Ground Surface/Volume Comparisons Between Cylindrical Barriers and the Rapid Barrier System

 Ground Surface Contact (inches)Volume (cubic inches)Weight of Water (pounds)
12 inch high cylindrical barrier @ 12.5 ft. length4 - 516,971613
12 inch high Rapid Barrier @ 12.5 ft. length1832,4001,420
42 inch high cylindrical barrier @ 25 ft. length16 - 18415,80015,021
42 inch high Rapid Barrier @ 25 ft. length63793,80028,677

The above figures are approximate! The figures are calculated based on non-flexible material such as steel. Because flexible barriers bow out they will contact more ground surface, accept more water and therefore will weigh more than the figures stated above.

While ground surface contact and volume/weight of water is much higher for rectangular barriers, it may not be necessary to completely fill the barriers with water. The decision to do so will depend upon the judgement of those setting up the barrier considering the anticipated height and velocity of the on-coming floodwaters; in many cases barriers can for example, be filled 2/3 their stated height or less with water, with the balance of the barrier filled with air.

Air filling can be accomplished from a variety of sources. Leaf blower, shop vac even a hair dryer (separate heat and fan switches with the heat shut off). The advantage of partial air filling is that the target barrier height can be achieved much more rapidly than by filling solely from a garden hose.

Do not exceed recommended height for the barriers regardless of whether filled by air or water!

Rapid Barriers vs. Sandbags

If you don’t use Rapid Barriers, just how many sandbags and pounds of sand will you need to construct your own barrier?

Check out our link to vCalc LLC and the article written by Dr.Kenneth Hellevang or use the table below.

Type of Stacked Rapid BarriersMaximum Formation HeightCorresponding Number of SandbagsWeight of Sand
12.5 ft24"2629,170 lbs.
50 ft24"1,05036,750 lbs.
100 ft24"2,10073,500 lbs.
25 ft40"1,37548,125 lbs.
50ft40"2,75096,250 lbs.


L" shaped open water storage

Barrier Height12"
Barrier Length12.5 ft
Configuration (Suggested)7.5 ft x 5 ft
Volume cu ft/US gal37.5 cu ft/1,061 litres
Inside Each Barrier640 litres
Total Litres2,341
Total US Gallons579
2 "L shaped barriers to form a rectangle


  • 2 barriers laid side by side  – ratio is 10/3. Comparable to a sandbag dike with a ratio of 3/1 or 9/3 width/height although in many circumstances a backup barrier is not needed.
  • RBS barriers feature side straps which can be used to further secure the barriers.
  • Estimated weight of a sandbag is 35 pounds.

Open Water Storage System

Open Water storage system is the most economical way to store water. Pictured: Two 25 ft x 20 in. barriers with one large tarp stores over 14,000 litres of water (combined with water inside the barriers).

Commercial Barrier Specifications

 100 ft Commercial Barrier25 ft Commercial Barrier50 ft Commercial Barrier
Approx. size12"H x 18" W20"H x 30"W20"H x 30"W
Volume (litres)5,1203,5405,900
Estimated fill time (5/8" unrestricted garden hose, can accept larger fill pipes up to 2 in)n/an/an/a
Estimated fill time (minutes - 2 inch hose from pump)84.59
Empty weight (kg / lbs. - barrier only)66 / 14627 / 6055 / 121
Filled weight (kg / lbs.)4,890 / 10,7702,976 / 6,5555,954 / 13,115
Estimated set-up time (minutes - single barrier, before filling)<8<6<10
Suggested number of workers222
Can be extended to any lengthyesyesyes
2" drain ports included322
2" fill ports included222
2" ball valves included644
2" port caps included644
Soft carry handles (number of pairs) included244
Reinforced corners includedyesyesyes
Threaded extension pipe includedyesyesyes
Quick patch tape includedyesyesyes
Permanent patch kit includedyesyesyes
Radio frequency welding at selected locations includedyesyesyes
2 inch welds includedyesyesyes
Instructions includedyesyesyes
Optional skirt insert18 in W28 in W28 in W
Optional ground sheet - heavy weight - blue/white4.5 m x 3.5 m9.5 m x 7.5 m9.5 m x 7.5 m
Optional top sheet -
medium weight -blue/silver
4.5 m x 3.5 m9.5 m x 7.5 m9.5 m x 7.5 m

Helpful Hints

  • Barriers will perform better if there is more contact with the surface area; if water levels are expected to be below the maximum height of the barrier, fill the barrier to a reduced height: for example,
    expected water height – 6 inches, fill the 12″ barrier to 8-10 inches.
  • In a hurry to set up barriers? You can use air from a leaf blower, shop vac, even a hair dryer (heat off) to quickly set up a barrier prior to filling with water; be sure to let the air out  as the barrier rises from inflowing water.
  • Opening the drain valves will quickly release most of the water, but to get the residual water out you can roll up the barrier, use a pump and even use a shop vac with the hose duck taped to a smaller diameter pipe inserted into the barrier.
  • Store the barriers in a cool dry place; roll them up to avoid creases from folding and use the black plastic caps (standard equipment) to thread onto the ports to protect the port threads from damaging the rolled barriers.


Protect your property with affordable barriers that are quick and easy to set up. Simply fill with water!