Last Updated on January 21, 2024 by Sammie

An Honest Escape Campervans Review by a Newbie

This Escape Campervans Review is done by me, a campervan novice. Escape Campervans are known for their ridiculously beautiful hand-painted muraled campervans. They are available in 11 locations around the US and Vancouver, CA, and are a perfect option to hit the road for an adventure.

Van in the Avenue of the giants

Hello to you! My name is Sammie and if you have no idea who I am that is fine and dandy. I’m a traveling circus artist and I found Escape Campervans to use in between show breaks. I’m not an average camping person but I enjoy “roughing” it from time to time. In all honesty, the idea of van life was very intriguing but I felt in over my head when I decided to give it a go. I didn’t know what an electrical kit was and had no idea if the car would run without one (yes, the answer is yes young padawan).

My boyfriend had a break from touring with his circus show and we decided to road trip Highway 101/Highway 1 from Portland to Los Angeles in 7 days. Want to know what we did? Check out my itinerary for the Pacific Coast Highway HERE.

We spent 7 nights in the van and drove 1530 miles. I’m here to help campervan newbies and the ones who want to dabble in it for a quick road trip understand they can take on the feat that is living in a campervan. I knew nothing going into this trip and finished with the knowledge to help the lost, confused, and terrified.

Escape Campervans rental company made my first campervan experience a breeze.

Escape Campervan Review

Would I recommend Escape Campervans?

Yes! As this was my first time renting a campervan, I was nervous. The van seemed like a spaceship and I don’t even drive all that often anymore. Seemed like a recipe for a disaster but I prevailed and Escape Campervans helped make this trip a fabulous success story.

“I’ve NEVER rented a campervan, please send help!”

Before picking up the van, I must have called 8 times asking about what exactly was in the van and what to buy at the store. Every time I spoke with an Escape Campervan Representative they were patient and very personable. The staff on the phone understood the assignment. I was new, I was nervous, and I needed to know exactly what I would need in order to not die in this van for one week. They sent me lists of exactly what was in the van, explained the stuff I didn’t understand, and sent me a list of recommended things to pick up at the shop.

At the time of pick up in Portland the woman helping me was a gem! She noticed I added everything to cart when reserving online (I was worried about being underprepared so might as well ‘add to cart’). Line by line she reviewed my “add-ons” to see if this was something I really needed, or something I could skip. As it turns out, I could’ve skipped on a lot of the additional add-ons. She saved me hundreds of dollars in useless gear fees for things I did not need (i.e. the electrical kit).

Escape Campervans Review

“Our battery died, we need car assistance.”

I would recommend making sure you get a newer van with less mileage. We did have one hiccup. Our van battery died on the first full day of driving. We were leaving our lunch spot and our van was clicking trying to turn on. The battery was dead. We had one jump from some lovely passersby and took their car advice to make sure it wouldn’t happen again. Sure enough, the battery died again a few hours later. We needed to replace it.

Were we annoyed? ABSOLUTELY! We only had 7 days and we were spending half of one of those days dealing with car issues. But Escape Campervans 24/7 roadside assistance was wonderful. I first called and they told me they would set me up with a mechanic they knew in a nearby city. Then she was texting me making sure everything was going smoothly and was very quick to respond if I needed anything. Car troubles happen but Escape Campervans was quick to help and solve the issue. They even gave us a discount at the end of the trip because of the trouble.

Escape Campervans interior

Not the best picture but this is the interior of the van with the bed put together. My fairy lights are fabulous if I do say so myself. 

Escape Campervans in Redwoods

You can’t see our faces but we are smiling I promise. *Avenue of the Giants* 

What is the van? How does it work?

I rented the Maverick and it was just big enough for me, a 5’2” gal, and my boyfriend, a 6’2” dude. The van is a converted 12-person van, similar to the ones for airport shuttles. It comes with a convertible dining area/bed, a kitchen accessed from the outside, and some storage space to keep your knick-knacks organized

If you would like to use the dining area with the table you will need to convert it to the bed at the end of the day for sleeping. It is very very easy to do, do not be worried about this part.

The kitchen is an outdoor kitchen. The stove top and refrigerator are pulled out for use from the outside by opening the van’s back doors.

Me using the table in the backseat

It wasn’t the easiest, but I managed to chop our vegetables while we were on the move to the next city. The backseat is the biggest area for preparing food.  

What is provided with the van?

The kitchen is an outdoor kitchen. The stove top and refrigerator are pulled out for use from the outside by opening the van’s back doors.


  • A small pull-out refrigerator- I was genuinely shocked at how much I could fit in this. I easily kept 3-4 days of groceries for 2 people. If you are traveling alone, you could probably manage a full week’s worth of groceries.
  • A Propane Gas 2 Burner pull-out stovetop- This is easy to use even if you have never used one. You will need to buy a 16 oz propane tank (Escape Campervans can provide or grab one in most gas stations or convenience stores). Then you screw on the little propane tank and light it with a lighter when you turn the gas on. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. NOTE: they gave us a used propane tank for free and it did not work for some reason. The gas would come out but it would not light. If this is your issue, buy a new propane tank. 
  • A pump sink- The sink is connected to a 5-gallon tank and spurts out water when you pump the handle at the sink. NOTE: We had to fill this up every couple of days. Most gas stations have little water spouts connected to the building that you can use for free. 
  • A solar-powered cooking lamp- Very handy for cooking at night without wasting your car’s battery. 
  • Storage space- There was enough counter space and shelves to hold all of our pots and pans, pantry items, and wine. 


    • Kitchen kit ($40 for up to 5 people)- includes; bottle opener, can opener, pots, pans, lids, cooking utensils, cutlery, bowls, plates, cups, mugs, small coffee drip, matches/lighter, cutting board, knife (not a good one), dish towel, and scrubber.
    • 16 OZ Propane Tank ($10)- A little more expensive than buying one in a gas station.
    • Door Canopy ($40)- A custom-made canopy for the van that attaches to the backdoors to create a covered space to cook in. Very useful if there is rain in the forecast!!
    • Picnic Table ($30)
    • Camping Chairs ($14)
    Escape Campervans kitchen

    What the kitchen actually looks like when cooking. It’s small but it’s all you need!


    The camper van comes with a pull-out convertible bed, roughly the size of a queen mattress. You will use the sitting area cushions as a “put-together mattress”.


    • Bedding kit ($40 per bed)- This kit includes; 2 pillows, a comforter, 1 duvet cover, and 1 fitted sheet.
    • Can request extra comforter for colder months

    Dining Room

    • Seats 4 comfortably with a removable table in the center
    • Has storage bins to keep personal items along with mattress cushions for the bed.


    • Solar-powered cooking lamp above the kitchen.
    • The refrigerator is also solar powered so no need to worry about the fridge turning off if the car is off. 
    • The car has those old-school cigarette electrical plugs but you will need to ADD ON or BUY a cigarette to USB converter plug. 


      • Electrical Kit- The kit includes a 110V power cord, a plug adapter (if you need it at the campsites), a multi-surge protector, and an electric space heater/fan. You need a campsite hookup to use the electrical kit. The van itself does NOT require a hookup.

      Do I need the electrical kit?

      YES, if you plan on charging your laptop or big cameras, I would suggest getting one. Or if you are driving in the winter and need extra heat.  You will need a campsite hookup for the electrical kit.

      NO, if you just need your phones charged. You will be fine to charge them with the cigarette USB plugs while you are driving. It does not charge fast but it kept my phone alive for the duration of the trip. And I was taking a lot of photos. Also, consider bringing a portable phone charger.


      I was genuinely surprised by the amount of storage this van has. Though there are things we could have done better to optimize the space. As in, pack light!

      • There is a big storage bin between the backseat and the kitchen. I unpacked most of the clothes I wanted to use and put them here for easy access. It made it very easy to get dressed in the morning while the bed was still pulled out. You can also store a duffle bag on top of the bin if you want even easier access to things in your bag.
      • There is a huge bin for storage behind the driver and passenger seats. This bin typically holds one of the mattress cushions. You can still fit things inside with the mattress cushion OR keep the mattress cushion out and use the entire bin space. 
      • There are cubbies on the sides to store things like chargers, cords, books, jackets, or whatever you want. These are accessible whether the bed is converted or not.
      • There is storage under the dining area bench. This storage is there whether the bed is converted or not. NOTE: You cannot reach this storage area inside the car while the bed is converted. 
      • NOTE: My hard suitcase (checked luggage size) did not fit under the bench/bed. The only place my big luggage would fit (out of the way) was between the driver’s seat and the passenger seat on the floor.
      escape campervans reviews

      What to do if there are Car Problems?

      Escape Campervans provides roadside assistance 24/7. You can call or text them. When we were dealing with our dead car battery I found it extremely helpful to text them and they were very quick to answer!

      877-270-8267 (US phone)

      310-672-9909 (International Phone)

      There is also an Escape Plan Guidebook that lists instructions when you are in a pickle.

      van problems

      Van Hacks and Tips

      1. Bring slip-on shoes for midnight bathroom runs, and for driving. Stash them on the step inside the door to keep the dirt from getting everywhere.
      2. Use a small towel as a doormat to the backseat area. This will help keep the inside clean as long as possible.
      3. Hang fairy lights. You’ll often be up much later than the sun. Fairy lights offer you soft lighting for the night and are battery operated so they won’t drain your car battery.
      4. Bring carabiners to hang things LIKE KEYS. If you don’t organize them you will lose your keys at least once. We once lost them for 2 hours. They were in my pocket. 
      5. Bring a laundry hamper to separate dirty clothes from clean clothes. 
      6. Use gyms to shower! Even better, get a gym membership like Planet Fitness if you will be hitting bigger cities. 
      7. Army role clothes to save space and keep things from getting messy when you need to grab a new t-shirt.
      8. Use multi-purpose soap. Dr. Bronner’s Soap can be used as dish soap, body soap, and laundry detergent, and is biodegradable which we love, don’t we??
      9. Use clothespins to cinch the blackout curtains together while you sleep.
      10. Get a mattress topper to level out the mattress cushions. You’ll be able to feel where each cushion aligns with the other.
      Escape Campervan backseat

      Recommended Grocery/Shopping list

      Basic Grocery List

      • Fruits
      • Pre-cut Veg
      • Cheese
      • Eggs
      • Oil/butter
      • Soup
      • Bread
      • Pasta
      • Deli meat
      • Chicken
      • Trail mix
      • Water
      • Wine/beer
      • Salt & Pepper

      Shopping List

      • Extra blanket (if traveling in winter)
      • A French press for coffee
      • Your own knife-They provide one but if you want to do any meal prepping you will need to buy one. Grab a small pairing knife and that should do the trick!
      • A food storage container- We had leftovers 2 nights and it would’ve really peeved me had I needed to throw them out.
      • A lighter- it’s so much easier to light the stove with a proper lighter instead of a match and matchsticks.
      • Aluminum
      • Microfibre towel- this is a game changer, they dry so quickly! 
      • Lantern 
      • Grocery bags
      • Trash bags
      • Chlorox disinfecting wipes
      • A thermos- coffee/tea cools off very quickly when you are drinking them outside so if you prefer to keep it hot, bring one or two of these along with you.
      Escape Campervans Review

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