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When confronted with the problems of taking a full-size truck electric, EV proponents often say: If you need a truck for a day or two, rent one. However, it’s not that simple to rent a truck — especially if you want to tow a boat or camper.

We looked at three popular truck rental companies — Home Depot, Enterprise and Turo — to determine if you could actually rent a truck for towing. 

Go to Home Depot 

If there is one thing we hear about all the time, it’s the Home Depot truck rental program. These Home Depot trucks with their large “Rent me starting at $19.99” lettering have perpetuated the myth that renting such a truck is a simple solution when you actually need a truck.

Digging into the Home Depot website, however, shows the contrary. 

First, you have to find a Home Depot location that rents trucks. None of the Home Depots near me in Nebraska rent trucks, so I looked in Managing Editor Jill Ciminillo’s location in Chicago, Illinois. 

Ah ha! The Elston/Leavitt store rents both trucks and vans. In the case of needing a truck for towing a camper, I selected the F-250 with its flatbed setup since this made the most sense.

Second, timing is an issue. On the website, after selecting the truck, you are taken to a screen to check availability. Home Depot says “due to demand, this unit is not available for online reservations. Call or visit the store to rent this unit.” This means, you’d need to have some flexibility in when you plan to pick up the truck to start your camping trip. 

Additionally, this truck simply isn’t ideal for camping for a variety of reasons. 

For example, it only has a bumper pull setup. So, no fifth-wheel campers.

It is also a regular-cab-only truck. This means only three passengers max with one sitting on the hump.

Plus, the flat bed isn’t ideal for storing sleeping bags, tents, coolers, etc., since they are exposed to the elements. This means having to store all your items in the camper because they aren’t going to fit in the truck cab with the passengers.

Fourth, this is a gas-engine truck with a 6-speed automatic transmission, and a trailer hitch is only available if “renting towable equipment” from the store. This means, you are going to get lousy fuel economy when towing and you will need to pay extra for the tow hitch and shell out cash for “towable equipment” that you’ll leave at home so you can hook up your camper instead.

Finally, there is the price. It is $19.00 for the first 75 minutes and $129 a day or $903 a week. 

If you do the traditional weekend camping trip, you are looking at $387 in rental fees, then adding taxes and fuel costs on top of that. Yeah, it is easily $500 or more for just three days of a truck rental if you can get the truck when you want it.

Doable? Yes. Ideal and realistic? Hmmm. Not really.

Enterprise to the rescue!

With Home Depot being an iffy option, let’s look at Enterprise. They have been promoting their truck rental business and since they already rent cars, they should be the better solution for renting a truck.

Again, like in the case of Home Depot, there are no Enterprise truck rentals near me. In fact, I’ve tried renting trucks from other locations when I’ve traveled, and I’ve had no luck.

I had to once again look around Ciminillo’s area and it turns out there are no truck rentals in the metro Chicago area.

Instead, I had to expand my search. Most of the locations with truck rentals are in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area about 90 minutes north of Chicago. 

rent a truck for camping

Ok, so let’s say you rent both a camper and truck to pull to a campground in Wisconsin for a weekend. 

Looking at the Enterprise truck rental website, they have lots of options from midsize trucks to 1-ton trucks to choose from. Perfect, right?

Well. Enterprise says towing is “unavailable” on anything smaller than a 3/4-ton truck. 

There are then only two choices. You can opt for the 3/4-ton truck with either an extended or crew cab configuration. Or you can opt for the 1-ton truck with similar setups. And, once again, you are limited to bumper pull only. 

There is another kicker. Enterprise charges extra for towing. Yeah, extra.

The basic 3/4-ton truck rents out for $129.99 a day with 600 free miles. Then, there is an extra $20 a day for towing. For a three-day trip, with fees, this works out to is $473.98 plus gas. 

Plus, in this case, you’d have to keep in mind the camper rental fees as well.

Just rent a truck on Turo

Our final option is the new car-sharing website Turo. This website allows owners to rent out personal vehicles. It is typically advertised for sports cars or a rare cars, but scanning the website, I do see a variety of trucks for rental in Denver. Again, nothing in Nebraska, where the majority of trucks on the roads are full-size, and specialize in hauling grain in “live bottom trailers” from companies like Trout River Industries.

However, the problem with these trucks: You can’t actually use them for towing.

Turo forbids vehicles it rents:

  • to tow or push anything
  • to go “off roading” or drive on undeveloped or unimproved roads

If you decide to risk it, Turo states quite clearly it will punish you for those prohibited uses in the following ways: 

  • Void your protection for any physical damage to a host’s vehicle 
  • Lower your liability coverage to state minimum limits or nullify liability coverage where allowed by state law
  • Charge a violation fee
  • Temporarily suspend your use of the platform 
  • Remove you from Turo 

In other words, just say no to renting a truck to do truck things from Turo.

The bottom line

While it’s easy to say “just rent a truck when you need one,” that’s easier said than done. Once you dig into it, it isn’t so simple. Can you or I do it? Sure. Do I want to go through all the hassle? Nope. Not one damn bit.

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Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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