Last Update: 6/10/2016

#ClimateAction – Go #Green, Go #Vanlife

Colorful hippie vanagon drives with the sunset behind, all in green tone

Wanna reduce your footprint on this troubled blue-green planet? Take up #vanlife! You’ll use far fewer resources than the housebound. And it’s a hoot to boot!

6 Ways Vandwellers Use Fewer Resources

  1. Less Land – Well, duh! If you don’t have a house, that’s house, yard, and driveway left to field and forest. In 2010, the average lot size of new U.S. homes was 8900 sq. ft. (0.2 acres). If 1% of the 320 million U.S. population took up van life, that’d free up 64 million fucking acres – about the acreage of Wyoming!

  2. Less Junk – This should be fucking obvious: no house; no home furniture; no decorations; no shit shoved into closets, attics, garages, and sheds; less of everything you use. And everything you do own in the van is smaller or in smaller quantities. All that crap vandwellers don’t have would have taken cutting down forests, digging up mountains, and fuel and water to move and manufacture. 

  3. Less Food – The average American household wastes about 25% of the food it brings home, about $340-$570 worth per year, per person. With just a tiny fridge or cooler in the van (or neither), leftovers and scraps can’t pile up so easy and go bad. You end up buying and eating just what you need. Less wasted food means less fuel, land, water, and material wasted to grow, refine, package, and deliver that food.

  4. Less Water – The average housebound American uses 80-100 gallons of water per day in their homes. But with limited water storage in the van, you get stingy. Most vandwellers use about 2 gallons per day. That’s 1-2% of what the average American uses!

  5. Less Power – Vandwellers don’t get huge savings here, but every bit counts. In 2012, the average American spent about $3,052 per year on residential power and transportation combined. Most of that was for transportation, $2,302. Still, charging your fan, laptop, and cell phone, plus a little cooking fuel, is going to be far less than the $750 per year the average American housebounder spends on residential energy. Those dollars saved are also savings in fuel, material, and water used to produce and deliver the energy. 

  6. Less Carbon – Global Warming is all about that carbon, 'bout that carbon. Guess what? Every saved resource above reduces the vandweller’s carbon emissions – BIG TIME! Even water takes fossil fuel to pump, manufacture pipes and equipment, and build dams! Drive slower and reduce total miles to lower your carbon footprint even more. And consider buying a carbon offset, too.

Freedom from housebounder headaches not enough? Freedom of the open road, being a nomad not enough? Well, now you have a moral goddamn reason to move into a van down by the river. Van life – the greener choice.

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See ...

Jitterbug: Cell Phone for Nomads of ANY AGE
Acclimatize for Comfort in All Weather
Young Man Converts Van Into Tiny Off-Grid Traveling Home – Video (TreeHugger)


  1. Yup, moving into my tiny home tomorrow, looking forward to less of everything (certainly less of my soon to be ex). Wondering how basic I can go, and thinking it will actually be freeing the more basic I go, for some reason.

  2. "thinking it will actually be freeing the more basic I go, for some reason." Yup, everything you own takes up a little psychic nag space.

    1. And requires replacement parts sooner or later.