Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Bus self contained version 1

This post is for me to prepare for a self contained certification for my bus. It's written specifically for whoever might do the certification.

This post has also been shared to the private Facebook Group "Freedom Camping NZ" where at time of writing this 78 comments had been written many of which were used to improve either this presentation or the self containment itself. Thanks to all those folk.

Certification for 3 people

Minimum toilet capacity: 9 litres (we have 21)

Minimum vented waste water capacity: at least 36 litres or less with a visual monitor (we have 40 with monitor)

Minimum potable water requirements: 3 x 12 litres of water = 36 litres (we have 60-80)

A sealable rubbish bin (we have several)

Useful Links

The Standard

How to get self contained

How do I get my camper certified as self-contained?

Certified Self Containment NZ Lifestyle Camping Summary / Guidelines (pdf)

Freedom Camping Act

RV Certification Voluntary And Unenforceable

Freedom Camping (NZ govt)

Camping in New Zealand

NZ Lifestyle Camping

Campsites and camp grounds - apps


1. Toilet

Porta Potti Waste tank capacity: 21 Litres Flush water tank capacity: 15 Litres

It's secured in a frame at the back and base and a bungy cord around the centre of mass.

The support frame and the black bungy are designed to hold the base steady and support removing the top. Here's the frame and securing points:

The handle at the back of the toilet is designed as securing point

the handle hooks over this piece of the frame which keeps the toilet snug against the wall

Here's the toilet put back and prepared for travel over lunar surfaces with an extra strap

2. Sink and water dispensing

All dispensing is by gravity. There are no pumps, water lines etc.

For travel it usually looks more like this:

With those containers usually empty.

Here's the water trap disconnected and the sink removed:

Here's the air vent hose a bit closer:

Here's a close up of the flood line: the overflow hole in the sink. 

Under the sink during normal use - two 20 litre containers secured with a bungy. 

The sink exits through the water trap into the orange opaque 20 litre tank. The tanks are connected together by a 22mm hose connected to each tank's tap. The left opaque tank has a water level monitor.

Both tanks have air vents. All connections are mechanical (I had tried using Sikaflex®-11 FC but it fails after a few regular uses). 

The entry into the orange tank is sealed with a rubber seal ring under the screw cap. 

I test the system by pouring water into the sink letting it drain into the tanks until they fill and keep filling until the sink fills up. Then I look for leaks.

The tanks can be emptied by turning off the taps that connect them, removing the connector hose, removing the wet trap and emptying it, disconnecting the air vent hoses, removing the adaptor caps and replacing them with ordinary caps then removing the tanks and carrying them to a grey water dump station. The taps and connecting hose is protected by a wooden beam on the floor and a wooden bar about mid height on the tanks. Tanks can be removed straight up after removing the sink or through the front.

Two added bonuses: I can also use the connector hose to drain the tanks to the outside or to flush the system. Here's the hose deployed to drain or flush the orange tank.

Anyway, for those of you still sceptical here is my ultra low cost cassette grey water management system: 

OK so here it is all deployed for a travel run - the front windshield shutters are removed and strapped to the bench with lots of long strong hooks for extra security:

here's the under floor view. The black hose is the one usually connecting the two tanks together but here it is deployed for flushing or draining:

3. Water supply

One 20 litre and four 10 litre opaque containers. Stored in a wooden frame under a bed.

We have taps for them all but usually we transfer the water into more convenient containers and dispense from those.

We usually carry at least another 40 litres of water for other uses like cleaning the bus, rinsing after salt water...

4. Rubbish bin

This is one of our sealable rubbish bins.

Here's the bus parked at home. Ready for another trip.

and here's my certificate waiting to be signed:

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