Water storage is one of those things that everyone seems to have their own way of doing. Whether you’ve got a massive 100L+ tank under your camper trailer, a big under-tray setup mounted in your ute or a couple of jerry cans on the roofrack, there are plenty of ways to store water when you’re out bush. We’re going to look at a simple DIY solution to get some low-pressure pressurised water setup in your wagon or ute, that you can do on the cheap and make look seriously slick. It’s all done with bits and pieces we found down at the hardware store, and takes next to no time to do. This setup is specific to a wagon, but it’s easy to adapt to a ute, a trailer or even the roofrack – wherever you want to store your jerry cans.

 1. Two 20L jerry cans fit perfectly in the space next to the drawers in the back of the 4WD Action 80 Series, so that’s what we’re going to use. 40L is plenty of water for two people for up to three days at a time – and even more if you ration it carefully. Choose jerry cans that have bungs in the bottom like these, ditch the bungs and fit up a pair of water container taps (find em at your local camping store for a couple of bucks if your jerry cans don’t have em). We’ve painted our jerry cans black so that they absorb heat. In the back of the 4WD, on a warm day out bush the water can get to around 26-28°C, which is perfect to wash the dust from the beard. Hey boofhead can we get less dopey grin and more actual work?  2. We’re setting this up so it’s easy to remove if we ever want to. That means we’re using Liquid Nails to attach the pump to one of the jerry cans, rather than hard-mounting it in the back of the vehicle somewhere. Mount the pump towards the top of the jerry can away from the outlet, so you’ve got room to run the hose without kinking it. Wiring is as simple as running fused, switched power from your auxiliary battery to the pump, and the negative to a clean earth. This small pump only draws 4A max so you don’t need to go overboard with massive cabling, 4mm will work perfectly 3. This step isn’t essential, but if you skip it you’ll have to manually switch the pump over to the second tank when the first runs dry. To make this a piece of cake to use out bush, we’ve used a simple plastic t-piece and a couple of hose clamps to join both tanks together. The single hose then runs out of the t-piece and into the inlet of the pump. Run a length of hose out of the other side of the pump and you’ve got pressurised water! 4. Here’s how to make the install the envy of all your mates. We picked up this lockable outdoor brass tap for a couple of bucks from the hardware store. You can use any tap you want, but this one has a quarter-turn handle so it’s ultra quick to turn on or off, plus it has a provision for a small padlock if you don’t want some ratbag draining all your water. We’re going to mount this under the back tail-light – there it’ll be mostly protected, but still easy to access. The pump auto-starts when pressure drops, so the idea is to leave the pump powered on and you’ll have water whenever you need it.  5. Gulp. Anyone who’s fitted a snorkel knows it’s always a bit of a heart-in-mouth moment. Figure out where you’re going to mount your tap, then drill a pilot hole and take it out to about 6mm. Use a step drill bit to neatly enlarge the hole to the diameter of the back of the tap and then mount it through the body panel by fitting a standard male hose fitting to it. Use a bit of thread locker or plumber’s thread tape on the threads to stop it from vibrating loose.  6. Add a female push connector to the hose coming out of the pump and connect it to the back of the tap. The final step is to sink one of these little motorbike fuel tank breathers into each of the jerry can lids. They’ll let the jerry cans breathe air in as the pump sucks the water away, but their one-way design means they won’t spill any water out. And that’s it – pressurised water on tap for the next time you head bush!


Rather than have to open your tailgate to get to the switch for the pump, run it somewhere hidden that’s easily accessible from outside the vehicle. We ran a switch up under the rear of the roofrack, so when you need to wash your hands, you just flick the switch and you’ve got pressurised water at the tap. Foolproof!


Two 20L water jerry cans: $19.99ea total $39.98 Lockable brass garden tap: $5.97 4lpm 12v water pump: $24.99 Two plastic motorbike fuel tank breathers: $1.87ea total $3.74 Tube clear Liquid Nails: $9.85 Two water container taps: $3.99ea total $7.98 Misc hose, fittings, t-piece, hose clamps: $free (from the shed) Misc wiring: $free (from the shed) TOTAL: $92.51