I have a portable air compressor from Viair, which is powerful enough for most of my normal off grid air compressor needs. It is designed for extreme off road and vehicle use but I found it is quite useful on the off grid homestead as well.
I was first impressed with the quality of the packaging when the package arrived. These days you can sort of tell a product quality by the packaging and case that it comes with. This is just my observation but it seems like the more time and effort a company puts into the packaging shows a bit of the care that they must have put into the product as well. These days many products come tossed into a blank package with some bubble wrap and a wrinkled, hardly legible sheet of paper inside, if any at all.
The Viair portable automotive air compressor comes in a carrying case complete with all necessary accessories. The case holds a flexible plastic air hose which is long enough to stretch out to the back of any common vehicle. The ends of the air compressor hose are top notch and look/feel like high quality. These are not cheap quick disconnects on the air hose.
The power cable comes with convenient alligator type clamps to grip onto your vehicle battery. The cable itself is about 8 or 10 feet long and is sufficient to reach from the engine compartment to the ground or any stable surface nearby.
The air compressor itself is well built and feels rugged. It has rubber feet between the air compressor and the foot plate to reduce vibration and noise.
There are a couple things to be aware of when using the Viair vehicle air compressors. First, always have the vehicle running before turning on the air compressor. Due to its high power it will quickly drain your battery without the engine running. Second, it gets hot when used, so you do not want to just toss it right back into the storage case when done. You should also keep it away from anything flammable or that can melt. This is normal during operation of the air compressor but something you should be aware of.
My air compressor is rated at 30 amps for example and that can quickly drain your battery if the vehicle is not running.
I have used this air compressor at the off grid homestead for a couple months now in order to get a good feel for it. I have also used it for some non standard purposes here at the homestead. I have used it to inflate multiple tires from bicycles, lawn mowers, my car and Jeep tires. I have used it as a dump load to drain down some batteries I am restoring. Due to its high current draw it made a perfect load for this project. I have also used it as a blower hose to clean out the engine compartment of my truck when I was doing a tuneup. There is a surprising amount of air pressure that builds up in the hose. It is enough to spray through an air nozzle and blow debris out of your way.
When inflating a vehicle tire I was very surprised to see that the Viair portable air compressor inflated most tires in less than a minute. My Jeep had two flat tires and the pressure was at zero PSI. The Viair compressor pumped the tire up as fast as any workshop air compressor I have seen. I did not expect it to be that powerful and fast. Compared to many portable air compressors and tire inflators I have used in the past, this is the best. I have had tire inflators that took over an hour to inflate a truck tire. I have had tire inflators that burnt out before I could inflate a tire on my car. But this one pumped the tires right up from zero to full in no time.
I can also see using this to help clean out small engine carburetors. It is perfect for small air compressor needs due to its high power and small size. I prefer to drag this out before I get out the huge 2 gallon air compressor and fire up the generator to inflate a tire or clean a carb. It is intermittent as an air blower but it sure does the job though.
The customer support at Viair is very good as well and they are quite patient and helpful. I love it when I get a live person on the phone instead of a computer or a reference to a website. They kindly helped me through their online menu system and helped me choose the best air compressor for my needs. This varies based on your vehicle type, tire size and type of use you need it for.
This portable vehicle air compressor from Viair will be a permanent addition to my survival bug out vehicle from now on. It will also be the first tool I grab for any small air compressor jobs around the off grid homestead. Due to the fact that it is rated for 12 volts and portable I can run it from my off grid solar battery bank when needed as well.
I am sure that I will be finding many more uses for the Viair portable automotive air compressor as time goes by and I will certainly share them with you on my YouTube channel.
You can see my full YouTube video here: Powerful Off Grid & Off Road Portable Air Compressor From Viair
Viair Portable Air Compressor
I found the Black Ronin survival tomahawk at a garage sale a while back. This is made by United Cutlery and is a handy tool to have around the homestead as well as a good all around survival tomahawk. I like the feel of it in my hand. But it is not a quick draw weapon due to the spikes on the sides and the 550 cord handle, both of which catch on the sheath when you pull it out.
The Black Ronin is not very heavy but packs a good punch when chopping trees or branches. It whacks off branches with a single swing. It is not fast for hacking down trees though due to its light weight but that is offset by the fact that it is not tiring to swing all day. I can tell you this from experience. I was using the Black Ronin from United Cutlery all day out in the woods as I slashed a path through the woods for my chicken fence.
The United Cutlery Black Ronin tomahawk is made of 420 stainless steel which is coated with a non reflective coating. The ax head itself measures about 3 1/2 inches long and the entire tomahawk is about 15 inches long from tip of the handle to the top of the ax head.
When you get this tool be aware that the original 550 cord handle will most likely have to be wrapped again. These tend to come loose with use. Once you wrap it again properly it should provide you with many years of trouble free use. The one I have I got second hand and it is holding up very well under extreme use in the woods.
The Black Ronin tomahawk is made of a single piece of steel so I do not think that I will ever break it under normal use. And normal use for me is hacking and slashing at trees and branches. In the field I will be using it to cut fire wood and wood for shelters. At the homestead it makes a nice ax for light work.
The spikes on it, although they look cool and dangerous, are in the way in my opinion. If I thought I could cut them off without harming the balance of the tool I would. But I have not yet tried this in throwing. I plan to one day and I will record my results and share it with you.
You can find the United Cutlery Black Ronin survival tomahawk here: United Cutlery Black Ronin Tomahawk
Watch the video review here on YouTube: United Cutlery Black Ronin Field Test & Review Video
GoGreenSolar sent me their SunJack 14 Watt folding solar panel with two 5 volt USB outputs. This portable folding solar panel is good for camping, hiking, back packing, outdoor sports or even off grid living such as for myself. This convenient folding solar panel keeps all of my small electronic devices charged every day no matter where I am or what I am doing.
I have taken this portable folding solar panel fishing with me and kept my camera and cell phone charged up. It goes with me on road trips as well and I use it on the weekends when out with my church to keep my power hungry cell phone topped off. I also use this folding solar panel from SunJack on a daily basis at the off grid homestead charging my tablet, cell phone, camera, portable power packs and USB LED lights. This frees up my main solar power in the off grid tiny house for my laptop and indoor lighting.
The SunJack 14 watt folding solar panel has two 5 volt 2 Amp USB outputs. Two outputs are very convenient because now I can charge up two devices at the same time. And I am often doing just that. The 14 Watt output gives me enough power to charge up both devices in sunny to partly cloudy conditions with no problem.
SunJack 14 Watt folding solar panel charging two devices
The SunJack folding solar panel measures about 7 x 9 inches when folded up and is just over an inch thick. It weighs about 2 pounds so you must take this into consideration when hiking. When fully opened up the SunJack folding solar panel measures just about 31 inches long.
I have tried a lot of portable solar panels like this in the past but most drain the device it is supposed to be charging if a cloud goes over. The net loss is more than the gain over time. With the 14 Watt output capacity of the SunJack folding solar panel I have not had this problem even as the sun is going down. This is such a relief because now I am not stressing all the time if a few clouds set in.
The SunJack folding solar panel was shipped with a 8000 mAh battery pack which I will review separately. I have been keeping this topped off as needed using the folding solar panel. I also got a 5700 mAh waterproof LED light stick with yet another USB output. I keep this topped off on the SunJack folding solar panel and use it as my main source of light in the tiny house living room since I got it. I will do a full review on this later as well. As you have most likely already seen, I have two 5 volt LED lights that came with the package and I will be doing a video and blog review on these separately later on.
The SunJack folding solar panel comes with a whole lot of loops for attaching it to your backpack, bike, boat, car or whatever as needed. This makes it quite versatile for using it on the go. It also has two carabiners in the zippered pouch for fastening it to things. The pouch came with a USB cord for charging devices and the battery pack fits nicely in there as well.
SunJack Folding Solar Panel for hiking, climbing, boating, fishing and outdoor sports
The SunJack folding solar panel folds up neatly in its own case. It has four solar panels to give it a lot of power output. 14 Watts of power is a fair amount for portable devices and I have not had any trouble charging up anything from my tablet to my camera on the go, even at the same time.
I will be taking this out in the field hiking and camping in the near future so stay tuned for more videos and reviews on the SunJack folding solar panel.
I would say that this is the best portable solar panel I have had in my hands to date and it will be a permanent part of my gear from now on.
Watch my full video review here: Video of the Sunjack 14 Watt Folding Solar Panel Review & Field Test
And you can find the SuJack folding solar panel on Amazon right here:
14 Watt Solar Panel: SunJack 14 Watt Folding Solar Panel
Waterproof light: SunJack waterproof LED light stick
7 Watt Solar Panel: SunJack 7 watt folding solar panel
USB LED light: SunJack USB LED lights
I am building my entire tiny house on wheels using mostly recycled materials. Since I get pallet wood for free every day I am using a lot of it to build my tiny home. I am building my entire bathroom with recycled pallet wood. The medicine cabinet door was the project for the day today.
I measured and cut enough pallet wood boards to give me an 18 inch wide door by 33 inches high. I laid them out on the work bench so I could put them together with a pallet wood frame.
Next I cut the boards for the frame and pieced it all together on my work bench. Now the hard part started. Pallet wood is hard. I was going to use brass screws to give me a beautiful door. But the screws kept breaking on me. I even drilled the holes first and the screws kept breaking.
So after a trip into town and back and I had a solution. I used rustic looking tacks on the front of the door to give it an antique look. I used wood glue in between the boards and the frame to hold it all together firmly. And I used screws on the back side to really ensure that this door lasts for many years of use without falling apart on me.
I took the fully assembled door inside my tiny house living room to continue the work with better light since it was getting dark outside. I had a bunch of furry helpers with me as I worked.
I predrilled the holes for the hinge screws and then attached the hinges to the pallet wood door. Then I mounted the door to my tiny house bathroom medicine cabinet. Now I discovered a problem: These hinges were designed to be recessed into the back side of the cabinet door. I am using recycled hinges as well and missed that point when I mounted the door.
I will have to take the door out to the work shop and use the router to cut out the recessed area for my hinges.
Once I have the hinges working well I will mount the mirror that I salvaged from my old camper. That old camper was demolished to provide the trailer which my tiny house sits on right now. I saved as much as possible from the old camper while I worked and this mirror happens to fit my medicine cabinet door perfectly.
You can watch the video of the assembly here: Making A Rustic Pallet Wood Bathroom Medicine Cabinet Door
Since I have been working on the tiny house bathroom recently, trying to finish up the room, I need light in there. I have been using portable LED lighting the entire time so far but with the back wall finished I can mount some lights in there.
I started out by stripping the wire that runs to the tiny house composting toilet made by airheadtoilet.com which powers the tiny fan inside it. This wire has 4 strands of 12 gauge wire and only two were being used by my composting toilet fan. The other two I ran around the bathroom wall and over to the door.
I connected a light switch next to the door for an LED lighting system in my tiny house bathroom. I will later build a decorative box to cover this switch box. I am also leaving room for another light switch for the vanity light and for a 120 volt power outlet.
My tiny house on wheels is off the grid and running on solar power but I have both 12 volts DC and 120 volts AC running through the house. Most of my devices are running on 12 volts but some are AC only so I have the option as needed.
From the light switch I ran a wire over the door and to the finished wall where I want to install my lights. I wired in a lamp and left it hanging on the towel rack for now.
Next I went upstairs into my tiny house bedroom loft. I screwed a fuse block with six fuses onto the wall and then a ground strip. I connected these to the heavy gauge wire that runs upstairs through my tiny house. These are the main hot wires from the solar forklift battery out back.
I ran the wires from my composting toilet fan into the fuse block and then the wires to my bathroom lighting. Downstairs I checked and I have light in my tiny house bathroom.
But then I realized that I had run into a sort of problem. The tiny house bathroom door hits the light. There is not enough room for the light behind the door.
I have given it some thought and I will simply run an LED down light in the center of the bathroom ceiling and have that be the main light. Then I will run three LED light strips around the vanity for shaving and hair cutting. These will be on another switch.
Well I have light in the tiny house bathroom. I have to change my idea but I do have light for now.
See the full video of the installation here: Video Of Me Wiring The Tiny House Bathroom Lighting
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