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The American Dream, on Wheels

In a transformative era where the conventional American Dream is being redefined, millennials are abandoning the traditional pursuit of houses and desk jobs in favor of life on the road. Fueled by a surge in remote work opportunities, an increased focus on sustainable living, and a cultural shift towards ‘experiences over possessions,’ the allure of a simplistic, nomadic lifestyle has never been stronger.


At the forefront of this profound shift stands Garnica, a leading manufacturer of premium, sustainable plywood that is redefining the future of mobile living.


Roadloft, Genesis, and the North American Expedition

Roadloft, a visionary project born from the wanderlust of a young couple from Quebec, Canada, has been a key player in the van life movement since 2018. After spending over three years travelling in a converted minivan across Canada and the US, the Roadloft founders envisioned a sustainable and affordable camper conversion kit that could transform daily commuter vehicles into multifunctional campers in the blink of an eye. Garnica’s materials, including Duraply, Efficiency Poplar and Fireshield, became the building blocks for Roadloft’s modular and prefabricated conversion kits. These kits, assembled within minutes without special tools, have found their way into the vehicles of nearly 1,000 avid campers and road trip enthusiasts across North America. As camping grows in popularity, that number continues to rise.


The transformative power of Garnica extends beyond van life to the RV manufacturing industry through its partnership with Genesis, a prominent supplier of laminated panels and customized molded solutions in the US. This collaboration led to the development of high-quality, sustainable, and lightweight cabinetry solutions for the thriving RV market. Genesis utilizes Garnica’s Efficiency Poplar panels, Efficiency HDF, Elegance Birch panels, and sustainable poplar laminate to craft cabinetry that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also 30% lighter than conventional RV options, resulting in enhanced fuel efficiency.


A Global ‘Vansformation’

The van life movement isn’t just taking North America by storm, it is indeed becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Garnica recently announced its latest partnership with Vanpuravida in the UK, solidifying its global presence in the transportation sector.


Vanpuravida started out as a passion for nomadic life and experiencing the beauty and freedom of the outdoors. The two founders worked to convert their own van into a mobile home in 2018 and quickly discovered the joys of life on the road. They decided to use the skills and knowledge they’d developed to start a business converting vans into functional homes. When sourcing materials, the Vanpuravida team wanted to ensure that the vehicle interiors were lightweight, durable and visually stunning. They conducted a test, converting two identical vans, one with conventional plywood and the other with Garnica’s Efficiency Poplar plywood. The result was impressive – the van converted with Garnica panels was about 220lbs lighter, showcasing both the lightness and quality of Garnica’s plywood.

The collaboration with Garnica allows Vanpuravida to incorporate sustainable, lightweight materials, contributing not only to fuel efficiency but also to the overall aesthetic appeal and versatility of their designs.


Real-Life Nomads: Max and Delphine’s Journey

Meet Max and Delphine, a real life pair of millennials whose story embodies the cultural shift toward a more unconventional and simplistic lifestyle that is resonating around the world.

A couple of photographers and videographers with an insatiable thirst for travel, they found themselves grounded in France due to the onset of COVID-19. They decided to sell their home and exchange it for a Land Rover Defender 130, embarking on an epic road trip to Central Asia.

The practicality of renovating their vehicle led them to Garnica’s Ultralight plywood which they used for flooring, wall paneling, and custom-made furniture, including benches and cupboards. Garnica Ultralight, with its insulating XPS core and poplar faces, proved to be not only 45% lighter than traditional camper interior panels but also surprisingly strong, with exceptional thermal and acoustic insulation. Max and Delphine’s renovation story, documented on social media, showcases the ease of working with Garnica Ultralight, making their nomadic lifestyle not just a journey but an immersive experience of comfort and sustainability.


The Road Ahead

In a world hungry for change and a cultural shift towards experiences over possessions, companies across all industries must evolve in tandem to meet new demands and priorities.

From North America to the UK, from camper conversion kits to bespoke RV renovations, Garnica’s sustainable plywood has become a symbol of innovation, sustainability, and the pursuit of a life less ordinary. “As we grow and evolve, our mission at Garnica remains the same as it always has; delivering superior quality products while exploring new paths towards a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable society for future generations,” explains Garnica CEO, Christian Michel.


As the RV and van life movements continue to thrive, the collaboration between Garnica, RoadLoft, Vanpuravida, and Genesis exemplifies how sustainable materials and innovative solutions can redefine industries. Real life stories of people like Max and Delphine serve as a reminder to young people that there are many ways to live their lives to the fullest and the road less travelled may be exactly the road they need to take.


About the Author

David Smith is the President of Garnica’s North American Division and brings over 28 years of industry expertise to his role. Prior to joining Garnica, he held senior positions at EGGER Group and Arclin USA, later founding The David Smith Group, a consulting firm focused on sustainable building materials. With a proven track record in customer-centric solutions, David specializes in dynamic market leadership through sustainable innovation.

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