As more and more people become aware of the preciousness and susceptibility of the natural world around us, they naturally feel compelled to make choices regarding travel and living that are more conscientious of their impact on that world. The RV lifestyle can offer comfort and access to the beautiful outdoors while being eco-friendly – in multiple ways.
Starting with size. An RV has limited square footage and falls in the range of 40-400 square feet – that’s much smaller than a sticks and bricks home, and even most apartments. That means heating needs, cooling needs, and the need for cleaning supplies to upkeep the RV are very low in comparison. Water use is also much lower. You can enhance this by investing in a water filtration system so that you’re drinking from reusable bottles instead of plastic ones (less waste) and switching to low flow faucets in the kitchen and bathroom. By switching to RVing full time and depending on the RV and lifestyle you choose, i.e., boondocking, you can reduce your energy and water consumption so that it’s significantly lower than the average American household.
RVs are restricted when it comes to size. National parks have length and height restrictions, as do the states. This is primarily for safe travel since you’re sharing the road with other motorists and vehicles, and due to natural formations or infrastructure such as bridges. In Michigan, for example, RVs can have a maximum height or 13’6″; Width, 8’6″; Trailer length, 45′; Motorhome length, 45′; Combined length, 65′, maximum combined length 60′ on certain highways.
But don’t RVs guzzle gas? Yes, but you don’t need to be driving an RV all the time. For most RVers, the travel between destinations is when this consumption happens. A month-long camping trip doesn’t mean that RV will be using gas every day, because most RVs aren’t practical or necessary for a side trip or jaunt into town for supplies. You can choose to have an eco-friendlier vehicle for this use, a bicycle, or plan your trip route and incorporate grocery stops – and the recycling center – and visiting attractions when you’re already on the road. For another thing, some RVs can use diesel, which is a friendlier option because of the enhanced mileage per gallon, so fewer fill-ups.
RVers have choices to make their RVs more eco-friendly. Solar panels are a popular way to attain and consume energy. Lightweight RVs and those with more aeronautic designs will travel better and consume less gas than heavier ones, as well as often being made from more eco-friendly composites. Cooking also presents an opportunity. You don’t need to use the oven or stovetop for every meal; use the campfire, Dutch oven, or portable grill. Avoid from using consumable plates and utensils as much as possible during mealtime.
You can also work with nature as much as possible, such as parking in the shade during the warmer times of the year or in the sun during cold weather. This helps to maintain the interior temperature of the RV at a more comfortable level with less need to use heating or cooling systems.
Every little bit helps. RV manufacturers also know that more people are interested in RV options that reduce carbon footprint and are more sustainable for living as well as sustainably made. They are making changes to functionality and design with this principal in mind, which in turn will make a big difference when it comes to options for RV units in the future.