photo by Maynagashev via iStock
Airing down our tires is one of the most important steps that must be taken before entering a tough trail.
The longer and wider footprint leads to more grip, the tire has better puncture resistance, and the vehicle rides better as the tires act like cushions.
It all sounds great, but there is a problem. How do you air back up before going back on the road?
Well, the answer here is an off road air compressor, and in today’s article, we will be going over our top choices.
Table of Contents
- When is an Off Road Air Compressor Necessary?
- Our Favorite Off Road Air Compressor – MORRFlate TenSix Portable 12V Air Compressor
- A Budget Off Road Air Compressor – All-TOP Heavy Duty Portable 12V Air Compressor
- A Reasonably-Priced Off Road Air Compressor – ARB Inflation Kit Air Compressor
- An Expensive Off Road Air Compressor – ARB 12V On-Board Twin High-Performance Air Compressor
- Why You Need an Off Road Air Compressor
- Best Off Road Air Compressor of 2023
- Add a Convenient Tire Repair Kit With Your Off Road Air Compressor
- Other Recommended Off Road Gear
When is an Off Road Air Compressor Necessary?
photo by vovashevchuk via iStock
First of all, what is the difference between an off road air compressor and a normal one?
By using the term “off road air compressor,” we mean an air compressor that can pump an off road tire relatively easily. Most conventional air compressors you see on Amazon do not have the power required and can many times burn out.
Of course, an air compressor can be used for many applications. Other than the obvious one of filling up your tires, you can also fill up air beds or any other camping accessory that requires air.
Some air compressors can even be mounted on the truck to serve two purposes. The main one is the operation of air lockers which provide the vehicle with more grip, and the second is using it as a normal air compressor.
photo by Jamesbowyer via iStock
Another big benefit of an these compressors is that you can fix a puncture out on the trail. If you carry tire plugs (which you certainly should) you can plug a tire and pump it back up. Therefore, maximizing preparedness for any situation you might encounter out on the trail.
An air compressor can also help seat a tire back on the bead if you have managed to roll it off due to running low tire pressures.
So, as you can see, an off road air compressor can serve a variety of purposes.
Our Favorite Off Road Air Compressor – MORRFlate TenSix Portable 12V Air Compressor
Why air up or deflate your tires one at a time when you can have an air compressor that does all of your tires simultaneously? That’s precisely what the MORRFlate TenSix is designed to do. Just grab yourself the neon green TenSix and a set of neon green MORRFlate Mega Quad hoses, and you’re ready to rock!
This combination of compressor and hoses allows you to air up four 35-inch tires in less than five minutes. But how?
Most valve stems are rated to about 1.8-2 cubic feet per minute (CFM) at 20 psi. So, even if you have a high CFM compressor, your tires can only accept a small amount of airflow at a time.
But, with MORRFlate’s compressor and air kit, you can make use of the full CFM available from the compressor by dividing it amongst your vehicle’s four tires. The TenSix compressor will even work for SIX tires at a time (in case you have a trailer in tow) thanks to its 10.6CFM output. This design takes advantage of the usable air flow from the compressor and helps you inflate or deflate your tires more quickly. Nice!
Here’s a few technical specs of this lean, green machine:
- Compact at 14″x7″x9″
- 150 PSI rated
- PSI cutoff switch (80 PSI on, 120 PSI off)
- 50 percent duty cycle (20 minutes on, 10 minutes off)
- 12V, 90 amps peak; approximately 50 amps while running
- Threaded filter caps allow the compressor to be mounted in any direction or orientation
- 70-75 dB noise level from one foot away
The compressor also comes with a six-foot hose, a six-foot electrical cord that terminates in a high-amperage alligator clip, and a thick carrying bag for ease of transport.
Now, since the TexSix is specifically designed to inflate and deflate 4-6 tires at once, it’s not recommended to use it to inflate or deflate a single tire at a time. It’s possible to do so, but the duty cycle drops to two minutes. MORRFlate notes that airing up tires one at a time will damage the TenSix.
This means that Mega Quad hoses are a must. As noted above, these hoses allow you to inflate, deflate, and simultaneously equalize air pressure on up to six tires. Doing so saves you time and puts less stress on the compressor for even longer-lasting performance.
What’s more, you can check all your tires’ PSI simultaneously and move air from a spare tire into other tires. You can set all tires to have the same pressure or set the front and rear tires to different pressures as needed. In terms of functionality, you just won’t find a better rig than this!
ALL-TOP Air Compressor Kit
ARB Inflation Kit Air Compressor and Orange Air Hose Pump Up Kit
ARB CKMTA12 '12V' On-Board Twin High Performance Air Compressor
VIAIR 440P - Portable Compressor Kit , Black, Tire Pump, Truck/SUV Tire Inflator, For up to 37 Inch Tires
VIAIR 450P- Silver Automatic Portable Compressor Kit, 1 Pack, Tire Pump, Truck/SUV Tire Inflator, For up to 42 Inch Tires
AstroAI Digital Tire Pressure Gauge with Inflator
A Budget Off Road Air Compressor – All-TOP Heavy Duty Portable 12V Air Compressor
Judging by the price, this may not seem like a budget-friendly option. However, as mentioned above, an air compressor needs to meet a specific output to make it worthy of buying.
The All-Top Heavy Duty Portable 12V Air Compressor is the cheapest one on Amazon that will comfortably fill up a big off road tire and last a long time.
With an airflow of 180L/Min airing up when finishing your off road adventure will be a breeze.
Furthermore, to ensure longevity, this off road air compressor has an auto-thermal-cut-off and a safety valve that protects the motor from damage. The power switch is also sand proof making it resistant to muddy or dirty hands.
The kit includes the air compressor, heavy-duty nylon tool bag, 6.5ft heavy power cord, 26ft rubber air hose, three nozzle adapters, and a thumb lock adapter.
This air compressor also comes with a 24-month warranty and has a rating of 4.5/5 on Amazon. Therefore, you can be confident that it will work when you need it the most.
Learn more about the All-Top Heavy Duty Portable 12V Air Compressor
A Reasonably-Priced Off Road Air Compressor – ARB Inflation Kit Air Compressor
The ARB Single Off Road Air Compressor is perhaps one of the most famous off road air compressor products on the market.
It is tried and tested in almost every corner of the globe, and peace of mind and customer support are guaranteed.
This compressor can be permanently mounted on your truck to also be used as an air source for your air lockers.
The kit includes the air compressor, one 18ft long high heat pressure hose, one ARB air chuck with quick press fitting, and other fittings to suit various applications.
When it comes to off road accessories it is tough to beat Australian-made. Therefore, you simply cannot go wrong with the ARB off road air compressor!
Learn more about the ARB Single Off Road Air Compressor
An Expensive Off Road Air Compressor – ARB 12V On-Board Twin High-Performance Air Compressor
Our last and most expensive option is the ARB Twin Air Compressor. Again, this is a device used by thousands of off roaders and overlanders and will serve you for years to come.
However, such a high output compressor may not be necessary for everyone.
For example, for tires smaller than 33 inches, we would suggest getting the single ARB compressor as it will have more than enough power to fill up the tires in a timely manner.
For anything larger than that it may be worth going for the twin unit to save up time and get a longer life out of the unit as it will be under-stressed.
The twin air compressor can also be mounted on the truck to operate lockers. However, this specific kit comes with fewer accessories than the one with the single ARB compressor.
Here you will get just the compressor, and if you need any other accessories, you can add them through the options underneath the product pricing.
Learn more about the ARB Twin Air Compressor
Why You Need an Off Road Air Compressor
photo by ma1962 via iStock
It is important to buy a good quality air compressor when it comes to inflating truck tires, as the cheaper options, in most cases, will not be able to do the job.
To inflate a single 35-inch tire, some units can take upwards of 10 minutes. Furthermore, because the compressor is constantly strained, longevity is greatly reduced. In many cases, they won’t even last filling up a single 35-inch tire before burning out.
So, it is better to spend the money once and be done with it rather than get a cheap option and keep on replacing the product.
If you have any further questions regarding off road air compressors post them in the forum section of our page.
[Update] Best Off Road Air Compressor of 2023
Our top off road air compressor pick for 2023 is a familiar face with a fancy new feature…
MORRFlate has upped the ante with its TenSix PSI Pro 12v Portable Compressor, which includes all the features and amenities of the original TenSix discussed earlier and adds an auto inflate feature. What’s that, you ask? Well, it’s simple!
As you can see above, the display on the front of the unit shows the desired PSI. On the left are plus and minus buttons that allow you to easily adjust the desired tire pressure. On the right is a button labeled “M,” which allows you to switch from automatic to manual mode, and a Go button that fires this bad boy into action.
What’s so nice about the TenSix Pro is that you can put it in auto mode, set the desired PSI, and press the Go button, then sit back, relax, and watch it do its thing. This automatic feature allows you to do other important tasks while the TenSix Pro works as opposed to sitting around idly watching your tires air up. See it in action in my video below:
In auto mode, the TenSix Pro is capable of 10-120 psi. Manual mode gives you even greater PSI variability from 1-150 PSI. And just like its predecessor, the TenSix Pro is powerful (10.6 CFM at 0 PSI; 6.5 CFM at 30 PSI), quiet, and has a 50 percent duty cycle.
Of course, the same neon green coloration you find on other MORRFlate products is a hallmark feature of the TenSix Pro, too!
MORRFlate did exactly what needed to be done to offer another level of functionality – they retained all the great features of the TenSix and added this incredibly handy auto mode. Far too often, companies try to reinvent what made their products great in the first place, and in the process, they change things that don’t need changing.
Thankfully, MORRFlate recognized what a winner they have in the TenSix and simply added more features to make the Pro version even better. That’s why the TenSix Pro is our pick for the best off road air compressor of 2023!
Add a Convenient Tire Sidewall Repair Kit With Your Off Road Air Compressor
Having a solid off road air compressor in your vehicle is a must. But an air compressor doesn’t do you much good if your tire has a puncture in it! That makes a high-quality tire repair kit a must for your off road adventures – it’s the best insurance policy when you’re on the road!
GlueTread has an all-in-one 4×4 sidewall tire repair kit that’s just what the doctor ordered for your outdoor adventures. Included in the kit are four tire patches, a bottle of GlueTread accelerator, four bottles of GlueTread adhesive, eight applicator tips, and ten pieces of sandpaper.
Using these tools, you can quickly and easily address common tire issues like punctures, slices, and sidewall damage. You can use the kit to cover cracks, a bulging tube, or cords as well. Heck, this kit is also ideal for adding more protection to worn areas of your tire, covering an internal patch, or preventing a high-risk area from future leaks.
As you can see in the video above, the kit is extremely easy to use on the trail. Better still, it’s extremely effective! This kit offers 40 PSI pressure strength and 5,000 PSI bond strength. And if you use the GlueTread Accelerator, the cure is immediate. Nice!
So, before you hit the trail with your air compressor, be sure to pick up a quality repair kit like the 4×4 Sidewall Repair Kit from GlueTread. It’s something you can throw in your rig and hope you never need but have right there when the inevitable tire issue arises!
Other Recommended Off Road Gear
- Recovery Strap
- Recovery Board
- KC Lites
- Shackle Hitch Receiver
- Hi-Lift Jack
- Portable Power Station
- First Aid Kit