A decent air compressor is an important piece of kit for an overlanding vehicle. As Chris Scott says in his book Overlander’s Handbook, “punctures are a certainty” so having an onboard air supply is critical. Beyond helping to fix punctures, vehicles going off-road will need to deflate tyres to varying degrees depending on the terrain (loose gravel, mud, sand, etc.) and will then, obviously, need to re-inflate to the normal pressure once back on tarred roads.
Scott warns against purchasing the cheap compressors that plug into a vehicle’s cigarette lighter socket and recommends getting a decent quality compressor that puts out between 2-4 cfm, Amongst the manufacturers that he specifically recommends in the book is Viair, suggesting models 200 and above.
When I asked David Lovejoy for his recommendation, he also suggested a Viair compressor and pointed me in the direction of Matt Savage who supplies Viair compressors in the UK. I contacted Matt and found him to be very helpful. I explained my requirements and Matt told me that whilst some of the smaller models could work, I might find them to be too slow. He therefore suggested either the 300P or the 400P models. Having reviewed the website listings, I opted for the 300P portable compressor kit pictured below.
The 300P has a 33% duty cycle, puts out 2.4 cfm at 0 psi and can inflate tyres up to 33″. The 12-volt compressor has a maximum working pressure of 150 psi and weighs in at 8.6 lbs. It has an 8 foot power cord and a 25 foot air hose, so it will easily reach any of the tyres when connected to the vehicle battery. It comes with a carry bag that will help keep the compressor and its parts safe and secure within the vehicle. The cost of the 300P is £165.84, including VAT. By comparison, the larger 400P costs £221.14.
In addition to the Viair compressor, I also ordered the tyre repair kit pictured above. It has the necessary kit to repair tubeless tyres and will be another useful addition to the vehicle. The kit sells for £42.60, including VAT. Shipping turnaround by Matt Savage was very prompt (next day delivery) which adds to the friendly service that is provided, leaving me a happy customer.
With the compressor and tyre repair kit onboard, that’s one less thing to worry about. Once I have had the opportunity to use the compressor (and repair kit) I’ll add a review to the blog.