Anyplace near water is home to me, so I love going to the lake, or the beach, or the river. Heck, I even enjoy going to the pond. But traveling to these places, especially for a weekend, can be less-than-earth-friendly. For one, although I don’t make it a habit to stay in hotels, the few I have stayed in have not been “green.” Think of all the towels and sheets they wash each day. Think of all those lights in every single hallway that burn all night long for 365 nights a year. Add to that the multitude of lights in the parking lots, and in the landscaping, and in the stairwells (which no one seems to ever use but which must be lighted 24 hours a day anyway). I’ve never even seen a green cleaning product on a cleaning lady’s cart. I also have a sneaking suspicion that lots of things in hotels are replaced very, very often . . . even when they probably could last a while longer, it just “looks better” and “improves business” when things are brand spanking new. For example, why is it that every time I have checked into a hotel, the roll of toilet paper in the bathroom is always a complete roll without a single sheet missing? Did the people who were in the room before me make sure to use the very last sheet before they left to return home? I imagine a father saying, very sternly, “No, small child of mine, you must use the restroom again until all the sheets are off the roll. No excuses! Now, get in there and pee!” Of course it doesn’t happen this way. They take the half-used roll and do something with it; I hope the cleaning ladies take it home with them rather than throwing it away. I recently spent three nights at a lovely hotel in Myrtle Beach and didn’t encounter a single recycling container anywhere. On our final day, I packed the half-used mini-bottle of dishwashing detergent to bring home with me; I knew they wouldn’t leave it there for the next guest and I couldn’t bear the thought of both the plastic AND the perfectly good detergent going into the trash.
Is it any wonder that I prefer to camp? We use the same towel all weekend long and the sheets . . . well, let’s not even talk about the sheets.
Our camper is stocked with some of my favorite green products, including one Tervis tumbler for each of us and pop-up recycling containers. I have a nice set of enamelware dishes that my Aunt Sylvia gave to me several years ago after they did not sell at her yard sale (no plastic plates for me!). I also have a pretty decent set of silverware that came from a drawer in my daddy’s kitchen that was so full of mismatched forks and spoons and knives that it would barely close. One bottle of dishwashing detergent will last all summer long and you better believe we do not replace a half-used roll of toilet paper . . . we use that sucker up, right down to the cardboard.
Of course, camping isn’t green if you are hauling around a monster RV full of formaldehyde-laced cabinets and wall boards. The heavier the RV, the more gas or diesel it takes to pull. The cheaper it is made, the shorter life-span it will have, and for folks who don’t want to throw away a plastic bottle, the thoughts of throwing away 40 feet of camper is horrifying. For several years, my husband and I tent-camped. It’s simple. It’s green. It’s low-cost.
But, it’s a whole lot of work.
So, when three and a half years ago we (meaning me) decided to upgrade, I wanted to balance the desire for something easier with the desire for something that would also be lightweight, long-lasting, and made out of recyclable components. And what did we (meaning me) find? BUBBLES!
Bubbles is our 13 foot long Camp Lite almost-all-aluminum camper. Bubbles is super light-weight. My husband can tell no difference whatsoever in our miles-per-gallon when we tow Bubbles. Bubbles is made primarily out of aluminum and, if we ever let Bubbles go to that happy campground in the sky, is 90% recyclable. But, perhaps best of all, Bubbles does not contain formaldehyde-laced faux-wood, excessive plastics, or hard-to-clean camper-grade carpets; Bubbles is a mean, lean, aluminum machine! The aluminum plank floors in Bubbles are easy to sweep and keep clean. There is no carpet to replace, ever. The cabinets, likewise, are easily cleaned with a swipe of a soft cloth. All the aluminum framing is strong, strong, strong. When my husband (frequently referred to by my Grandma C. as a “strapping young man”) climbed up onto the top bunk to play with our daughter, the bunk not only didn’t come crashing down, it didn’t even budge.
Yes, it is true that Bubbles is very small; at 13 by 7 feet, she has less than 100 square feet of living space. But when we head to the lake, we are really there for the water. And when we head southeast, it’s for the surf and the sand. Although we love Bubbles, she is not the main attraction on these excursions. We’re just happy that she helps us respect the earth while we are also enjoying it.
If you would like to learn factual information about Camp Lite campers, you could visit <www.livinlite.com>.
Copyright 2014 Lori Creed