Outdoorsy owner Bri Leever moved to the island of Hawai’i and immediately fell in love. “I have experienced so much transformation from the landscape and the wildness of the big island,” Bri shares. “What I’ve found is that when you approach the island and the land with a sense of awe and gratitude and respect, you receive back so much.”
Bri wanted to share this magic with others, leading her to have a number of houseguests after moving to Hawaii. “When I first moved to the big island, I had a lot of friends come visit,” Bri tells us. “The island of Hawai’i is the biggest of the islands, so my friends would spend a lot of time driving around the island.”
When one particular set of friends showed up, an idea struck her. As Bri recalls, “I have some friends that have a campervan, and when they came I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that makes so much more sense! That is the best way you could experience this island.’ The big island tends to attract the more adventurous type of tourist, so I thought a van would be a great way for visitors to experience it.” Thus, a van rental business was born.
That said, Bri wasn’t content with just any van. She chose to build her rental units herself, and was very picky about every little detail. “I chose the Ram ProMaster 2500 136” Wheelbase, because the 136-inch wheelbase is the same size as a standard pickup,” Bri explains to us. “I knew people who would be renting it wouldn’t always be used to driving a campervan, so I liked that it wasn’t super clunky, meaning there was less of a chance of damage.
“My vans have all of the features you could possibly need,” she continues. “They have a fridge, a stove, a sink, and a toilet. Everything for my van is contained within the van. I really tried to create an experience that was elevated. We have the wet side and dry side of the island, so I wanted to make sure that if it was raining, renters could still have a really great experience.”
After spending hours watching YouTube videos and working non-stop for a few weeks to build out her first van, it was time for Bri to make her first rental listing. “I don’t even remember how I found out about Outdoorsy,” Bri says. “In my mind it was just THE place to post my campervan, so picking Outdoorsy wasn’t even really a conscious decision.”
It didn’t take long before the van was fully booked. “What I’ve noticed with these vans is that it takes about a month to get them fully booked,” Bri explains. “With my very first van, I brought it over in October and by November it was already booked for several months. That was in 2021. My second van had a similar timeline and now I have my third van coming over and I’m estimating it’ll be about the same.”
In the last 12 months, Bri has made around $31K through Outdoorsy. Yet, even with her fleet going out with renters on a regular basis, she still makes a point of using her vans herself. “I love taking my vans out,” she says. “It’s just so convenient to have on the island.
“One of my favorite trips was a year ago when a friend and I climbed Mono Loa, which is the volcano currently erupting on the Big Island. We took the van to a place that’s high in elevation at the base of the mountain. We parked there overnight to give ourselves time to acclimate to the elevation and were able to get up and start our hike at sunrise. We started right at sunrise and didn’t finish until sunset. If I didn’t have the campervan, I would have had to wake up at 4:00 in the morning to make the climb. It was a phenomenal experience and I was really thankful to have the van!”
We imagine Bri’s renters are equally thankful for her vans and the opportunity to immerse themselves in all the island has to offer. This aligns perfectly with Bri’s vision for her vans. “I hope that other people are able to experience whatever transformation the island might have for them,” Bri says. “I think that a campervan is a really accessible way for people to experience the island in a very real way.”
All About Bri
Favorite morning beverage: “Hot matcha.”
Favorite campsite meal: “Chicken apple sausage, potatoes, and bell peppers wrapped in aluminum foil and plopped on the fire.”
Music you like to play on the radio: “Pop.”
Best game to play on the road or at your campsite: “Bananagrams.”
Favorite season: “Summer.”
If you could travel anywhere in an RV, where would you go? “New Zealand.”