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Gas can advice

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by billcoe, May 20, 2015.

  1. billcoe

    billcoe PDX Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    OK, about a year ago, I got some Nato gas cans from 2 places. Major Surplus in particular had a great price on the "Nato Style Gas Cans". So I bought extra. When they came in, they didn't look all that good as they had put the pour spout right in the middle instead of offset like the picture showed so that you could store the nozzle on it. Furthermore, there wasn't an integrated pin to lock the cap down like has always been the case and the metal seemed thinner. As this style of gas can was going extinct, I kept them. Gave one to my buddy and scratched my id on the ones I kept so if they got stolen I could recover.


    The interiors were not coated as it turned out, and quickly rusted. The one I gave my buddy eventually leaked all over his garage from a pin hole that developed in the weld. The short version of my lesson was this: just spend the money and buy the real ones from Atlantic British. http://www.roverparts.com/
  2. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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    you don't always get what you pay for but you really get less if you don't pay for the good stuff.
  3. oldcars

    oldcars North Central Oregon Member

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    I have had really good luck with the platic 5 gallon "motorcycle" style jugs. They aren't cheap, but they last longer, pour easier, have replaceable caps, gaskets, etc. plus, since you buy the spout separate. no goofy EPA spill-o-matic
    mjbskwim likes this.
  4. Martini_Up

    Martini_Up NW USA Well-Known Member

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    i have scepter cans. they are great, caps are easy to get / rebuild and they don't dent or rust.
  5. mr hamburger

    mr hamburger SE Portland New Member

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    I second the Scepter cans. I don't have any of their gas cans but I have a 5 gallon water jug that I use for camping and its great. Depending on what your intended use is for it you might want to check out Rotopax. The Rotopax is a completely different design but gives you lots of different mounting options if your gonna be mounting them on a car or truck.
    mjbskwim likes this.
  6. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Watch that word "style"! For instance a Zippo "style" lighter is not a Zippo lighter!

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    The NATO Gas can what the guys use up deer/elk hunting and the hard-core 4x4 guys use on their runs. These are the real-deal not a "Style" as the Sgt has pointed out. (Thanks for doing that Sgt!). These are bomb proof. They sealed solid so if there is any temp variation there is no seeping or weeping of gas and/or fumes. I've seen these cans literally thrown side by side-thrown around, in 4x4's as the guys are going across roads almost impassable.

    They come in different sizes and shapes. Replaceable seal that is capable of being re-created in a pinch out of other rubber gasket materials. The lid is sealed with double dog hooks and then backed up with a metal pin that goes across as a back up. It is lockable.

    Last edited: May 20, 2015
    Sgt Nambu and mjbskwim like this.
  8. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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  9. IronMonster

    IronMonster Washington Opinionated Member Diamond Supporter

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    I own a pair of Rotopax cans and the mount for my motorcycle (its on the back of my enduro sidecar) They are super top notch but super big bucks too. I wanna say the two cans and the mount for my bike was over $200
  10. Surf Rat

    Surf Rat New Member

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    Thumbs up on Lexington Container Co. The sell the real NATO fuel cans. I bought four of them and they do everything a fuel can should. I think they still sell them for $50 each with free shipping. I would recommend that you buy at least one accessory fuel spout that mounts on the can. These are the first no leak, no spill, no gas-smell cans I've owned.
    OFADAN likes this.
  11. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    So I can't say exactly what cans you got from major, in the past, they've always had either US made, or german/swiss made cans, however with the popularity of these things, they've become really common as chinese knock-offs. The chinese ones are easy to spot, as the two halves of the can meet in a seam that's simply hammered in, whereas the typical US/Euro made cans have a noticeable jog that allows the seams to sit flat. The chinese cans are junk, not lined, with cheap paint.

    I have bought lots of used cans over the years... in fact I got my first lot back in 2004 when cheaper than dirt still was, and they were blowing them out for $12.50. Over the years some of the linings have degraded, the go-to for fixing this is redkote: http://www.amazon.com/Red-Kote-Quart-Sealer-Diesel/dp/B009X0JOSM

    The newer cans that a lot of companies have been selling are made in israel, the easy way to tell them apart is rather than having a satin green finish, they have a gloss finish, they're usually of the same quality as the US/EU cans, but these most often have the wire locking tab, which is notably absent from my original NATO cans. My understanding is, the new ones all have this feature.

    Lexington Container IIRC sells the isreali made cans, buddy of mine has more than a few of them, and they've always stood up well. There is another company up in NorCal that imports a NATO style can (it's more similar to a 1960's style american can) that are made in switzerland, to comply with carb regulations each can comes with a spout, which while a nice feature, is rather redundant, and they sell for about the same price as the Lexington Container cans.

    So if you really want to know the differences of each can:

    WW2 style US cans: these have rounded edges and a flat bottom with a screw style-stopper. They're great if you're a re-enacter, but otherwise avoid them, removing the stopper more often than not requires a breaker bar.

    NATO Cans: these generally have square sides, and a rounded bottom with a flip-top lid. Other than sometimes being old, if there's no rust, nothing a bit of redkote won't fix. These are nearly identical to the later 1960's and 1970's style US cans, the only difference between them is the tolerances on the mouth opening, with the US version being slightly wider, and sometimes has difficulty when using NATO pour nozzles. The newest generation of NATO can is made either in Israel, or Switzerland.

    The Blitz Can Company (now Midwest Can Company) does make a NATO style can, and it's functionally identical, except it comes with that standard bizarro plastic screw-top. They're very functional cans, however unless you're starting a new collection, I would recommend looking for a deal on NATO cans. These are the ones sold at harbor freight, which makes them quite easy to get, with a slightly lower cost (no shipping, and $40 ea). However, the the plastic cap that makes them virtually useless for long term storage.

    Chinese cans: These cans are the worlds lowest quality cans, I'm not sure I would use one for a urinal. The metal is thin, generally they look like a NATO can, but they appear slightly smaller, with a raised seam. Usually they will not sit flat on the ground. Avoid at all costs!

    Plastic Cans: while I don't have any real experience with the sceptre MFC, they do come highly recommended. That said, every other plastic can I've seen/tried is often inadequate for what's needed, typically they don't handle pressure well, they often have leaky caps that allow the hot/cold cycling to allow volatiles to evaporate, and also inspire cold moist air, which rapidly degrades the fuel. They may be fine for fueling a lawnmower or chainsaw, but I do not consider most of them a serious contender for use storing fuels.

    As a general rule, if you're storing fuel, I wouldn't recommend storing fuel exclusively in gas cans, it's a bulky way to store things, and gets pretty expensive quick. The better way to go is using barrels. If you look on craigslist, you can usually find someone selling 30gal steel drums, these are usually the best way of storing fuel long term as they're small, and relatively light (~180lbs) which makes them somewhat easy to move with the use of a hand truck for the average adult male. If you want something lighter, they're considerably more rare, but I have seen 17gal barrels. The major sticking point is you want something that's considered "UN" approved container. The logo looks like a U over an N inside a circle. These containers are designed for storing volatile materials, whether it be solvents or fuels and are the least likely to give you problems as they are designed to contain the pressures that build up as volatiles heat and cool without allowing the vapors to escape.

    At this point, there are four tools I consider absolutely necessary for storing fuels: a super-siphon, a barrel wrench, a bottling wand, and a graduated cylinder.

    As much noise as is made about the different connectors, funnels, fueling adapters, very few of them work very well, nearly every one I've tried leaks, and if every drop is precious, there's no point spilling it on the ground. This is where the super siphon comes into play, putting the gas can on top of the car (open the lid on the ground, ESPECIALLY ON A WARM DAY!!!!!) and then using the super-siphon to move the gas into the tank is by far the easiest way to fuel a car, and if you're careful you're not likely to lose much in the transfer process.

    The Barrel wrench is obviously for opening barrels, however depending on the style, these can be very helpful for opening stubborn gas can lids.

    The graduated cylinder is for pumping/pouring a small amount of gas into to determine whether it's absorbed water or not, usually gasoline will yellow, and discolor, the darker it is, the less acceptable it is as a motor fuel. This can be harder to determine if the fuel has Stabil or other fuel stabilizer in it, personally, my preference is to use SeaFoam, which is otherwise 100% clear.

    And finally, the bottling wand. Finding one large enough can sometimes be difficult, but essentially what this is for is filling gas cans from drums, you can use it in combination with the super siphon to easily fill gas cans.

    I hope that sums up the highs and lows of gas cans.