The thing that draws most people to campervanning is the great outdoors. Waking up to hear the birds in the trees, spending a day in the mountains, and then watching the sunset across the lake is what it's all about! So with that in mind, it makes sense that we all do our bit to preserve the environment for the next person at the same time as enjoying it.
Here are my top tips for an eco-friendly campervan trip...
Use refillable water bottles and food containers
Everyone knows that single-use plastic bottles and cling film aren't great for the planet. They use oil when they're made, and they're hard to recycle, so never travel without your refillable bottle. If you do have to buy bottled water, then buy one big one instead of lots of small ones. Instead of wrapping food in cling film, use reusable boxes or foil.
Only burn seasoned firewood
Burning wet wood is rubbish! If you've ever struggled to get the fire going with the bag of wood you picked up at the petrol station on the way, then chances are it's unseasoned wood - that just means it hasn't been left to dry out for long enough. Well-seasoned wood is easier to light, creates less smoke, burns more efficiently, and even better, it's lighter to carry.
There are plenty of ways to keep your fuel consumption down, which will of course save you money too. The obvious thing to do is to pack less stuff! You'll appreciate space more than extra stuff when you're away in the van anyway. We regularly check the van tyres, as under-inflated tyres will be less efficient too. It's best if you travel outside rush-hour too, as then you won't be sitting in traffic burning fuel to not go anywhere. All the vans have modern Euro 6 engines with stop-start technology and you'll get the best fuel economy if you don't 'floor it'!
No disposable barbecues
There's a folding barbecue in each campervan, so you don't need to buy a disposable one. Just an instant-light bag of charcoal will be perfect. Disposable barbecues end up in landfill as they can't be recycled or composted, and they're often unsustainably sourced.
Use eco-friendly products
We include Ecover washing up liquid in the van for you to use while you're away. At some campsites the run off from sinks and showers drains onto the ground so it's better to use eco-friendly soap and shampoo if you can.
Buy second hand kit
Camping kit doesn't always come cheap, so you can save some money and reduce waste by buying pre-loved kit on eBay. There are always bargains to be had on things like cooking equipment, bags, and gadgets that are as good as new.
Get cash for your old kit
Outdoor gear retailers Cotswold Outdoor and Snow & Rock have launched a 'recycle my gear' offer, where you can get a 10% discount off new kit when you bring in your old stuff. That means less going to landfill, and savings for you.
Wind up gadgets
Sick of the batteries going in your phone or torch? You can now buy things that don't draw much power like radios and torches that have a built in dynamo so that you'll never be left in the dark if you forget the spare batteries.
Pick the right campsite
There are thousands of campsites to choose from in the UK, which means you can easily find one that prides itself on looking after the area that makes them so popular. Many campsite search sites now include an option to filter by green credentials, or try the Greener Camping Club who only list great environmentally friendly campsites.
Leave no trace
Whenever you leave a campsite, do a last-minute check to make sure you've left no trace yourself. It's easy to accidentally drop a tent peg or bottle top. If you're feeling extra virtuous, maybe spend a few minutes doing a litter pick around the area so it's even cleaner than when you arrived!
Most decent campsites will have good recycling facilities, so it's really easy to separate and recycle your rubbish. If they don't, then just bring your rubbish home with you and do it there instead.
Bamboo plates and cutlery
In recent years bamboo crockery and cutlery have become more popular, as they're sustainable, strong, and lightweight. Definitely better than using disposable kit or plastic.
Use public transport
When you come to collect the van you can arrive by tram or train and I can meet you at Piccadilly Station. While you're away, make use of local bus services, car share with other people, or walk or cycle around the area. That way you don't have to pack everything away in the van either!
Share the van with friends
There's more space than you think in the vans, particularly with the awning or Glawning, and twice the people means half the cost!
Keep it local
You don't have to drive 1000 miles to find the perfect campsite. Check out our map of recommended campsites - most of them are within 90 minutes of Manchester, and it's better to spend your time chilling at the campsite than sitting on the motorway!
Plant a tree!
When you book a campervan trip with Manchester Camper Hire we make a donation to City of Trees Manchester so that they can plant a tree on your behalf. It's just one more way of making sure your trip has as low an impact on the planet as possible.
Whatever changes you make, all make a difference, so thanks for doing your bit. Hopefully I've given you some useful ideas to improve your next campervan trip, and feel free to get in touch with any other suggestions that I could add to the list.
Thanks for reading!
Nick 😄 🚌 🤟