It’s important to most van lifers I’ve met that they do their best to conserve the planet they enjoy exploring so much, I’d say it’s an unspoken core principal almost.
With little choice on the market but to go diesel when choosing a van, it can feel like an uphill struggle when trying to reduce your carbon footprint, however, while this puts you at a disadvantage, van life opens up so many more opportunities to reduce your foot print than you might think.
5 Handy Tips to Being Ecoligical on the Road
- #1 Use Solar Power - Solar panels have come down in price alot since 2016. It’s now possible for van lifers to afford enough solar to power almost their entire needs. We have 3 X 100w panels and 2 X 100mah batteries to store the power, and this keeps our lights, fridge, laptops, fans, phones, cameras and electric blanket going! We're even looking into getting a low wattage electric oil heater we're making so much energy! Unfortunately though, the one thing we can't afford to power is electric hobs; these use around 2kw per hob and would drain our batteries too quickly.
- #2 Recycle – There are recycling points everywhere we’ve travelled in Europe so far. Usually they have bins for plastic, card and glass, so make sure you have your own recycling bin to keep this seperate from other rubbish. Also, when buying food try to opt for items with the least amount of packaging if possible.
- #3 Eat Responsibly - Being vegetarian or even vegan is a good way to reduce you footprint (and keep costs down) if you can do it. Not only do plant based products use less carbon to produce, but usually vege dishes require less cooking! Not all meat alternatives are good for the environment though, for example soya is a major cause of deforestation, so do your research first. Choosing organic is always good, you’ll find with many organic alternatives they cost less than 50% more to the non-organic equivalent and better for your health!
- #4 Drive Responsibly - We find in our 2l diesel sprinter that 60mph is around the optimum speed to get the best milage, we often get higher than 40mpg on average roads! The important thing is to drive in high gears (not so high it sounds like your vans about to conk out), drive at consistant speeds and don’t be in a rush to get anywhere. We usually sit comfortably behind lorries going at 57.5mph.
- #5 Be Content - we live in the age of consumerism, and for many van lifers were running away from the dependence on consuming and making a stand against the culture that is so rapidly draining our planets resources and polluting the air. Remember that it’s not things that necessarily make you happy, it’s experiences. Van life isn’t just about exploring cool places, it’s about striping your dependences down and realising that you need nothing but the bare essentials to live well. You don’t need to work a 9-5 to spend it all at the weekend of lavish things to make it all seem worth while.
If you have any other tips you find useful that we can include in this post, please share! Were always looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint too!
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