The vanlife is even more trendy since the arrival of the Covid-19 in our lives. Quite often, recreational vehicles are expensive, so most travelers prefer to fit out their own van or van to save money. Now is the time for budding DIY enthusiasts to think about more eco-friendly equipment and more natural materials. Here are some ideas for setting up your RV more responsibly !
There are many tutorials on Youtube or Instagram for recreational vehicle layouts. We recommend Graham Fielder’s channel, and in particular his video “How to Build an Eco Friendly Van!”, in which he talks about different natural and sustainable materials for RV layouts. As he says so well “there’s no such thing as a “green van” but we can try to get close”.
In France, there are even training courses to become a van and van fitter. This is what Atelier Normand offers, specializing in wood and metal work. With the aim of passing on his knowledge, he launched Van It Yourself in September 2021, a training course that allows trainees to learn how to fit out a van themselves using professional tools. Interesting to know : if you live in France, know that this training is eligible for the personal training account (CPF) !
If ever you do not have the soul of a handyman or a handywoman, there are companies specializing in the development of RV. In France, at ECOLOJO for example, you can entrust your van to Loïc and Jordan who will fit it out according to your wishes and with the greatest respect for the environment. There is also Mon Petit Van which offers you either the purchase of an eco-built fitted van, or the tailor-made layout of your own vehicle. The wood used for the construction comes from eco-managed forests and the insulation is made with wood wool.
For an RV that is more respectful of nature, we advise you to use natural and sustainable materials for your furnishings: wood, cork, wool… Check carefully the origin of your materials and whether they have been produced responsibly.
For decoration and your everyday accessories, favor cotton, glass… Equip yourself with reusable containers and packaging such as tote bags, bulk bags and glass jars for your food. When you go shopping (preferably local markets and small traders ! ) you will be able to transport your products in bulk easily and therefore reduce single-use packaging. We will also think of beewraps instead of plastic stretch film to protect food in the fridge. This ecological packaging is reusable and made from beeswax.
Many RV travel enthusiasts take the plunge and choose to install photovoltaic panels on the vehicle to cover part of their energy consumption. To know which solar panel to choose, you will need to determine the energy consumption that you achieve per day with your vehicle. You will be able to know the power required before making your purchase. Please note: in winter and when the sun is less present, energy production will be lower.
You can also consider the wind turbine option. You should know that motorhome wind turbines weigh between 5 and 10 kg. They are normally resistant to cold, gusts of wind and most models are treated to prevent corrosion. Installing a wind turbine on your motorhome or van can allow you to operate one or more devices. It will produce energy depending on the wind and will help you charge your batteries and therefore power the various equipment in your vehicle. The prices of these small wind turbines vary between approximately 500 and 1500 euros.
There are other small pieces of equipment that you can equip your RV to make it more eco-friendly, such as solar lamps for example. For all remote controls or battery-powered objects, consider rechargeable batteries and their charger.
To avoid buying plastic water bottles, owning a reusable canister is the right option. You can leave it in your van or motorhome and use it to fill your water bottles before your walks or hikes.
The solar shower is a very good alternative to benefit from naturally heated water without energy consumption. It is increasingly used by vanlifers. Unlike a conventional outdoor shower, it works with perfect autonomy without needing to be connected to the heater.
This ecological and economical solution is to be preferred for your sunny destinations to take full advantage of the energy of the sun. You can either buy a solar shower or make it. There are natural gravity solar showers and pressure solar showers. The natural gravity shower simply consists of the fact that the water naturally descends from the tank or the pocket towards the shower head. The pressure solar shower system, on the other hand, works thanks to a pump system inducing pressure in the pocket to be able to create a jet of water.
If you have a creative spirit and you have good ideas for eco-responsible layouts, do not hesitate to share them with other vanlifers ! On Pinterest, Instagram or other networks, share your knowledge and your best photos ! The vanlife spirit is also about sharing and exchanging experiences !
And if for your next roadtrips you try the SwapTheRoad adventure ? Our web platform is dedicated to the exchange of leisure vehicles between travel enthusiasts. Based on values of sharing, benevolence and respect, the SwapTheRoad concept is also an opportunity for members of the community to discover different RV layouts by borrowing another owner’s vehicle : good eco-friendly ideas, materials, designs, equipment… To discover the advantages of exchanging RV, find one of our previous article on this subject !