillows, and a big comforter. It’s nice and comfy, but takes up a lot of space in the car. Since we had three people, we needed two of the bedding sets. If you can bring your own sleeping bags and pillows, that would free up a lot of space!
What about storage space?
There is a storage space under the bed cushions. To access it, you lift the bed cushion and remove the top from the storage compartment. The space is pretty deep, but it’s divided into two compartments. In the photo below, my carry-on bag is sitting angled into one compartment, and covering part of the second compartment. With smaller bags, you can store a lot more in there and free up space in the backseat.
My recommendation: Pack several small, soft bags. No hardshell suitcases or big bags. If you can organize your packing into specific days, you can keep keep one or two small bags stowed under the bench seat. Then when you’ve dirtied a few days of clothing, simply swap out the stowed bags and keep the dirty clothes packed away.
Setting Up the JUCY for Sleeping
Cranking up the Penthouse on top of the van takes about 2 minutes. Cranking it back down might take 3 minutes because you need to walk around and tuck in the fabric to make sure you get a tight seal. It’s super easy. The sheets and comforter could stay up there when it was closed, so that saved time and space in the back seat. At the end of the day, you just crank it up, grab your pillows, and go to sleep.
To set up the sleeping area inside the car, you first move the driver and passenger seats all the way forward. Then move your luggage, food, bedding, etc. out of the back seat. We were able to pile most of it into the front seats, while some smaller items fit in the space under the bed. Then fold down the bed cushion and put on the sheets and blankets. Finally, there were shades for all the windows that grip the glass with suction cups.
It’s not difficult, it’s just a process of moving things around every night and every morning. But still much easier (and more comfortable) than setting up a tent and sleeping on the ground. And if you have only two people sleeping up on top, your luggage stays in the backseat and the JUCY is perfect.
How much fits in the kitchen and refrigerator?
We loved the kitchen in the JUCY. The refrigerator initially looks small, but it’s deceiving. We fit a good amount of food in there. Quart of milk, bottle of wine, grapes, apples, peaches, sandwiches, broccoli, chicken, and chocolate. You can easily fit enough food in there for 2-3 family meals.
JUCY will provide cups, bowls, plates, and cutlery for four, plus cooking utensils, a tea kettle, and pots/pans for an additional fee. It’s a flip of a switch to light the butane stove, and I found the cooking experience to be simple and convenient.
There is also a sink in the JUCY! You fill the tanks with water, pump the faucet, and wash dishes or prep food. The used water drains into a holding tank that you can empty to waste in an appropriate area.
We never used the water or sink since every campground had easy access to water and a place to wash dishes. But it’s nice to know it’s there if you need it.
What does it cost?
Depending on the time of year and location of pick-up/drop-off, the Trailblazer campervan rental will cost you $75 – $125 per night. Considering you are getting a rental car and accommodations in one package, it’s a great deal.
There are also several options that can add up:
- Mileage: You can pay 25 cents per mile, or buy a pre-paid package of 100, 500, or unlimited miles. Unlimited is $25/day.
- Insurance: You can buy optional insurance coverage for $10 – $35 per day.
- Kitchen kit: Cooking equipment and utensils are a fixed cost of $115.
- Bedding kit: Sheets, towels, comforter and pillows for 2 people is $50.
- Camping chair: $10
- Camping table: $20
- Solar shower: $20
- JUCY also offers several options for winter camping, such as snow chains for tires, heater, sub-zero sleeping bag, and more.
- You can also rent child seats, additional butane gas cans for the stove, AUX cables, USB cables, or a GPS.
And how about gas mileage? The JUCY campervan got us about 17 mpg. The average RV gets 5-15 mpg, depending on size.
Check out my video review of the JUCY RV!
I think a JUCY RV is an ideal solution for two people looking for an easy camping adventure or a family of four who can pack light. If you can use your own kitchen utensils, bedding/sleeping bags, and camping chairs, you’ll save a lot of money. But even if you fly into L.A., San Fran, or Las Vegas and rent all the amenities from JUCY, it’s still a relatively inexpensive way to take an epic road trip!