Water storage solution on Canning Stock Route walk

Submitted: Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 02:14
ThreadID: 100440 Views:5661 Replies:6 FollowUps:19
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Don't mean to bring up an old thread, it's just that I have not found a solution to my water drops on the Canning. 1850km with water and food supplies buried every 20kms. That is close to 100 drops.

Reason: Pam Armstrong and I are walking the Canning for three months, north to south, starting in May 2013. I am using this years trip as a test for a future unsupported walk. Pam is supplying the support vehicle and her friend Tony Rhodes is driving, so all is low risk this year. Andy Sutcliffe of Peugeot 505 on the Canning in 2010 'fame', is helping me by doing a run north along the Canning in a 47 Series Landcruiser, dropping the water and food along the way. This is so I can simulate an unsupported walk whilst walking with Pam.

Storing the water in a manner as to leave no trace is proving problematic. Jerry cans, buckets and tin cans are not a viable option and the flexible's used in bag-in-box system I hoped would work, received a deathblow today from Scholle Australia and Nampak South Africa - leading manufactures of this system. The concern is that the bags are not designed to be buried in the ground for up to three months and may fail. The potential risk is too high.

The adventure travel alternative is to use MSR or Sea-to-Summit bladders. They are flat, easy to fill at the wells as we go along and robust. The cost of a 100 of these is 6000 and 4000 AUD. This option is prohibitive due to the number required.

Can anyone offer a solution? It must be cost effective, space saving for transport in the troopy until required, durable and able to burn quickly.

I had thought to find a way to buy these bladders, then brand them with 'walkthecsr.com' (the website providing info on the walk) and offer to Canning travelers I meet en-route, as a CSR souvenir. In this way the cost of the bladders might be recouped, the product would get exposure and further use as it is seen to have value, and the CSR left clean. But it is a big financial risk.

Does anyone have an alternative cost effective, safe solution?
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Reply By: PajDIDauto - Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 10:59

Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 10:59
Sea to Summit is an Australian company based in Perth. Have you considered giving them a call to see if they can do something for you with the internal bladders which may be more cost effective, especially for the volume you are looking at?
AnswerID: 504307

Follow Up By: Gaynor - Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 15:54

Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 15:54
Hi PajDIDauto

Scholle suggested contacting Sea-To-Summit. My hesitancy to do so is that even if we were offered a 50% discount, I could not afford 100 bladders.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, however. Will do as you suggest and see if they have a solution to offer.
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Follow Up By: PajDIDauto - Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 21:43

Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 21:43
I think they have replacement bladders for those water carriers, so you don't have to pay for all the nylon covers - it may be much cheaper........
FollowupID: 781130

Follow Up By: Gaynor - Saturday, Feb 09, 2013 at 18:00

Saturday, Feb 09, 2013 at 18:00
Interesting. You might be onto something here. Found this lengthy gear test report on SeaToSummit PackTaps:


And a bit more about the construction here:


'Product Features
Can be rolled and squeezed into tight spaces - the fabrics used are very abrasion resistant and the double bladders will withstand significant pressure
Bladders themselves are Mylar, and are completely after taste-free: they are based on the same material used for wine bladders
420 D ripstop nylon exterior
Easy one-handed operation'

I am thinking that when Scholle recommended I contact SeaToSummit, they might have done so because it would appear that they make the bladders for them. An assumption only based on the recommendation and the similarity in products.

Good reason to follow this lead.
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Reply By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 11:12

Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 11:12
Hi Gaynor,
Tony here ....remember me from Balgo?
What about wine bladders (you know out of casks)?
Insanity doesnt run in my family.... it gallops!

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AnswerID: 504308

Follow Up By: Crackles - Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 12:37

Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 12:37
Now there's a job. Drinking 100 casks of wine before the walk although you could possibly pick them up on the side of the road near Wiluna ;-)
I'd wait until 2L water was on special at Safeway & buy 100 at $1 each. That way you know they are sealed & safe to drink & sturdy enough to last the 3 months buiried.
Cheers Craig............
FollowupID: 781085

Follow Up By: Gaynor - Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 16:12

Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 16:12
Of course! Hello Tony :-)

The wine bladders are the bag-in-box I am referring to. They are also used for juices, water, etc.

Take a look at this:
http://www.scholle.com has an amazing website with so many awesome options. I really thought Scholle offered the solution. Still do infact. But their response did not match my enthusiasm.

I saw their water bagging option on the Tanami in 2009. A caravan traveller offered me a box/bag of water like this when I was walking to Wolfe Creek.

It is this fitting, however, that appeals for filling purposes at the wells. The QuickSeal opening is bigger and looks like perfect. http://www.scholle.com/applications/juice/

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Reply By: Robin Miller - Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 11:14

Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 11:14
You know if the front door is locked I usually try the back door.

So maybe its worth trying to turn your senario around Gaynor !

Rather than try and hide things, think mabout the opposite approach.

Put things out on display and seek support from the 4wd community.

I.E. At each stop put a container on a small garden pole with water/ry food etc and place with it a little sign something like this.


This container holds 2lt of water to enable us to walk to next stop.

If water is not here please leave some water for us"

(The above is very rough and has some solvable issues but I write it just to get the thought across)

I.E. This approach will reduce incidents , but you must assume some will happen and
I could guarantee that there are more good guys out there than bad and they and the 4wd community will attempt to help you by leaving some etc.

An important extra thing to do is to advertise on sites like this whats happening and help and supportwill happen.

Note - Any signs etc should also have some sort of timing and removal date on them.

You might even get creative and autograph each sign/container after you pass it and say something like "This sign may be souveniored once signed - please take the pole to! "

They will all then dissappear and everyone will be happy
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AnswerID: 504309

Follow Up By: Gaynor - Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 16:34

Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 16:34
Hi Robin

Thanks for 'thinking outside the box'. :-)

One of the concerns CSR 4x4 travelers express is having to clean up after other people. I am not one of those 'other people'. There is a solution that leaves only footprints in the sand. I will find that solution. The CSR is a special place and I treat it with the respect it deserves.
FollowupID: 781105

Follow Up By: Member - eighty matey - Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 00:31

Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 00:31
Hi Gaynor,

I remember from a previous thread, one of your concerns is camels and dingos getting to the water before you do.

That was the thinking behind keeping the containers out of sight, wasn't it?

FollowupID: 781244

Follow Up By: Gaynor - Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 07:33

Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 07:33
Yes. I am not worried about CSR travelers tampering with the supplies.

I am not so sure the animals will support the same etiquette if I leave an all you-can-eat-and-drink open air buffet for them on a stick.

Digging the supplies into the ground and making them unappealing with chlorine powder, will, hopefully, promote fewer losses.

I am over catering with a supply drop of 10 litres every 20kms. I can always travel at night to make up the loss as I would then use less water in this way due to cooler temperatures. Much cooler temperatures.
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Reply By: Danna - Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 14:24

Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 14:24
I don't know, but I would think, if you bury bladders on CSR in sand, they wouldn’t survive there very long. All over CSR tracks are lots, & lots of dingoes and they would smell the water in sand. For dingoes wouldn’t be any bother to dig them out …..
Cheers Dana

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AnswerID: 504322

Follow Up By: Gaynor - Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 16:49

Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 16:49
Hi Danna

This is a concern, granted. Will put chlorine powder over the package and inside the package as a deterrent.

Having travelled the Canning twice and been on my own and quiet, I have been very fortunate meet a number of CSR animals and reptiles along the way. Saw many camels, sometimes in groups, but only a handful of dingoes, singles mostly, and a pair once. I am not sure where you saw so many dingoes, perhaps in the south in the pastoral areas with cattle?

My own experience is that the CSR is not like the Simpson desert where the dingoes run in packs and are aggressive. I expect to lose a supply drop on occasion, but for the most part I am banking on them being safe. This year I will experience the answer to that with a support vehicle for safety. No risk. I am testing this approach for following potential walks.
FollowupID: 781106

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 15:14

Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 15:14

Regret I can't offer any suggestion for human proof and dingo proof water storage. I assume you've considered the plastic drums (20 litres I think) used to distribute bulk wine?

Couldn't help noticing in your post - "easy to fill at the wells as we go along". For the sake of others that haven't done as much research as you have - There were originally a lot of wells but only a few can now offer potable water, and it isn't all easy to access using just the gear that you can carry on your back!


J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

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AnswerID: 504323

Follow Up By: Gaynor - Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 17:09

Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 17:09
Plastic drums are the easy solution to storing water safely, but I have no way of removing them on an unsupported walk. Looking for a leave-no-trace option.

Actually, most water is only a few metres from the surface. There are exceptions and that just meant adding a bit more line. As a walker, water is easy to obtain from all the few working wells with a length of thin, strong line and my 10 litre 'kitchen sink' from Sea-to-Summit.


I agonised over including the 'kitchen sink' in my camping gear, it seemed excessive and girlie, but have never regretted it. I found it to be an incredible piece of equipment with multiple uses: Drawing water from the well, washing dishes and clothing, bathing blistered feet and collecting rain water from my tarp. The kitchen sink is packed for another trip down the Canning.

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Reply By: Member - powernut (SA) - Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 17:10

Friday, Feb 08, 2013 at 17:10
I might be over simplifying it but what about 2 or 3 litre cool drink bottles. They are cheep to collect, light if a little bulky to transport and disposal is a problem. But cost effective and maybe travellers behind you could be persuaded to collect them and crush them on their way out.

Plenty of people use them in 4 x 4 on a trip like this to increase storage of water and if they break you only loose two or three litres. Should stand burying underground for a period. Maybe a drink manufacturer could supply new product to save collecting and cleaning them.

I think dingos could dig for food and anything else they smell as having an association with man. They would learn this smell association from scrounging around old camps where they pick up scraps or bones. This could be a challenge. Need to put something that smells off-putting to a dog buried on top of the food and water.
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AnswerID: 504327

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Feb 09, 2013 at 09:45

Saturday, Feb 09, 2013 at 09:45
My thoughts exactly, there are even 1l bottles in very light packaging designed for low impact recycling ( actually I think they are just thinner cause it costs less).

3 - 4 ( or whatever) x 1 litre bottles spread say 500mm apart in a known pattern would also give some redundency from damage / loss.
FollowupID: 781160

Follow Up By: Gaynor - Saturday, Feb 09, 2013 at 17:19

Saturday, Feb 09, 2013 at 17:19
I am having difficulty picturing 100 x 10 litre bottles in and on top of a Troopy...

Now I am trying to imagine 1000 x 1 litre bottles in the back and on top of the troopy.....

In amongst all of that, is the usual camping stuff two people would take on a Canning trip, often with barely enough space for a mouse at the ceiling......
FollowupID: 781209

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Feb 09, 2013 at 20:28

Saturday, Feb 09, 2013 at 20:28
No matter which way you cut it, 1000l is a cubic meter.
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Follow Up By: Gaynor - Saturday, Feb 09, 2013 at 22:52

Saturday, Feb 09, 2013 at 22:52
Not really. It is all about portability and saving space.

Empty bottles to be filled at the periodic wells, take up a lot of space. Space which does not exist in a troopy packed for a two week Canning trip.

Empty flat bladders take up a tiny, tiny fraction of the space. I can easily imagine misplacing 100 x 10 litre bladders in a Troopy packed with camping gear.

I can't imagine the same for 100 x 10 litre bottles or 1000 x 1 litre bottles.

We are looking for a space saving solution during travel and durability in a harsh but static environment over 3 months.

There is no question in my own mind that bladders, of some sort, are the solution.

The search continues.


I have emailed Sea To Summit to find out about their bladders and if they are slightly more durable than the standard 'wine' bladders, even without their outer covering.

FollowupID: 781239

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 06:09

Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 06:09
I repeat, 1000l is a cubic meter if you have 1 big container or 1million little containers, and little containers usually stack better.

It's up to you, but think about it a little.

FollowupID: 781246

Follow Up By: Gaynor - Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 23:06

Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 23:06
There seems to be some miscommunication / misunderstanding between you and I, Boobook.

I thought to just leave it, but I will give this another go, just because I am practicing not quitting and endurance.

Take 100 x 10 litre EMPTY, flat bladders and put them on the ground.

Next to them, take 1000 litres of water, in a single container or a multitude of small ones, and place them next to the flat, EMPTY bladders on the ground.

Which takes up more space?

The beauty of using bladders is they can be filled as needed along the Canning. Until that moment when they report for duty, they are inconspicuous, tucked away in a corner. Barely noticeable.

Bottles hold their shape - empty or full. They occupy space. A cubic metre in a Troopy is a lot of space.

However, I will think about this further as suggested, because I am obviously missing something you are trying to convey.

Perhaps it is worth remembering that the Troopy will be carrying 3 MONTHS supply of food for one person AND 2 weeks supply of food and camping equipment for two people whilst driving up the Canning, making the drops. Weight and space is already tight.

How many people who have traveled the Canning, feel they could fit that all in, PLUS a cubic metre of water containers? Given a choice, would you take the bladders or the bottles?

As a hitch hiker on the Canning, I saw more overloaded vehicles than I did ones with a spare cubic meter of packing space, and none of them were catering for 3 1/2 months on the Canning.
FollowupID: 781334

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Feb 11, 2013 at 13:26

Monday, Feb 11, 2013 at 13:26
I hope your endurance is better than your manners. I was just trying to help. If you exlpain yourself better then there may not be confusion.

Good luck on your trip.

Sorry I tried to help.

FollowupID: 781357

Follow Up By: Gaynor - Monday, Feb 11, 2013 at 15:49

Monday, Feb 11, 2013 at 15:49
Wars between countries happen because of miscommunication. Fights between couples and friends happen for the same reason. We are not unique. And this is such a small thing .....

I welcome your efforts to offer a useful solution. I apologies for being too subtle early on and not explaining the logistical problem clearly enough. It is not a bad thing that we finally have clarity. Now we can move on...
FollowupID: 781368

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Feb 11, 2013 at 17:58

Monday, Feb 11, 2013 at 17:58
I hope you find a solution and have a safe trip.
FollowupID: 781375

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