Securing Jerry Cans On Roof Rack

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Jan 10, 2003
Austin, Tx
About to go on a trip and I'll be carrying my cans on the roof rack. How are y'all securing them to where they cannot be stolen and/or opened?

Thank you.
I normally don't fill them until I'm ready to head off road but even if empty I use a cable lock to secure them by running it through the handles and around roof rack bars. If full, my Scepter caps are always so tight that nobody would get them loose without standing over them or using one of my Rocking K cap wrenches.
what kind of rack and what kind of cans?
well with a badass rig like that, I would think a small bit of fabwork would be easy, I don't know of any off the shelf units that work with those cans in particular but making one would be pretty simple. If you look at the attached sketch, its two pieces of sheet, thickness is up to you, the dimensions are the same as your cans. the bottom piece is bolted to the rack, and the top leverages in through the tongue on the top back with a lock at the bottom. You can make it for any width, to keep them from being snaked out the side, extend a tab from the outer edge down for the top piece and a tab from the bottom piece up. the two squiggles in the corner are a side view of how the tongue locks in and the other is of what they would look like when not inserted into the slot.

I'm actually doing something similar with my Hanna fuel can rack on my bumper.

hope this quick sketch makes sense.
fuel can lock.jpg
Shane's look great, I wasn't aware he was making any. That might be the best way to go if you want to click and ship.
On long trips in the oz bush I load 5 cans on the roof. 4 with diesel and 1 with petrol for the minibike in the back. The main tank holds 160 litres, so total I have 240 litres and that gives me a safe 1000+ miles range.

I have a marine ply box that allows 5 cans to sit on edge with room for a wide section of 1/4" thick conveyer belt rubber between each can and also between the cans and the bottom of the box. The belt is free as scrap from a local rubber supply.

I then use a furniture strap to hold the cans down. The plywood box is captured on 3 sides by the roof rack sides and the food box on the roof. Along with the strap, nothing moves and I've used this scheme for 20+ years with no issue. Gives you some good exercise heaving the cans up and down, so having a mate on the ground to help is a BIG plus :)


I can also put 2 cans flat in the plywood box for short trips where I want one with petrol and a little safety margin in diesel. I have slots down low in the sides of the ply box, so I can run the strap through the sides and keep the two cans down and rattle free

Here's pictures of a recent 'freshening' up of the box and camp table I use. Many years use and the fuel box was showing signs of damage from many scrapes and hits from low trees and scrub. Replaced one panel with a new sheet. Also recycled the lid of the food box to make a new top for the camping table (the old chipboard top was disintegrating).



George, your rig is awesome by the way!

do you have a way to secure them so they won't walk away?
George, your rig is awesome by the way!

do you have a way to secure them so they won't walk away?

Yeah, the old patrol (bought new in 1980) has been a great 4wd over many years and miles. The 80 I have here in the US is so refined, quiet, comfortable, capable etc etc, but I love getting in the old patrol. In the bush it is great vehicle for tracks there, economical diesel with great fuel economy whether working hard or just cruising along. Very simplistic vehicle, no complex electronics or miles of wiring harnesses etc. Essentially the equivalent of a 40 series but with more room and some extra creature comforts (for its day).

Regarding securing the cans - from what? In oz if you're in the bush the chance of anyone being around is minimal and it would take a real wally to mess with or steal something at camp. Most small country towns are pretty safe too. In the city, well, that's where I'd worry, but then the vehicle is only loaded up with the cans when leaving the city... In fact until you asked about securing them, I'd never even considered the need to do that :)

the reason I bring it up is the OP wanted to secure the cans from theft
the reason I bring it up is the OP wanted to secure the cans from theft

Well, a cable strung through the handles of the cans and then padlocked to the bar work (in my case) would keep things secure other than from a bolt cutter.

Given the fuel is diesel and the cans are always a little 'oily' it does limit the thieving to a smaller crowd. Funny, in the remote main dirt roads in oz that connect aboriginal communities I've been stopped a few times by the 'locals' that have run out of petrol - I just have to say "sorry mate, I run diesel" and we're on our way again :)


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