We recently came across a nifty new product designed to take the guesswork out of inflation – the airCap from TRiB Outdoor Tech. The airCap is a solar-powered, high-accuracy pressure gauge which is compatible with Leafield C7 and D7 valves. It measures up to 20 PSI in real-time, making it ideal for a range of inflatable craft including rafts, kayaks, SUPs and RIBs.
The airCap is designed to replace your watercraft’s existing inflation valve cap. Simply unscrew the existing cap, remove the cap tether and replace it with the airCap. Once the craft is inflated, the airCap will give real-time readings, allowing you to see if the pressure gets too high or drops too low.
We contacted TRiB Outdoor Tech to find out more about the product. TRiB (pronounced Tribe) is a new outdoor technology company based out of Moscow, Idaho. According to TRiB’s co-founder, Erik Cegnar, TRiB’s passion is in paddlesports and rafting, with a focus toward innovation in outdoor and other watersports.
As Erik explains, “We are a group of engineers and designers, a small company with big dreams. We are starting this company with the idea of bringing innovative products to market to enable, empower and enhance the outdoor experience. We love the outdoors and think that those experiences can be and often are life changing. We have some amazing products in the works.”
As is often the case, the initial airCap idea came out of a first hand experience – while into Day 2 of a 6-day rafting trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, the “unspeakable” happened. During a break for lunch, Erik and companions were relaxing on the beach when one of the kayaks exploded. As Erik recounts, “As you can imagine, the rest of the experience was limited.”
Most paddlers are aware that inflation chamber pressures fluctuate constantly based on outdoor temperatures – if it is hot, the air inside your chamber will expand, increasing the pressure. Conversely, if it is chilly outside, or the water is cold, the air will contract and cause your inflation chambers to be under-filled. With real-time readings, the airCap can let you know if more air should be added, or some pressure released.
Coincidentally, after speaking with Erik we were sent a prototype kayak from another manufacturer for test purposes. The kayak arrived sporting an airCap, so we took the opportunity to take a good look, which convinced us to buy some.
We subsequently used the airCap on an NRS Pike inflatable kayak, and a Kokopelli Castaway XL Packraft. The image above shows the valve cap on the left and the airCap on the right.
We found the airCap to be pretty simple to install. Basically, remove the existing valve cap by using a