Water Storage & Filtration
Potable water on self-supported overland travels ranks at the top of the list of basic survival needs, right above shelter and food. With a shelter (FWC) secured, my sights now move to how I will both filter and store water while on the road next year. Sure, I could purchase bottled drinking water along the way, but over the course of time that’s not the most fiscally responsible method (not to mention the mounds of empty plastic bottles that I would have to discard). For most of my life, I have been in the habit of filling up reusable water bottles (plastic, aluminum, etc.) for drinking throughout the day.
Since most of my previous travels in North America had consisted of camping trips of no longer than a few days, I was able to get by with just filling up all of my available water bottles and bladders. Instead of having 40 Nalgene bottles rolling around in my backseat, I decided that one large storage tank would make more sense. Here’s where a 40 L (10.5 gal) water tank from Front Runner comes in. With a conservative rule-of-thumb being one gallon of water per person, per day – this should be enough for my dog and me for at least 5 days between resupplies.
Now I must figure out the best placement for this water tank. There was a perfectly sized place for it in the very back driver side corner of the camper, but this was well behind the rear axle. Having about 80 pounds of water sloshing around that far back would not be a good thing. Since I won’t be having passengers regularly in the backseat, I decided to place it in the wheel well. Tacomas are notorious for a “lean,” since the 18.5-gallon fuel tank is on the same side as the driver and starter battery. So I decided it would be best to place the water on the passenger side to help balance things out. Plus, my leaf springs will thank me for having this weight forward of the rear axle.. With the front passenger seat pushed back and slightly reclined, the tank is firmly wedged into place, preventing it from moving around in the case of a crash or rollover.
Access to both filling up and extracting water from the tank in this location should be easy. The fill cap is on the top, which may require me to move a few bags (depending on how to pack the backseat). The tap consists of a flexible hose, which I positioned facing the rear passenger door. This can be brought outside of the truck and below the level of the tank so that gravity can do all the work when I need to fill up water bottles or bladders for drinking, cooking, or showering.
When researching water filtrations systems for this trip, I considered various options. I liked the idea of something portable, in case the water source I was filtering from wasn’t near the truck. The plan would be to filter all water before storing it in my vehicle, so that there would be no confusion as to whether or not it would be safe for consumption. I came across Lifesaver’s website, remembering that we had tested their waterbottle filter back in the Fall 2009 issue of Overland Journal. Now they offer a jerrycan filter. I can now not only make sure that all of my water is potable, but also carry an additional 5 gallons with me. A much more in-depth review of this product is forthcoming.
With just over 15 gallons of filtered drinking water stored in my truck and camper, I now feel comfortable being “off the grid” (a.k.a. camping on a remote beach somewhere) for about a week without having to resupply. Plus, I can fill up all of my smaller water bottles and bladders for an additional few gallons if necessary.
- Front Runner: frontrunner.co.za [South Africa], frontrunneroutfitters.com [U.S.]
- Lifesaver: lifesaversystems.com [U.K.], lifesaverusa.com [U.S.]
- Overland Journal: overlandjournal.com