Comment: What does “Self Contained Only” really mean?

Maybe some of the confusion and angst about the notion of self contained rigs comes from the continued use of the word "camping" in relation to them. Im not sure that travelling in a vehicle that is really a small house with all services provided (albeit with a few wheels under it) can really be called camping? Camping surely involves canvas (or its modern equivalents), campfires, swags, portable lighting, a folding stool and a shovel (or a portable toilet) and so on ... these days most of us have many camping refinements but are still a long way from the "self contained" model. And lets be clear that true camping when done responsibly has no more adverse environmental impact than a caravan or motorhome. Lets call a spade a spade and let it be reflected in the signage that is used. Camping is what happens in tents and camper trailers and rooftop tents and one-off rigs like ours. The rest is caravanning and/or motorhoming.
Cheers,
Val.
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Reply By: Bigfish - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 10:00

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 10:00
Camping and Caravanning are 2 separate things. Camping does not mean hauling a large self contained vehicle equipped with a vast array of home comforts and clearing/locating a spot in which to erect a tent or shelter. I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF ANYONE SAYING " WE HAVE HOOKED UP OUR CARAVAN AND NOW WE ARE GOING CAMPING". If people honestly don't know the difference between camping and caravanning then I,d suggest going back to 6th grade. Even youngsters know the difference. Camper trailers are as their name implies. A trailer designed for camping in. This means the erection of some sort of shelter and setting up the trailer to form a campsite.

I,d suggest 90% of all caravans spend their lives on manicured lawns in parks set up especially for these larger homes.
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Follow Up By: Member - rooster350 - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 10:22

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 10:22
Our poptop van has rarely seen a "manicured lawn" in a park or even a park for that matter, we have resorted to using a park a bit more lately because of our age and the effort required to set up a good camp site for a 3-4 week or more stay, yes we go "camping" with our caravan out side loo and shower, camp fire, solar panels, backup genny, water purifier, etc,etc....you have now heard of some one saying " WE HAVE HOOKED UP OUR CARAVAN AND NOW WE ARE GOING CAMPING" cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 10:35

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 10:35
Bigfish, I agree with most of what you say. BUT a few minutes on some of the Facebook camping sites (that have membership in the tens of thousands) makes it quite clear that many people think that living in a self contained rig is "camping". Some of them may not specifically say " WE HAVE HOOKED UP OUR CARAVAN AND NOW WE ARE GOING CAMPING" but they do post pics of their "campsite", or showing "where they camped" - strongly suggesting that they believe they are camping.

Cheers,

Val.
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Follow Up By: Bigfish - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 10:47

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 10:47
They probably do say ..yes, we have hooked up our caravan and now we are going camping. Probably trying to make it sound as though they are roughing it a bit. Sounds better than saying..we have packed up all our necessities from home and now we are going to be setting up to enjoy our home away from home.....

Don't care what is posted....Camping is not living out of a mobile home or caravan...
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Follow Up By: Lindie G - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 11:36

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 11:36
So if caravan campers are only caravaning and not camping then people in tents are tenting and also not camping. We are half caravan and half tent. So i guess we are caravantenting.
This must be a joke? If you,re out there away from home in the bush with a tent or in a fancy park in a fancy wheeled van, it is still camping. People can camp the way they like. I lived in many countries and caravans and tents are also camping in all those countries. It is the first time i heard someone said caravaning is not camping.
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Follow Up By: Bigfish - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 11:50

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 11:50
From the OXFORD DICTIONARY...

Definition of camping in English:

noun
[mass noun]

The activity of spending a holiday living in a tent:
‘camping attracts people of all ages’

‘when they were little, we went camping in California’

[as modifier]: ‘a camping trip ’
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 14:38

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 14:38
Quote "I,d suggest 90% of all caravans spend their lives on manicured lawns in parks set up especially for these larger homes."

Haven't been around much have you. There was a report a year or two back suggesting that there are not enough sites to accommodate all the vans sculling around Qld in the winter season. they went on to say that it is believed that there are more vans up there camping away from parks than there in them.
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 17:16

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 17:16
We go camping in our caravan all the time.....inside the van is a small table , fridge and a bed....outside is a pullout kitchen....not much different to a camper trailer, except for the hard sides and roof.

Mod cons....yep, we have a shovel mounted to the front for toilet duties and a solar shower bag for a shower if we could be bothered.....2 doonas on the bed for winter nights and a canvas awning for days when the sun is too hot !!
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Follow Up By: Member - Blue M - Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 01:59

Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 01:59
Hi
I get a laugh out of threads like this one. We have two different types of people and their interpretations on the definition of the word. Not that sharing your thoughts is a bad thing, but don't get personal.
"Camping"
This is my simple thoughts on the word. I would assume if you went camping, whether it be with a tent or with some other means of "shelter", you would arrive at a place tocamp. Once at this nominated site, you set up your camp, now you are camping. Once you have gone, you could than say, "you camped there."
Some may have a tent and others may have Camper Trailers/Vans, but in the end they all become a shelter for you to be covered and protected.
I am sure that the books published such as "Camps 7 & Wikicamps" do not only refer to "people in tents."
The meanings of words change over the years. I am sure some of the older people here will still remember what the meaning of this sentence is, "Look at that lovely GAY couple over there" and the young ones would give it a completely different meaning.
Now I may be miles off course with this as Camp & Camping may have a completely different meaning.

camp
noun
1. a place where an army or other group of persons or an individual is lodged in a tent or "other temporary means of shelter".
2. such tents or shelters collectively:
The regiment transported its camp in trucks.
3. the persons so sheltered:
The camp slept through the storm.
4. the act of camping out:
Camp is far more pleasant in summer than in winter.
5. any temporary structure, as a tent or cabin, used on an outing or vacation.
6. a group of troops, workers, etc., camping and moving together.
The army camped in the valley.
14. to live temporarily in or as if in a camp or outdoors, usually for recreation (often followed by out):
They camped by the stream for a week.
15. to reside or lodge somewhere temporarily or irregularly, especially in an apartment, room, etc.:
They camped in our apartment whenever they came to town.

"SHELTER" noun
: a structure that covers or protects people or things
: a place that provides food and protection for people or animals that need assistance
: a place to live

Full Definition of "SHELTER"
1
a : something that covers or affords protection
b : an establishment providing food and shelter
c : an establishment that houses and feeds stray animals
2
: a position or the state of being covered and protected

Cheers
ps. I love this site, and it gives me a thrill to think I have more important things to worry about, than whether Joe Blow is camping in the bush in his van and not his tent.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 09:06

Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 09:06
Yes Blue, Bigfish made a point of quoting an Oxford dictionary but was very careful to only give one meaning (and he did not number that entry as you did in your reply.) Was he dishonest by his quote by not extending the quote or is this yet another example of why the Oxford dictionary should not be used in Oz.

The dictionary used in Australian courts is the Macquarie Dictionary:
Camp n
1. Group of tents, caravans or other temporary shelters in one place
2. the persons sojourning in such places

I suggest we ignore this poor disillusioned boy.
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Follow Up By: Tony H15 - Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 11:44

Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 11:44
People that sleep on the ground in a sleeping bag and cook on an open fire claim to be camping. I think most that camp this way frown on people in tents calling themselves campers rather than glampers. It's all in the eyes of the beholder, but really who cares as long as the enjoyment is there.
Back in the 60s I would head off on a camping trip on my Triumph 650 with just a box of matches, a few cans of food and a sleeping bag. Couldn't imagine doing that today, neither can the wife!
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Follow Up By: Pete Jackman (SA) - Tuesday, Jul 28, 2015 at 16:16

Tuesday, Jul 28, 2015 at 16:16
OK I get the argument about caravans and tents but what am I doing when I crash in my roll of canvas? "Swagging"

And what about when I just stop somewhere, recline the seat and sleep in the 4by? What is the noun then?

I'm confused!

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Follow Up By: Tony H15 - Tuesday, Jul 28, 2015 at 22:41

Tuesday, Jul 28, 2015 at 22:41
I don't know that it's that important to have name for every form of camping but I suppose you could call it swamping or 4bamping, but certainly you wouldn't call it glamping.
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Reply By: Slow one - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 11:00

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 11:00
Coming back from the Towers rodeo last sunday, we came to the Burdekin at Macrossan Bridge. Looking toward the rail bridge I thought a new satellite city had sprung up. Wrong, it was a herd of caravans (or is that a gaggle) at the Macrossan reserve camping area.

Now the question. Were they camped, parked, resting, overnighting, staying of a few days or had they laid claim to a piece of dirt, one thing is, they definitely had not decamped.


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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 14:40

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 14:40
And here would have been more than that up at Fletchers Creek (north of there.)
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 10:44

Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 10:44
I thought it might have been a "big mob of 'vans", Slow.

Went to The 'Ville Thursday arvo, and got quite a shock to see so many vans there. Usually been deserted on our other trips up there, over the past 18 months.

Looked to be just as many on our return, early Sunday. Seems all the 'vans aren't just in Winton, and along the Landsborough highway! Heaps in Longreach too.

Bob

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Follow Up By: Slow one - Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 13:06

Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 13:06
Bob, didn't leave the Towers until around 7am Sunday as I am a bit skippy shy these days. May have past you, as we had to go into Townsville.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 18:10

Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 18:10
No doubt we did, Slow. Got to the Towers about 7.15.

Had to be in Hughenden before 11, hence the early start. Only one "skippy" moment..........at least he was a lot more active than I felt at the time. :-)

Bob

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Reply By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 11:05

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 11:05
So where do you draw the line? If indeed there is a line that can be drawn. It seems today that there are many categories of "getting away from it all". Take a Kimberly Caravan as opposed to a Kimberly Kamper.

It seems to me the "line" is getting more and more blurred. Some appear to maintain that a camper trailer is camping. How about a camper trailer in the traditional sense, but with a shower and toilet attached?

What was it that spear shaker fella said about roses and their smell. (;=))

Cheers
Pop
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Follow Up By: Peter F9 - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 11:31

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 11:31
Who really cares as long as everyone enjoys themselves!!!
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Follow Up By: Member - Lester77 - Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 10:28

Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 10:28
Spot on Peter!! ??
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Follow Up By: robsil - Saturday, Jul 25, 2015 at 21:04

Saturday, Jul 25, 2015 at 21:04
exactly !!!!. get over it !! we have tented and swagged it around Australia and now it has become hard to do these things due to the body needing a few repairs and replacements , so we have a off road van, [and carry a] swag which we continue our travels , who cares as long as your are out there enjoying the country and doing the right thing
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Reply By: Member - Broodie H3 - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 13:07

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 13:07
Hi Everyone,
Just to keep the conversation bubbling along, our way of looking at the whole camping scenario, goes something like this, if we are taking the small tent and light cooking gear and water we are going camping, If we are taking the big tent and the grand kids, we are going tenting, now if we flash up the Van and a few mates, a couple of reds an a block of beer and don't [heaven forbid] forget the whites, we are going flash camping, but to be fully self contained I don't think you can go camping, tenting, or caravanning, you would have to stay at home, self reliant yes, self contained, I cant see it from my perspective.
so there you have my response to the self contained debate.
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Reply By: Neil & Pauline - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 14:05

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 14:05
My small involvement in Local Government is the council will determine their own definition of "camping". Generally (guide lines set by State Govt) is defined as staying over night, cooking meals and/or sleeping. Also adds erecting a tent or awning, having table and chairs set up.
The symbol of a tent with a red line through can mean the same thing. Some also say resting over night is acceptable. The only way to know for sure read the exact interpretation at the Local Council office.

Put simply if you stay overnight and leave absolutely nothing behind there is unlikely to any thing that can be done against you. That is unless it says "no standing" then it doesn't matter if you are sitting, lying down or standing, you will/can get done.

Just use common sense and enjoy life.



Neil
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 14:42

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 14:42
Which state does that pertain to?
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Follow Up By: Neil & Pauline - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 15:09

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 15:09
My experience is in WA but believe all States Local Govt are similar. Required to set own definitions and advertise before implementation
Good luck if you ever find the advertisement though.

Neil
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Reply By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 14:17

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 14:17
I also believe that in some cases we are also "self contained". We have a roof top tent, plenty of fresh water, a portaloo, all waste water (grey water if you like) from washing up (minimal as we use paper plates etc) in the loo and rubbish taken home. Vegetables if not fresh then we use dried ones, thus no litres of water wasted boiling potatoes, peas etc and especially no pasta as it need gallons of water. ie minimise all waste. Shower when we get home.

So why aren't we self contained?

Phil
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Follow Up By: Bigfish - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 19:20

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 19:20
You would be self contained...smelly , but self contained......lol

I could also take a 2 man tent, take own food and water. Set up a table and chair. Camp for 2 nights. Poop in a porta potti and leave without a trace of me being there. I could be totally self sufficient too.

It is only the fools that have messed up sites, whatever they are, that is seeing free site stays dwindling. Its easy to buy a hundred thousand dollar outfit. Harder to use 10 cents of common sense..

Everyone knows whether or not they have done the right thing.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 19:48

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 19:48
Top post, Bigfish
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Reply By: GG7777 - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 19:04

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 19:04
A lot now days due to the size and granduer of their vans don't go Camping BUT they do go Glampig

Murray
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Follow Up By: GG7777 - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 19:05

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 19:05
That should have been Glamping
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Reply By: The Landy - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 22:43

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 22:43
If I'm getting this right, one of the main points that J & V are making is that regardless of whether you are in a fully self-contained caravan or motorhome, or whether you are in a tent in all its various forms, both modes are capable of being self-contained.

And they are correct to highlight that signage is confusing, definitions and signage need to clearly reflect the intention of the authority imposing it, otherwise confusion will continue to reign.


Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Reply By: dublediff - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 22:54

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 22:54
Okay, so somebody wants to draw a line in the sand because they feel that the term 'camping' has been hijacked by those who choose to travel with anything other than a tent! Lol. I have been camping since the Dead Sea was only sick! I have 'camped' on the ground outside my small two man tent near the now cold campfire because I drank too much beverage the night before. I have 'camped' in a tent the size of the Taj Mahal with three rooms, a porta potti, and a fully equipped kitchen ie gas fridge, hot plates and hot showers from water heated over the open fire. I have 'camped' in a pop top camper van with much the same facilities as the aforementioned Taj Mahal tent...although we didn't have to dig trenches around the bloody thing at 3.00 am when the heavens opened and our lovely,shady site turned into a water course..lol. I now 'camp' in a fully self contained off road caravan. I have solar, I have battery storage, I have on board water storage. I am self sufficient and can 'camp' for a heck of lot longer, a heck of a lot further away from it all and a heck of a lot more self contained than I ever have. I enjoyed my times in,and out, of the tent. The kids loved it, I and my wife loved it, it was part of the journey. We haven't 'hijacked' camping, you just need to call what you do as 'tenting' then there will be no misunderstanding...lol.

On the other hand the OP asked what 'self contained' meant. My understanding is that you arrive, stay and depart with no dependence on outside infrastructure such as water, power and sullage and leave with everything you arrived with. That means onboard power, water and sullage ( grey water and black water). It is becoming more of an issue in relation to grey water in some locations, and not all vans have grey water tanks fitted as standard. 'Tenting' no matter how you do it can never be self sufficient ..lol.

Anyway, however you travel this wonderful sunburnt country, enjoy, behave, be tolerant and be safe.
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Follow Up By: dublediff - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 23:18

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 at 23:18
And yes...before you remind me, you are far more mobile and able to get into remote spots that I can't get my caravan into, for those spots I take the tent out of the boot of the caravan and head in there....lol.
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Follow Up By: Bigfish - Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 06:54

Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 06:54
"Tenting".(READ THAT AS CAMPING) no matter how you do it can never be self sufficient...Of course it can. As I have already said I can pull up at a spot for a 1 night stay. Put up 2 man tent, swag, small table and chair. Boil billy on portable gas stove. Cuppa tea, bite to eat and hit the sack. Wake up, pack up and if toilet needed use porta potti. Emu bob around site and then out of there. You wouldn,t even know I had been there. Totally self sufficient.

The sooner we can get edit on this site the better.

cheers
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Reply By: Member - Peter M (QLD) - Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 07:11

Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 07:11
I'm sorry I thought the question was "WHAT DOES SELF CONTAINED ONLY MEAN"?
IE: What is self contained?
All this stuff about the definition of camping is another issue.
So please what is the definition of "SELF CONTAINED"?????????
Do you have to collect grey water in a fixed tank? OR
Can you collect grey water in a storage container that can be sealed and taken away to an authorised dump point?
We know that we have to be able to do that with black water.
Back to the forum for an answer please
PeteM (Qld)
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Follow Up By: gbc - Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 07:46

Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 07:46
Cut off all outside assistance to see what self contained is after about 3 weeks the wheat will be getting sorted from the chaff.
Jump in the water with scuba gear on, if it mostly works, you drown and it isn't self contained.
Nicking off from your van to pour turds down a council provided pit just moves the issue along, it most certainly doesn't make you self contained.
Systems for keeping food, water, power, waste etc, if required must be self supporting and redundant to a point. Check out properly fitted expedition motor homes for an idea.
Personally I think most of us (myself certainly included) would fail miserably at self containment in the event of complete services failure. The ability to wander off and live off the land's natural systems is the only true self containment, and arguably a pretty solid descriptor of camping too ;)
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 13:46

Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 13:46
Hi Peter

What is the definition of Self Contained? As has been said many times, and for the purpose of us as caravanners or campers, it is what the controlling authority says it is for that particular campsite.

Basically, if you have the ability to removed everything you took in out again, you are "Self Contained", but your still may not be allowed in many campsites.

It is about the behaviour not the equipment. Even tent campers can camp in this "leave nothing but your tyre and footprints" style. Campground controlling authorities make strict rules to try and prevent those doing the wrong thing camping there, but it really only excludes a lot of people who will do the right thing, and makes no difference to those who will continue their behaviour and breaching of the rules.

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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 17:33

Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 17:33
The answer my friend is blowing in the wind , perhaps we need a new term for those that believe 'camping' in a c/van - motor home is actually camping , the term SNAILING would be appropriate me thinks , after all carting ALL ones house in miniature to a more scenic spot to enjoy different food is just like a snail..
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Follow Up By: Kevin S - Life Member (QLD) - Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 18:00

Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 18:00
For a moment there, Alloy, I thought your reference was to the speed at which some caravans and motor homes move down the highways.
Cheers,
Kevin
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Follow Up By: GREG T11 - Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 19:46

Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 19:46
Ha ha, my experience over the years has confirmed this . Get to your destination and set up what was sub $2000 accommodation (we did upgrade to $5500 for a year or two ) only one in a choice of 100 plus sites and low and behold a snail would turn up drive around the 3 k internal road and decide a good spot was 20 metres away from us . Pull out the awning, put up the antenna and disappear inside the glow from the t.v makes me shake my head, why if that is your routine find the need to be so close to someone else. Wake in the morning and they have given birth to twins with the same mindset . If wifey was upset about me peeing on a tree during their stay that is their problem .
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Reply By: Member - KBAD - Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 19:10

Thursday, Jul 23, 2015 at 19:10
Self contained is becoming an important issue mainly because of the behaviour of past campers, a trip along the Nullarbor or the Gibb is self explanatory, the amount of toilet paper and rubbish left behind is disgusting and a indictment on modern society. Councils and private organisations are asking more and more that campers be self contained as to how that is defined is really a moot point. Those that continue to do the right thing will continue on those that don't and blindly believe that "I'm alright jack" will continue to stuff it up. All that will happen is that more area's will be closed off more restrictions put in place and a lifestyle choice will be lost. This is one of the main reasons i joined the CMCA and registered under their "Leave No Trace" program, the power that comes from a large lobby group means that where it is excepted I can continue to free camp as long as i abide by the rules set out which i do. Even in remote bush areas i clean up after our dogs why so I Leave No Trace, where do i dispose of my rubbish in town designated area's. To do the right thing is a personal choice, and frankly I don't give a stuff what anyone calls it.
AnswerID: 557318

Reply By: alsmithmdi - Friday, Jul 24, 2015 at 06:53

Friday, Jul 24, 2015 at 06:53
I sat at the computer for 40 mins reading these comments. I can't believe there has been so much to do about it. I hand full of comments were on the boarder of nasty. If you feel that you are the only real camper well woopie, buy youself a medal. Most I felt were for a bit of fun. Our homeless would probably know more about camping than anyone blowing on this site. Someone declares they are self contained?I guess while ever our stores last, you are. Local government knows the definition of camping? That's because they are god like. Camping surely involves canvas? I'm scratching my head about that one. What about me? I,ve camped on the ground, in a shearing shed, my mates spare room, in a tent. I even towed my caravan up to Barington Tops and camped there for a week. Had to come back home because we ran out of tucker (ceased being self contained.)
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