How to Manage Overlanding Water Storage

Water is essential, it is vital for survival should you get stranded while out Overlanding. When Overlanding, you might also not be anywhere near drinking water- or running water for that matter. 

It is also crucial to keep your vehicle cool and running, should your vehicle get a water leak or suffer from overheating. It is important to keep you hydrated but also offers some comfort like a refreshing shower and clean dishes.

When overlanding, water is like liquid gold and it is imperative you have more than enough onboard.

There are numerous products available today, which have made the storage and transportation of clean water significantly easier. They are made from a variety of materials and involve more technology than one might think. 

There are also numerous designs available with some being specifically designed for Vehicle Water Storage and some specifically designed for Roof Rack Water Storage. There are also some interesting overland Water Storage Systems available, which enable you to use water more effectively and conveniently. 

Let’s take a look at some of the premium overlanding water storage options available, find out how much water you need for overlanding, and discuss an overland Water System.

Vehicle Water Storage Tanks

Vehicle Water Storage Containers have improved significantly over the past few decades, with these containers now carrying larger volumes of water. They are designed to be more space effective, feature designs to fit irregular spaces, and are also visually appealing.

Front Runner Footwell Water Tank

The Footwell Water Tank from Front Runner is a marvelous creation. It features an innovative design that allows it to snuggly fit on the floor of the vehicle, behind the front seats. 

This water container offers a universal shape that has been designed to fit the majority of vehicles. The top section offers a durable non-slip design that can be used for stacking supplies or simply as a floor. 

There are two convenient plastic pipe fittings on each side of the water tank, for connecting a tap and hose.

The Front Runner Footwell Water Tank is made from durable food-grade Polyurethane and is BPA-free.The complete weight of this water storage tank is just 11 pounds (4.98 Kg).

I really like this Water Tank but it can prove difficult to refill, especially if you are in a remote area, gathering borehole water or don’t have access to a hose. In these cases, the Front Runner Roof Rack, RotopaX RX-1W and RotopaX RX-2S can offer more convenience.

Front Runner Upright Water Tank/Flat

This overlanding water storage tank is perfect for overlanding, off-roading, and camping. It fits beautifully behind the rear seat of your vehicle. This exciting design allows for the convenient and space-saving transportation of 10.6 gallons (40 liters) of freshwater. It is ideal for transporting and storing cooking, showering, and drinking water.

The slim and durable design significantly reduces water noise (noise created when water sloshes around during travel) and allows it to be positioned in an area of the vehicle that normally wouldn’t be utilized.

The Front Runner Upright Water Tank is BPA-free and is made from food-grade Polyurethane. It features plastic pipe fittings and a convenient tank hose kit is sold separately. 

I think this is a great product and is one of my favorites. It is particularly ideal for overlanders and 4 x 4 off-road enthusiasts who have limited space available. The design tank is robust and durable, as well as visually appealing. 

If properly maintained and cleaned regularly (even when not in use), this product will offer you many years of safe and convenient overlanding and camping.

As is the case with the Front Runner Footwell Water Tank, this tank’s design can prove difficult to refill in remote locations. 

Roof Rack Water Storage Tanks

Roof Rack Water Storage Containers are slightly different from Vehicle Storage Containers, these water storage containers should be rectangular or square as are designed to be easily stacked on a roof rack and then tied down for safe traveling. Having these uniformed designs allows for space-saving, increased safety, and easy transportation.

Front Runner Water Tank with Mounting System / 42l

This quality water storage tank from Front Runner is ideal for storing cooking, drinking, and shower water. It is expertly designed to save space and offers an impressive holding capacity of 11.1 gallons (40 liters). This tank includes all necessary brackets to mount and safely secure it to the roof rack. 

This Front Runner is my favourite amongst the roof rack systems as it holds more water than its average competitors, it is highly durable and an innovative design. 

This quality water storage tank is made from food-grade Polyurethane and is BPA-free. The bracket is made from 3CR12 stainless steel and then put through a black powder coating process to improve rust and corrosion resistance.

This water tank is a firm favorite of mine however there is one disadvantage we can’t ignore. While it is designed well, it is quite expensive when compared to the RotopaX products.

RotopaX RX-2S Body

RotopaX is synonymous with quality, proudly made in the United States and have earned their reputation for designing and manufacturing premium water and fuel storage products. They are the manufactures of the first generation water and fuel packs and are the only EPA and Carb compliant storage containers available in the U.S.

RotopaX containers feature a durable three-layer roto-molding process which is combined with a specially formulated plastic barrier material. This combination results in a container that is extremely strong and robust. Stronger construction and thicker walls make this storage container leak-proof, and a sure seal gasket ensures that the spout won’t vibrate loose and leak. 

The two-gallon capacity RotopaX RX-2S is extremely versatile, the slim compact design allows it to be stored almost anywhere. It can be transported in your vehicle or stacked and piled on your roof rack.

This container is offered with a spout but the mounting kit is sold separately. This is a fantastic storage container, at an affordable price, I’m not at all surprised that the RotopaX RX-2S Body is one of their best-selling products.

This water container is limited in volume capacity when compared to the Front Runner Roof Rack Water Container, and carries significantly less water. If overlanding for an extended period, you may require numerous containers to ensure you have enough water.

RotopaX RX-1W Water Pack

This is another great product from RotopaX and is packed with all the quality and technology of the RotopaX RX-2S Body. It offers a one-gallon storage capacity and a compact and sleek design. 

The three-layer roto-molding process ensures durability and strength. This water storage container can be stored and transported almost anywhere. It is extremely versatile and can be used for numerous recreational applications. Just like the slightly larger RX-2S, it meets all government requirements. 

This water container is quite versatile but offers even less volume capacity than the RotopaX RX-2S container. You will require several containers when overlanding in remote areas. When you are in a remote area, the last thing you want to be doing is struggling to get water into your container. 

So, while the container is one of the most versatile, the struggle to load water into it does detract from its value. At the end of the day, you’ve got to decide what’s more important for you. Versatility, durability, or volume capacity? Perhaps the best solution is to use one roof rack container, and one in-vehicle container. That way, you get more water, but don’t waste any storage space.

How much Water do you need for Overlanding?

We all need to drink about two liters of water per day to stay sufficiently hydrated. This amount can increase dramatically should the weather be exceptionally hot and/or if you happen to be performing extreme outdoor activities during the day. 

It will also increase should you enjoy a few beers or a few glasses of wine around the bush fire at night. Alcohol is known to assist in dehydration, so extra water is imperative when having a few cold ones. You will also need water to cook, clean, and shower each day.

This means, to be on the safe side you should allocate at least five gallons (20 liters) of freshwater to each person daily. Multiply the number of people, by the number of days you plan to be overlanding.

Once you have any idea of how much water you will need, add an additional 5 Gallon (20 liters) Container for emergency purposes only. 

Emergency Situations may include running out of drinking water, assisting fellow overlanders, refilling your water cooling system should you get a water leak on your trusted Off-Road Vehicle, or extinguishing an out-of-control campfire. 

Water is vital to keep your Off-Road Vehicle running at a cool and efficient temperature. As the water pump directs water through the radiator, your fan cools this water as it passes through.

Water Loss can result in you being unable to drive your vehicle, so an emergency Water Container is always a good idea.

Water Storage Systems

Overlanding water Storage Systems are becoming quite popular among overlanders and 4×4 off-road enthusiasts, and for good reason too.

A relatively simple system can offer loads of comfort and convenience, even if you happen to be camping in a remote location.

A Water Storage System allows you to remove the water from your storage tanks with ease and subsequently direct it to various points around your vehicle and campsite. This can be done one of two ways:

The first is by using a gravity feed, but this can only be achieved if your tanks are stored up high on your roof rack.

 The second and most popular is a pump feed, a pump allows you to gain significantly more water pressure when compared to that of a gravity feed.

When upgrading to Water Storage System you will need the following:

· Water Pump with slim design Pick-Up

Water Pumps have become more affordable of late and should be mounted to the undercarriage of your vehicle. A 12V pump that can pump around 3 gallons per minute is sufficient. Generally, these have a built-in 55 psi pressure switch and should be connected directly to the vehicle’s battery.

 A slim design Pick-Up allows you to pump water from containers with small filling holes.

· Plastic or brass Adaptors

These adapters are attached to the water storage containers, and allow the portable hose to be connected with ease.

· Portable Hose

The portable Hose will connect your storage containers to a portable tap and shower.

· Portable Tap

This can be mounted on your vehicle, or around your campsite. It is directly connected to the water pump by the portable hose. I usually set up in an area where I wash dishes and do cleaning chores.

· Portable Shower Head

A portable shower can be mounted on your vehicle or around the campsite. It is directly connected to the water pump by the portable hose.

· Clamps

Clamps are required to safely secure the portable hose to the pump and water containers.

· Power Switch

A simple power switch can be mounted to the vehicle, this will allow you to switch the system off when not in use.

· Pressure regulator

A Pressure Regulator allows the pump and system to operate automatically. When you open the tap or shower, the regulator will notice a drop in water pressure and automatically switch on. When the tap is closed, the water pressure will build up and the pump will switch off. This switch is extremely convenient but also assists in reducing water wastage.

· Depth Gauge

A depth gauge is not critical but it is a nice feature to have. It is a simple device and allows you to see when your water supply is running low.


Water is extremely important when overlanding and is essential for survival. Fortunately, there are some incredible products available, which enable transportation and storage of this valuable source possible. 

There are water storage containers that have been designed to fit inconspicuously in your vehicle, and there are some products that have been specifically designed to be stored and transported on a roof rack.

Front Runner and RotopaX are renowned for quality overland accessories, and their range of water storage containers is no different. They are made from durable materials which are food quality grade and BPA free. They feature designs that allow overlanders to go further for longer.

When overlanding, it is recommended to allocate at least 5 Gallons of freshwater to each person for each day. We need to drink at least two liters of water every day to stay sufficiently hydrated, plus additional water to cook, clean, and shower. 

It is recommended that you take an emergency water container with a volume capacity of five gallons for emergencies.

Overlanding water Storage Systems are simple, affordable, and offer extreme levels of convenience when overlanding.

By fitting a pump and using a portable hose, taps, and shower, you can easily remove water from your storage tanks and effectively direct it to your camp kitchen and shower.

A pressure regulator will allow the pump to work automatically and drastically reduce water wastage.

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