Grand Junction and Grand Mesa are awesome for Van Life! There are great camping and boondocking spots in the surrounding BLM and National Forest and we even found a few spots next to the River beautiful river.
For sure we recommend a visit to downtown Grand Junction and Colorado’s Grand Mesa which is one of the largest flat-top mountains in the world! The stunning Colorado National Monument is just outside of Grand Junction and definitely worth a visit.
The downtown area has much to offer, from great Restaurants, an artisan bakery, small shops and stores with local products, bike rentals and easy access to the wonderful riverfront trail that spans over 22 miles from neighboring Palisade through Grand Junction to Fruita: https://oneriverfront.org/trails
There is great hiking, trail running and cycling in the surrounding area as well as at Grand Mesa and Colorado National Monument. There’s even petroglyphs to be found on some of the nearby trails. Also kayaking or river rafting on the Colorado River are great options.
Our Favorite Vegan/Vegetarian Friendly and Farm to Table Restaurants:
Looking for practical, affordable and eco-friendly gifts? This is our list of 13 awesome gift recommendations. These are all items that are useful for everyday life, as well as for travel and camping adventures alike. We are not sponsored by these companies, we selected these items purely based on personal satisfaction and they all come with excellent ratings and customer reviews. Keeping it environmentally friendly makes giving even better!
We love these little lights, they are perfect for a backyard party, camping trip, backpacking tour or indoor use. These solar powered lights are a simple solution with great design. The light is inflatable and easy to store, shatterproof, waterproof and comes in different light variations from warm eggshell to bright white or in different colors. It is powered by the sun and charge takes about 8h of direct sunlight, it also can be charged under cloudy skies or incandescent light if needed. Once charged fully, it will stay lit for about 6-12h.
Reusable water bottles are a must have in any household, but especially in the Eco-Friendly Van-Home. There are plenty of different brands out there of course, however, we have come to love this 20 oz bottle in particular due to its great quality. It holds beverages cold for 12h and hot liquids stay hot for up to 10 hours. We especially love this eco-friendly brand for their philosophy and sustainability and because for every item sold, Tree Tribe is planting 10 new trees. Yes that’s right, not just 1 tree, but 10 trees! What a wonderful concept! Of course the bottles are made of high quality food-grade stainless steel with a silicone/bamboo lid which is a leak-proof construction. The bottle comes with a lifetime warranty, if it ever would break it will be replaced by Tree Tribe at no cost! Check out their site for more colors and designs and other eco-friendly gear.
A great gift for those who like to bring their own lunch to work or on the road when traveling. The box has four different compartments to separate different foods and its flavors, condiments and snacks. It even comes with an ideas guide for bento box recipes. The box is made of stainless steel, non-toxic & non-leaching and are BPA-free, phthalates-free, PVC-free, vinyl-free and lead-free.
These simple eco-friendly food wrappers are a great gift for any household. These wrappers replace the use of aluminum or plastic foil. Made with beeswax, certified cotton, organic jojoba oil and tree resin, these wrappers can be reused over and over to wrap anything from cheese, fruits, bread, cover bowls and pots and keeping food fresh.
Reducing plastic waste is much easier when using these reusable and washable cotton bags for grocery shopping. We use these when buying from bulk bins and open produce stands at the farmers market or store and they are holding up great. A simple gift with a big positive impact on the environment.
We love these little bags. They are great to pack a sandwich, nuts, fruits, veggie sticks, crackers and other snacks. The bags are dishwasher safe and made of a quick drying water resistant fabric that is toxin free and complies with FDA standards for food safety. They are convenient pocket with a flap, closed with velcro and come in many different colors and patterns.
We love this soap, as it is not only gentle and moisturizing on the skin, but can be used for shaving, laundry and household as well. And best of all, it comes in different fragrances with added essential oils. Peppermint helps clear the mind, lavender is relaxing, citrus is refreshing and rose is soothing. The soap is made from certified fare trade organic and vegan ingredients, free of synthetics or preservatives, it’s certified cruelty-free and produced without animal testing, 100% biodegradable.
This Eco-friendly, cruelty-free shampoo bars is more sustainable and eco-friendly than buying bottled shampoo since there is no plastic waste. These bars by Ethique are made with Rosemary, Juniper, Basil, Lime, Lemon and Orange extracts and oils to balance oil production, clean the scalp and freshen up the hair, This shampoo bar is 100% soap free, pH balanced and safe for color-treated hair. It’s said to be equivalent to three bottles of liquid shampoo.
These grill mats are a really cool gift for bbq junkies. They are made of 100% PFOA-Free silicone material, dishwasher safe and heat resistant up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The non-stick ability allows grilling without the use of oil and eliminates the use of aluminum foil as well.
This special pan made for both indoor oven use or outdoor open fire grilling has a non-stick surface and eliminates the use of aluminum foil. We love this pan as it is very versatile and the vegetables we steam-grill over the open fire always come out juicy and flavorful. A great gift for any gourmet BBQ fan.
A great solution for using the sun to charge a phone, ipod or other USB-powered gadget. This power bank is small and handy, waterproof, shockproof and dustproof and comes with 2 USB slots to charge 2 phones or gadgets at the same time. It is made of eco-friendly material and comes with an integrated flashlight and emergency light and a hook to attach it to a backpack or bag so it can charge wherever you go.
Batteries are extremely toxic and definitely bad for the environment. Help your friends and family to form eco-conscious habits by giving a rechargeable battery and charger pack. This little handy charger pack can charge four AA and AAA batteries that can be reused and charged hundreds and hundreds of times. A great gift for any household.
Disclaimer: To support our cause, we use affiliate links and may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no cost to you. We are not sponsored by anyone and list only gear that we are personally use and love. We selected the items we recommend purely based on personal satisfaction and because we like their quality.
When we converted our Ford E250 Econoline Cargo Van we used Eco-Friendly material as much as possible within our budget. Our timeline was a bit tight as we had one month to build out the interior and convert the van into our new tiny home while working full time. We had to compromise with certain ideas due to limited time, a small budget plus limited availability of green building material in the area where we were living at at the time. Overall, we wanted to keep the build simple but practical.
This is what we used for the build:
Natural Sheep Wool for the walls, doors and as filler in the ceiling. Thin Polyurethane foam board for the ceiling (not Eco-friendly, but since we have a short van we did not want to lose too much head space. Wool needs more space to do its magic). We are pretty impressed with how well the Sheep Wool has been keeping us warm, even with temperatures as low as 38F. For the floor insulation we used Traffic Master Underlayment as a thermal and moisture barrier (not Eco-Friendly, but we did not want to lose headroom and found this to be a quick option). Wood Paneling, Kitchen Cabinet, Bed Frame and Storage: We re-used wood that we already had from previous constructions as much as possible for the kitchen. We re-used the whole bed frame and wooden drawer which we previously built for our truck camper. We did not find any recycled wood in the area and the palette wood we found had mold, so that was not an option. Therefore, we bought new pine wood panels for the wall and ceiling and wood for the closet. We used Eco Advance as a wood treatment.
Linoleum aka Marmoleum, which is naturally sourced from linseed oil, pine rosin, wood flour, cork, limestone, organic pigments and jute backing spun from renewable plants. Note: Linoleum is not to be mistaken with Vinyl flooring which is made from PVC chips! We bought both the Sheep Wool and Linoleum flooring from Eco-Building Products. We are not sponsored by them in any way but we love what they do and were very happy with their advice and service, so here’s their website.
We used a simple LED light strip with a dimmer that draws little power but illuminates the whole van more than enough. We also use solar powered Luci Lights for inside and outdoors.
We are sustainably solar powered with a total of 300w solar panels. Our sink is a re-used commercial steamer pan and we use a hand-pump for the faucet, a 5 gallon fresh-water tank and 5 gallon grey-water tank. Our mattress is a non-toxic Eco-Mattress that we ordered from Walmart. For a shower we use a simple solar shower. We use organic cotton bed linens and sheets. To cook we use a camping stove with re-fillable propane bottles. We use stainless steel plates, cups and pots, a cast-iron skillet, bamboo ware, re-usable bags, glass jars for bulk-food storage, biodegradable soap, dishwashing liquid, and laundry detergent etc. The Solar Install was done by Simpler Solar in Tallahassee. The Installation of our Fan was done by Justice Kustomz in Tallahassee.
Of course we wish our Van was solar- or bio-fuel powered but both are definitely way out of our budget range.
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After searching for a van for four months we finally found one that was suitable for our budget and needs. We converted it all by ourselves on a campground where we were staying at in our travel trailer at the time in Tallahassee, Florida. Most of this month was spent working our remote jobs and in our off-time we worked on the van build, enjoyed vegetarian RV-living as well as regular workouts and running.