According to Go RVing, there are 30 million Americans who already practice forms of outdoor adventure escapism — whether on mountain bike or kayak, by foot or by horseback, from the Grand Tetons to the Appalachian Trail — all of whom could potentially become future RV buyers.

Popular Mechanics reported that the future of RVing is geared to embrace that sense of adventure, known popularly as “overlanding,” which is a fusion of camping and off-roading. The proverbial recreational vehicle, to the layperson passing one on the highway, may seem like an 18-wheeler lumbering beast. But this year’s RVX, the largest RV trade show in Salt Lake City, demonstrated that the industry is moving towards lightweight, adventure-ready rigs, easily towed behind a midsize pickup truck or even a crossover.

A modern crop of RVs push efficiency and weight savings as a prime directive. These trailers or camper vans are typically made of composite materials, featuring solar power, high-efficiency appliances, and smart water use.

Saving what you can has always been a tenet of living away from the conveniences of civilization: gray water systems and refrigerators without electricity-draining inverters have been around for a while. But what’s new is the use of sustainable materials. Some RVs now feature birch wood and bamboo construction bonded with non-toxic sealants, and are designed with recyclability in mind for when the adventure ends.

This might seem like a fleeting consumer trend, but sustainability and environmental friendliness go hand-in-hand at the core of RV life. In an RV, keeping the power and the lights running can mean the difference between a nice weeklong trip and a catastrophe. Build a lighter trailer, and it can be towed by the car that’s already in your driveway — thereby piquing the interest of a new group of suburban-dwelling adventure seekers.

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