Top 10 tips for an eco friendly RV lifestyle

One of the major reasons we travel is to see the beauty of nature in our own country. It only seems natural to want to consider how we can be more environmentally friendly whilst we enjoy our travels. So this simple guide will help you 'go green' and have a great trip while protecting the environment & reducing our carbon footprint.

RV vacations are more environmentally friendly than fly/drive/hotel vacations. PKF Consulting, found that families of four taking RV vacations generate less carbon dioxide than families traveling on a plane, renting a car and staying in a hotel.

All my adult life I have been environmentally conscious, long before it became ‘trendy.” So it is a natural progression to consider how we could travel yet still consider our impact upon the environment. Now obviously travelling uses mostly fossil fuel and if we stayed home then that would save a lot of that fossil fuel. Well I am still going to travel so I need to keep looking and considering other options that I can implement whilst travelling and still be seeing as 'going green'.

It is easier than you might think!

Top 10 tips for an environmentally friendly RV lifestyle

  1. Keep your vehicle in tip top condition. Well tuned vehicles not only save you money but they also reduce emissions and use less fuel. Drive at a considerate speed, you will reduce the fuel you use and save money, but you will also be more relaxed and aware of your environment as you are driving.You might even be able to consider fuel options too such as bio-diesel.
  2. Drive less. I already mentioned that we are still going to travel. See the sights in your own backyard. Consider staying an extra day or two when you visit an area. You will also find some bonuses in staying put a bit longer. You will be more relaxed and you’ll have the opportunity to see more of the area right where you are. You also have the opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers more too!
  3. Leave no trace. Leave the location as you found it. Dispose all of your waste thoughtfully, including waste water and black water. Sometimes this might even mean taking it away or even home and disposing it away there. If at all possible, go the extra mile and leave the place better than you found it. If everyone did this, the locals would be happy to have campers in the locality. We really appreciate and enjoy our beautiful nature parks, beach, desserts and lands so leave it beautiful for the next visitors too!
  4. Recycle and reduce. Try to buy your things without any extra packaging. If you are just buying one or two items, you don’t need that plastic shopping bag. Plastic bags can take up to 500 years to biodegrade so take a re-useable shopping bag. Go a step further and refuse to use any plastic bags.
  5. Take only photos. Never remove wildlife from it’s natural environment including shells, flowers and coral.
  6. Keep campfires small. Keep fires specifically for the purpose of cooking and heat. By keeping it small you are also reducing the amount of fuel being used as well as ash and pollution. Do not try to burn plastics or other non natural stuff as this can be toxic.
  7. Convert to solar power. Consider converting all your power needs to solar power which is a renewable source. Not only are you saving the environment, you will be saving your finances. You won’t need to rely on powered sites as much. You will even be able to consider free camping or boon docking if you wanted to.
  8. LED lighting. Change all the older incandescent lighting to LED lights, which not only require very little energy to run , you will also have much better lighting at nights. You will require much less power whether it be solar power, your battery, 240 volts or a generator.
  9. Save energy. Turn off appliances as much as possible esp when absent from your RV. Don’t leave lights on, lower the thermostat on the air con if you really must leave it on. Use natural shade of trees etc, use your awnings and drapes or blinds accordingly to reduce sunlight in hot weather or to warm up areas in the cooler weather.
  10. Use water sparingly. In places it is a very scarce resource. It will also make it less work for you if you are self sufficient in your RV. Avoid bottled water and install a water filter and take your own water when possible.
  11. Avoid using disposable, throwaway items as much as possible such as paper plates. Reuse as many items as possible. Even if you buy a takeaway dinner, wash and re cycle the containers several times – all this helps reduce landfill. If you’re really concerned then go a step further and plant a tree while you’re out travelling!
  12. Buy locally. Nothing beats the fresh taste of food picked just hours earlier. Not only are you supporting the local farmer and businesses but it also reduces the amount of waste and fuel emissions from the shipping process. So stop at the roadside stands when you see them or visit the farmer’s markets in towns, you’ll be so glad you did for the wonderful taste alone. If you like your beer then try the locally brewed beer where possible. Let your taste buds have an adventure too at the same time you are supporting the local community. 
  13. Change your cooking habits.  Use your cooking fires sparingly. Use a dutch oven and cook multiple courses at the same time. Personally I love to use a thermal cooking pot such as my Dream Pot which often only requires 10 minutes cooking time and then utilizes the thermal qualities of the pot's outer layers to insulate and continue the cooking similar to a slow cooker. Multiple course can be done as well as cakes, bread etc.
  14. Change your laundry habits. Opt to hand wash your clothing instead of using a washer and dryer. You not only use less water , you also use less soap which causes environmental damage. Do you realize that you do not need to wash every item of clothing after every wear. Often we have only worn something for a short time doing very little and thus not even sweating much, so hang it up in the fresh air and then put it on again in a day or two. Of course if you have done a intense bush walk up the mountain and have sweated your heart out, then obviously you need to change & wash your clothes. In addition, you may want to consider reducing how often you change your bed sheets and towels. It can all help save water, soap and energy.

As you can see, I just couldn't stop at just 10 tips.

The more passionate you are about the environment, the easier it will be to be more considerate of the environment in everything you do – not just for you and the next people to visit the site, but for future generations as well. You love the places you on your trips and I am sure you would love for your kids and grand kids to have the same opportunities later on.

Free camping at Pildappa Rock, SA.

I would love to here your tips on how to be more environmentally friendly
whilst on our travels around the country.

The Bed Slideout

Things are going along nicely now that the slide-out mechanisms have arrived. As you would have seen earlier, Rob made the box like slideout pretty quickly. The steps at both sides of the bed were already completed but the frame for supporting the bed couldn't be completed until the slideout was in place and the actual bed base frame worked out completely.

The steps both sides of the bed were in place

However as is often the case, there was lots of fiddly bits that needed to continue to make the slide outs complete.  For example, Rob couldn't really get started on the bed base until the slideout was in. The hinge the air rams and the rollers all had to be not only positioned just right but there is no instruction book for how to put everything together and I am not talking about the slide out mechanism.

The steel bed frame
Rob fitted the bed frame into the rear slideout. He needs to be able to keep access the bus's motor available. Also we want to make the best use of every bit of space we can.

The bed needs to be hinged to access the storage underneath

So the bed is to be fitted with air rams to allow it to be hinged and lifted. Of course lifting a sliding bed comes with its own challenges. The hinge has to be deep into the slideout but the air rams need to be able to move with the bed

Closer detail of the air rams

The teflon rollers of the slideout

They needed to be wired up. They needed insulating and then lined.

By the way if you want to know more about the slideout installation itself then there is more to see on the manuafcturer's video here.

Beef & Butternut Ragout Recipe

I like to have a meal or two frozen ready in the freezer before we leave home for those days when we are too busy travelling, sightseeing or even just plain too lazy to cook, after all we are on holidays!

I need to recoup and recover from previous operations and I can't think of a better way than to hit the road for a short week or 3. So whilst I sort out a few things at home first, my mind is already on road trip. I have started with this scrumptious casserole that I made at home in my Dream Pot, one meal tonight and the rest ready for the caravan freezer!

So this time I thought I would try this wonderfully easy adaption of a tasty French stew.

Beef and Butternut Ragout

(5 generous serves)


500g trimmed beef cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
4 pinches of ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 (800g) tinned tomatoes
3 cups (500g) butternut pumpkin/squash



  • Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add beef & toss well to coat.

  • Heat oil & add beef and shallots; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.
  • Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  • Stir in broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil & cook 5 minutes.
  • Add butternut; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes

  • Place in DreamPot for 6 hours. If you have the larger pot as I do, then you will need to fill the smaller pan with boiling water to maintain internal heat.

  • Serve with rice or potatoes and green vegetables