In January, I installed a maXTERRA rear bumper. And I opted out of the jerry can option. My logic being, I only need extra fuel and/or water a couple times a year. And the holder creates a larger, heavier bumper the other 50 weeks a year. I’m still undecided if I regret that decision or not. Anyways…
In addition to giving us a place to store Maxtraxs, trash, and a camp table — it also opened up the spare tire location. And there are dozens of creative ideas on what to do with it. Some run a second spare. Some an onboard air system. Some use an ammo can and make it a storage area. And everyone seems to want to mount a second fuel tank there… but plumbing it in (so far) has proved a technological and legal challenge.
All of those ideas I’ve considered seriously for at least five minutes. My flip-floppiness preventing me from doing anything until recently. The one thing I don’t have a solid solution for is extra fuel. And the other thing that I still have to move around (and don’t like carrying in the truck) is water.
Then a few months ago while looking at Rotopax, I thought to myself, “I bet I could rig my spare tire hoist to raise, store and lower a couple of Rotopax!” It’s an idea I tossed around for awhile. Someone pointing me to a similar setup on a 4Runner.
The hoist idea I ended up junking. They’re a pain to use and easily get fouled up. And as far as the big downside of having to lay our your back to take the packs on-and-off — well — I have a Deadman for that.
An email into Great Outdoors (Rotopax’s parent company) confirmed that their fuel packs are potable water safe. The difference being color (red — per Federal regulation) and that the fuel packs are a 3-ply rotomolded plastic instead of 1-ply used on their water packs. So I moved forward with three blemished 2-gallon Rotopax, DLX mount with an EXT. Two for fuel and the third — which I spray painted white — for water. That combo lets me mix-and-match to fit the trip at hand.
Our weekend trips we can pretty easily get by with a smidge more than one 10L drom. Hanging one from the spare tire next to our camp stove is still my preferred primary water source. I foresee most trips using one fuel pack (stored closest to the body) and one pack for water. Both are basically “back-up” supply. And our big multi-week trips likely using both fuel packs — and storing the water in droms inside the truck like we do now.
As for install — it’s pretty simple. There’s actually room for a 4-gallon Rotopax — but it’s too close to the exhaust for my liking. I re-used the holes from the tire hoist (less drilling) — and that also favors the driver’s side (further from the exhaust). Mounting them “hot dog” style also allows for plenty of space on the sides to mount that pressurized water tank… one day. It also keeps more of the weight closer to the axle.
The only other addition was a couple of door stops glued to magnets. These add a lot of rigidity laterally to the packs. If this ends up being a long-term setup — I’ll likely switch to something more permanent.
We’ll see how it does. I have also set aside a Pro-4X transfer case skid, which I may add below on a hinge for additional protection.