Here’s how much Water you need for Overlanding

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Traveling for a long while can be hard to estimate what you will need. Typically the longer you are, the harder it is. You don’t know how much water to bring on an overlanding trip but you want to have enough. In this article, I will discuss how much you need and why.

So how much water do you need to go overlanding? Typically, you are recommended to bring at least one gallon of water a day per person when traveling. To be safe, I would bring about 1.5 gallons per person per day. That turns out to about 5000 ml or 10 water bottles worth of water per day.

This can be used for many tasks like drinking, cleaning, cooking and hygiene. It really depends on where you are going also. If you are traveling through a desert, It is recommended at least 2 gallons a day (equivalent to about 7000 ml).

There are horror stories of people trapped in the desert or on a mountain forced to drink their own urine, so please bring enough.

Water Weight

A U.S liquid gallon (about 3500 ml) weighs about 8.3 pounds at room temperature. When you go traveling, understand that water can get quite heavy.

If you have 5-gallon water can in your vehicle, if it is full, it can be close to 50 pounds. Bringing extra water is a smart thing but can be very heavy for the vehicle. When storing water in your vehicle, it is recommended to store it on the opposite side of where most of the vehicle’s weight is.

This way, you are balancing the vehicle weight and it will be a safer trip. Some cans I recommend are the Scepter Jerry Can, RotopaX Water Can and the Front Runner Outfitters Water Tank. These are all long-lasting thick-walled water cans excellent for traveling.

Water Purification

Another option is to have water filters with you. There are different methods of filtering water like distillation, boiling, reverse osmosis and Brita. This is a smart alternative if you know there are rivers or bodies of water during your trip.

This helps save your vehicle from carrying water weight but isn’t recommended. It should really be a last resort if your vehicle is very heavy. This option requires that you know you will be near water.

There are a few recommended products for water purification filters. There are the Katadyn Base Camp Pro 10L Filter, SteriPEN Adventurer Opti and the Lifesaver Jerrycan 20000u. I really recommend the Lifesaver Jerrycan 20000u specifically, because it is a bigger can than the rest and has a filter inside.

This isn’t just a normal can. It can literally be a lifesaver that can cycle up to 20000 liters of water. The container is BPA and BPS free and requires an NSF p248 filter. I strongly recommend having this in your vehicle whoever you are.

Want more water?

Are these water tanks we have already talked about a bit too small? You can always get a truck bed water tank for your overlanding adventures.

The Detail King Water Tank is a massive 180 gallon water tank that sits in between your truck cab, and the wheel wells in the bed of your truck.

You can easily store tons of water for whatever adventure you are going on next.

The only downside, is that is does take up a lot of room, so keep that in mind when you are packing your vehicle the next time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much water is needed for a family of 4?

If you are out overlanding with a family of four, you will need to account for approximately 6 gallons of water a day to keep everyone hydrated. Overlanding can take you into some very dry areas, and this water is important.

How much water do I need for 14 days?

Are you off on your own overlanding for 14 days? You will need to take at least 21 gallons of water to make sure that you are hydrated throughout your trip.

Should you take water for your truck?

Hydration is important for not only yourself, but also for your truck! Coolant runs through your engine keeping it cool, however if you were to hit something like your radiator and all of the coolant leaks out, you will want to replace it temporarily with some water until you get to a shop. Because of this, you should be taking a couple gallons of water reserved just for your truck.


Again, you want to try and stay away from water bottles when traveling because the sun releases chemicals into the water which may not be the best.

It is optimal to have at least 1 gallon of water prepared per person per day. Having a watering can is great and is recommended to also bring a water purifier. Hope this helps.