I've said it before and I'll say it again, tire pressure management is an essential skill for every overland adventure enthusiast. It's one of my 'Ten Essentials' and I've even written a stand alone article on it. Needless to say, when looking ahead to the 2019 season I knew I needed to up my tire pressure management game.
|It was like Christmas, but in March!|
This article is a product review for the ARB Maximum Performance Portable Air Supply. In the name of full disclosure, I will be straight up and tell you ARB has come on board as an equipment level partner for this season. However, let me assure you there is a reason I'm sought out a partnership with ARB. Read on for the review of the portable compressor...
What's in the box?If you follow me on social media then you know I love playing a game called, "What's in the box?". In most instances I can leave people guessing for a few hours, or days if I'm feeling up for it, just to have a little fun. However, "What's in the box?" is also a great question when looking at overland gear. Some kits are more comprehensive than others. Some, like this compressor kit, come with everything you need.
|This is what showed up. |
No denying who sent it, but the question was what was inside it?
|Such a gut wrenching scene, but it's all part of the game.|
The core of this kit is ARB's Twin High Performance Air Compressor. With a maximum CFM rate of over 6 cubic feet per minute, and 100% duty cycle rating, it's clear this compressor is built to work. This of course comes at a hefty 50 amp current draw when the compressor motors draw max power.
|It's a nicely packaged kit and everything you need has a place.|
|The core of the system is ARB's tried-and-true twin compressor.|
Usually reserved for vehicle-mounted onboard air systems, it's finally made portable by this kit.
Attached to the compressor is a one gallon tank. This makes this kit the best of both worlds. It has the flexibility of a portable system, but the air reserves typical to an onboard air system. Coupled with the high CFM rate and full duty cycle and this kit has no problems turning air tools.
Also included in the kit are all the little do-dads you need to actually make the compressor work. High quality power cables to connect to your vehicle's battery with inline fuses. It also has ARB's quick-release coupler, an air line, and a basic air chuck. One neat little piece included with the kit is a blow-gun. Very useful for cleaning dust our of air filters after a long day on the trail.
These clips are massive, as are the fuses. Easily handles the high amp draw of the twin compressor.
|Everything you need to air up your tires comes in the kit.|
Including a blow gun for those particularly dusty days.
All of this is wrapped in a heavy duty plastic tote with a very comfortable handle. If there's any drawback to this kit is it's size. For a portable system it is on the large side. Not going to lie. However when you realize what is crammed into the suitcase sized box, it's an amazingly compact system.
|As for the case itself, it's rugged molded plastic with sturdy latches.|
The handle is thick and comfortable in the hand.
It's a little off-balance due to the compressor sitting off-center, but it's not unwieldy.
Why portable and not onboard air?
|I promise I'll get my own action shots soon.|
Do I need flannel?
Photo courtesy of ARB USA
The final reason for going portable is that the LJ is first and foremost my daily driver. Having a portable system means I don't have to have the OBA system mounted in the back of the Jeep taking up space all the time. I can grab the portable when I need/want it and not worry about it when I don't. If I had a larger vehicle, or the ability to stash the compressor somewhere out of the way (like under the front passenger seat in a JKU, or in the bed of a pickup), I might stick with OBA, but for now I have no regrets going portable.
As previously mentioned what I like most about the kit is its comprehensive nature. Right out of the box the compressor is ready to use. Connect it to a battery, attach the air hose, insert a chuck and it's party time with the flip of a switch. The case is very nice as well. The latches close tightly which helps mitigate any dust or moisture build up in the case during transport. It's strong enough to be at the bottom of a gear pile (unlike some of its bagged competitors) and will no doubt hold up to more than a few years of use and abuse on the trail.