Rotopax vs. Fuelpax: What’s the Difference?


Fuelpax and Rotopax both carry gas, so is there a point to arguing the differences? Let’s find out.

The differences between Rotopax and Fuelpax are not greatly significant. The main differences are the manufacturing processes and the warranties. Rotopax is rotationally molded while Fuelpax is blow molded. Rotopax’s warranty is also about twice as long.

The differences are not great, but it might be possible that one is better than the other. Here’s what you need to know!

What Are They?

Rotopax and Fuelpax are both companies that produce portable gas containers that can be used for bringing extra gas on offroad trips, a critical tool to have in your off-roading arsenal as you never know when you could end up stranded far from the road.

More than simply being fuel canisters, they are high-quality and durable fuel carriers. They are significantly more expensive than ordinary fuel cans because they are built to be taken on comparatively extreme trips.

Their closest comparison is the metal jerry-can, which can be used for mostly the same purposes. We’ll get into the reasons that these cans aren’t always optimal later, but if you already have one that works fine you might not really need to get a new one.

Both are serviceable for this purpose and are of high-quality production. Both are in a similar price range and similarly durable. So what are the actual differences between them?

The Difference is in the Detail

As mentioned above, there are not many significant differences between the two types of fuel cans. They are both leak-proof, American-made, stackable, and their mounts (Fuelpax mounts and Rotopax mounts) can be interchangeably used.

The largest differences remain in their manufacturing patterns: Fuelpax is blow-molded and Rotopax is rotationally molded.

This typically means that Fuelpax cans are lighter but with thinner container walls, while Rotopax cans are heavier but thicker. Rotopax also offers a 10-year warranty as opposed to Fuelpax’s 5-year warranty which often makes them a less popular choice.

The important thing to remember is that both Rotopax and Fuelpax cans are superior to most traditional jerry cans. Many traditional jerry cans are made of metal and while they are plenty effective, they are also harder and more dangerous to carry.

Metal cans are not only susceptible to denting and damage, but they can also get dangerously hot in the heat which could prove to be quite dangerous.

Rotopax and Fuelpax cans are made of plastic which will prove more flexible when tossed around or dropped. It won’t dent, and it won’t heat up as quickly as a metal can would.

The Pros and Cons of Both

Fuelpax and Rotopax might primarily be the same in many respects but the differences in their construction actually do tend to yield some interesting points of comparison. Here are a few notable pros and cons you ought to consider.

Rotopax: First you should know that Rotopax does have thicker walls than Fuelpax cans. This is due to the rotational molding process which takes longer but makes heftier cans. This is a definite perk, especially when driving rough roads like gravel. It makes it more difficult for tiny rocks and pieces of debris to puncture the cans.

Additionally, the warranty is a nice 10 years long and who could say no to that? Rotopax also offers multiple can sizes ranging from 1 gallon to 1.75 gallons, to 2 gallons (price differs with size). Rotopax also comes with a separate spout attachment which makes filling your vehicle much easier and spill-free.

Unfortunately, there are a few downsides to using Rotopax cans. A user of Rotopax cans mentioned that while the cans were sturdily made and reliable for the job, they were not vented to accommodate changes in heat and altitude which means they both expand and contract during increases/decreases in heat or altitude.

This can be dangerous depending on how hot or high you go. Additionally, while there are multiple sizes, the range is not as big as Fuelpax’s range which extends to 4 gallons; twice the amount of Rotopax’s.

While Rotopax cans can be mounted, their mounting racks are often insufficient for several vehicles. One user complained that his tri-fold cover would not shut all the way and that the mounting for the plate was insufficient which caused his load to be unbalanced.

Fuelpax: Their warranty might only be 5 years, but that’s still a good amount of time to decide whether or not the cans work. Fuelpax cans have thinner walls than Rotopax, but they are also a bit more affordable than the latter.

Despite the thin walls, they will still get the job done, according to many user reviews. Fuelpax also offers a larger size range from 1-4 gallons. They are leak-proof and sturdy and you can stack and mount them just as you could any Rotopax can. And don’t forget, Fuelpax offers a separate spout for ease of filling as well.

Fuelpax cans will get the job done, but they do pose a few risks/downsides. While their thin walls do make them cheaper and lighter, that can also be a problem. They might be more susceptible to puncturing than Rotopax cans which could pose a definite danger. Additionally, any mounting pieces you need will have to be purchased separately.

Buying Rotopax/Fuelpax Mounts

Whichever brand you choose to go with (Fuelpax or Rotopax) you will not likely be disappointed. Both are sturdy enough to get the job done without incident.

There are a variety of places you may be able to purchase either choice. Obviously, any in-person specialty off-roading place probably carries them. They can also be purchased over Amazon or eBay. The best way to buy them is probably still to order directly from their website.

When it comes to price, Fuelpax’s website offers slightly better value. Their 3.5-gallon can is only around sixty dollars compared to Rotopaxs’s 2 gallons for eighty dollars. This makes Fuelpax the better value choice.

Of course, if you know that you’ll be driving in places where the can is likely to be punctured by accident, the extra twenty dollars might be worth the investment to avoid needing to buy a new one or ending up in a dangerous situation.

Alternatively, you may be in a situation where the more expensive Rotopax might be a worse choice due to the climate of your home. Make sure to take these things into account when making your decision.

Now that we’ve looked at cans, let’s take a look at mounts.

Hauling Fuel Safely

Anybody hauling extra fuel ought to be rightfully prepared for the task.

WHEN FILLING THE CANS

Obviously, the first step is to choose reliable, approved cans (which you don’t need to worry about if you use Rotopax or Fuelpax). Next, when filling up a gas can, remove all potential sources of ignition (turn the car off, extinguish any cigarettes, etc.).

It is advisable to set the container on level ground before filling; you don’t ever want to fill up in a truck or trailer because you’ll run the risk of static electricity igniting the fuel vapors.

Fill the cans slowly; you don’t want to overfill them because spilling is another dangerous ignition source. Also, keep in mind that you only want to fill 90-95% of your can(s).

If you fill them up all the way, they will not have room to expand or compact when altitude or temperature changes, resulting in gas spills which are never desirable. Once you are ready to load up, make sure to wipe down all the containers. Any residual gas on the cans could potentially ignite.

WHEN LOADING AND GOING

Now you have loaded up and you are ready to go. When you mount/store your gas cans, do not EVER put them inside the passenger cabin. If you happened to put unsealed cans in the cabin, the fumes could at the very least make your passengers sick, and possibly ignite. Putting the cans in any sort of enclosed space, even a trunk, is highly discouraged.

Make sure the storage area is well ventilated so the fumes have a place to go other than the passengers’ heads. Keep the cans upright and sealed tightly at all times. Gas spills are nothing to take lightly, and they ought to be avoided at all costs (Also keep in mind, smoking is never a good idea when you’re transporting gasoline).

WHEN UNLOADING

Obviously, you want to handle the cans with care when unloading. Unload the cans the moment you arrive at your destination. If you leave them in the sun or in a place where they could get spilled, well…you can probably predict the rest of that story.

Get the fuel out of/off the vehicle as soon as possible and get it to a secure, shady area. The same is true for when you are storing it at home. Keep it in as cool a place as possible where nothing and nobody can get to it. Keep it away from all electrical sources. Again, you do not want it near any ignition sources.

Will Turner

Will has an absolute passion for 4x4s and loves discovering all of the small details about each model. Will joined the Four Wheel Trends team in early 2021 and has been a valuable contributor ever since!

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