Carrying Containers for Water & Fuel
Safe, enjoyable 4wd touring means having all the right gear with you, and Tough Toys are all about quality gear. Recovery equipment, sump armour, snorkels, engine accessories, you name it – we have it. The same goes for camping gear – awnings, fridges, the works. Of course those are all big, shiny items but an enjoyable trip depends on a lot of pretty unexciting things too. Tie-down straps, for example. Or how about containers?
Containers aren’t very interesting, but long off-road trips would be impossible without them; you’re going to need to carry quite a few. Unlike a lot of your gear they’re not a matter of comfort or convenience; they’re vital, possibly life-saving, items. Let’s look at what you’re going to need.
A lot of Australia is pretty dry, and natural water sources might not be safe to drink from. That means you’ll need to carry enough water for each leg of your trip, plus a reserve for emergencies. Between cooking, washing and drinking that’s five litres per person per day, plus a reserve of at least 20%. You’re not going to fit that lot in a few plastic bottles; proper containers are required. Military-style 20 litre jerry cans will work, but it can be hard to pour from them without spillage. We have a nice variant with a tap in the base, so you can stand it on the tailgate and pour easily. They’re just as tough as the army ones but a lot more practical.
For really long trips consider the LifeSaver Australia jerry can. This costs a bit more but it’s a world-class piece of kit and worth every cent. Fill it up from any natural water source – it doesn’t matter how filthy it is – and then use the built-in pump to produce a stream of clear drinking water. What comes out of it isn’t just clean; it’s sterile, because the filter is so efficient it even gets rid of viruses. There are also smaller versions – the LifeSaver Cube and Water Bottle. With these, as long as you’re not actually in a desert you’ll never run out of water.
You’re going to need a lot of fuel, too. Petrol stations can be pretty far apart in the Outback, so you’ll need enough to get you comfortably between them as well as doing whatever you have planned on the way – plus a reserve. If your vehicle will take them long range fuel tanks are a great idea. Otherwise it’s jerry cans again, or approved fuel containers. Make sure these are in good condition, and replace them if you have any doubts at all.
Think about what you leave behind when you’re camping. It’s worth carrying a couple of empty water containers and using them for waste water; soap from washing dishes – or yourself – can pollute water sources and harm wildlife, so it’s a good idea to take it with you until you can get rid of it down a drain. The same goes for vehicle waste. If you’re doing an oil change don’t just empty the sump on the ground; that will ruin the area for the next person who comes along – or for you when you’re back that way. Carry an empty oil container and drain into that.
Containers are simple and they don’t need to cost much, but they make a huge difference to your touring – and they might save your life. Don’t cut corners here; it’s really not worth it.