An Eco-Friendly Packing List For Your RV

Sarah Bauers display of sustainable products

In an effort to help reduce our environmental impact while traveling, we have made some simple product swaps inside our RV. This includes things like shifting to reusable bags and dishware, packing eco-friendly cleaning supplies, and investing in more solar-powered devices. By using more sustainable products, we hope to protect our country’s beautiful, natural places and keep them around for years to come. Here are some of our favorite eco-friendly RV items that you should consider bringing with you on your next camping trip.

  1. Reusable Dishware

    To keep our RV’s weight down and minimize our waste, we only pack what’s needed for just the two of us, plus a few guests. We’ve chosen a lightweight, unbreakable dishware set; some simple, reusable utensils; one set of reusable cups; and a few metal straws. Additionally, we each bring one reusable, thermal cup (works for both hot and cold beverages), and we each have one large, reusable water bottle. Wheat straw, wood, coconut, and bamboo are just a few of the materials you can look for when buying reusable, eco-friendly dishware. Since we frequently travel as a group of two, it’s easy for us to pack a lighter, more minimal RV kitchen. If you travel in a big group and don’t have the space for multiple sets of reusable dishware, a great alternative is to pack sustainable, throw-away items. This could include biodegradable cups and plates, compostable or wooden utensils, and recycled napkins.

  2. Soap Dispensers

    Save money, add some style and prevent extra plastic waste by using reusable soap dispensers in your RV. We’ve secured soap dispensers in both our RV’s kitchen and bathroom, which allows us to use less plastic and save space—you can mount dispensers on the wall or under cabinets. This also means having less items to secure and store on travel days. To save money, we prefer to purchase eco-friendly soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and shower gels in bulk, and then refill all of the dispensers as needed.

    Sarah Bauer's shampoo, conditioner and body wash

  3. Reusable Grocery Bags And Totes

    Investing in some reusable grocery bags and totes is great for storage, reduces waste and eliminates the need to pay for bag fees while shopping. Some grocery bags have constructed siding and are much sturdier, meaning they can double as extra storage and organization inside your RV. Save yourself time and energy while packing and use your reusable bags to transport food and clothing back and forth between your RV and homebase. This way, you can avoid bringing a suitcase or duffle bag.

  4. Proper Food Storage

    Another way to save on weight and space is to minimize the number of food storage items. We have a few glass containers for leftover food, and then the rest of our items we place in beeswax wrap or reusable bags. Small, reusable bags are easily one of our most favorite eco-friendly products because you can use them for a wide variety of things. In addition to food storage, we’ve also used them for bathroom necessities (cotton balls, swabs, make-up), batteries and other office supplies, as an extra “dry bag” for when we go rafting, and homemade ice packs. 

  5. Biodegradable Waste Bags

    Did you know that it can take up to 500 years for some plastics to naturally degrade? That being said, we try to limit our single-use plastic whenever and wherever possible, including our trash and pet waste bags. Just recently, eco-friendly waste bags made out of corn and plant fibers have become available. These are great plastic-free options that are less harmful to the environment. Just be sure to read the reviews before you purchase any biodegradable bags, as some bags are really thin and can’t carry large amounts of waste.

    Sarah Bauer's zero plastic dog bags

  6. Solar-Powered Chargers

    If outfitting your RV with solar panels feels overwhelming, you can start small and invest in some solar-powered chargers. These compact devices won’t take up much space, and are great for charging things like cell phones, headphones, smart watches, and GPS units. You can leave them on your dashboard while driving or in a sunny spot inside your RV. They don’t take long to charge, are portable and will help conserve your RV’s power.

  7. Water-Free Bathing Products

    If you like to boondock, or just want to limit your water usage, then we recommend buying some water-free bathing products. These will keep you clean and require zero water. We like to pack waterless shampoo and hand soap, dry shampoo, hand sanitizer, and biodegradable baby wipes. 

    Sarah Bauer's hand sanitizer

  8. Eco-Friendly Holding Tank Cleaners

    Not all tank cleaners are created equal. While some of the more traditional options are really powerful, they often have formaldehyde and other dangerous chemicals that can be harmful to the environment. As an alternative, check out some enzyme-based or organic tank cleaners—these do a good job of cleaning your holding tanks, without releasing harmful chemicals into the environment. Always research your options thoroughly, as some cleaners don’t neutralize odors as well as others. And, of course, only dump your gray and black water tanks at proper dump facilities. 

  9. Recycling Bins

    Not all campgrounds and RV parks offer recycling centers, so we’ve started traveling with our own recycling bin. We pack an additional trash can that is reserved only for recyclables (metal, glass, cardboard, etc.). We compact everything as much as possible, and then locate the closest recycling center to drop everything off.

  10. Refillable Propane Tanks

    Instead of buying multiple mini propane tanks, we decided to purchase a five pound refillable tank. This tank lasts much longer, works great with our propane fire pit and helps reduce the number of empty tanks that end up in landfills every year.

    Dustin Bauer grilling with a reusable propane tank

Class C Motorhomes

Class C motorhomes offer outdoor experiences for larger families at a lower price point than Class A Motorcoaches. Recognizable by their raised sleeping or storage areas which extend over the cab of the RV, Class C Motorhomes offer more living space than Class B Motorhomes but are smaller in size and can offer better gas mileage than Class A Motorcoaches.

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