Welcome to Unsealed 4X4

Are you hungry for the latest in 4X4 news, reviews and travel?

At Unsealed 4X4, we’ll give you up-to-date 4X4 news, reviews and how-to's to keep you in fine form.

GUIDE

Carry extra fuel in your 4X4

WORDS BY ISAAC BOBER, IMAGES BY ARNOLD ARCHIVE

How to

Australia is a big place. And if you’re travelling through the outback then fuel stops can be few and far between. So, if upgrading your vehicle’s fuel tank is one of the things you’ve decided to ‘get around to next time’, then carrying extra fuel with you will be a must.

See, the fuel tank in most modern 4X4s averages around 85 litres and this is just too small for remote area touring where your speed will often be low and possibly in low-range too, and so fuel use will increase. Of course, some brands, like Toyota, offer up to 120 litres (in a main and sub tank) depending on the vehicle.

Never miss an opportunity to fill up and always carry extra fuel when you’re heading off-road for an extended time, here’s what you need to know.

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

Obviously, investing in a long-range fuel tank, or adding an auxiliary tank is the best and safest way to increase your range in the outback. But there are plenty of ‘portable’ options.

It's a good idea to know how much fuel your 4X4 uses both in general driving conditions and when fully loaded for outback touring. Doing this before you head off on your next adventure will mean you’ve got a good idea of just how far you’ll be able to get on a tank of fuel and just how much extra fuel you might need depending on the distance between fills.

Remember, though, carrying extra fuel is all part of your vehicle’s payload and a full jerry can (20L) will weigh around 25kg. And so, you need to think carefully about how many full jerry cans you’re carrying, be they filled with fuel or water, and where you load them. You're legally allowed to carry up to 250L.

The most common place is to hang them off the back of your vehicle and sometimes on the roof, but this will affect your vehicle’s handling and depending on what else you’re carrying on the roof exceed your vehicle’s dynamic (driving) roof load. More than that, this 'guide' is really just for diesel (it's considered non-combustible). If you're carrying unleaded fuel in jerry cans then you can only carry them in non-impact zone locations (think the tray of a pickup).

Repairs on the road
Even if you carry extra fuel with you, it pays to pack a fuel tank repair kit. These things cost around $40 and can be used to patch both metal fuel tanks and jerry cans. Because even if you’ve got extra fuel, if you spring a leak in your main tank it will all be for nothing.

So, when you’re out and about, make sure you check the fuel tank at the end of each day’s driving for any leaks.

From WWII to now
The jerry can is the go-to for most people needing to carry extra fuel. And has been since before World War Two. Designed by the Germans, it was originally known as the Wehrmacht-Eineitskanister (which translates as, armed forces unit canister). The slang name, given by Allied forces, was jerry can because of the slang name for Germans being, Jerry.

The German fuel canister began being stockpiled back in 1925 with the design largely unchanged today. See, the Allies used what was nicknamed, the flimsy. A smaller drum than the jerry can (20L), it was made from a handful of flat, thin tin that was welded together. The handle was thin and uncomfortable to carry once filled with fuel and fuel would often leak from the weld lines. The jerry can was a stroke of genius and the Allies eventually reverse-engineered the things and, these days you can get both the steel version and a polyethylene (plastic) version (pub fact – these are called jerry jugs).

It goes without saying that if you’re using a jerry can or jerryjug, then you should never, ever store it inside your vehicle. Why? Because of the fumes, duh. If you drive a wagon, store them on the back or the roof, if you drive a ute then store them in the tray away from anything that might be a potential ignition source, for obvious reasons.

There are plenty of storage racks for jerry cans available for a variety of vehicles and while the best place to store a jerrycan/jug is on the back of your vehicle, or in the tray of a ute, sometimes you need to place them on the roof of your vehicle. If you need to do this, then make sure you’ve got a suitable roof rack set-up and a way of securing the jerry can/jug, and be mindful that storing anything on the roof of your vehicle needs to remain within the dynamic roof load of your vehicle, and that the handling (because of the raised centre of gravity) will be affected. More than that, loading and unloading more than 20kg of weight from the roof of your vehicle will be tricky, so, be very careful.

One of the extra reasons the jerry can was such a hit with troops was because the design allowed for up to four to be carried by one person, and both the filling and pouring could be performed by one hose (instead of needing a hose and a funnel). The construction of a jerry can is also, by its nature, incredibly strong and resistant to fuel leaks but you should always inspect your jerrycan regularly before, during and after a trip to make sure it’s in good condition. And, when filling your jerry can, always remove it from the vehicle and place it on the ground next to the bowser.

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

A full bladder
If neither a jerry can nor a rigid portable poly tank works for you then there’s always collapsible ‘jerrycan’. These things are generally around 20L in size and, when not filled with fuel collapse to the size of an A4 pad. When filled they measure around 540mm x 620mm and while I personally haven’t used a bladder, claims are they’re completely odour proof and impact resistant from a height of 30m.

Plastic Fantastic…
If you don’t like the idea of carrying jerry cans on either the back or the roof of your vehicle, then there are alternatives in the form of portable rigid polyethylene tanks. These tanks are available in a range of shapes (some are shaped to conform to the rear seat footwell and others over the wheel arches in the back of a ute) and sizes from 50-100L and more for 4X4 applications. Beyond the tank itself, you can get 12V pumps for them which makes filling your main tank a little easier.

GUIDE

Carry extra fuel in your 4X4

WORDS BY ISAAC BOBER, IMAGES BY ARNOLD ARCHIVE

Never miss an opportunity to fill up and always carry extra fuel when you’re heading off-road for an extended time, here’s what you need to know.

Australia is a big place. And if you’re travelling through the outback then fuel stops can be few and far between. So, if upgrading your vehicle’s fuel tank is one of the things you’ve decided to ‘get around to next time’, then carrying extra fuel with you will be a must.

See, the fuel tank in most modern 4X4s averages around 85 litres and this is just too small for remote area touring where your speed will often be low and possibly in low-range too, and so fuel use will increase. Of course, some brands, like Toyota, offer up to 120 litres (in a main and sub tank) depending on the vehicle.

How to

Obviously, investing in a long-range fuel tank, or adding an auxiliary tank is the best and safest way to increase your range in the outback. But there are plenty of ‘portable’ options.

It's a good idea to know how much fuel your 4X4 uses both in general driving conditions and when fully loaded for outback touring. Doing this before you head off on your next adventure will mean you’ve got a good idea of just how far you’ll be able to get on a tank of fuel and just how much extra fuel you might need depending on the distance between fills.

Remember, though, carrying extra fuel is all part of your vehicle’s payload and a full jerry can (20L) will weigh around 25kg. And so, you need to think carefully about how many full jerry cans you’re carrying, be they filled with fuel or water, and where you load them. You're legally allowed to carry up to 250L.

The most common place is to hang them off the back of your vehicle and sometimes on the roof, but this will affect your vehicle’s handling and depending on what else you’re carrying on the roof exceed your vehicle’s dynamic (driving) roof load. More than that, this 'guide' is really just for diesel (it's considered non-combustible). If you're carrying unleaded fuel in jerry cans then you can only carry them in non-impact zone locations (think the tray of a pickup).

Repairs on the road
Even if you carry extra fuel with you, it pays to pack a fuel tank repair kit. These things cost around $40 and can be used to patch both metal fuel tanks and jerry cans. Because even if you’ve got extra fuel, if you spring a leak in your main tank it will all be for nothing.

So, when you’re out and about, make sure you check the fuel tank at the end of each day’s driving for any leaks.

From WWII to now
The jerry can is the go-to for most people needing to carry extra fuel. And has been since before World War Two. Designed by the Germans, it was originally known as the Wehrmacht-Eineitskanister (which translates as, armed forces unit canister). The slang name, given by Allied forces, was jerry can because of the slang name for Germans being, Jerry.

The German fuel canister began being stockpiled back in 1925 with the design largely unchanged today. See, the Allies used what was nicknamed, the flimsy. A smaller drum than the jerry can (20L), it was made from a handful of flat, thin tin that was welded together. The handle was thin and uncomfortable to carry once filled with fuel and fuel would often leak from the weld lines. The jerry can was a stroke of genius and the Allies eventually reverse-engineered the things and, these days you can get both the steel version and a polyethylene (plastic) version (pub fact – these are called jerry jugs).

It goes without saying that if you’re using a jerry can or jerryjug, then you should never, ever store it inside your vehicle. Why? Because of the fumes, duh. If you drive a wagon, store them on the back or the roof, if you drive a ute then store them in the tray away from anything that might be a potential ignition source, for obvious reasons.

There are plenty of storage racks for jerry cans available for a variety of vehicles and while the best place to store a jerrycan/jug is on the back of your vehicle, or in the tray of a ute, sometimes you need to place them on the roof of your vehicle. If you need to do this, then make sure you’ve got a suitable roof rack set-up and a way of securing the jerry can/jug, and be mindful that storing anything on the roof of your vehicle needs to remain within the dynamic roof load of your vehicle, and that the handling (because of the raised centre of gravity) will be affected. More than that, loading and unloading more than 20kg of weight from the roof of your vehicle will be tricky, so, be very careful.

One of the extra reasons the jerry can was such a hit with troops was because the design allowed for up to four to be carried by one person, and both the filling and pouring could be performed by one hose (instead of needing a hose and a funnel). The construction of a jerry can is also, by its nature, incredibly strong and resistant to fuel leaks but you should always inspect your jerrycan regularly before, during and after a trip to make sure it’s in good condition. And, when filling your jerry can, always remove it from the vehicle and place it on the ground next to the bowser.

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

Plastic Fantastic…
If you don’t like the idea of carrying jerry cans on either the back or the roof of your vehicle, then there are alternatives in the form of portable rigid polyethylene tanks. These tanks are available in a range of shapes (some are shaped to conform to the rear seat footwell and others over the wheel arches in the back of a ute) and sizes from 50-100L and more for 4X4 applications. Beyond the tank itself, you can get 12V pumps for them which makes filling your main tank a little easier.

A full bladder
If neither a jerry can nor a rigid portable poly tank works for you then there’s always collapsible ‘jerrycan’. These things are generally around 20L in size and, when not filled with fuel collapse to the size of an A4 pad. When filled they measure around 540mm x 620mm and while I personally haven’t used a bladder, claims are they’re completely odour proof and impact resistant from a height of 30m.