What are the Best gas Cans for Overlanding and Emergency to Buy in 2023?
Have you experienced this before? You’re driving along, enjoying the scenery, when you notice the low fuel indicator on the dashboard.
Despite having 30 gallons of fuel left in the tank, you’re over forty miles from the nearest gas station through some rough two-tracks and a drive on the highway.
I hope you brought extra fuel with you. That’s going to be a long walk if you don’t.
There are few things more rewarding than exploring mountains, forests, and deserts in the backcountry. It is unfortunately necessary to carry enough fuel to get from point A to point B (and back again) safely out there.
Every overlander – regardless of experience – needs to consider how much fuel to bring and how to store it. It is not always intuitive to know which jerry can (or gas can) is best for overlanding.
Over the last decade, I’ve found the best gas can for overlanding through trial and error. I’d like to give you a little background before I get into that.
My dream rig a decade ago was a 1994 Toyota Land Cruiser, and one of the challenges I faced was storing extra fuel for long overland trips. In the backcountry, having extra fuel on board (preferably externally mounted) is extremely important for safety and peace of mind.
While gas stations are ubiquitous in the U.S. and Canada, finding one in Mexico and Central America can be quite challenging.
To reach your next destination (or fill-up point) in these situations, you must have an adequate supply of fuel. Through all of North America, I’ve traveled extensively off the grid, and I’ve used my extra fuel countless times.
It’s not always easy to figure out how much fuel to bring and how to store it effectively. Overland travelers, especially those who are new to the style of travel, must consider fuel weight, mounting issues, and the right gas can to purchase. For your adventures, carry at least 5.0 U.S. gallons of extra fuel.
A U.S. gallon of gasoline weighs approximately 6.3 pounds, and most external cans hold about 20 liters, or 5.0 gallons.
Five gallons of fuel weigh about 31.5 pounds plus the weight of the gas can. You need to know if the swing out on your bumper or roof rack can safely support the additional weight with this calculation.
Best Jerry Cans for Overlanding
Take a look at some of the best fuel storage/gas can options for your travels:
Wavian 20-Liter Steel Jerry Can with Spout
I’ve been using this gas can for over five years. So far, it hasn’t failed me. It is rugged and durable.
Made from 0.9mm cold-rolled steel, this gas can is painted with an epoxy-polyester powder coat for color durability. A leak-proof bayonet closure and a locking pin in the cap prevent spills on corrugated roads or rocky trails.
RotopaX Fuel Container
Each RotopaX Gasoline Pack is individually pressure tested and manufactured 100% in the USA, ensuring a quality, leak-free product.
Available in 1.0-, 1.75-, 2.0-, 3.0-, and 4.0-gallon sizes, these packs are ideal for motorcycles and vehicles. By using RotoPAX’s proprietary mounts (sold separately) or your manufacturer’s bumper or gas can mounting hardware, these gas cans can be mounted to any flat surface.
Rugged Ridge 20 Liter Metal Jerry Can
No matter what kind of vehicle you drive, Rugged Ridge Jerry Cans are a great way to carry fuel reserves on extended trips. It has a 20-liter capacity (5.28 gallons), a green gloss finish, and a hinged fuel cap with a safety latch.
In many gas stations, you can find thin-walled plastic gas cans that I do not recommend. Overland travelers put their equipment through extreme conditions and they are not rugged enough to handle them. If you keep your fuel in one of these cans, you’re inviting leaks and trouble. You shouldn’t do it! In this case, cheaper isn’t always better.
The rugged gas can isn’t the end of your needs. When stored in a sealed metal or plastic container, pure gasoline begins to degrade and lose its combustibility within three to six months.
If you add Sta-Bil Fuel Stabilizer to gasoline, it will stabilize your fuel and keep it fresh for up to two years. An additive is highly recommended (and should be used).
People realize the importance of carrying and storing extra fuel on board their vehicles after running out of gas once. This is particularly important if you spend a lot of time in the backcountry and venture further off the tarmac.
7 Best Off-Road Gas Cans for Emergencies
When you are driving, running out of gas is everyone’s worst nightmare, but when you are not driving, it is even worse! It can be extremely important – or even lifesaving – to have an extra can of gas, especially if you enjoy off-roading in areas without cell service.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a gas can for your car. Size, durability, material, and functionality are some of these factors.
The last thing you want is a can that is not very easy to use or has low durability. Here are our top picks for choosing the right can for you. For storing fuel, it is important to understand when to use plastic or metal gas cans.
Gas is also flammable and emits harmful fumes. It is more affordable to store gasoline in plastic cans, but gasoline can leach into the cans and they are also prone to melting and temperature changes.
On the other hand, metal gas cans provide better long-term fuel storage, but they are less portable and generally more expensive. Here are our top picks for the best gas cans to help you choose the right one.
Wavian Gas Can
There is no doubt that the Wavian Gas Can is one of the best gas cans available.
The cold rolled steel is lined to prevent rusting. It measures 19 inches tall, 13.5 inches long, and 6.5 inches wide and holds 5.28 gallons.
It is DOT and OSHA compliant and comes with a spout. Besides coming in a variety of colors, this gas can also comes with a variety of accessories, such as gas can holders. We recommend this option because it is very durable, but it is unfortunately restricted in California.
RotopaX Gas Can
RotopaX gas cans look unique and can be mounted on the back of Jeeps. If you want to carry more than one can, however, each can only holds 2 gallons, making this an expensive option.
Yet it comes with a spout and can be used in an emergency. You can purchase a mounting kit separately if you would like to mount this can on your vehicle.
EPA and CARB compliant, it is leak-proof. Plastic barrier makes this can fairly durable. You must vent the fuel once a day with this gas can. 17 344 inches tall, 13 1 4 inches long, and 3 inches wide.
Anvil Off-Road Jerry Can
Anvil Off-Road Jerry Cans are 5.3 gallon steel cans with safety caps and spouts.
Although it is slightly cheaper than the Wavian gas can, it is also available only in red, green, blue, or yellow. OSHA-compliant and EPA and CARB-certified, it is available in all 50 states.
Additionally, it meets DOT, NFPA, and ASTM standards. Mounting equipment is sold separately for this gas can. With an internal vent and a locking pin, the safety cap prevents leaks and spills.
Midwest Can Metal Jerry Can
Midwest Can’s Metal Jerry Cans are an affordable option for metal fuel cans.
The container holds 5 gallons and measures 18 14 inches tall, 13.5 inches long, and 6.5 inches wide. There is a quick flow spout on this can, as well as a spill-proof lid. DOT, EPA, and CARB certifications are available. Red is the only color available for this gas can.
Flame Shield Metal Gas Can
The steel gas can from Flame Shield is another great metal option that is less expensive than the Wavian gas can.
5 gallon capacity, 18 14 inches tall, 13.5 inches long, and 6.5 inches wide. This gas can come in only one color, classic red, and includes the spout and cap. CARB and EPA standards are also met.
Midwest HDPE Gas Can
The Midwest HDPE gas can is an inexpensive alternative to plastic gas cans. There are only 2 gallons in this can, which measures 9 34% tall, 9 14% long, and 7 34% wide.
It is made of HDPE, not metal, and is self-venting. EPA and CARB standards are met, and the cap and spout are included.
This may be a good option for you if you are looking for a smaller, lightweight option. In contrast to some metal options, this will not be as durable.
SureCan Gas Can
Another great non-metal option is SureCan’s HDPE gas can. Flame Shield’s metal gas cans are cheaper, but this one holds 5 gallons, which is twice their capacity.
The dimensions of this can are 15 588 inches tall, 15 9/32 inches long, and 10 15/64 inches wide. There is only one color available, red, and it is self-venting. EPA, CARB, and DOT certifications are included with the spout. While this is a good non-metal option, it is not available internationally or in California.
We hope this list was useful in helping you find the best gas cans, especially for those who are off-roading or overlanding, and won’t be near a gas station for a longer period of time.
Always remember to use an approved gas can when filling your fuel tank and ensure that all safety measures are in place. Just as important as having a reliable and durable gas can, is having the proper recovery gear and off-road accessories.
Video Recommendation of Best gas cans for Overlanding and Emergency
References and Resources:
Frequently asked questions
What is the shelf life of gas in a gas can?
Generally, pure gas stored in a metal or plastic container can last 3-6 months before degrading and losing its combustibility.
The ethanol gas blends should not be stored for more than 2-3 months before they begin to oxidize and evaporate.
What do you need to do to fill up a gas can?
Before filling up your gas can, place it on the ground and touch the metal of the nozzle to your vehicle to remove any static electricity.
Fill your gas can slowly by placing the gas nozzle on the rim of the can and pumping the gas in. Ensure there is room for the fuel to expand under changing temperatures by only filling your gas can up to 95%.