20 Liter “Jerry” can review

Last year, after hearing my complaints about how my plastic gasoline jugs were going round from expansion and were popping their seams at the rate of about one a month, a friend sent me two of these steel “Jerry” cans as replacement.
At first I was delighted, later a little less so. Today one can did what I would have thought impossible, and now I’d better go ahead and write a review to save you guys some pain.

At the price – and when you see how thin the steel is – this is clearly not a milspec can. Given how volatile current gasoline is, you can still blow one of these up like a baloon. I imagine with the wrong set of circumstances you could also collapse one, and unlike with a plastic can that would be fatal. So far that second thing hasn’t happened, but I can sit by my window in the morning and listen to the empties pop with loud ringing tones as they warm in the sun.

Given all that, it’s remarkable how well the caps seal…
Latched down and with gasket in place, the caps are so far absolutely gas tight. As previously mentioned, this can be a good thing or a bad one. The complex cap has three parts; the cap itself, the latch, and the locking pin.

Starting with the point of greatest complaint, that pin is worse than useless. It won’t stay in place, and in order to put it in place you mustn’t squash down the latch as far as it could – and should – go.

Before today that wasn’t a problem, only an annoyance. But today the pin came out, the latch worked out of its slots, the cap popped open, and my neighbors’ pickup bed became thoroughly anointed with half my week’s ration of gasoline. Could have been worse, there weren’t any sacks of feed in there with it. This time. But I’ll be walking more than I’d intended to this week.

Each can also comes with its own spout:
In strict obedience to current federal law this spout is not vented in any way, so using it is a matter of holding a steel can containing 30 pounds of gasoline up above waist height while it s-l-o-w-l-y and painfully glugs out its contents at a rate of – I estimate – about half a pint an hour. It’s possible that’s only a subjective impression. The alternative is to dispense with the spout and use a funnel, which normally involves getting doused with gasoline at some point.

ETA: Also I forgot to mention: Whoever designed the can’s opening did not take into consideration the diameter of a standard American filler nozzle. The nozzle does not fit well into the can, so if you’re not careful when you squeeze the handle you’re going to get a splashy surprise. Just saying.

*sigh* All in all, this particular metal gas can is not an improvement over the standard plastic jug. Though I truly did and do appreciate the gift.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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10 Responses to 20 Liter “Jerry” can review

  1. jabrwok says:

    How to fix a new gas can: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lcnwdIYEfI

    Probably a bit more difficult with the metal cans, but the concept should work just fine. I did it with my plastic cans and the gasoline just *flows* on out!

  2. Jeffersonian says:

    Looks a lot like the 5-liters that were in the surplus stores a decade or more ago, all gone now. I still carry one of those in the back of my car.

    The surplus ones usually had worn out gaskets in the cap, but I cut a new one from an old bicycle inner tube and it’s been fine for years.

  3. B says:

    might be you could use these to vent the cans.

    they hold pressure in my round steel and in my plastic ones.


    use the 31/64 drill bit. Maybe fill ’em with water first….

  4. Malatrope says:

    I know it would be a pain, but smaller plastic jugs should withstand the internal pressure better than larger ones.

  5. Wyowanderer says:

    I have several of these cans, and since I live in the high desert of Wyoming, I’m no help with the expansion and contraction issue, I’ve never seen it occur to a dangerous degree. The spout thing-well that’s another matter. I HATE using spouts/funnels/etc. so I use one of these: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Super+siphon
    They make all sorts of “better” spouts, but all of them require the user to have compressed air handy or to lift, and hold, a heavy can. A couple Super Siphons might make your gasoline transfers better.

  6. wyowanderer says:

    Another (even more expensive) option are Scepter cans: https://www.amazon.com/Military-Fuel-Can-Scepter-Gallon/dp/B00L1KY1KI
    Trouble is, you just about need a special wrench: https://www.amazon.com/CapWrench-MFC-CWMFCB-Scepter-Military/dp/B00ZD3R48K
    To tighten down the lid tight enough fuel won’t leak.
    I’ve had both, and prefer the NATO style cans.
    They also come in 10L size, http://www.jerrycan.com/shop/10-liter-olive-drab-steel-wavian-jerry-can/
    Which I use for my Rokon, chain saw, and generators.

  7. Bob says:

    I use the Eagle brand gas cans. A bit pricey, but their made in the USA, are very sturdy, and don’t leak. Stick with the basic 5 gal. can, sans the high-tec spouts. They are not stackable, though. Also get a good long-neck funnel.

  8. Bob says:

    Should be “they’re”

  9. jon spencer says:

    2.0 liter or 20 liter?

  10. Joel says:

    Hm. How long has that typo been there? Sheesh.


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