Surprisingly there is none in the bush, and less than you imagine in a campervan. Seemingly luxurious appointments such as air conditioning, microwave, toaster, kettle and powerpoints only work when a campervan is plugged into the grid at a caravan park, which kind of defeats the purpose of camping. Off grid the only electricity trickles to battery-powered lights, water pump and fridge. When stopped you need to turn on the gas bottle to run your fridge, heat water for showering, and to cook or boil the kettle on the gas stove. Implications: No toast for breakfast. No heating or cooling the van when parked. The gas kettle takes forever to boil, and I need my coffee now!
Or the lack thereof. Yes, I’m talking poo. We all do them, ideally every day. Four people = 4 poos. Poo smells. Campervan windows are generally small. You work out the rest. So ideally avoid using the toilet for poo. Which means you still need to camp near a toilet, in which case you may as well be in a tent (or better still a cabin). Yes, the toilet is handy for wee. But that’s all.
Water water everywhere but not enough to drink. Yes, there’s a big water tank underneath for the sink and shower but you can’t drink it. So you lug around big plastic bulk containers of drinking water that quickly run out despite their back-breaking weight. You seem to spend half your time re-filling everyone’s drinking water bottle. And filling the kettle takes forever. Clean reticulated drinking water is a great civilising influence for which I thank WaterNSW and Sydney Water.
Small daily tasks seem to take forever. Like finding your toothbrush and water bottle and turning on a pump simply to brush your teeth. Or filling a water bottle from an even bigger water container only to pee it moments later into a sump toilet that you have to carry to a dump point to empty. Repeat.
Campervans are small confined spaces ideal for kids and short adults. Tall adults will spend their whole time hunched over, and inching sideways in semi-circles like a backhoe in a terrace backyard. Short people will have no sympathy for you. And don’t start me on the size of the toilet cubicle.
It’s really easy to back into them. You can memorise the 3.5 metre height so you don’t drive into things but you quickly forget the vehicle is also a whopping 7.7 metres long. So it’s easier than you think to reverse into trees, fences, cars and echidnas.
Kids get sick on holidays. No-one likes to talk about it, but they do. And sick kids are miserable in a confined space with few distractions. Intermittent access to doctors and medicine is stressful for parents. When kids cough through the night, every night, everyone is frazzled the next morning. Not the campervan’s fault, but worth bearing in mind.