Follow These Tips for Carrying Gas Can on Roof Rack Safely!

Last Updated on February 21, 2023 by Will Sabel

There are a lot of arguments regarding storing or carrying gas when driving. However, sometimes, the situation just demands a solution and there’s no other way but to look for a route that can be practically considered safe.

In that sense, yes you can carry gas on the roof rack but with enough precautions and proper manners.

So, what is the right way of carrying gas can on roof rack?

For carrying gas cans on a roof rack, you need to pay attention to the type of gas can you’re using, make sure there are arrangements for holding the cans, and follow some safety guidelines

Let’s talk about it in depth.

Key Takeaways:

  • Maintaining important safety precautions for carrying gas can is necessary.
  • NATO jerry cans are the best option for carrying gasoline, Rotopax is the 2nd-best alternative but any plastic container will lessen the safety scores.
  • A well-made gas can holder placed on a roof rack will make things extra safe.

Safely Carrying Gas Can on Roof Rack

So, is it safe to travel with gas cans in your car on the roof rack? It’s both yes and no depending on what safety precautions you’re taking for this commute.

It is generally safe to travel with gas cans in your car’s roof rack as long as the containers used can maintain safe internal pressures. Also, the rack’s capability and design need to be suitable for this task or else you’re just going to ruin the expensive roof rack.

About the gasoline containers, you should look for some safety approval that assures its capability. 

These approvals can be provided by:

  • UL or Underwriters Laboratories.
  • ASTM or American Society for Testing and Materials.

However, even with enough terms and acknowledgment of safety cans, there’s doubt regarding these containers.

“CPSC staff recently suggested to manufacturers that the labeling of gasoline containers include a specific warning against gasoline storage in automobile trunks, where the risk of ignition from a rear-end collision or electrical spark is acute.”

So, it’s clear, with many irresponsible manufacturers out there, it’s also a priority for the users to be as cautious as possible when storing or carrying something hazardous such as gasoline.

You must make sure that no portable gas cans are stored inside any location of your car that is enclosed. For example, the passenger compartment.

Other Things to Mind for Safely Carrying Gas on the Roof Rack Are:

  • Make sure you don’t allow spillage by leaving at least 5% space inside the gas cans.
  • To avoid any chance of spark from static discharge, you can fill the gas can while placing it on the ground.
  • Before placing it on the roof rack, clean the gas can and secure it properly.
  • Don’t use or carry gas that is more than 3-6 months old.

Most Important Factor to Consider for Carrying Gas Can on Roof Rack – The Carrying Container!

To carry the gas, you can use different types of gas cans that are available. Some may be cheap but not the safest. While others may price a little extra but also provide that much-needed safety. However, to make the right choice, you need to consider:

  • The capacity of these containers.
  • The material used for the different types and how compatible these are for carrying gas.
  • If there’s any chance of a leak or other poor durability consequences.

Plastic Gas Containers

These are the ones that I was having in my mind when thinking of something cheap. You can easily find these available at various local stores for quite a bargain price. 

But I don’t recommend these. Because plastic containers are extremely poor at durability. Not to mention how easily these containers leak.

Rotopax Containers

This one can be expensive, it probably is actually. However, the shape of a rotopax gas can and the thickness of the used plastic make it a better choice than the previous regular cans. 

But keep in mind these get mixed reviews from different users all the time. Some hate the fact that it is made of plastic yet priced so high. While others find the leak-proof and rack-friendly shape perfectly suitable.

I find the RotopaX RX-2G Gasoline Pack quite decent with a rack configuration that helps. If you are planning to go for around a 3-day road trip, then these may work as a solution to strap securely on the roof rack and something that does not leak even when the temperature change is quite substantial. 

Keep in mind, the nozzle works but quite slowly, something a lot of people may not like. And yes, as these are made thicker, there is a good amount of weight to the container.

NATO Jerry Cans

Now, this is the most popular and perhaps the best type of gas container to go for. As NATO Jerry cans are often made of metal, it provides a tough enclosure to the fuel gas without any chance of a leak. 

To keep things safe, these can be the best bet. However, the shape is quite awkward and may not be extremely easy to place on a roof rack. 

I looked for some options and the Wavian USA JC0020RVS Red Authentic NATO Jerry Fuel Can make the best impression. It also includes a spout system, which makes things extra pleasant in my view.

Use Holder for Carrying Gas Can on a Roof Rack Without Shifting, Leaks/Spills & Fumes Buildup

There are three important aspects of safely carrying a gas can on a roof rack that I want you to consider. These are:

  • Making sure the cans don’t shift too much or have any risk of falling off.
  • Using the right type of fuel properly to avoid spills or leaks.
  • Avoiding any chance of fume buildup with proper ventilation mechanism.

Now, exactly how and where do you store gas cans on a roof rack to ensure all these three points?

Ideally, you can store gas cans on a roof rack over a can holder. While doing this, make sure it is secure enough and check the whole thing frequently. The weight being even on the center will help and if possible let it be over the rear axle. 

The NATO Style Steel Jerry Can Holder is a classic one made with steel and powder coating, giving it enough quality to last almost a lifetime. It’s also quite simple to assemble and includes plastic isolators to hold the cans separately and securely.

Wrapping Up

And there you have it! I tried to sum down some safety points regarding carrying gas cans on roof rack. 

The provided information on various gas can types should help you go with a suitable one. And if it’s possible, take my tip of getting a gas can holder for making the transport extra safe.

Once you are done with all these steps, I am quite sure there’s nothing else to worry about.

I will see you in my next guide soon!

Author: Will Sabel

Will Sabel is an avid car enthusiast. When he's not writing for RidersWant, you'll find him cruising the country in a new car. People are always wondering how many cars he has!

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