Trailed 6-Gallon “Spare” Tank Overview & DIY Guide For the 5th Gen 4Runner
Traveling into the backcountry by vehicle can be a safe and rewarding adventure if properly prepared.
However, if you are not prepared things can turn into a post-apocalyptic movie scene, quickly. Liquid is essential for life, both for us and our rigs, having plenty of water and fuel will help ensure a safe return from any adventure.
That is where the Trailed “Spare” Tank comes in. These easily portable tanks will hold 6 Gallons of liquid in any place you can mount a spare tire. Notice that I said liquid and not just fuel tank.
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That is because the Trailed “Spare” Tank is constructed of Linear Low-Density Polyethylene which means it is food grade and can hold water as well as fuel. However, like any plastic container, once the fuel is added, it should no longer be used for potable water.
Size and Capacity
The tank is only 3 inches thick and 29 inches around and can be stacked together. To give you an idea of what this looks like, 3 tanks stacked together are the equivalent to the factory spare on the 4Runner. That is 18 gallons of fuel or water in what could be otherwise wasted space. Even more so, a BFG KO2 at 285/70 is around 12 inches adding another 6 gallons for a total of 24-gallon capacity.
If you have ever had to carry full jerry cans across a motor pool, then you know liquids are heavy. Exactly how heavy, well that depends on the type, and for some, the temperature (the colder fuel is the heavier it is)?
- 1 gal of H2O = 8.34 lbs x 6 gal = 50.04 lbs + 10 lbs for the tank = 60.04 lbs
- 1 gal of Regular Gas (87 Octane) weighs 6.216 lbs x 6 gal = 37.3 lbs + 10 lbs for the tank = 47.3 lbs
- 1 gal of Premium Gas (91 Octane) weighs 6.35 lbs x 6 gal = 38.1 lbs + 10 lbs for the tank = 48.1 lbs
This can add up to a significant amount of weight depending on the requirements for the trip.
For me, the perfect set up for longer unsupported adventures would be at least 2 fuel and 1 water tank as the 4Runner is much thirstier than I am. This would equal 154.64 pounds. One of the main benefits of the Trailed “Spare” Tank system is that it keeps all of that additional weight low and improves the center of gravity versus having it on the roof.
Accessing gear when you need it is important and utilizing the factory spare hoist negates any additional mounting requirements. Using the OEM toolkit drop the spare tire.
Removing Spare Tire (DIY Guide)
If you have more than one spare tank, then stack them together. On the side, there are 2 nubs that correspond with 2 indents on the opposing side so they will lock into each other.
Reinsert the hoist into the center opening. Make sure to bend the tab that fits into the wheel stud hole flat, as it will cause damage. See below in the Durability section of this post.
Crank it up just like a spare. It keeps it tucked up out of the way and a single tank just disappears underneath the vehicle.
I think 3 tanks are the ideal number as it keeps everything tucked under, but just keep in mind if you are doing any serious rock crawling you may want to drop down to 2.
Since I haven’t got my tire swing just yet, I attempted to place the tank above the spare to see how much clearance I would lose. Short answer… a lot, I would not recommend this… Ever.
At the Trailed “Spare” Tank 12 o’clock is the recessed port to protect the cap. It uses a standard self-venting Scepter cap and nozzle, so it can easily be replaced if lost or broken.
At the 6 o’clock position is a flat base that allows it to stand up better. I would still lean it against something as it is still thin and heavy.
There are 4 comfortable handles at the 45-degree marks, which allow multiple ways to carry and pour.
It also gives you additional tie-down points if needed. They remind me of some nice oversized plates from the gym.
Pouring fuel into a gas tank is never fun, no matter what type of container.
It is an awkward and messy process at best and that is why I have given up on pouring fuel. I have instead adopted the use of a siphon hose.
The one I use is an inexpensive shaker siphon hose as some of the ones with pumps leak after time and take up more room. It has a brass end with a little marble and spring that you shake in the fluid.
It’s less strain and mess, as long as you have a zip lock bag to keep the hose in afterward. Or better yet let it sit out for a few minutes to let the fuel evaporate before bagging it.
I know that there will be the question of “What if you still want to carry a spare in the factory location?”. The Trailed “Spare” Tank can still be carried anywhere that a spare can be mounted. For the rooftop application, you can use something like the Front Runner spare wheel clamp to mount the tank.
If you are only using one or two tanks this will keep a very low profile. This would also be a great application for water storage as it could heat up in the sun, and be used for showers.
Another added benefit is that Trailed is made in the U.S.A., more specifically in Salem, Oregon.
So it’s supporting a local small business that is a part of the community. They also have a 5-year manufacturer warranty where they will replace or repair any defects. If things do go wrong that are environmentally induced (read, you smacked a rock with one), then they can be repaired using plastic welding.
If for some reason that it can’t be repaired it is fully recyclable, so it continues to be useful in another life.
These things are stout!
In a few hundred off-road miles it still looks new. However, since I only have one at this point and it is tucked way up it hadn’t been fully torture-tested. The largest damage sustained is when I forgot to bend down the tab that locks into the spare wheel stud hole and cranked it up far as it would go.
I really thought it would have punctured with near 50 pounds and all that force on a small metal edge but to my relief just a small dent.
Take my money! Initially, I was extremely interested in the concept but was unsure of the application. However, after putting it through the over 500 miles of backcountry trails it performed flawlessly.
I like my gear to be adaptable and durable and that is exactly what the Trailed “Spare” Tank is.