Take a road trip in an adventure vehicle without buying one

Route Line, based in Seattle, is a membership service providing access to premium towables, truck campers, and vans. #k5evening

SEATTLE — A new Seattle-based company is helping campers enjoy the great outdoors in comfort, without investing in an RV of their own.

Route Line is a premium adventure vehicle membership service. After paying an initiation fee and monthly membership, members have access to an array of options from truck campers to Mercedes Sprinters.

It’s the first business of its kind in the adventure vehicle world, according to CEO Johannes Ariens.

“I grew up in Mason County on the Olympic Peninsula, and just grew up outside,” he said. “I want to keep doing what I get to do, and I want more people to do that so they will also be a part of protect(it.)”

Route Line approaches that mission in two ways. First, by giving members access to vehicles they might not otherwise be able to afford or maintain.

“The retail pricing for a custom van similar to this (Mercedes Sprinter) usually runs around $250,000,” he said. “Most people aren’t out buying Lambos.”

Storage is also a problem for many Seattleites, given limited parking options in the city. Route Line provides the opportunity to experience premium vehicles without bearing the burdens of ownership.

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Route Line is also trying to achieve an environmental goal: providing a sustainable alternative to buying RV’s, which often sit dormant. Ariens said statistically, the majority of owners only use them about 5% of the year.

“There’s a thing called ‘lot rot’ and they literally rot if you don’t use them because you’re not maintaining them, they’re sitting there rotting,” he said. “These things are exclusively for one thing, which is to get people outside. And in the process of doing that, this industry is destroying the outside.”

Kenny Matthews took his wife and two young daughters on a trip to the Olympic Peninsula using a Route Line truck camper.

“We sat out by the fire and heard the two girls giggling inside because they were sleeping right next to each other,” he said. “It was very nice not having to clean up a wet tent this morning in the fog.”

Ariens hopes his fleet will help create more road trips and a new way of thinking sustainably.

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“We were using reusable cups in the ’90s, and my mom carried a spoon in her purse. And for us, those were just things that you did,” he said. “That’s a shift that we’re making really well as a culture, but we need to keep doing that.”

Route Line pricing varies depending on whether customers want towable, truck and tow, or all vehicle options, and which days of the week they want access. The company is currently based in Seattle but there are plans to expand into new cities and markets.

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