Long Drive Essentials: Choosing The Right Water Tank for Your Journey

Long Drive Essentials: Choosing The Right Water Tank for Your Journey

February 01, 2024

When embarking on a long road trip, having access to fresh drinking water is essential. Dehydration can cause fatigue, lack of focus, headaches, and other symptoms that make driving dangerous. Installing a water tank in your vehicle ensures you have an ample water supply for your journey.  

This article outlines key factors to consider when selecting the right water tank. 

Fuel finished. Gasoline end concept. Not enough fuel. Empty fuel canister and car on the road background. portable car Water Tank for Your Journey stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images 

1. Size  

The first consideration is tank capacity. Determine how much water you will reasonably need for your planned trip duration and number of passengers. Generally, each person requires at least one gallon per day for drinking.  

Besides, choose a tank size that meets your total calculated requirements with an extra buffer. Too small and you risk running out of water. It is, too, small enough, and you waste precious cargo space and impact fuel efficiency.   

If you love camping, having big portable water tanks from reputable vendors is very helpful. This is crucial for tasks like washing dishes, ensuring fire safety, and taking showers.  

 2. Build Material   

Water tanks come constructed from various materials - each with pros and cons.  

Stainless steel offers durability and corrosion resistance but is the most expensive option. Plastic polymer tanks are lighter-weight and moderately priced but more vulnerable to damage.  

Aluminum provides good corrosion resistance at an average cost but requires insulation to prevent temperature extremes from affecting water quality.   

3. Insulation 

Insulation helps regulate water temperature in tanks. This is vital since no one wants to drink piping hot or freezing cold water on a long trip.  

Insulation also prevents water vapor condensation on exterior tank walls which can cause corrosion and leaks over time. Common insulation solutions include wrap layers or spray-on closed-cell foam.   

4. Water Pumps & Filtration  

Integrating a 12-volt electric pump connected to your vehicle battery enables convenient pressurized water flow straight from your tank. For improved flavor, hygiene, and contaminant reduction, install a filtration system in line with the pump.  

Combination carbon/sediment filters effectively remove particulates and chemicals while retaining healthy minerals.    

5. Overflow & Venting   

Equip your tank with overflow and venting fittings. An overflow tube protects against water expanding in hot weather and causing leaks. Vent fittings allow air movement so water can drain smoothly. Air vents should include screens to prevent bugs or debris from fouling the tank.  

Position both overflow and vents on a tank wall towards the bottom.   

6. Durability & Maintenance 

Select a tank construction guaranteed to remain rust and corrosion free for many years. Check warranty coverage periods for defects. Perform visual inspections for leaks before trips and periodically clean out sediments if not using a filter.  

Implement safe filling, draining and sanitization procedures to maximize tank lifetime. With proper maintenance, your tank should last over a decade. 

7. Mounting & Stabilizing  

Use mounting brackets and hardware specifically designed to attach your tank model securely. This prevents the tank from dislodging over rough terrain. Implement stiffening cross members under the tank or consider installing damping pads to minimize vibration effects on water quality.  

Properly stabilizing your tank protects the tank and plumbing fittings from leaks or fractures.   

8. Specialized Needs 

Certain vehicles have additional requirements that influence water tank selection. For instance, low-clearance vehicles need narrow tank profiles that squeeze into tight spaces while retaining capacity—enclosed trailers with limited external access need interior tank installations with remote filler ports.  

Customized solutions provide the necessary shapes, dimensions, and connections.   

9. Budget 

Water tanks range widely from around $90 for basic 10-gallon plastic tanks to over $1,500 for heavy-duty stainless-steel tanks exceeding 100 gallons. Determine how much you can invest while meeting your capacity needs.  

Also, factor in costs for supporting installation parts - hoses, filters, pumps, insulation, brackets - which can add a few hundred dollars. Identify any customization or complexity that increases labor costs as well.    

10. Safety & Certification 

Prioritize safety by only purchasing water tanks designed, constructed and certified for vehicle applications. Check that tanks meet impact resistance standards and feature non-toxic, food-safe materials approved for potable water contact. Valid licensing demonstrates conformity with all regulatory safety requirements.  

Beware of tanks marketed generically for agricultural, marine or industrial uses which may translate poorly when installed in your vehicle's enclosed cargo area. 

11. Monitoring 


Install a clear inline sight gauge or water level monitor to check how full your tank is conveniently at a glance. At a minimum, choose a tank with an external screw-on port enabling dipstick level checks. Monitoring enables properly scheduling refills while an onboard display allows instant verification your precious water supply is secure.  

Advanced monitors connect tank water levels to embedded control systems or smartphone apps for real-time peace of mind. 

12. Theft Protection & Access Control 


Unfortunately, water theft can occur when parked overnight in unfamiliar areas. Secure exterior tank openings using protective shrouds locked with specialty caps or valves requiring custom keys. Interior-mounted tanks allow the incorporation of cabinets or locking covers to block access and view fully.  

Electronics like flow sensors or pump deactivation switches integrated into vehicle alarm systems provide further anti-theft defense while permitting authorized use as needed. Protect your valuable fresh water reserve from opportunistic stealing. 


Choosing the ideal water tank for your next long-distance driving adventure requires assessing your water volume needs, vehicle configuration, planned route, and budget.  

This article outlined key criteria - size, placement, material, insulation, pumps, durability, and more - to help select the best tank option to meet your situation. Investing in the right onboard water supply keeps you safely hydrated across many miles of happy journeying on the open road.  

With mindful preparation, your tank enables reliable access to one of life's essential elements - fresh, clean water - as you embrace your wanderlust. 



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