It’s not uncommon to travel hundreds of miles of unpaved roads while overlanding. In fact, most expect this to be the norm.
It would obviously be an issue if you were to run out of fuel while traveling these backroads. This is why most overlanders have extra overland fuel storage.
Types of Storage
Depending on your vehicle, there are generally two forms of storage for fuel. If your vehicle is suitable for a long-range tank, this is what I recommend and what I use on my vehicle.
The other option is a jerry can or gas can type setup.
Both options have their pros and cons.
The long-range tank can hold more and is always out of sunlight. However, it costs considerably more and is not suitable for every vehicle.
The jerry can is a tried and tested method, initially used for militaries worldwide and still in use today. But, it may not hold as much as you like, and you may struggle to find a space to store it.
Long Range Tanks
Aftermarket companies manufacture long-range fuel tanks to answer the needs of adventurous motorists as well as many companies.
Companies like Long Range America produce these tanks for the most popular vehicles. However, unfortunately, they’re not available for all vehicles.
If you’re fortunate enough to find your vehicle on the list of suitable models, I highly recommend going this route.
The extra fuel tank sits in some unused space on the underbody of your vehicle. It is equipped with a pump that will feed the fuel into your main tank with the push of a button.
The major benefit of this setup is how much extra fuel it can hold, which is much more than the jerry can set up.
If, for some reason, you can’t or don’t want to use a long-range fuel tank, then using jerry cans for overland fuel storage is the next best method.
The benefit of using jerry cans is that you can use the extra space underneath for water storage.
Also, there’s no need to worry about suitability like there is with long-range tanks, especially if you spend a lot of time on new trails, then it’s useful to have an off-road gas can.
Best Off-Road Gas Cans
Midwest 5 Gallon Metal Jerry Gas Can
Midwest Can Company has been making fuel storage containers for over 70 years. With that in mind, you can take their products at face value. They know what they are doing.
The Midwest 5 Gallon Metal Jerry Can is made to last. It can handle Nevada heat and Alaska cold with ease.
The can has excellent welds and great balance. It has a comfortable handle and it’s covered with very nice auto-grade gloss paint.
This jerry can comes with a pouring spout that has an in-built air bleed tube for smooth pouring; and a protective cap for when the can is not in use.
The only downfall with this can is its cap. It’s a little bit cheaply made, but you can find a replacement, like the Fuel Spout and Vent Kit from EZ-POUR.
Scepter Military 5.3 Gallon Jerry Can
Scepter has been producing durable containers for off-roaders, overlanders, and marine enthusiasts for some time now.
Their 5.3 gallon Jerry Can comes with the same durability as all of their products.
The can is constructed from durable high-density polyethylene and is rust-proof and non-corrosive.
The spout comes with a venting tube and the can’s lightweight design makes it perfect for storing in any vehicle, even ATVs.
Wavian Nato Steel
Wavian has supplied Nato countries for over 75 years, and their fuel cans still stand up to the test today.
Manufactured with 0.9mm cold rolled steel walls and Rezol rust-proof lining, these cans are built to last.
Another bonus is that it comes with a spout and an internal breather pipe to make pouring effortless and splashproof.
This makes a solid off-road gas can due to its sturdiness, easy pour, and included spout.
How to Store Fuel
Color-Make sure to choose the right color for your fuel containers to prevent any confusion. Red-gasoline, Yellow-diesel
Approved containers-Only use approved containers like the ones mentioned above. Other cheap containers are not suitable for holding fuel and will break down.
Store outside-While the containers mentioned above are great containers and don’t leak or let off fumes; we still strongly recommend storing them outside the vehicle. Either attach them to the roof rack or spare wheel carrier.
Don’t overfill-When fuel releases vapors, it causes the fuel can to expand; for this reason, it’s important not to overfill the can. Most fuel cans have a line marked for the fill limit.
Avoid direct sunlight-Try to park your vehicle out of direct sunlight when you are storing fuel on top. The heat from the sun can build up the pressure in the can. Try to park under the shade of a tree to prevent this.
Release the pressure-At least once a day be sure to release the pressure build up in the can, this is especially important in warm weather.
Overland fuel storage systems allow you to explore more off the beaten path or navigate strange foreign lands where sourcing fuel may not be so easy.
Even if you never have a need for fuel storage, it’s always nice to have that peace of mind should something ever happen.
We love the long-range tank, but we still traveled thousands of miles with jerry cans as our fuel storage, and they worked a treat.
Whatever method you choose, ensure you get a high-quality approved can and practice safe storage, and you can rest easy.