Green RV-ing? Are You Kidding?

August 28, 2008 · Print This Article

Do lower gas prices have you dusting the cobwebs off of your camper or RV that Labor Day Weekend? RVs tend to get a poor rap in the green scene considering of their propensity to guzzle gas as they veer precariously down the road. But Janet Groene, a self-described green “maverick” says that with a little effort, RV camping can be an eco-savvy way to travel. And Groene knows about eco-savvy travel.

In her early 30s, she and her husband “dropped out” of the rate race and sailed for the tropics in a little 29-foot sloop. Their boat was powered by the wind which not only got them from place to place; it additionally powered their lights, radio, boating equipment, and pretty much everything else. In one year, their total fuel consumption was 12 gallons including kerosene for the cookstove. Groene says the experience really taught her about conservation:

There is nothing like living on a floating island, with its finite resources, to learn the value of conservation. We had 40 gallons of fresh water, which had to last until it rained or we could buy water at one of the islands. Our supplies, loaded in Florida before we sailed for the Bahamas, had to last six months or more. Today’s “green” fads are laughable compared to what can be done, but at least awareness is being raised and that’s good.

Groene and her husband recently traded in their spacious 29 foot sailboat for a 21 foot RV that they now signal home. whether anyone would know how to green an RV trip, it’s Groene. Here’s how it’s done:

Green RV-ing? Are You Kidding?
by Janet Groene, editor,

As RV campers we take a lot of ribbing considering most RV’s are notorious gas guzzlers. However, while you’re patting yourself on the back for adjusting the thermostat in your 2400-square-foot home, we are living in (and heating or cooling) a space only 21 feet lengthy, 8 feet wide and a little more than six feet high. Within two gallons of engine fuel from our home we can find a couple of state parks, half a dozen commercial campgrounds and no end of other places where we can enjoy a total getaway. Sometimes it’s next to nature; sometimes it’s near a place where we can shop and dine. Sometimes it’s near a theme park or other commercial attraction.

RV living can supply your family a badly needed change of scene, but how can you keep it from polluting the planet? It takes me entire books to tell you all I’d like to share about conservative living but here a few quick, random thoughts. Please visit me regularly at for new ideas each week.

  • Draw circles on a map so you’ll know all the campgrounds that lie within, say, ten, twenty, 50 and 100 miles from your home. Check out their facilities, activities, special events and location. You may prefer one campground in August for its corn maze and hay rides and another in winter considering of its hot showers, well-heated restrooms and frosty hiking trails.
  • If your children get bored quickly, camp with another family or two so the
    kids can play together.
  • Teach children how to take a “navy” shower. Wet down, turn off water, soap up, scrub, thereupon turn on water to rinse.
  • Learn about nature through strictly observing campground rules. For example, clotheslines or pet leashes aren’t permitted to be tied to trees considering they could damage bark. That’s the tree’s skin and, just like your own skin, it doesn’t like to be cut or scraped. Gathering of firewood may be prohibited considering fallen limbs are part of nature’s plan. They supply shelter for little creatures, thereupon decay and return to the earth.
  • Note fire rules, which could change daily under dry conditions. whether you live in a fire-prone area carry a portable electric grill, electric skillet or other electric cooker and you can still enjoy outdoor cooking.
  • Leash laws strictly enforced? That’s considering the deer, bears, birds, possum and raccoons were here first. that is their home and we are merely temporary guests.
  • As soon as you settle into the campsite, scope out the recycle bins considering they are probably different each place you go. Recycle responsibly; don’t burn anything in the fire ring unless it’s truly burnable. Rake the cold fire pit before you leave and discard any bottle caps or other junk that accidentally got into the fire.
  • Don’t bring a lot of trash from home in the anatomy of packaging. Have the butcher portion skinless, boneless meat in right sizes for your family, next wrap in freezer paper and freeze. Don’t bring puffy plastic trays for meat and produce. whether you like individually portioned cold cereals, measure and package them at home in zip-top sandwich bags. When they are empty, save them to use again.
  • Bring plenty of reading material for TV-less evenings, soon after leave clean books and magazines in the camp office, laundry room or activity room. for others to enjoy. whether the campground doesn’t have a free lending library, start one. All it takes is a cardboard box and a neatly lettered sign that says something like “Free Library. Take Some, Leave Some”.
  • Use a rubber scraper on dishes, not a hot water pre-rinse.
  • Wash and dry fruits and vegetables well at home and wrap in paper toweling to keep items dry and separated. In camp, use the clean paper toweling for another purpose.
  • When you need a clean work surface, cover a spot with waxed paper. When it’s grotty, burn it. It’s a good fire starter.
  • Save wax candle stubs to use in camp for fire starters.
  • Don’t turn into an environmental buzzkill. There are times when paper plates are the right choice. Relax, enjoy the campout, and set an example without judging others.
  • Since Neanderthal days, campfire storytelling has been the stuff that family legends are made of. Combine a campfire, storytelling and roasted marshmallows and your family will form memories that last forever.

For more of Janet’s recipes and tips on camping and RVing go to And check out Janet’s books on eco-camping: Living Aboard Your RV, Cooking Aboard Your RV, Camping Digest: The Complete Guide to Successful Camping, and The ABCs of Boat Camping.

[Source] Jenn


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