Gas cans are the bane of my existence.

A year or two I bought two new plastic gas cans – the government-approved kind with the nozzle you need three hands to operate…


…and one of them already leaks so bad at the gasket that, trying to gas the Jeep this morning, I ended up pouring the fuel out of it and into an old one before I could get the fuel into the Jeep and not all over me and the ground.

Starting Friday I have a week-long back-and-forth gig, and it involves going to the top of S&T’s mesa so I need the Jeep, can’t take the bike up their driveway. So I really wanted to start the week with full cans but that newish can just wasn’t working out. So I went to Landlady’s barn and pulled an old one out of storage.


Those old ones are at least 15 years old and have been in storage for – I don’t know – several years. But if they weren’t still working at the time I would never have stored them – they’ve just had so many inflation cycles that the bottoms go round and they won’t stay upright in the truck.

But all the way home from town I smelled gasoline, and when I got back to D&L’s place I found that the one I’d grabbed from storage had developed a seeping crack.


So I emptied it into the Jeep, and it went into the “to the dump” pile. Bother. I have to find a source for better gas cans.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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11 Responses to Gas cans are the bane of my existence.

  1. Wyowanderer says:

    I use a super siphon https://safetysiphon.net/collections/all

    with a NATO can from Lexington Container- https://www.lexingtoncontainercompany.com/Nato-Jerry-Cans.html

    I’ve been having good success with them.
    Beware the NATO can spouts, they’re nearly as bad as the plastic can variety.

  2. robert orians says:

    Our dear friends at the EPA . Now you know why they ordered AR15’s and hollow points during Bath House Barrys terms.

  3. Mike says:

    Joel, I was having the same issues with the gas cans I was using. Finally I broke down and picked up 4 Scepter military grade gas cans.

    https://scepter.com/products/military-products/military-fuel-water-containers/?region=USA&usage=&size=&color=

  4. sevesteen says:

    If you search Amazon for a “water can spout” you can find simple, non-valved, non-stupid spouts that fit most plastic gas cans, complete with a replacement vent and a strainer that looks an awful lot like a spark arrestor. Not for use on gas cans even though they fit, not for sale in Ohio… (I bought mine at a farm store in Ohio)

  5. Anonymous says:

    Here is the one I got at Amazon a few years ago. Still an active listing

  6. KurtP says:

    Look on e-bay for replacement gas can spouts.

    https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m570.l1312&_nkw=replacement+gas+can+spout+kit&_sacat=0

    Some of them come with vents that you can use after you drill a hole in the back side of your can.
    I was a dumb-ass and ordered the wrong one, so I too kt core out of a valve stem and after drilling the hole- pilled it through for a vent in the back.

  7. Norman says:

    I have several of the NATO fuel cans from Lexington Container, now made to NATO specs in Latvia. They work better than great. $80 each, LexCon discounts – slightly – for the 4-pack. Should have bought more when they were $40, Buy Once, Cry Once applies. Knockoffs abound, and they’re Chinesium crap; they “work” for multiple values of “work,” if you buy knockoffs get the knockoff spouts from the same place. Chinesium spouts will NOT fit genuine NATO cans and NATO spouts won’t fit Chinesium cans.

    Pro Tip: shipping cost on ANY quantity of empty containers is obscene because they’re high volume with very low weight – if you know anyone driving near Lexington, KY, offer to buy them a full tank of gas if they’ll go by LexCon and pick up your phone order.

    RE: NATO spouts – buy them from whomever you buy the cans from, get several extras because nothing else will fit NATO cans AND extra spout gaskets, gaskets last about 3-4 years. Extra points fior using a very small flat blade screwdriver to VERY GENTLY slightly open up the internal vent tube in the spout to speed up flow. GENTLY and SLIGHTLY are the words.

    Add some clear plastic tubing to make the spout longer – 5/8″ ID 3/4″OD clear tubing from Lowe’s or HD’s plumbing dept with a 1/2″ galvanized nipple at each end and some stainless safety wire. Cut the tubing to 16″ and 18″ is much more betterer. Shorter won’t allow the spout to work on all vehicles and the “virgin” spout is too short to work with nearly anything. The 1/2″ galv nipple fits perfectly in unleaded gas fillers. Galvanized nipples are cheap, you can use brass if you like spending money, do not use the plastic. Safety wire is a must – if the nipple comes out of the tubing it will fall into the tank.

    The rubber flex section of the NATO spout – no matter who makes it – will fail after 2 years of use and begin leaking. When it does, remove and discard. Replace with 1″ ID tubing over the metal end of the spout (again, 16″ – 18″ long) and an adapter from Lowe’s/HD’s plumbing – 1″ male threads X 1/2″ ridged galvanized nipple. I’ve started removing the flex section and doing this to spouts when they’re new – it allows emptying a full 20 liters (5.25 U.S. gal) in 65 seconds.

    1/2″ EMT fits perfectly into unleaded fillers and can be bent into whatever shape you need and a length of 1/2″ PVC can be forced onto the EMT to control how much EMT goes into the filler. A PVC 4″ to 2″ adapter and a 2″ to 1/2″ adapter will fit tightly on the EMT and act as a funnel. Custom bend EMT to “nest” in YOUR filler and YOUR gas door so you don’t have to hold or bungee it.

    Pro Tip: Old geezers will remember vacuum-style coffee makers that haven’t been made since the ’50s. If you ever run across the stainless version of the top reservoir, beg, buy or steal it, at gunpoint if necessary. They are absolutely the world’s best and fastest funnels, and with 18″ of plastic tubing on the outlet tube you can pour anything into anything.

    FYI, the SPECTRE cans – the openings and caps are different between the water cans and the fuel cans, each uses a different spout, and only SPECTRE spouts will fit. LexCon has the best price on the water can spouts, 6 with shipping is about $93. SPECTRE water cans are easy to find, if pricey, fuel cans harder to locate because of EPA restrictions on them. I prefer steel NATO fuel cans to SPECTRE fuel cans. NATO cans are internally coated to prevent rust and contamination, and much more puncture resistant than plastic, even the heavy SPECTRE cans. Don’t ask how I know that.

    If I can figure out how to load spout pictures in comments I will add them later, otherwise I’ll email them to Joel later today.

  8. Joel says:

    Knockoffs abound, and they’re Chinesium crap…

    Been there, done that. And they’re no longer in service. I’d say they were nice while they lasted except they never worked well.

  9. FLAwtha says:

    ESTATE SALES. or as i say; dead peoples stuff. go to estatesales dot net & it’ll show you all the stuff including picts. nobody takes pictures of the old metal gas cans so you just have to look. shoot, i don’t “need” any any more but when you can buy an old style for under 20 bucks you get it & give it as a gift. . . . . .

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