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The Gearzette


- November 04, 2023

Most of those reading this are fortunate to have 24/7 access to clean drinking water. You walk into the kitchen or bathroom and turn on the tap, and precious clear H2O flows out in a seemingly never-ending supply. Try crossing the Simpson, Kalahari, Atacama, or Chihuahuan Desert in your vehicle, and you’ll quickly realize that water and Eskimos are in serious short supply in these harsh, hot environments.

It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a two-week desert crossing or just going for a local picnic at a favorite beauty spot; you’ll need water. If travelling through an area where you sometimes won’t have access to clean water, you need to calculate how many people are in your vehicle and how many gallons you’ll need to carry to ensure that there is enough to go around. You might also have to include a little extra if you break down or spend more time there than anticipated.

There are four ways you can transport water when using your vehicle: on the roof rack, inside the car, a permanent tank underneath the vehicle, or by just using regular water bottles or containers. Here are some water storage solutions so you won’t get caught without water on your next adventure. ​

© Craig Rhodes-Harrison & Craig Kolesky

On the roof rack ​

This is a practical way of carrying water on a vehicle; it’s easy to access up there, but you also don’t need a pump, as gravity will let the water flow down to where it is required. Front Runner’s Pro Water Tank is perfect for your rack thanks to its clever mounting system. This tank is available in 20 and 42L options and will give you the water you need on the road. With the Tap Extension Bracket, one can cleverly extend your water tank tap away from the rack.

© Front Runner

In the vehicle ​

This depends on what you drive because a big 40L water tank isn’t efficient in a Fiat Panda 4x4 or Suzuki Jimny. An in-the-vehicle water tank is all about the best utilization of available space. Front Runner’s Footwell Water Tank has been cleverly designed to sit behind the front row of seats and holds 40L of water. It has a clever cutout and sits on top of the transmission tunnel. Other similar options are the Upright Water Tank/Flat 40L and the Slanted Water Tank, which takes a whopping 50L of water. A 67L water tank option that mounts to any flat surface is perfect for those heading to the desert.

Under the vehicle ​

Water isn’t light, and if you need to take 50 litres with you, it will take up considerable space. When overlanding, you need to try and keep your center of gravity and weight as low as possible. Fitting extra fuel and water tanks underneath a vehicle is very common.

Front Runner has a 36L vehicle-specific Water Tank for the Land Rover Defender 110 Puma 2.2 or 2.4, which fits beautifully behind one of the back wheels, so it is tucked out of the way. The tap for this tank is just underneath the rear cross member, which makes it discreet and accessible. One famous explorer used to fill this tank with rum, which he would then decant into a kettle for the evening’s drinks.

© Dometic GO

Other options ​

Not everyone has a roof rack or wants to fix a permanent water tank to the underside of their vehicle, but they will still need water. Dometic’s Hydration Water Jug 11L/2.9gal offers them an outstanding solution as it provides water on the go. It’s super easy to carry, thanks to the handles. Includes the one-touch operation Dometic Go Hydration Faucet. Perfect for picnics or longer getaways.