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Article: A Plastic-Free Nomadic Life with @Noel_Russ

living in a Van with less plastic

A Plastic-Free Nomadic Life with @Noel_Russ

Hey #stashersquad! We hope your Plastic-Free July is off to a great start. Today we have a fellow Bay Area resident, Noel Russell, sharing some inspiration for a plastic-free life in the road. Connect with her on Instagram at @noel_russ! Enjoy :)


As lovers of the outdoors, vanlife has afforded us the opportunity to explore wild spaces in the comfort of our own tiny home. We are constantly amazed at the beauty of the world around us – waking up under candy-colored skies, and sleeping under a blanket of stars.

When we’re out on the road, we live OUT of our van—not IN it— and nature is literally our “home” since we cook, nap, eat, and play outside.

One night, while laying up on the roof rack, scouring the night sky for shooting stars – I remembered a fact that I heard recently: There is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way. My heart sank…so much time and energy spent decorating and caring for the places we reside in – and meanwhile our real “home” is slowly being trashed.

I know we had a lot of changing to do. 

Plastic-free van life

Plastic-free can life

Plastic-free camping

We started examining our daily routine – what plastic items are we using that we can swap for something more sustainable. As I packed backpacking meals, bagged up sandwiches for day hike lunches, or toted doggie treats on the trail – I quickly noticed how many plastic bags we were using. A realization that made it easy to understand how 160,000 plastic bags are used globally every second.

We were surprised at how naive we were when it came to knowledge about alternative ways to pack out food. But then we found stasher, which helped us make some of the first steps towards a healthier life on the road— not just for the wild places around us, but also for our own personal health and the well-being of the beasts we love.

Food that’s easy to transport, lightweight, and fresh make for valuable commodities while traveling. We love the fact that Stasher's camping-friendly bags take up less room that plastic food containers, and can fit easily in our little fridge and smaller food storage spaces. Also, with limited cooking appliances (i.e. a single propane stove) we often find reheating leftovers to be a challenge.

Stasher bags solved this problem quickly by allowing us to store the remaining bits of our favorite meals, and simply boil the entire bags the next day for a quick reheat. We also loved how stasher bags seal up tight to keep our foods fresh. With the extreme temperatures that result from food being stored in a massive metal container (read: van), we’ve struggled with keeping baked goods from going stale, or getting mushy from condensation. Stasher bags eliminated this issue due to the fact that their food-grade silicone is thick enough to protect stored foods, and they close up tight to keep everything tasting good for days.

Stasher bags not only increased the convenience of storing and cooking food on the road, they also helped us become more aware of the plastic products that we constantly use without notice.

It’s a work-in-progress, and we have a long way to go to rid ourselves of our old bad habits. But, we are grateful to be more aware of the choices we make when it comes to consumption and how these decisions can help us care for the earth around us. If nature is home, and home is a place that is best shared with others – then it's important for us to do what we can to leave it better for every being to enjoy.

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