A cross-country road trip in an RV is a dream that many people work hard all their lives for. Once you purchase the right mobile home, you only have to select where you will go. Regardless of the destination, you should go green.
While on the road and in the basecamp, you should constantly be environmentally conscious. In order to enjoy the great outdoors, you need to be eco-aware and actively protect the environment to the best of your possibilities.
All homes are alike
Sure, your RV is a home on wheels but it’s no different from the house or apartment you live in right now. This is the mindset with which you should approach eco-friendly transport.
Think about everything that can be natural inside the RV, from bamboo flooring from renewable sources to non-toxic paint that is used both inside the vehicle and on its exterior.
If you have already made your home green, then repeat the same steps to make your mobile home green.
An RV beats a hotel
Speaking of your household, have you ever considered how much energy it uses (we really mean: wastes) in comparison to the RV? Since it is smaller in size, a motorhome uses less water and electricity, so you’re actually saving a bit of cash by staying in an RV.
Be conscious of the fact that every time you stay at a hotel or a motel, you are wasting just as much energy as back home. That’s why camping out in your caravan or RV is a cheaper and eco-friendlier solution.
Did you know there are electric RVs now?
Whether your RV is powered by a diesel or a gasoline engine, you are going to emit CO2 into the atmosphere and a lot of it. In this sense, your motorhome is just another pollutant on the roads. When shopping for a new vehicle, it’s worth considering more eco-friendly transports.
The year 2019 saw the launch of the world’s first fully-electric motorhome. The first electric home on wheels has a range of 400 kilometers with a single charging, using 20 kWh per day. The future of passenger vehicles is already electric and now RVs are also jumping on the emission-free bandwagon.
Taking care of fuel consumption
If you’re still not ready to go all the way and purchase an all-electric RV, you can at least take care of fuel consumption. Needless to say, the vehicle needs to be mechanically impeccable to start with, so first check the break, oil, and signal lights.
Afterward, you need to inflate the tires to the pressure level specified by the manufacturer. Underinflated tires increase drag and fuel consumption by as much as 20%. When on the open road, try to drive at a constant speed, without breaking or accelerating suddenly. When going downhill, don’t use the accelerator pedal and use the engine to break. Hit the brakes only in emergency situations.
Stay on the tarmac road
Your trip probably starts in the street you live in. Then, you use the highways to get to the destination and drive the final miles of a local road. However, the last leg of the journey can be problematic if you intend to go off-road across meadows and fields.
RV can serve as provisional all-terrain vehicles but you are doing damage to the environment. Namely, driving across a patch of green grass once won’t hurt the blades as they bend but when other campers see the path you’ve made, they are tempted to follow it, destroying ground vegetation over time.
Solar panels and LED lights
Once you stop to make the camp, you’ll need power for various purposes, from air-conditioning to lighting up the campsite at night. One way you can get power is to ask the locals for an extension cord or park at designated campgrounds but every self-respective camper needs to have a power source of his/her own.
Solar panels are ideal for mobile homes, as they are easily mounted onto the roof. The energy solar panels produce is eco-friendly, 100% sustainable, and clean; a true nature lover’s dream. The final possible power source is a generator but they are so loud, they will scare every living critter with a two-mile radius.
A few long stops
One of the worst you can do for nature is to make frequent stops. A camping trip that includes more than 5 campsites is a logistical nightmare and it impacts the environment in a negative way. Plan your trip so it includes just a couple of places you make camp and stay there for longer than one night.
Of course, while on the road, you should stop for toilet breaks and rest your hands and the brain. Every time you in the driver’s seat of your RV you need to be well-rested; safety and health are paramount!
Towels and handkerchiefs
If you’ve even been on a road trip before, you know that clean towels can become an issue. Namely, if you bring one towel per each passenger, you’ll have trouble washing them on the road.
Buying new towels along the way is a huge waste of resources, so be sure you pack more than enough towels, napkins, and cloths.
The same goes for handkerchiefs but these should be made from recyclable materials. Finally, instead of using several cloths for cleaning, you can reuse an old T-shirt.
Gardening on the go
If you are a green thumb, we are sorry to say that a flower garden isn’t particularly convenient for the RV. On the other side, you have the outdoors to enjoy nature so there is no real need for a fragrant garden.
However, you can bring along garden accessories and start an organic vegetable garden. Just like you have a grill or a small kitchen opening from the side of the RV, you can use a drawer to plant a small garden.
There, you can grow various plants that you would bring inside every time you relocate. Since shopping for food is an issue when camping, you will consume homegrown produce, becoming one with the natural surroundings.
What to do with dirty dishes?
Speaking of nutrition, washing the dishes out in the wild might prove problematic. Sure, modern RVs have kitchens with a sink but you really want to waste all that water? Apart from eating out in diners along the route you take, paper plates and cups are a great way to protect the environment.
Furthermore, paper plates are way lighter and easier to pack than porcelain or metal ones. Also, they cannot break during transport. For forks, knives, and, spoons, metal or wood are the only materials possible but they are easy to wash. In any case, they are way more eco-friendly than those awful plastic sets. They are used only once and then disposed of, adding to the already chronic waste problem.
An RV is great because it has all the amenities modern homes have. You won’t have to live frugally even in the middle of nowhere but this doesn’t mean you should be wasteful. For instance, kitchen appliances should be as compact as possible.
From the stove to the washing machine (in high-end RV models), all the appliances in the RV can be energy-efficient and compact, which is quite useful for a mobile home. The lighter the vehicle, the less petrol it will use, lowering consumption and increasing speed.
Use green cleaners
Industrial cleaning solutions are rarely eco-friendly, as they contain toxic chemicals that hurt the environment. Homemade cleaning solutions are more than enough to clean the entire RV from the inside.
A bit of baking soda, white vinegar, and lemon juice go a long way in terms of cleanliness. Alternatively, you can look for industrial green cleaning solutions which don’t contain harmful substance.
Showing respect to nature
Traveling green is more than a choice; it’s a lifestyle. Recycling and reducing waste are activities that you normally do, so it shouldn’t be a problem to keep these habits while on the road. As far as waste is concerned, there is one thing different about camping out.
Namely, you have waste bins back home, while they are scarce on the road and virtually non-existent in the wild unless you set camp in a national park. You shouldn’t leave behind not a single cigarette bud, let alone trash bags. Take all the trash with you to the nearest trash can or a roadside dumpster.
Leave the campsite as you found it
We have argued earlier that you shouldn’t drive the RV across untouched meadows. The logic behind this approach is not to disrupt nature in any way possible. Of course, your campsite is going to disrupt things but you can spruce things up when you leave.
Apart from picking up trash, you shouldn’t restrain from taking anything with you as a souvenir. This includes pebbles and pine cones, as they are more needed in nature than on a dusty shelf in your home. Furthermore, don’t make log fires if the local legislation forbids it!
Eco-friendly ways to stay warm
Collecting firewood is allowed in most places but think twice about starting a fire to stay warm. This is something “pedestrian” campers are forced to do but you arriving in a state-of-the-art motorhome, so there is no need for that.
Most RVs come equipped with indoor heating but you should use it only as the last resort. A more eco-friendly way to stay warm is to cover up at night using thermal blankets. The insulated walls of the RV serve as the first barrier against the cold, so a warm blanket should suffice if you’re camping in summer.
Furthermore, the furnace burns fuel and so does the air-conditioning unit, creating extra emissions on top of the exhaust pipe. Also, the power generator we spoke about earlier burns fuel as well (solar panels do not). Also, if you park the RV at the bottom of a hill, you will be sheltered from chilling winds.
Apart from the kitchen, the toilet and the shower inside the RV use up most of the water. In order to use precious liters of water rationally, shorten the time of an average shower.
Further on, choose RV models that have a smart toilet that uses significantly less water to flush than the toilet back home.
When shopping for an RV, take note of the size of the water tank, as it should suit the needs of you and your family.
Choose the ideal parking spot
Since the AC unit is everything but eco-friendly, you should avoid turning it on unless it’s absolutely necessary. In sense, parking your RV in deep shade ensures that it will never be so warm inside that you will be forced to crank up air-conditioning.
A family road trip is something passengers remember all their lives. However, traveling in style doesn’t mean that you should be reckless towards the environment. If you are environmentally conscious, we are glad to say that eco-friendly travel in an RV is definitely possible.