A little Background: I love getting out to the woods and have everything all set up. The tent is set up. My stove is set up (I REMEMBERED PROPANE!!). Enough food and beer to feed a small army. 4x4s are unloaded. Everything is looking up for a great weekend with no cell phone coverage or screaming little people (I really do love kids).
Did I remember to fuel up all my tanks? Of course. I filled up at the last gas station we passed, about 30 miles up the road. I fueled up the truck, the three quads, and a couple of 5-gallon off-road gas cans, and as a set of two RotoPaX 4.5 gallon gas cans. It got me thinking, though, if these are the best off-road gas cans or if they’re even worth it.
Let’s stop for a second
First of all, why do you need extra off-road jerry cans? They can be expensive as hell and when would you ever use them? Well, there are a few crucial reasons:
- You can push the limit of your tank and you don’t have to stress about whether you are going to make it to the gas station.
- You don’t have to pay attention if there is a large gap in cities when you may need to fill up before passing the barren wasteland.
- If you are towing a lot and you’re not getting the ideal MPG while approaching a serious stretch of land between gas stations (200+ miles) it’s much easier to have a backup than to run out of gas and deal with potential hot or cold temperatures waiting for someone to come.
- Gas stations could be out of service.
- Someone else may need it.
- You can run the engine to keep warm in winters if you don’t have blankets or clothing.
- Gas can be a lot more expensive in the boonies than in the city.
- You can instantly start a fire.
- If you take a wrong turn and don’t realize after 20 miles you may not make it back.
- Ever been stuck out at sea in a nice boat with no gas?
- They look badass on your truck.
I need enough gas to last the whole weekend. I’m not driving to the nearest town to refill my damn rides.
The 4x4s last a while but if you’re out there riding for a few hours and you need to refill then what are you going to do if your gas tanks don’t work?
They’re leaking, the caps locked up, or the frigging mount gives and your extra gas didn’t finish the trip (It has happened before. Don’t get me started).
READ MORE: WHAT ARE THE MOST AGGRESSIVE OFF-ROAD TIRES?
These things cost around $70. I only want to buy them one time. I don’t need to have this problem in my life. If you’re buying something that at times can be very valuable and you cannot rely on the damned thing then what is the point in the first place?
You can rely on brand names that sell. They sell for good reason. The reliability is second to none. But is it? What if some of these products aren’t all they’re cracked up to be? We have seen someone with RotoPaX cans or maybe Wavains. Or maybe not, the logos are never anywhere to be seen, but we can assume our friends bought the good stuff.
Do Off-Road Jerry Cans Only Work On Trucks?
A wide range of off-road jerry cans has unique mounting systems that are designed to be used on off-roading vehicles, specifically, trucks. That being said there are options if you need one for your motorcycle, rally car, 4×4 van conversion, etc.
A specific RotoPaX gas can motorcycle mount doesn’t exist. They did design a universal mounting system. These mounts are designed to be very adaptive so they can be used on most if not all wheeled contraptions you can lug to the dirt.
Motorcycles that have a luggage rack on the rear of the seat can utilize a RotoPaX standard mount with little configuration. The plate mount will need to be sandwiched against the bikes rack with a lower plate.
Or you can utilize the countersunk holes in the RotoPaX mounting plate and drill directly into the biked cargo rack it you can get hem to line up correctly.
Putting a 4 gallon can on your bike may not be the smartest idea. It’s best to stick to the 1 or 2-gallon cans.
If your car or van does not have any racks, ladders, extended bumpers, or exterior rails mounting a gas can with a mount is damn near impossible.
There are easily removable bike racks you can fit into your trunk of your car. They are designed to hold bicycles so they will have similar weight limitations. Some styles won’t have the locking functionality and some will depend on how you mount it. The bike rack listed above can lock into the car hitch. They can be a great temporary option if you are limited.
Or you can just drill through your panel bolt the damn things directly:
With a van, a ladder or bike lock can be utilized with tube mounts (RotoPaX style only). Roof racks are ideal and you can take advantage of the stackable options to really save some space.
How To Use RotoPaX Gas Can
The idea is to put a plastic jug on the side of your ride securely. We do that by using their mounting system. A RotoPaX gas can is pretty darn simple. Watch this video and you’ll get the idea:
What Are Some RotoPaX Gas Gan Alternatives?
There are many gas cans on the market. Hell, just go you any gas station and you should see a gallon tank for someone to walk in and buy one after brazing the highway on foot after their car fell a mile short of reaching the gas station.
But these types are used for one-time or short period situations. They have to be carried in your trunk (smelling up the entire car of gasoline) and then stored in your garage.
They are made of polyethylene. That means gas eats through them with time. They should last through a weekend trip to the hills but they are not viable long term. There are other substitutes you can find.
The Wavian 20 liter is used by the United Nations. It is made of 0.9mm cold-rolled steel and the inside is lined with “fuel resistant Rezol enamel” to prevent rusting. It is heavier than the plastic versions and steel can become brittle when damaged.
You have to buy a bracket separately and they can be hard to manage and are priced the same amount as the can itself. There are many complaints about how the spout doesn’t want to stay on or can get leaky. Overall it is a great design, sturdy, and it is military grade. (Current prices for the Wavian 5 Gallon gas can).
If you search Amazon there are a lot of new off-name brands selling fuel cell reviews. Their pricing is similar to other big-name brands and their features are as well.
Kolpin Fuel Pack vs RotoPaX Fuel Can
The two main plastic fuel packs for sale. The top companies are RotoPaX and Kolpin. There are many similarities between the two competitors and some drastic differences as well. So what are the biggest differences between the off-road fuel can brands?
After this direct comparison between the two brands, it’s easy to see Kolpin fuel packs are lacking in a lot of areas where the RotoPaX fuel can excels. While both may be worth their costs in the long run RotoPaX seems it will outlast its competitors.
Is Buying a Chinese Knock Off RotoPaX Fuel Can Worth It?
They can be. Be careful no matter where you buy your off-road jerry can. The saying, “you get what you pay for” is usually learned by trial and error. But it usually holds true. Not everything from China is crap, in fact, probably the majority of the things we buy on a daily basis come from commie land.
You can save a lot of money on buying foreign-made goods. Buying something that holds gasoline and is held down to your 4×4 vehicle when you’re traveling through sometimes very rough terrain may not be the best idea.
There may be a greater chance the pack may damage the gasoline, fail to work in general, or simply fall off en route. Now you just wasted money buying a POS and gasoline inside.
That’s not always the case but proceed with caution. The majority of the reviews online read like:
“…quality to be very poor…made of cheap rubber.”
“…cans expect to smell gas, evaporation, and leak too.”
“They suck. Paint is peeling etc..”
“…and did not seal 100%”
If you’re in a bind and you need something fast for a weekend trip and nothing more, a Chinese RotoPax can get the job done.
While reviews of cans built in the USA (meaning $$$), typically with CARB ratings or individual serial numbers, read like:
“…from Europe thru TO Extreme and unbelievably well built.”
“These are great gas cans. They are very robust and have an airtight seal.”
“Seals completely tight…in my back seat – literally couldn’t smell a thing”
If you want to buy something that will last and not be a burden down the road AND could potentially save a life my money would go to a more expensive quality non-Chinese built gas can.
Are RotoPaX Gas Cans Legal In California?
Yes. All off-road jerry cans or extra gas can style containers, including RotoPaX gas cans, are legal in the state of California if they are CARB compliant. If you order them online you may have trouble shipping them directly to the great republic of California due to plastics restrictions.
California Air Resources Board (C.A.R.B.) is in charge of regulating air pollution in California. Their goals are:
– Attaining and maintaining healthy air quality
– Protecting the public from exposure to toxic air contaminants
– Providing innovative approaches for complying with air pollution rules and regulations
If an off-road jerry can is not CARB certified it cannot legally carry gasoline in California. Of course, many people still do it. But that doesn’t mean it is a good idea. Without a CARB rating, you may buy a can with a faulty spout, cheap and brittle plastic or metal, or other inferior materials or designs. People usually find this out the hard way.
The government is a great and terrible entity. Some call CARB a simple extortion outfit. Others call it a necessary measure to ensure safe long-term quality control to protect our natural resources. Both are right and wrong. No system is perfect and California will always be a right limiting state. If you live here you’re probably weighing the costs and benefits right now.
Is The RotoPaX Off-Road Gas Can The Best?
Simple answer: Yes.
Complicated answer: Search on Amazon and you will find varying reviews. Few claim the nozzles aren’t reliable, one even said it broke on its first use. Reviews are overwhelmingly positive overall.
Most people like how they stack. They lie flat and they’re designed with grooves to stack side by side by side. The RotoPaX mounts are solid too. Mount them on the roof or ladder (ladder?) of your truck.
But they’re pricey. They usually priced around $60 and up (way up), they’re made in the USA, and they have a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty. (Current prices on the RotoPaX 2 & 4.5-gallon offroad gas cans).
Side note: Their website claims a 1 year warranty for all cans but the spouts warranty is only 30 days. Also the warranty can be voided if the product shows any “improper care and negligence or improper mounting“.
So if you’re off roading and you back into a tree or you’re using the tank to fill up and you drop it on some rocks, well, who knows what they would say.
They used to have a 5 and at one point even a 10-year warranty. The expensive USA made products are usually much cheaper in the long run. I would trust RotoPaX cans vs RotoPaX competitor #4. I have the 4-gallon tanks because why not? The 1-3 gallon tanks are not that much smaller and I get twice as much gas.
The only downside is you need two mounts instead of one for the other sizes. The tank lies flat enough so it would be unstable riding in the dirt with only one mount, (think of the US flag, gracefully flapping in the wind, after dawn’s first break).
Pro Tip: The difference with “blemished” versus new is only cosmetic and new cans won’t stay shiny forever.
No matter where you buy or what brand you choose make sure you do your due diligence and you can end up saving a lot of time, energy, pain, and money. Your needs can change and it’s optimal to have options available.
Off-road jerry cans can last a lifetime and it helps to have one or more off-road gas can. If you spend a lot of time camping or off-roading it would be a great idea to bring them along. You could end up saving lives.
Have a good one and stay dirty.