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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  #1  
Old 19 Apr 2012
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Taking extra fuel with you

I want to take extra fuel with me on my travels.
I'm sure there is written a thing or two about this subject but I couldn't find the answers I was looking for.

I have a jerrycan and used it some time ago in my car. But I noticed the jerrycan was leaking a bit at the cap. Are all jerrycans leaking or have I done too much fuel in it? Can you fill a 5l jerrycan with 5l or is it better to do 4l in it (or fill up a 10l can with 5l petrol)? Or was it just a bad sale? As you can understand I'm afraid to buy another leaky messy jerrycan and smell of petrol my whole trip.
What are your experiences?

I also heard that in France it's forbidden to drive with a full jerrycan! Is that true? Is a half full jerrycan not forbidden? Are there more countries that have these restrictions?

And what about fuel bottles like they use for cooking? I could take 2 or 3 bottles of 2l filled up to about 1.7l. That is also 5l of fuel.
Does anybody has experience with fuel bottles? I hear they are difficult to fill because of the pressure behind the fuel while filling up.

I'm really looking forward to hear about your experiences.
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  #2  
Old 20 Apr 2012
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Are you just traveling in Europe or further afield as I wouldn't have thought you'd have needed a jerrycan of spare fuel in most of Europe.

The leak is probably the rubber seal in the cap has perished. You can buy new ones for a couple of euros on ebay. I've got about 10 cans in various sizes - 20. 10 and 5L and replace the seals periodically. The seals in the older, ex military, ones seem to have lasted for ever but the newer smaller civilian market cans seem to need new seals every few years.

I've no idea about the French ban on full jerrycans - hopefully someone else will comment in due course, but I have traveled through France a number of times with (5L) jerrycans fixed to the back of my bike and never had a problem. They have been empty though as I've not needed the extra range in France and 10L of fuel weight at the back of the bike does change the handling. What I do use is a small plastic 2L bottle fixed to the rack to store a small amount of emergency fuel. It's used if I run out just short of a fuel station (quite often!) and I top up my stove fuel bottle from it as well.

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  #3  
Old 20 Apr 2012
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justgastanks.com has a 'JAX Collapsible Utility Bladder (1 gallon) [LC4]'.

Maybe this will give some help.
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  #4  
Old 20 Apr 2012
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Thank you, backofbeyond
The leakage from my jerrycan is maybe not from the seals because it was new when I used it. Or they must have sold me one that was long time on stock?
But most important what I read between the lines was that normally a jerrycan doesn't leak. That's good news.
And your 2L bottle, can you fill that up without splashing fuel all over the place? Is it transparent, let's say a Cocacola bottle or something? Or is transparent dangerous in hot environments?
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  #5  
Old 20 Apr 2012
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Careful

Hi, I would not use a plastic container that was not meant for fuel, such as a Coca Cola bottle. Firstly, the fuel might melt it leading to a leak or worse, you put the fuel into the bike with the dissolved chemicals in it and it could mess up your engine badly. Secondly, it is totally illegal to carry fuel in a non specific container. There would be a big fine I'm sure.

It is not easy to fill an MSR type of fuel bottle at a petrol station as the top opening is so small. Always keep a bottle right side up to avoid leakage from the cap. Try Ocean Slim Tank - Fuel, Fuel Tanks | Mailspeed Marine .Sorry the link isn't live. This is a 5 litre flat can.

Lindsay.
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  #6  
Old 20 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronvk62 View Post
justgastanks.com has a 'JAX Collapsible Utility Bladder (1 gallon) [LC4]'.

Maybe this will give some help.
Thank you for the suggestion. Only it leaves some questions: how do you fill this flexible tank? I don't see a big opening like you have with a normal jerrycan. Is it a 'cleaner' solution when filling up the bike?
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  #7  
Old 20 Apr 2012
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Originally Posted by Linzi View Post
Hi, I would not use a plastic container that was not meant for fuel, such as a Coca Cola bottle. Firstly, the fuel might melt it leading to a leak or worse, you put the fuel into the bike with the dissolved chemicals in it and it could mess up your engine badly. Secondly, it is totally illegal to carry fuel in a non specific container. There would be a big fine I'm sure.

It is not easy to fill an MSR type of fuel bottle at a petrol station as the top opening is so small. Always keep a bottle right side up to avoid leakage from the cap. Try Ocean Slim Tank - Fuel, Fuel Tanks | Mailspeed Marine .Sorry the link isn't live. This is a 5 litre flat can.

Lindsay.
Thanks Lindsay,
I thought already it was better not to use a Coca Cola bottle but I didn't know about the dissolved chemicals, thank you for that information.

Is the opening of a MSR bottle wide enough to put in the...I don't know how to call it, not even in my own language...let's try...the end of the fuel hose?

The link worked, that looks like a nice jerrycan.
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  #8  
Old 20 Apr 2012
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Originally Posted by duive01 View Post
Thank you, backofbeyond
The leakage from my jerrycan is maybe not from the seals because it was new when I used it. Or they must have sold me one that was long time on stock?
But most important what I read between the lines was that normally a jerrycan doesn't leak. That's good news.
And your 2L bottle, can you fill that up without splashing fuel all over the place? Is it transparent, let's say a Cocacola bottle or something? Or is transparent dangerous in hot environments?
No, a jerrycan should not leak. They're well built and should stand up to most normal use without damage. The cap seal is removable and easily replaceable. If you fill them with petrol there is an air space at the top that's meant to be there so don't try to tip them back to get a bit more fuel in.

My 2L bottle is something ex military I bought from a surplus store years ago. It's plastic but designed for fuel although you have to be careful filling it. A fuel nozzle will (just) go into it so you have to be careful as you get beyond 1.5L to watch out for splashes. Sorry, can't find a pic of it at the moment.

People have used coke bottles, milk bottles and other temporary fuel containers - even condoms - as short term range extenders for decades. They are just that though - temporary. You fill them and as soon as you've got some space in your main tank you pour it in. You shouldn't really use them for more than a few hours (less for condoms!). I've not had any problems with chemicals from the plastic affecting the engine but as coke type plastic does go hard after a while with petrol there's probably something being dissolved. It takes a while though and for very short term if the bottle doesn't dissolve as soon as put some fuel into it I'd have thought it would be ok for an few hours. All of this is really only needed in some more remote parts of the world. In Europe you can buy 3L and 5L plastic fuel cans for a few euros that will hold petrol safely for years.
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  #9  
Old 20 Apr 2012
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Care.

Hi, as regards chemicals in tanks, I just think a lot of care needs to be taken with clean fuel after I've had my carbs cleaned ultrasonically due to some muck or something else not identified. It's easy to be careless and just carry and pour fuel with no thought to the fine tolerances in the carbs and mind-bending frustration that can come from awfull running and cutting out.

Lindsay.
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  #10  
Old 22 Apr 2012
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Hiya

In the UK at least some garages have some sort of 5l container limit for their insurance for some reason. But you can still use the "pay at pump" type machines, especially out of hours. Some ferry companies too don't like bigger containers, or more than one.

On the justgastanks site their flexy fuel bladders look very nice at a price but even then have a warning

"THESE ARE MADE FOR TEMPORARY STORAGE OF FUEL FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME UNTIL YOU CAN FILL YOUR EXISTING SOURCE UP. THESE BLADDERS ARE NOT MADE TO FILL WITH FUEL AND THEN LEAVE IT FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME. GASOLINE IS A VERY DESTRUCTIVE FUEL THAT WILL DAMAGE MOST FUEL STORAGE CONTAINERS OVER TIME


WE SELL THESE AS "UTILITY" BLADDERS THAT ARE NOT MADE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF FUEL ON HIGHWAY SCENARIOS.
ALSO WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THAT THESE REST ON A PAINTED SURFACE DUE TO SOME VAPORS ESCAPE IF OVER PRESSURED IN THE HEAT."

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  #11  
Old 22 Apr 2012
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Another vote for fuel bladders.

They weight almost nothing, and you ever need them for a small percentage of the journey you actually carry them on,. The rest of the time empty jerry cans take up a huge amount of wasted space. Empty fuel bladders do not.
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  #12  
Old 24 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duive01 View Post
Thanks Lindsay,
I thought already it was better not to use a Coca Cola bottle but I didn't know about the dissolved chemicals, thank you for that information.

Is the opening of a MSR bottle wide enough to put in the...I don't know how to call it, not even in my own language...let's try...the end of the fuel hose?

The link worked, that looks like a nice jerrycan.
I have used 2L water / Coca Cola and other plastic bottles many times with no problems. They don't leak, they don't melt -- they work great as impromptu jerricans.

Why spend $40 on a jerrican that you might need for one long desolate stretch? Why add more weight and mass to the bike, and the hassle of tending to the thing for however long you are gone? If you're gone for months and are running dirt roads, these things matter.

When needed, I get two 2L bottles and fill them both and put them in a sturdy plastic sack (or a couple, combined). Knot up end of sack, fasten atop some piece of luggage with a bungee cord down the middle, separating the two bottles.

Works like a charm.
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  #13  
Old 24 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colebatch View Post
Another vote for fuel bladders.

They weight almost nothing, and you ever need them for a small percentage of the journey you actually carry them on,. The rest of the time empty jerry cans take up a huge amount of wasted space. Empty fuel bladders do not.
A well made fuel bladder with a good sealing cap is perfect for extending range when you need it. Even my chinese made 7Ltr bladder was fine for mongolia and russia. I ended up strapping it to the bike behind my right thigh and it didn't move or get in the way. When empty I rolled it up and put it across the giant loop on the back.

They aren't legal on the road in the UK but owning one isn't illegal and you rarely need extra fuel in the UK anyway.
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  #14  
Old 24 Apr 2012
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water

If you have a camel pack or similar water container you can buy a bottle of water from the petrol station, fill the camel pack then fill the bottle with petrol. Top up the tank as soon as there is space if you are worried about chemicals.
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  #15  
Old 25 Apr 2012
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Originally Posted by grizzly7 View Post
Hiya

In the UK at least some garages have some sort of 5l container limit for their insurance for some reason. But you can still use the "pay at pump" type machines, especially out of hours. Some ferry companies too don't like bigger containers, or more than one.

On the justgastanks site their flexy fuel bladders look very nice at a price but even then have a warning

"THESE ARE MADE FOR TEMPORARY STORAGE OF FUEL FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME UNTIL YOU CAN FILL YOUR EXISTING SOURCE UP. THESE BLADDERS ARE NOT MADE TO FILL WITH FUEL AND THEN LEAVE IT FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME. GASOLINE IS A VERY DESTRUCTIVE FUEL THAT WILL DAMAGE MOST FUEL STORAGE CONTAINERS OVER TIME


WE SELL THESE AS "UTILITY" BLADDERS THAT ARE NOT MADE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF FUEL ON HIGHWAY SCENARIOS.
ALSO WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THAT THESE REST ON A PAINTED SURFACE DUE TO SOME VAPORS ESCAPE IF OVER PRESSURED IN THE HEAT."

I contacted the manufacturer regarding the "not for highway scenarios" clause.
Apparently the bladders are illegal in California for Highway travel and that is why they state this on the website,
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