Ever had a flat tire? Most people have experienced at least one, and when you are on the highway it’s an inconvenient hassle. Now, when you’re in the middle of nowhere on the trail, that hassle multiplies exponentially. I have always been taught that while off road, you repair your tire instead of using your spare, because once the spare goes on, the day is done, and you head for pavement. Since the last thing I want to do is to have to call a trip early, due to a mechanical failure, I carry a comprehensive tire kit.
I had seen the Kickstarter campaign for the Colby Valve, but for whatever reason, I hadn’t gotten around to supporting it. Luckily there was a group buy on the American Adventurist site that I was able to get in on. When they arrived, they were added to my tire repair kit, where I hoped they would never be needed.
Well, needed they were. I was part of a group taking the scenic route from Phoenix to Flagstaff for this year’s Overland Expo. We were navigating a rocky trail near the remote town of Crown King when I cut a little too close to a rock trying to get positioned to make a small creek crossing. The sound of the valve stem breaking and the accompanying hiss was unmistakable, but luckily it was the rig in front of me, or so I thought.
Sadly, I quickly realized that it was, in fact, my issue.
The tire flattened quickly, which left me with a couple of options: repair it or unload the bed of the truck to access the spare, and change a tire on the trail. Normally I would have put on the spare, then spent the evening in camp working on the tire, but I had 2 things in my favor. I had a set of Colby Valves, and the Falken Wildpeak MT Tires that I am running on the truck have ridiculously strong sidewalls, so there was no damage to the tire at all.
I was able to quickly remove the old valve stem with a pair of vice grips, and the Colby Valve just slipped in place from the face of the rim and tightens up by hand with a wing nut. While I was installing the valve, the guy in the rig in front of me backed up, got his ARB compressor ready, and quickly had the tire re-inflated. In almost no time at all, we were back on the trail.
It was great to be able to take care of things without holding up the group and being able to enjoy the campfire that night instead of repairing a tire. The tire held air for the remainder of the trail, 4 days on site at Overland Expo and for the nearly 400-mile trip home. It was certainly easier to let Americas Tire take care of it at home, then me trying to deal with it on the trail.
I was so impressed with the ease and durability of the Colby Valve that I came home and ordered a set of their low profile permanent valves. It’s a great piece of mind knowing that this is a problem I won’t have to deal with on my rig again anytime soon and I still have the emergency valves to help out others.