Photo Credits: Alysson
Text: Dominick Ménard
Interview: Pier-Anne Rouleau
Van living has been around for a long time, but it's become much more popular in recent years. After all, the idea of freedom, while sticking to the basics and reducing our environmental impact, is enticing.
Living in a van means taking advantage of many of the Earth's natural playgrounds. It means having the freedom to easily move from the sea to the mountains. It also means thinking in terms of efficiency and space—vans are pretty small.
It’s probably no surprise to you: living in nature involves being mindful of the household and body products we use. They need to be gentle and good for the environment. Slowly but surely, some of our TUC products have found a home in many Canadian vans, including VanLife MTL’s.
Founded by David in 2017, VanLife MTL aims to operate consciously while offering the freedom of simple living. Since then, the campervan movement has continued to grow and many have left their old lifestyle behind to embrace this new one. That’s what Dominick Ménard, full-time vanlifer, cyclist, host of the Bonvelo show on the Évasion channel, and ambassador of VanLife MTL, did, making the choice to solely live in his van in 2016. As a result, he was the perfect person to talk to us about the importance of choosing the right products.
How would you describe your relationship with nature?
Since starting to live in my van, I’m much more aware of the things I consume. We can have such a big impact on the environment and that's why we have to make wise choices.
I run mostly on solar power so I have to pay attention to everything, whether it's the lights, charging electronics, the oven, etc. I was surprised to realize the amount of water we used at home. I'm currently running on a 110L supply, which is equivalent to a 10-minute shower at home. Now I can survive 2 weeks on that amount.
I've developed a very close relationship with nature and am very aware of what goes into my van and what comes out of it. By the way, have I ever told you about my cassette toilet?
Since you have a close relationship with nature, why is it important to choose the right cleaning products when camping or living in a van?
As this movement becomes more and more popular, it’s even more important that everyone who embraces this lifestyle does their part. Your behaviours have to be discreet—for the locals, the other vanlifers, and the environment.
One way to do this is to eliminate chemicals from your daily life.
What should you look for when choosing cleaning products?
I make sure that the products I buy have the smallest environmental impact possible while still being effective. That’s why I prefer biodegradable products.
My TUC must-haves are:
In conclusion, what is THE piece of advice you would give to all new outdoor enthusiasts?
We now need to acknowledge that we’re not alone. Whether it's hiking, the vanlife, camping or biking, we've witnessed, in the past year, an unprecedented craze for nature. And that's great! But if we want to continue to have access to these natural playgrounds, we need to be more responsible than ever and adopt good habits.