Wavian Can | 20L Fuel Container Product Review

Do you know why a lot of campers, off-roaders, and preppers keep their fuel in a Wavian can? It’s because fuel is heavy and takes up a lot of space. Plus, you need to store it safely and securely to prevent leaks or fires.

Wavian Can | Product Review

Fuel is an essential part of modern life, and this is especially true during emergencies. Sometimes fuel is not accessible due to natural or man-made disasters. That means you should have some on-hand in case such a disaster happens. The trick is storing and transporting fuel. This is where the Jerry Can comes in.


The Jerry Can has an interesting history and traces it’s origins back to 1937. Back then, Vinzenz Grünvogel, a German from Schwelm, designed a rectangular, metal fuel can that could carry 20 L of liquid. It featured three integrated handles, which meant it could be carried by one or two men. Plus, it had a flip-top spout. This allowed the contents to be poured out quickly. The can also had enough space for an air pocket. This pocket of air allowed it to float if dropped in the water! It was called the Wehrmachtkanister, and the German Army adopted it before the outbreak of World War Two.

The Allies quickly adopted this ingenious design wehen they saw that it was superior to their fuel cans. Allied soldiers called these containers “Jerry Cans,” as “Jerry” was the slang term for Germans. The Jerry Can was adopted and produced in vast numbers to support the British and American armies. After the war, millions were either sold as surplus or found as discarded items across the battlefields of Europe. Jerry Cans became a popular means of storing and transporting fuel due to their design and durability. The features that made them great back then continue to popularize them today.


There are many different manufacturers of Jerry Cans these days — and there are just as many styles. NATO militaries currently use a design made from plastic with a round fuel spout receptacle in the center of the can. Scepter is the primary military supplier for these cans, although there are other manufacturers who produce the same design.

However, the traditional, metal German-designed Jerry Can is still being produced. Their metal build and D-shaped fuel spout receptacle on the right-hand side of the can distinguish these cans from competitors. They use a rubber gasket to keep fuel from spilling. They also have metal locking mechanisms for the spout.

The Wavian Can Craze?

The Wavian Craze? | Wavian Can | Fuel Container Product Review
One brand seems to most popular among Jerry Can uses though, which is why I decided to purchase and evaluate one. When I was at a prepper show a while back, I was talking to one of the vendors and asked him what his most popular item was. Without hesitation, he mentioned Wavian Jerry Cans. He would import a 40’ shipping container of them, and they would still sell out in days. After some research, I realized the consensus was that the Wavian Can was the best new Jerry Can out there.


Before I go any further, I should mention that color matters when it comes to Jerry Cans. There is a color code for civilian fuel containers used within the United States. Basically, the color of the Jerry Can determines what can be carried in it. The following table lists the color and associated fuel.

Fuel Container Colors

Surplus Jerry Cans are usually olive drab and sometimes desert tan. Be aware of these restrictions before you put fluid in your Jerry Can.


One more thing to keep in mind: There may be restrictions on how much fuel you can keep in your garage. Contact your local fire department or your insurance agent to find out how much fuel you can store. You can only store fuel in approved containers, like a Wavian Can.

Projected Costs

I got my Wavian Can at a local military surplus store (new) for $59.95. I’ve seen them online for anywhere from $79.95 all the way down to $49.95. However, be aware of shipping and handling costs. These are large, heavy items, so you may end up paying a lot of have them delivered.


I have had this particular Jerry Can for almost a year and haven’t had a chance to use it. One day, I decided to put it to the test to see if it was worth the hype. I put it in the back of my car and took it to the gas station down the street. I started filling it up and got to about 4.3 gallons (16.3 L) before the pump stopped. The nominal capacity of the Jerry Can is 20 L or 5.3 gallons, but modern fuel pumps won’t fill it up all the way. I withdrew the pump a bit and filled it to the brim. This was a mistake…but more on that later on. In the mean time, I closed the fuel cap, inserted the retaining pin, and placed the Wavian Can on its side inside the trunk of my car.

I got home and opened the trunk. No fuel had spilled and there wasn’t any fuel vapor odor. All this was good, meaning that the seals worked as intended. I placed the Jerry Can in my garage and waited for it to cool off before I went to fill my other vehicle. It was over 105F that day, so I wanted to refuel when it was cooler.

About an hour before sunset, I decided to fuel my other vehicle. However, I got a bit of an unexpected surprise when I took the cap off to attach the fuel spout. Remember how I filled the Jerry Can to the brim? Well, since the fuel came from an underground storage tank, it was cool. Then I left the can in my garage for a few hours, meaning the fuel warmed up and expanded. When I opened the cap, gasoline sprayed out at me.

Observations | Wavian Can | Fuel Container Product Review
I don’t blame the can for this. The incident was purely human error on my part.

I attached the EPA-approved fuel spout and went to fuel my other car. This is where the process became a mess. The spout wouldn’t fit into the fuel filler, meaning I spilled some gasoline before I halted the fueling process. There was no way the spout would allow me to dispense fuel into the tank, meaning I either had to use a funnel or transfer the gasoline to another container before fueling.

I ended up having to pour the fuel from the Wavian Can — sans EPA-approved fuel spout — into one of my smaller gasoline containers. Then I poured the contents of the smaller can into the fuel tank, which I repeated four times. The good news was that without the EPA-approved fuel spout, the Wavian Can emptied the fuel very quickly and without interruption. While it was a pain to use this process to fuel the car, I began to formulate some ideas on how to address this problem in the future. After all, this wasn’t an emergency situation, and I wasn’t in a hurry.

Essentially, if you have an old-school Jerry Can with a new-style fuel spout, forget about fueling an automobile with it. You will either need a funnel or a pre-2009 fuel spout that will fit a traditional Jerry Can. Otherwise, you are going to spill a lot of fuel on the ground and not in your tank. I am going to look at both possibilities, since I really want to be able to use my Wavian when necessary. It is a great fuel container with an absolutely abysmal fuel spout.


  • Solid construction, the seals and connections are top-notch.


  • EPA-approved fuel spout is an absolute pain to use.
  • Metal fuel cans weigh more than plastic fuel cans, and the heavy gauge metal used in the Wavian cans makes them even heavier.

Wavian Jerry Cans shows a video of the quality testing their products goes through:

I really like the Wavian Jerry Can, but the current fuel spout makes it difficult to use. I don’t blame Wavian for that. They’re just following the dictates of our Imperial Overlords at the EPA. The can itself is well-crafted and solid, and I will be using this one for many years to come. In fact, I plan on buying several more in the near future. If you are in the market for new Jerry Can, this is the one to get.

Overall Rating 8/10

Do you have a Wavian can of your own or plan on purchasing one for yourself? Let us know in the comments section below!

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