Single barrel strapped down.

Single barrel strapped down.

For every recycled water hauler, there comes a time of uncertainty, especially when it comes to figuring out how to strap down a 55 gallon barrel in a truck. When full of water, the barrel will weigh over 450 pounds.

I had the same reservations when I hauled my first load with a 55 gallon barrel. I thought that by strapping the side of the barrel, the strap would be too low and the barrel would tip over. Honestly, there is so much weight when the barrel is full, it won’t tip – unless you drive like an idiot.

So how do you strap down a water barrel?

Observe what so many people have done before you:

4 - 55 gallon barrels in a pickup truck

4 – 55 gallon barrels in a pickup truck.

The barrels are secured towards the front of the truck bed using ratchet straps (which each support ~ 1320 lbs of weight) and cost about $14 at the local Home Depot. Positioning the tanks in the middle of the truck will more evenly spread the weight of the full barrels over both axles in the vehicle.

On most trucks, there are holes near the top of the truck bed that you can hook onto, so utilize those holes.

How it works

Determine how many barrels you need by first determining how much weight your truck can safely haul. Lets assume each barrel will weigh about 470 pounds when full of water (including the dry weight of the barrel).

If your vehicle can handle 1500 pounds in the truck bed, divide 1500 by 470 pounds. You come up with 3. You can safely transport 3 barrels of water in your truck bed.

Next, position the barrels in the truck. Generally this means two in the front of the bed with the third in the middle between to the two, like a pyramid shape.

55 gallons drums in pickup truck.

55 gallons drums in pickup truck.

Now strap them down. Hook one end of the ratchet strap to that hole near the top of the bed and string the end of the strap around to reach the ratcheting mechanism on the other side. Attach it to the other hole on the other side of the bed. Now ratchet out the extra strap length and secure the barrels to the bed. Most instances will use 2 straps for added security.

Make sure they are tight. You wouldn’t want an empty barrel to fly out of your truck while driving to the residential recycled water fill station.

That’s all there is to it. Happy hauling!