This was the original “getting started with recycled h2o” but was deemed too “wordy”. A new version was updated on Friday, July 8, 2016.

Getting Started

I bought a pickup truck last year, a Ram 1500. It has a 6’4″ bed which is about 4 feet wide over the wheels. This was key as it helped determine the kind of tank I could put in the back of the truck.

4' wide between wheel wells

4′ wide between wheel wells

I looked in my owners manual or on the website for my truck and found out the truck bed supports 1200lbs. This information will be used in determining the tank and volume for the back of the bed.

Known Information

A gallon of water weighs 8.34 lbs.

A cubic foot (1′ x 1′ x 1′) holds 7.48 gallons.

Truck payload weight 1200 pounds.

Truck bed size 6′ 4″ long by 5′ 4″ wide by 1′ 9″ tall.

In theory, if I filled the entire volume of the truck bed with water without using a tank, the bed would hold 441.64 gallons.

Length: 6'4" = 76" or 6.33'
Width: 5'4" = 64" or 5.33'
Height: 1'9" = 21" or 1.75'

6.33' x 5.33' x 1.75' = 59.043 cubic feet

1 cubic foot = 7.48 gallons

59.043 cubic feet x 7.48 gallons/cubic foot = 441.64 gallons

Lets convert this number into pounds – as water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon.

1 gallons = 8.34 pounds

441.64 gallons x 8.34 pounds = 3683.29 pounds

3683.29 pounds is 2483 pounds over the max payload weight of the truck. So I can’t fill the truck to brim and drive home. Plus, water will slosh and the bed isn’t water tight so water will spill out if I just put it in the truck bed. I will need a tank and my limit will be weight.

If we re-do the calculation by the limiting factor, 1200 pounds payload means I can only haul 143.88 gallons in the truck bed.

8.34 pounds = 1 gallon

1200 pounds / 8.34 pounds/gallon = 143.88 gallons

Searching For The Right Tank

Remember, this also assumes the tank has no weight. So to maximize volume of water I can transport I’ll need a tank that doesn’t add to the weight in the back of the truck. Out to Bing (or Google) I went to search for “water tank for pickup truck”. The links send you the image results so you can get an idea of what is available.

For my truck, I need a tank that holds around 140 gallons that won’t impact the payload weight too much.

On the first link on google – I’m directed to and I have to search around for tanks. Their smallest tank is way more volume than my truck can handle. I found a tank that holds 110 gallons of water, but the tank weighs 60 pounds, so it could work. – I’d just need to strap it down to my truck bed and now I’m stuck with a tank in my truck all the time.

I didn’t like this option as I wanted to remove the tank and still have storage in the back of my truck. I don’t plan to haul water all the time. My search continued.

I knew I wanted something low profile, as I didn’t want to advertise to the world I had a tank in the back of my truck, so water bladders came up in my search results. This just might work. Eventually, through lots of searching I came across a company called Baytec Containers and they had a tank that fit the bill perfectly.

AquaTank II

Introducing – a 150 gallon AquaTank II. At $199.95 with free shipping. Its 4′ x 6′, puncture resistant, durable and flexible and most of all light weight. This was perfect for my needs. It also has hose fittings on two ends. It was just perfect. I bought one and it showed up in a rather small box, about the size of a 3-ring binder.

I watched this video on YouTube and knew it fit the bill.

Movers Mat

I read around online while researching the Aquatank and the recommendations is to put a movers mat between the bladder and your truck bed to protect the bag.

Off to Harbor Freight for a 4′ x 6′ movers blanket. $4.99 was the perfect price.


Now I had my parts, I thought, I just need to set it up. I put the movers mat down first, then the bag on top. I bought an el-cheapo hose from Home Depot (If you buy a hose, get one that is braided and good quality, this hose kinked up and crapped out after 2 uses) and connected it to the hose fitting on the bag and filled it up to where I thought it was 140 gallons. To be safe I put some tie downs on it to keep the bag from sloshing around while I drove and there I thought I was done.


AquaTank II in truck bed – with about 90 gallons water inside.

There is a catch though. That is not what 140 gallons of water looks like. Through trial and error I learned the bag was only about 2/3 full.


AquaTank II with about 140 gallons recycled h2o inside

That is more like it.


When driving with a 1200 pound load of water, precautions need to be taken.

  1. Your stopping distance is greater. You can not safely slam on the brakes, your load will shift and since it is water you may/will break the bag and 140 gallons of water will come sloshing out of your truck.
  2. Look ahead on the road and drive with care.
  3. Take corners slowly so the bag doesn’t slide around in the truck.
  4. Don’t fill it when its raining, the increase in water in the bed/movers mat doesn’t play well with the tank.
  5. Your gas mileage will decrease and the wear and tear on truck components will increase.

How long does it take to fill?

It takes about 5-10 minutes to setup the mat/bag in the back of the truck and fill it up. There is a plug that came with the bag that I stick in the end of the hose which keeps the water from flowing out until I am ready to unload it.

Where To Get RecycledH2O – a brief list of Fill Stations in the state of California

Continued in Part 2 – Hand Watering with Recycled H2O

YouTube video of “Getting RecycledH2O at CCCSD Residential Fill Station“.


If the bladder way is not your thing, you can always do what everyone else seems to go an get a large 300 gallon IBC tote for the back of your truck. Example:

300 gallon IBC tote filling in the back of a work truck.

300 gallon IBC tote filling in the back of a work truck.