Everything You Need to Know About 4WD Water Tanks

Nothing beats a good gulp of water after driving for hours in an isolated track. Even your passengers will eventually get thirsty. So, it would be a total disaster if you happen to run out of the water while in the middle of nowhere. There will be no water to use in drinking, cooking, or plumbing. Luckily, there are countless water tanks of all shapes and sizes that you can install in your 4WD vehicle. Some vehicles even come with their own tanks so that you won’t have to purchase one. 

Every time you take a trip into the outdoors, it is prudent to ensure that you will be self-sufficient. At least 2 litres of water is needed for every person per day aside from what is needed for cooking, washing, plumbing, and refilling the radiator. In total, you would need to have 40-100 litres of water.

However, choosing the right tank for your use case is quite tricky, so here are some tips before you purchase one…

What Devices Can I Use to Store Water in My Vehicle?

There are four main types of water storage solutions that you can use in your trips. These are:

  • Jerry cans;
  • PVC pipes;
  • Water bladders; and
  • Built-in water tanks.

What Is Jerry Cans?

If you want your water storage to be portable, jerry cans are your best option. They can also be placed in almost all nooks and crannies in your vehicle. You can also have two or more of them to designate one or more tank each for drinking, washing, and etc. However, there are also some disadvantages if you plan to use them. Some of the drawbacks are:

  • They are a hassle to set up because jerry cans have to be secured every time you go on a trip;
  • Difficult to find a place to put them on; and
  • Getting water out of them is not easy because of their weight.

Most of them are made from plastic but stainless steel jerry cans are needed to store drinking water.

What Is A Water Bladder?

Water bladders are the most portable and versatile water storage option on this list. They are cheap and will mould into any space left in your vehicle. Most people place them in their rear quarter panels or the floor in some cases. If you want to have one, choose a water bladder that is puncture-resistant and can store a large amount of water with ease.

Should I Use PVC Pipes to Store Water?

Yes(?). It is simple to install and you can store a lot of water without sacrificing the interior storage space. However, storing water in PVC pipes are not exactly a good idea. These pipes have high chlorine content which not only causes harm to you but also the environment. 

However, if you have no other choice, you should use the water stored in them for washing and showers. While your drinking water must be stored in another container. Again, it is not recommended putting these pipes above the roof as it can be dangerous. The likelihood of your vehicle tipping over will greatly increase. So, you should mount them on your vehicle’s underside. 

Installing them this way will allow you to save money, increase safety, and maximise the space you have for storage.

Is Installing A Built-in Water Tank Worth It?

These tanks are perfect for those who don’t want to be stressed out by setting up water tanks every time you travel. You will also have the option to install one or more tanks of various shapes and sizes to fit your vehicle. There are also two options for the material that the water tanks are made of – poly or stainless steel. 

Poly tanks are cheaper than the latter but they are not as tough as the latter. The impact of rocks and other materials under your vehicle can tear them up. However, they come in various shapes and sizes so they can be installed in almost all available spaces in your vehicle. Some of these places include:

  • On the floor;
  • The rear quarter panels;
  • Inside the rear bumper;
  • In front of the back drawers;
  • Behind the rear seats;
  • In the canopy of the ute; and
  • In between the radiator and bull bar.

How Do I Prevent Water Contamination?

To reduce the risk of contamination, have at least 2 water storage tanks. For example, you can put drinking water in stainless steel tanks while water for other uses can be stored in plastic jerry cans. You should do so because water stored in a plastic container can acquire a weird taste or smell of plastic. This is usually observed if you store it for long periods of time.

How Do I Maximise Space for Water Storage?

Space is a premium, especially inside a vehicle. Some of you may think that water tanks must be placed on the roof to save space. However, that is not a good idea because it will add weight above the vehicle’s centre of gravity. Instead, it should be stored low so that the centre of gravity will not be affected. 

How to Install 4WD Water Tanks?

One thing to consider when you install a water tank is the departure angle of your vehicle must not be affected. You should find some recess in your vehicle that is suitable for installation. This will depend upon your vehicle as every model has its own issues or practical locations for installation. There are also numerous blogs and tutorials that explain the step-by-step guide for installing water tanks on almost all makes and models of vehicles. 

Example: Toyota Landcruiser 80 Series

The perfect place to put the water storage is in the spare wheel bay located under the vehicle. There are a lot of tanks that are specifically made for this model and they come in various sizes. But it is also ideal for long-range fuel tanks. So, if you want to have them both, the only option left is the small space under the passenger seat. However, it is small and it can only accommodate smaller tanks (approximately 30 litres).

Important: There are a lot of ways to install a water tank. Please read the manual or ask an expert to install them for you.

What Brands of Water Tanks Should I Get?

These are some of the best brands that we found:

  • Dunn & Watson Vehicle Water Tank 60 L: this is ideal for RVs like camper trailer, caravans, motor homes, ute trays, and etc. It is made from a Roto-Moulded plastic which is produced wholly in Australia. It also comes with a soap or sunscreen dispenser that can be attached to the tank. The tank is fitted under the vehicle or RV, so the centre of gravity of the vehicle is not affected.
  • Dunn & Watson 75 L Dual Wheel Arch Water Tank: if your vehicle or RV has space between the wheel arches, this is ideal for you. You can also save space because you may not have to bring another water tank, especially on short trips.
  •  RV Tanks Australia UB25: the UB25 is perfect for storing water that will be used for hand washing because of its smaller size. It is also perfect for those of you who only go on short trips.
  • RV Tanks Australia Angled Tank RV75: the tank is made for larger RVs like camper trailers and pickup trucks. They are designed to be placed on the back with the slant of the tanks going towards the rear. This is meant to make it easier for water to be drained out. The tank’s large size is also meant for a long trip to the outback. 

Related Questions

Are Polyethylene Water Tanks Safe?

Many people are not comfortable taking this risk with their drinking water. Plastic tanks are manufactured from food-grade safe, BPA-free polyethylene plastic so they’re 100% safe for storing drinking water.

How Long Does A Poly Water Tank Last?

The life of your poly water tank will last a long time – up to 20 years and more. Stabilisers also protect the colour of your tank from fading.

How Much Water Does A Jerry Can Hold?

A jerrycan or jerry can is a strong liquid container made from pressed steel. It was first invented in Germany in the 1930s for military use to hold 20 litres of fuel. 20 litres is also 4.4 imp gal. or 5.3 US gal.

How Do You Clean A Water Tank?

First fill the water tank with with warm water plus half a teaspoon of bleach and two tablespoons of baking soda. Close the can and shake the contents, then let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse out the cleaning solution. flush the hose and add water again to clean it out. then prop the reservoir open and hang it to dry. 

Are Plastic Water Tanks Safe?

Steel tanks are galvanised with a zinc wall which, while not a health risk, can affect the taste of drinking water. Studies on some steel tanks have also shown a harmful level of lead. … Plastic tanks are manufactured from food-grade safe, BPA-free polyethylene plastic so they’re 100% safe for storing drinking water.

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