The Defender super carbon fiber tank carrier

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

tank in carrier
Defender carbon fiber tank carrier.

This report covers:

  • 2017 Texas airgun show
  • Why a carrier?
  • I can make it myself
  • Fabric carrier
  • Who makes it?
  • What about those saddlebags?
  • Pockets — pockets and more pockets!
  • Center of balance
  • Will Pyramyd Air carry it?
  • The cost?

Today is not about an airgun or a shooting technique. Today I’m writing about a carrier for the 98 cubic foot carbon fiber air tank I recently bought from Pyramyd Air. That tank is one of the handiest pieces of equipment I own. At the Texas airgun show it filled three Benjamin Wildfires all day long and still had over 3,400 psi when I brought it home! It’s as important to me as the spotting scope I bought from Meopta last year. I wrote 4 reports about that scope, but I think I will only write this one about the carrier. It’s neat, but you will get the idea really quickly.

2017 Texas airgun show

This carrier is one more purchase I made from the 2017 Texas airgun show. I did not buy it there, although I would have if I could. I saw one sitting on a guy’s table, holding a large carbon fiber air tank that I think was for sale. I only wanted the carrier, because I have been lugging my naked tank around, which is not a good thing to do. Not only is the surface of the carbon shell exposed to damage, the hose is also exposed, as well as the adaptor.

Why a carrier?

The chief benefit of a carbon fiber air tank is the amount of air it holds, relative to how light it is. A metal scuba tank cannot hope to compete! An 80 cubic foot aluminum scuba tank holds 80 cubic feet of air at 3000 psi and weighs close to 40 lbs. The carbon fiber tank I bought this carrier for holds 98 cubic feet of air at 4,500 psi and weighs about 20 pounds. While that sounds like just 18 cubic feet more than the scuba tank, in reality it’s more than 10 times as much useful compressed air, at perhaps half the weight! That’s because the air is compressed to 4,500 psi and will fill a lot more airguns to 3,000 psi than a scuba tank will.

But the carbon fiber tank is large and smooth on its round surface. It’s not convenient to carry. Typically we carry them by their air valves which is not a good thing to do. Either that or we use two hands to carry the tank and can’t carry anything else. A carrier like this is the way to go.

I can make it myself

And here is where all the handy guys will chime in and say they can make carriers themselves. And they can! I have seen many of those carriers, and typically they add up to 10 pounds to the weight of the tank, because they are made of wood. Most of them add a tray for storage under the tank which is quite useful but adds even more to the weight. I will say more about the need for storage in a moment.

Fabric carrier

This carrier is fabric, which cuts down on the weight. But you will note that it has two large zippered pockets — one on either side of the tank. The maker calls them saddlebags and you can buy his carriers without them if you choose. I wanted them because I knew immediately what I would use them for when I first saw the carrier.

Who makes it?

This carrier was custom made by Airgun Tailor, in Arizona. He wasn’t at the Texas show, but that’s okay because he custom makes each carrier as it is ordered. Mine arrived very quickly and I had it on the tank 10 minutes after the box landed on my porch.

logo
Top view of the saddlebags and logo.

What about those saddlebags?

Why do I want the saddlebags? First, they are the ideal place to store the business end of my 2-foot microbore air hose with adaptor. I don’t have to remove it from the tank’s valve. Just store the free end inside one of the saddlebags. Cover the adaptor with a plastic bag to keep it clean, and you can store the bag and its rubber bands inside the pocket while you are using the tank.

Pockets — pockets and more pockets!

Those saddlebags are two enclosed pouches with double zippers on each side. But there are also two large open pockets and two smaller open pockets — one of each per side. You can load this carrier down with enough stuff to break a camel’s back if you want to. I don’t think I want to do that, but I would carry pellets, spare adaptors (for other oddball airguns that don’t use Foster fillings), besides the free end of the air hose.

pockets
Besides the two saddlebags with double zippers, each side of the carrier has one large open pocket and one small one.

Center of balance

It’s important to balance the tank’s weight when you carry it. If you can’t, you will be fighting the handle and the carrier wouldn’t be very pleasant to use. Fortunately this one is set up for swift adjustment of balance. The handle is attached to the carrier with two large Velcro straps that allow fast handle adjustment, fore and aft.

straps
These two wide Velcro straps underneath allow for quick adjustment of the balance.

Will Pyramyd Air carry it?

I doubt Pyramyd Air will carry this product for two reasons. First, it is very labor-intensive to make and the price would have to be too high. Second, this is a custom product that requires several choices be made by the buyer — carrier style and fabric being the principal two. The fabric is quite specialized and not something you find in most fabric stores.

The cost?

The price is where I’ll lose a lot of you. This carrier, which is the top of the line, cost me $160, delivered, if you buy it assembled like I did. I know that’s a lot to pay for something that you could make yourself, but I doubt whether many of you could make one that’s as light and convenient as this. I know I couldn’t, so I consider it money well spent. If you’re handy with a sewing machine they will sell you a kit for $60.

I’m not trying to talk anyone into one of these, but field target, 10-meter and airgun silhouette competitors will see the benefit right away. I have to have one because I’m always transporting my tanks someplace.

27 thoughts on “The Defender super carbon fiber tank carrier


  1. BB,

    I hunted those down when you mentioned them in your report of the show. I am quite impressed with what I see. The only issue I have with it is the lack of protection for the valve. Perhaps someone could offer some realistic ideas for such?


    • RR,

      The top looks to have a draw string. I would get something like 2 liter pop bottle, cut the top off, cut a slot up the side, slip it on, draw the string,… done. Or, something that effect. You could even add padding to the inside of the bottle.


    • RR,

      I’ve not seen one that protects the valve. Maybe that’s because if you are able to carry the tank securely you can keep the valve safe? If course that doesn’t work in the car, but I always pack my tanks is such a way that the valve is safe.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        Is the bag padded in any way? Padding and adding some length to the bag (with a hard cavity for the valve) seems like a good idea. The discussion reminds me stories of welding gas tanks falling over and getting their valve busted off. Never seen one do it, but I hear that they take off across the ground like a rocket. Given that, a lot of respect should be given to protecting the valve, in my opinion.

        Chris


        • Chris,

          The material has thin padding, but you don’t need much. The hard outer shell of the tank is tightly wound around an inner aluminum “bladder” that contains the air. The valve is not protected, but we aren’t throwing it into a cement mixer, either. With reasonable care it should be plenty safe. A 5-foot steel welding tank weighs a lot more than this one, and they can generate the force needed to shear off the valve. I think you would have to work pretty hard to get this one to shear.

          B.B.


          • B.B.,

            You got me on the weight and leverage advantage to shearing the valve. 😉 Something to consider for an article,.. might be what to do if your tank takes a dump off the bench onto concrete, gravel, wood deck. Liability would dictate replacement, or testing,.. I suppose. Common sense and an expert opinion might say otherwise. How much does that carbon fiber add to the integrity? Will one “ding” on concrete make it dangerous to use? It is something to think about. You know it (has) happened to someone and the questions have been pondered. They are not cheap and the temptation to keep using one would be strong. With PCP’s on the rise, it might be worth consideration. Joe B. might have an opinion?

            Just an idea, nothing more… Chris


            • Chris,

              You ain’t heard nothin’ yet. On the horizon are tanks with lighter bladders and beyond that, no bladders at all — just carbon fiber! This stuff is incredibly tough, but the government is testing the heck out of it (actually requiring the developers to test it and submit documented reports). In the next decade this field will change twice.

              B.B.


              • B.B.,

                Thank you for that insight. Myself, I hold nothing back on believing what technological advancement can do. That said, that does not help Joe Smith who just dumped his new air tank off his shooting bench, onto concrete,.. and now has a nice ding in carbon fiber wrap. What is he to do?

                We preach safety glasses when shooting air guns. How many wear them at home? I admit,.. not me. But then, it is (only) me shooting. Frankly, I would be more inclined to wear them if I was shooting (with) someone. Personally, I would be more worried about that “ding” in my air tank and will that?… 4,500 psi be letting loose in some sort of unforeseen/unfortunate manner? (mine is fine by the way and treated like a newborn baby since the minute it arrived)

                Maybe you have been around 4,500 psi tanks looking so bunged up that you did not want to stand within 100 yards of them? Maybe they were just fine. I do not know.

                If there is ANY question as to the compromising the integrity of the carbon fiber wrap,.. then it would seem to further drive home the point of protecting that coating,.. just as you have, and just as I have.

                Again,.. only an idea and thinking aloud,.. too much perhaps? 😉 Chris


  2. I like it. The price seems a bit high, but given that it is hand made to order (in the USA), quality materials, time to make, shipping, etc., I still like it.

    My small tank never leaves the house. It does have a bottom protector, mesh sleeve. As a further step, I wrapped it with 2 layers of foam (camping sleeping matt), 1/2″ thick, 1″ total and some nice wraps of duct tape. It expands the base OD and is quite stable in the upright position. I figure that the foam would have some benefits in reducing temperature fluctuations as well. Good tips on keeping things clean. I do the same. Mine has a second gauge that reads tank pressure. That is nice and something to look for when purchasing one.

    Good day to you and to one and all,… Chris


  3. Very nice carrier. I opted to go with a large breed dog pack. It works fantastic. There are sooooo many available online in all price categories. Here is the one I purchased. Functions very well, with plenty of storage.


  4. B.B., I do not own (Yet) a PCP, but this does look neat. If I did, I would like something like this in a back pack style. Then the weight wouldn’t mean near as much to me. Could even carry it in the field that way if so desired.

    Thanks,
    Doc




    • Rick, great idea!

      I’m looking at a tank cover as CF should be kept out of direct sunlight $40
      carry straps $30
      Saddle bags $20
      Mesh net $10 (w/shared shipping)
      Total: $100 + making it all work together.

      $60 savings over the tank setup Tom reported on, and the items are made in China. Not nearly as nice, good looking, functional, or strong, but $60 less.

      OR, for $60 more I can have better quality, longer lasting, made in the U.S. bag and help support someone’s ingenuity.

      Thanks Tom!





  5. The Airgun Tailor website had gone dead, but was updated to use WordPress on 03/24/2018 (so far just a blank template with no contact information). The Facebook page is stagnant, and if he’s only doing a tank bag here and there due to low demand it all makes sense, the day job has to pay the bills. As Facebook is the only contact option I sent him a message a week ago, there was unfortunately no response.

    Tom, do you have any more info?


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