Overlanding Water Storage: All You Need to Know

Overlanding can seem like a care-free, easy, and simple way of life. But there are some essentials you will need to take care of before setting out on your journey: like water storage.

As a rule of thumb, you should have up to 10 gallons or more with you at all times, and water purifiers in case of an emergency. Before setting out on your journey, you will want to supply your vehicle with enough water tanks. Having a steady and safe supply of water while Overlanding is essential.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about Overlanding water storage, including the best tanks and bottles, and how to purify natural water.

Storing Water in Your Vehicle

When Overlanding, you may not encounter a freshwater source for days at a time. You should be prepared and have enough water on hand in case of an emergency.

The average person needs 1.5 to 2 gallons of water per day. If you are traveling with a dog, they will probably need 0.5 to 1 gallon per day, depending on their size. It’s a good idea to have enough water on hand to last up to a week.

You will want to supply your vehicle with water tanks full of freshwater. You can carry water in any container; old milk jugs and growlers make for excellent water storage, and it is always good to recycle.

In addition to your full supply of water jugs, you should fit your car with a water tank. One of the best water tanks for Overlanders is the Frontrunner’s 45L water tankOpens in a new tab.. Able to store 11.5 gallons, it should supply you with enough water for 6 to 8 days.

The Frontrunner 45L water tank is made from BPA-free polyethylene, and it is so easy to fill. It comes with a metal strap kit so you can attach it to the roof racks of your car. It can also be secured with regular straps.

You will want to consider investing in a similar size and quality water tank if you are just beginning your Overlanding journey. You never want to run out of water on the road.

The 5.5-gallon Reliance RhinoOpens in a new tab. is also an excellent water tank. At $20, it is an extremely affordable option. The Rhino is easy to carry, pours out easily, and comes with a screw cap for the airflow vent.

If you’re traveling alone, The Rhino will last you for about 3 to 6 days on the road. Be sure to factor in water for any dogs or animals that may be traveling with you.

Another tank that is better for shorter journeys is the Hydrapak HydrationOpens in a new tab.. Made from thermoplastic polyurethane, it can hold 2.1 gallons of water. It is smaller than the Frontrunner tank, and has fabric handles on either side that make it easy to carry and transport.

The Hydrapak Hydration is a sturdy water container that will last you about 1 to 2 days. If you have a dog, it will only last you about one day. For shorter day trips and excursions, the Hydrapak Hydration is an excellent choice.

Water Purifiers

Accidents do happen, and sometimes water jugs will fall off the roof rack or begin to leak. In any case, it is a good idea to bring some water purifiers with you on your journey.

Most likely, while you are Overlanding, you will encounter water sources like rivers and lakes. It’s difficult to gauge the safety of waterOpens in a new tab., and it’s better to lean on the safe side and always purify your water.

Even when water seems to be crystal clear and looks safe, it can still contain bacteria and parasites. Giardia lambliaOpens in a new tab., for example, is a microscopic parasite that is often found in river water.

Parasites like Giardia lamblia can cause intestinal infections. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, fatigue, cramps, and gas. Some people have no symptoms at all. Other diseases and infections can come from drinking unclean river water.

But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck! Several water purifiers on the market will help you transform murky water into safe and delicious drinking water. One of the best water purifiers on the market is the Potable Aqua Water Purification TabletsOpens in a new tab.. They come with two 50 count bottles.

These purification tablets are germicidal and can convert your dirty, contaminated water into potable drinking water in as fast as 34 minutes. These pills have been proven to be effective against bacteria and parasites like Giardia lamblia.

The Plumbing Problem

Overlanding can seem like such a romantic way of life: an interesting, inventive way to reject the status quo and really experience the world. And it is a beautiful, freeing lifestyle. There are, however, some problems that will inevitably surface during your journey.

The issue of plumbing is one of the central concerns of Overlanders. There may be days (or even weeks) where you will not encounter plumbing, toilets, showers, or freshwater. Being prepared for the worst will help you make the most out of your Overlanding journey.

Sacrificing certain comforts is part of the game, but there are tools out there that can make your journey more comfortable. Portable showers can help you wash and refresh yourself. Some of them even have solar panels that heat your water and help you have a hot shower on the road.

One of the best portable showers is The Advanced Element 5 Gallon Solar ShowerOpens in a new tab.. This shower has a solar heater with reflector panels that can heat your water in as little as three hours. It also comes with a temperature gauge, and pockets for storing shampoo, soap, and conditioner.

If you are going to be traveling through uninhabited land for several days at a time, you may also want to invest in a portable toilet. In a bind, you’ll be glad you made the investment.

The Dometic 301097202 Portable ToiletOpens in a new tab. is one of the best toilets on the market. It is as stylish and sleek as a portable toilet can be. The Dometic is made from high-density polyethylene and is incredibly sturdy and durable. It is also, thankfully odor proof.

The Dometic also has a high-pressure flushing system that will whisk your waste away. It can take 2.6 gallons of waste before needing to be emptied.

Overlanding Overview

In case you are unfamiliar, OverlandingOpens in a new tab. is a way of life that involves constant travel and adventure. Overlanders are modern nomads who primarily live in their vehicle, or camp inside tents. They are committed to a life of adventure and travel.

Nomads, drifters, and wanderers have existed for millennia; historically, they have existed in almost every culture across the globe. The agricultural and industrial revolutions have definitely popularized the concept of a singular, rooted home, but nomadic ways of life are by no means a new phenomenon.

In the 1960s, Overlanding as we know it became popularized by the hippie movementOpens in a new tab.. Hippies were predominantly free-spirited, promoting philosophies centered on free love and anti-war sentiments. The hippie way of life is all about adventure, compassion, and appreciation for the natural world.

Today’s overlanders take much influence from the free-spirited adventurers of the 1960s. Overlanders are filled with a spirit of adventure and an intense passion for travel. They simply want to see the world: all its colors, climates, and peoples.


That’s all you need to know about storing water when Overlanding. With multi-gallon water tanks and water purifying pills, you’ll be set for a safe and memorable Overlanding adventure.

Jeremy Hoxie

Born and raised in beautiful Northern Michigan, I've have spent two decades enjoying everything the outdoors has to offer. When not working on RigForge, I spend my time Overlanding and tackling off-road trails while sharing my experiences and testing gear along the way. My current rig is a 2013 Jeep JKU Moab.

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