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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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  #1  
Old 21 Sep 2010
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Fuel & Water amounts

Just wondering how much water & fuel people carry for a trans African trip down the west coast. I'm on a BMW Dakar which has 17L tank and range of upto 250 miles in the UK on good roads with good fuel etc..

I'm going solo so was thinking of taking 5L of extra fuel and 5L of water. Does this reasonable or too little?

Would be interested to hear thoughts of those who've completed this trip.

Thanks,

Rob.
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  #2  
Old 21 Sep 2010
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  • in places 10 lts extra fuel
  • daily 8 litres water
  • is good
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  #3  
Old 21 Sep 2010
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Hi Rob,

I came through Algeria, Niger, Burkina and then Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and never needed extra fuel except between Tamanrasset and Arlit, 620km, (Algeria to Niger) because the pumps at In Guezzam (Algerian border village) were dry. Much further down, in the Congo, I was lucky to get to pumps while the underground tanks were being filled, so it's prudent to carry extra fuel there as well. Also in Angola where fuel delivery to inland towns and even cities is apparently quite unreliable/irregular.

As for water, it will depend a lot on the time of year you travel. I carried 6 extra litres additional to my 2litre camelback in the Sahara and Sahel but only really needed the extra water in Burkina Faso and Mali. I'd try for 6 or 8 litres in those areas. Of course, if you have a serious breakdown anywhere far from other people your situation changes very quickly.
Further down (coastal countries) the villages are much closer together and there are people almost everywhere. If you need to get water from a village it will mostly come from a well. Ask village mother for water - they know what is used for washing, cooking and drinking respectively. Got that advice from someone who'd walked from Cape Town to Israel and I never got sick once on my trip!

Hope this helps?
Kobus
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  #4  
Old 21 Sep 2010
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If you're talking about the West Coast only...preview about 250-300k between fuel stops on main roads. If you go off main roads and are comfortable buying fuel en brousse, similarly.

Be aware that fuel en brousse may need to be filtered, treated for water content, low octane, etc. That means, having them pour into separate container you carry while you filter and treat it, BEFORE you pour it into your tank. The extra effort you make in doing so will ensure you less drama fuel wise en brousse...

En brousse is where things get exciting!
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  #5  
Old 22 Sep 2010
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A small Mr Funnel for the bike;

Home

One or two of these for your camelback? You don't need it on if you think the water is ok. Takes any plasticky taste away too.

New all in one water purification filtration system - Inline filter - Surplus and Outdoors

And a 6 or even 10l MSR Dromedary is miles better than a Camelbak anyday

MSR Dromedary´┐Ż Hydration Bag 2L
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  #6  
Old 22 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stickyweb View Post
Just wondering how much water & fuel people carry for a trans African trip down the west coast. I'm on a BMW Dakar which has 17L tank and range of upto 250 miles in the UK on good roads with good fuel etc..

I'm going solo so was thinking of taking 5L of extra fuel and 5L of water. Does this reasonable or too little?
If you haven't done so already you should really read Sahara Overland Sahara Overland, 2nd Edition: A Route and Planning Guide Trailblazer: Amazon.co.uk: Chris Scott: Books

Other than that I'd offer two pieces of advice: 1) bad things happen. Prepare to be out there longer than expected doing harder work than expected and bring more water than you'd need even on a very bad day. You may get stuck out there for more than one. Especially if you're not going on a main path. 2) Those dromedary packs may be good for extra water, but you absolutely want a hydration bladder with a tube so you can drink constantly.


Quote:
"In extreme heat, a person will drink about two gallons [7.57 liters] of water a day. Add another gallon per person a day for hygiene and a gallon for cooking." - paleontologist Paul Sereno
The quote above was from a guy who spent time exploring fossil beds in Niger. It's pretty safe to say that not only will you be expending more energy (especially if you go off road), but you'll have wind constantly blowing over you sucking even more water out. And that's if nothing goes wrong.

Bring more water.
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  #7  
Old 22 Sep 2010
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Thanks for the responses guys. Sounds to me like I'd should be ok with 5L on the petrol front, but will need to up the amount of water I'm carry plus invest in a hydration bladder.
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Old 23 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stickyweb View Post
Thanks for the responses guys. Sounds to me like I'd should be ok with 5L on the petrol front, but will need to up the amount of water I'm carry plus invest in a hydration bladder.
Even without desert situations I think a hydration bladder is one of the best investments a long distance motorcyclist can make. When you don't have to wait until you stop you drink more, and when you drink more you stay hydrated, and when you stay hydrated you ward off headaches, nausea, cramps, and fatigue.

My recommendation is a 3L Camelbak. In most normal situations 3L is roughly what I will drink in a day, so no needing to stop and fill it up until just before i hit camp. Also, the L shaped bite valve is easier to get up under a full-face helmet for drinking. If the bladder you choose doesn't come with an L shaped mouth-piece try to at least buy a brand that lets you replace the end (Camelbak does).

On a related note: camelbaks make good pillows. Just make sure you've locked the bite valve
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  #9  
Old 23 Sep 2010
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Camelback are a waste of weight
Take a 10 Litre Dromadery bag, fix length of hose fitted with bite valve-
fis to bike/behind you whatever and run hose length of bike.
If you take a dive with a camelback, chances are it will burst and you will lose you water-
You can get hose from local B&Q or Tropical Fish suppliers
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  #10  
Old 23 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bugsy View Post
Camelback are a waste of weight
Take a 10 Litre Dromadery bag, fix length of hose fitted with bite valve-
fis to bike/behind you whatever and run hose length of bike.
If you take a dive with a camelback, chances are it will burst and you will lose you water-
You can get hose from local B&Q or Tropical Fish suppliers
I don't know how they're a waste of weight as the bag itself doesn't weigh much, but there's definitely value in your suggestion. For someone not so interested in the do-it-yourself route there's the Camelbak unbottle unbottle-70oz - CamelBak.com . which is just a 2L bladder, tube, and bite valve with an insulating sleeve around it AND four small strap things which you could hook a bungee or other strapping through. Advantages being that it's good to go without figuring getting adapters and hoses and bite valves and it's better at keeping water cool thanks to thermal sleeve. Disadvantage being that it's only 2L.
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Old 23 Sep 2010
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water /fuel

My experience in Africa and pretty much everywhere in the world is very simple , in warm climate you should drink 3 to 5 liter minimum per day , if you break down for any lengh of time (tire repairs...) you can drink this amount very quickly so always carry a minimum of 3 liters but if you ride in area where there are few people carry twice the amount .no all in one blader ( in case it does break) for fuel calculate the distance and make sure that you have 25 % OF WHAT YOU NEED in reserve , the more off road , the more reserve ( in case you get lost or have to go back from where you came from .
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  #12  
Old 24 Sep 2010
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My 10p worth, Take extra fuel as just in case & water simple, how you want to carry it is up to you. I still have my Army issued Camel Back Carrier, ok but I pers never drank as much as some of the other guys & im white not much hair, even in Saudi i never really drink a lot of fluids, however you do need to make sure you have enough as a just in case & + extra you should know how much you roughly drink, but as already mentioned do not place it all together.
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  #13  
Old 24 Sep 2010
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Water/Fuel

I went for a military Camel back (all black/no pinks..) and a couple of platypus 2lt bottles.
I wore the Camel back on my front with the platypus in a backpack, it's a good way to distribute the weight.

I also carried a 5lt Kolpin Fuel Pack, very light and compact.
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  #14  
Old 25 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masukomi View Post
Those dromedary packs may be good for extra water, but you absolutely want a hydration bladder with a tube so you can drink constantly.

Bring more water.
Just to expand on my Dromedary suggestion, MSR do a hose, bite valve and fitting to screw on any of their bladders (hydration kit if you google it) which is what I have, with the water filter in line which is now 18 months old and still fine, used all last summer every day. It will cost more than a Camelbak, but is a much better thing and designed to last.

When I had a 3l Camelbak I would always finish it, so tended to reduce how much I drank so I didn't run out. Stupid, cos I had more to put in, but thats what I did. Having a 6l dromedary as a bladder means I can drink as much as I want without thinking about it, so IMHO I'm probably more hydrated as a result
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  #15  
Old 25 Sep 2010
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Agree totally with Grizzly7 and Bugsy- although I prefer my 10 litre Dromedary - option for more water for virtually same weight of bag- long tube + bite valve and carry the wee nozzle so can disconnect the tube part at night and fit to take MSR bag in tent.
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