Managing Your Water

Everyone knows water is essential to life. Even in cold climate areas, you need a minimum of 2 litres of water each day to maintain efficiency. But when touring in your 4×4, you don’t want to JUST be surviving, you want to be enjoying yourself. Here are just some of the things you’ll want water for:

  • Drinking
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning dishes
  • Cleaning yourself/showering
  • Hygiene

And for all of this you ideally want to use sanitary water.

The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum 5 litres of water per person per day to cover all of the above requirements . That adds up pretty quickly when you think about longer trips to remote areas.

You can get away with less if you’re savvy with your uses and pool together your water use. Simple solutions such as shared dish wash up water, hand washes and using available water around you for things like bathing/showering. If you’re sitting around a campfire you’re also less likely to need as much as those who are hiking.

But it does raise a few areas that you should cover off when thinking about how much water you need to take with you:


Storage of water in a 4×4 takes a little bit of fore-thought. Try and keep it low in your vehicle to ensure you don’t raise your centre of gravity. Make sure it’s appropriately secured and in a container that isn’t vulnerable to puncture/leaks. And ensure you’ve got more than the minimum amount to ensure should issues come up, you aren’t becoming desperate.

There are some great solutions for water storage all with separate mentalities.


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This provides you with plenty of backup in case individual bottles do leak/fail. But is generally not as efficient due to the wasted space surrounding storing water bottles. The one nice thing is that you can slip plenty of them in small spaces that mightn’t otherwise be used. They come ready to drink straight from the container and can easily be thrown in a fridge if you like your water cold.


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This is probably the ideal solution for many. Ensuring you have a large mass of water stored generally in and permanent location. Plumbing to and from this also means easy filling up and access to the water. Water tanks are generally very efficient in the space they use.


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This is the middle ground between a water tank and smaller water bottles. Jerry cans are tough, have excellent capacity and still have a level of modularity whilst maintaining some redundancy. With appropriate pumps and taps jerry cans can be very easy to use still.


The next issue you’ll face when looking to get water on the road is sanitization. The water from your tap at hope is already pre-sanitised and safe to drink, so make sure you fill up before leaving. As you get on the road access to water can become less available. Petrol stations generally offer taps, as do caravan parks and towns. But you’re never 100% sure of the water quality. This becomes worse when you start getting water from rivers and watering holes in the bush. Sanitising your water is a simple way to ensure it’s safe to drink. Here are some great ways to ensure it:


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Boiling water is the oldest way to ensure your water is sanitized. But bringing it to the boil isn’t enough. It needs to boil for 5-10 minutes to ensure that all bacteria in it is eliminated. Depending on how clean the water is, you may wish to also run it through a filter to get rid of any solids such as dirt, reeds and bugs.


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There are a many ready-made water filters available that allow you to fill from less-than-ideal locations. Generally these utilise a charcoal filter or some similar type that removes solids and purifies.


water purification tablets-w1920

Probably the least idea way as it can leave the water with a tainted taste. It again also doesn’t remove any solids, so again it’d be recommended running it through a filter. But it is a proven water to purify water and can be easier to use on large quantities than boiling.



Article from Ironman4x4


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Comments 1


    Many people are unaware that most modern vehicles have a windscreen washer reservoir with a water capacity of up to about one gallon.

    I regularly keep my windscreen washer reservoir full of clean water (without any additives) – which in the case of an emergency, and as a last resort (after depletion of the 50+ litres of water I always carry in my reliable 4WD)

    – could provide several additional days worth of rationed drinking water (via a short length of suitable clean hose – as a makeshift straw!)

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