Campervan Toilets & Self Containment Certificates
Ever wondered about the quality of toilets and showers in a campervan?
Never really felt like asking but you would like to gain more knowledge before your campervan hire holiday in New Zealand?
We have assembled some information about this topic.
Campervan hire vehicles can feature portable toilet cassettes or an integrated bathroom with shower and toilet.
Built-in toilets are relatively user-friendly, as long as they are integrated and fitted with an electric flush mechanism.
In comparison, portable toilets are not quite as convenient. They physically need to be carried to a private location in order to answer nature’s call. Mostly, portable toilets are never used and only included for emergencies and to meet self-containment requirements (read on for more details about self-containment certificates).
Most campervan hire travelers use public toilet facilities, which are well distributed throughout New Zealand - You will be impressed!
The name might already say it all. Dump stations are places where you can dispose your campervan’s waste water and refill your fresh water tank. They are conveniently located in most villages, holiday parks and commercial campsites.
With your campervan you will be given detailed information on how to use dump stations and where to find them.
After emptying your waste, it is also important to refill toilet chemicals to help keep everything hygienic, fresh and smell-free. A supply of chemicals is usually provided with your campervan and you can purchase more at supermarkets.
The exact procedure of emptying the waste water is explained by a staff member and may be slightly different with each particular vehicle. It is important to ensure that you know how to operate all features of your campervan before leaving the campervan depot.
Self Containment Certificates
In New Zealand it is not permitted to camp in the wilderness, i.e. “freedom camping”, if your campervan does not feature a self-containment certificate.
Campervan hire companies need to register their self-contained campervans annually to receive the “green sticker” which is displayed on the outside of the vehicle. Without this green sticker an enforcement officer may (rudely) wake you in the middle of the night to move you on or even issue a nasty NZ$ 200 fine. Certainly not a good way to wake up.
It is important to make sure your campervan features a self-containment certificate, as an integrated bathroom alone does not automatically permit freedom camping. If the hire company neglects registering the vehicle, the green sticker will be absent and the campervan will not be recognized as self-contained.
Often clients request showers, assuming campervan showers work the same way as domestic home fittings. In the end, most campervan travelers use public showers or shower facilities at campsites.
Although a shower in your vehicle can be a convenient feature, you will soon discover that water flow and pressure are not quite what you are used to. Although larger 4 and 6 Berth motorhomes have a bigger water tank of 90 litres or more, it is almost impossible for the entire family to take a warm shower on the same day.
Therefore, we recommend against making your final campervan choice due to the existence of a shower - there are more important factors to consider.
Now you may wonder whether a bathroom in a campervan is really necessary?
Our recommendation is to ensure your vehicle is officially certified self-contained. If you are on a budget, it is ideal to choose a compact campervan with portable toilet and the green sticker for freedom camping. One of our partner companies called “Wendekreisen” offer a very good range of compact campervans which are all certified self-contained and offer excellent value for money.
The majority of 2 Berth campervans and larger motorhomes come with built-in bathrooms and therefore usually carry the self-containment certificate.
There are still numerous small campervan options without a toilet facility. We still offer these types of campervans if they are suitable to the clients' needs. If you are planning to stay at commercial campsites every night, there is no reason why you shouldn't choose a cheaper, compact campervan without self-containment.
Feeling ready for your New Zealand campervan hire adventure? Comments or questions? - Contact Us Today for our unique holiday advice and personal campervan travel recommendations.