Friday, October 23, 2020

trailer essentials review: EPAuto portable air compressor

One thing you learn pretty quickly upon buying a horse trailer is.... there are way more people in the world, let alone in your circle, who could use a trailer than actually have access to one. 

Obviously most of the time I'm trailering somewhere, it's for my own purposes. Sometimes, tho, it's for other people. Like transporting horses for friends in a pinch, or giving rides to horse shows for barn mates who might not otherwise get that opportunity.

portable air compressor in its box
Which, is exactly what I was doing a couple weeks ago when some barn mates wanted to go to Tranquility's starter trial. And I gotta say -- there's something kinda nice about just being chauffeur for the day lol. 

Like, all I have to do is show up with the rig on time at the designated meeting place. Everyone else handles all the packing and preparations necessary for a day off farm with horses -- all the hay and equipment, getting the horses brought in and fed, etc. 

portable air compressor + accessories, unboxed. A) designated tote bag; B) compressor; C) instructions; D) extra parts
Tho... I'm nice and still take care of filling all the water containers, bc let's be real: it's much easier to take the truck to the pump than having to haul 40lb jugs back and forth. So that's exactly where I was, standing there in the pre-dawn darkness, hangin out at the tailgate slowly pumping 15gal of water into our various containers. 

When.... it occurred to me that, hm, that back tire on the truck, the one with the slowest of perennially slow leaks, was looking miiiiiighty low

air hose screws directly onto the tire valve stem
Now, I admit to being a little.... uhm, casual about tire pressure over the years, since every barn I've kept the truck and trailer at has had a gas station with air pump basically right around the corner. Charlie's current barn actually has a legit workshop for the tractors, gators, and other farm vehicles - complete with commercial grade air compressor (that I 100% do not know how or have access to operate).

But ya know. That doesn't much matter at 6am when everyone's asleep. And it's kinda a pain in the ass to have to make that extra stop on the early show day morning, ya know what I mean? 

compressor is powered by the cigarette lighter port in your car or truck
Just at that moment, as I was quietly kicking myself for not doing a better pre-check the day before and trying to calculate how risky it would be to just roll with the tire as it was.... My barn mate Amy walked up with freshly filled nets of hay, and nonchalantly suggested I use her own portable compressor. 

easy to read digital pressure gauge
Now maybe I'm way behind the curve here, but I really didn't know anything about these little compressors. I knew that they existed, and had seen them at places like rental car offices and such... But I'd never researched them or looked into details like pricing and whatnot. 

Maybe everyone else in the world already knows they're pretty accessible, convenient and useful gadgets. Which, ok, good for you haha. This was a new experience for me, tho, and a game changer at that. Thus, sharing here today with you all lol.

compressor in action!
Bc it turns out, this little compressor is quite the workhorse! The air hose screws directly onto your tire valve stem -- unlike gas station air pumps that you have to crouch down and hold in place. The power cord plugs into the vehicle's cigarette lighter, and is long enough to reach all 4 tires. It has a digital tire gauge on it that you preset it to the desired pressure, and it automatically shuts off when it's there. 

Sure, it's kinda slow -- by nature of its small portable stature. And filling that truck tire from its, ahem, cough cough, 17psi, cough, back up to full pressure took a few minutes. Given the auto-shutoff feature, tho, you could theoretically go do other things while the pump does its thing. 

LED flash light is bright enough to see in broad daylight
The pump's buttons are all very basic and straight forward. Sure, I read the instructions up and down a few times before operating the thing, but it was all very intuitive. Plus it has this crazy bright LED flashlight that was indeed quite useful for the dim lighting that morning. 

One detail to note: the instructions are covered in warnings that the compressor can get hot, and will overheat if used for too long. I haven't encountered that issue so far, and didn't notice any warmth (let alone heat) after it filled up that tire. But it's something I'll keep in mind in instances when I'm going around all 8 tires on the truck / trailer rig. Basically, as with anything horse-related, it's best to budget enough time to get it done haha. 

instructions literally printed on a sticker directly on the compressor too
So anyway, as I was standing there waiting for the tire to fill, I decided to look the thing up online. And... turns out, these little gadgets are wayyyyyy more affordable than I would have guessed. Again, maybe you were already in the know about this, but I certainly wasn't haha. 

Which obvi meant I literally put my order in right then and there for my own, and $33.78 later the thing was headed my way via the magic that is online retail. 

neat and tidy package. A) fuse box; B) air hose held in place on body of compressor by design; C) power cord has additional vecro snap to hold it all together
Now granted, some of you out there might prefer to do your own research or comparative analysis on various brands or models of this type of tool, since I'm sure there are dozens available across a broad spectrum of prices and capabilities. 

But.... Eh. I've been friends with Amy a long time. And we've spent countless hours in the truck over the years passing the time talking about everything and anything while on the road to this or that horsey adventure. And... tbh, even without asking her, I felt pretty confident that she'd probably done her due diligence in picking this particular pump. And that there was no need to recreate that particular wheel haha. 

accessories include a spare fuse, bicycle wheel adaptor, and nozzles for using the compressor as an air gun
Which, haha, she did confirm later in conversation that yes, she had googled and researched all about which was the best value pump and all that goodness, and so this was what she bought. Good 'nuff for me lol, and so it's what I bought too. 

And now I have it and.... I gotta say, just knowing that it's there has given me a surprising degree of relief. Apparently the tangled roots of my anxieties were deeper than I realized lol. Just coping with managing the whens and wheres and hows of keeping my trailer tire pressure topped off was apparently a low grade stressor. 

all of which stores in this nice little tote 
Not any more, tho! This little portable pump has now joined the ranks of "essential kit" along with my jumper cables, tire iron, and easy-up trailer jack. Just one less thing to worry about, right? 

Have any of you also used a portable air pump like this? Am I really the last person in the world to get one (lol)?? Or maybe you had some other recent discovery in automotive or trailering-related gizmos and gadgetries that changed your life forever?? 






21 comments:

  1. My husband bought one for me very quickly before we were married when he realized I didn't have one, LOL. My only complaint (which may be a non-issue in a truck -- I think they have a different fuse system?) is that it ALWAYS blows the fuse on my cigarette lighter outlet, which I'm pretty sure is a 15. So, I have to actually use the outlet in my center console, which is a 20. True to form, I almost never remember this and end up having to replace a fuse while it's airing up from the console!

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    1. oh hmm that's good to know. i've run it off my small sedan's main cigarette lighter without issue, but there were definitely a ton of notes on the instructions about needing the right amount of power

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  2. Okay, I need this in my life. We actually have an air compressor here on the property which is great. But having one of these in the trailer would be good for my piece of mind.

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    1. honestly i feel the same way. like, it's not really such a big deal to get access to air when you really need it.... but.... having this in the trunk really just makes it that much more of non-thing

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  3. HELLO EXCUSE ME WHAT I AM GETTING ONE OF THESE RIGHT NOW

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    1. lol glad i wasnt the only one with this reaction!!!

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  4. I just discovered these things last week!! One of the barn worker's tire was low and someone had one on hand. It literally blew my mind, I think I might put it on my wishlist of things to have on hand in a tire emergency.

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    1. definitely mind blowing lol... apparently in this year 2020 it doesn't take much!! and hey, christmas is coming up, after all ;) another item on my wishlist is one of those battery charger devices... not sure why i haven't done it yet tbh haha

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  5. It is handy to have one of those in your vehicle! We have a smaller one for my hubby's small car and it will work on my truck tires, but is super slow. A bigger one is on my to-buy list. If I trailered regularly, I would have one for sure! Glad you found one for such a good price!

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    1. ha yea it was kinda slow. tho.... i guess the idea is now that i have it, i won't wait for my tire to get so low next time??? so maybe it won't always take so long?! lol, good intentions and all that haha

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  6. Wow, what a handy little thing! And it doesn't cost an arm and a leg!? Glad you've got more peace of mind in a convenient little package.

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    1. lol aggressive practicality is my favorite <3

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  7. Wow that's a cool little thing! We have an air compressor at home (we acquired this from a coworker who had a contractor go MIA for 9-12 months and left this behind) so we use that regularly, but it would be nice to keep something in a vehicle.

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    1. ha honestly that sounds like a pretty good way to acquire a compressor to me ;) i've enjoyed getting to use the farm's compressor previously, tho i always had to coordinate with the guy that runs the shop, and bring the truck to him since that compressor isn't portable. this little gizmo definitely helps fill the gap!

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  8. Oh my god, I have a gift card to amazon burning a hole in my pocket and this is PERFECT. So useful!

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    1. yassssss!!! i only wish i'd had a gift card for this lol

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  9. That's a nifty device to have on hand. My step dad has an air compressor so when I still lived in the Bay area I'd check my tires whenever I visited them (I sometimes also used their shop vac to industrially clean my car after winter... man shop vacs are handy)

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    1. oh man, i'd LOVE to have that sort of easy access to a shop vac!! that's one of the downfalls of apartment living is that my vehicles will never ever be particularly close to where my stuff and storage lives, so any time i want to do something like that it becomes a "thing" ....

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  10. Well hot damn, I'm putting that on the list! I buy all of my fun (read: totally unnecessary) horse stuff with money I make hauling during the summer so $30 seems like a pretty damn cheap investment!

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  11. We have these for both cars and truck and love it. The other thing we don't do without is a jumper battery thing. Basically, as long as you remember to charge it up every now and then, it acts as a portable battery to jump your car or truck if the battery dies. It's come in handy several times. The one in my car can be charged several ways. Comes with jumper cables but also has a flashlight, USB port for charging phones and some other nifty things. I highly recommend something like that. I only bring it in to charge maybe 4 times per year and it's always had close to a full charge.

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  12. Dang I didn't know that was a thing!! Or that it's so cheap. Thanks for sharing!

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