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TRAVEL Hints and Tips Post your TIPS to travellers - all the interesting little tidbits you learned on the road about packing, where to get stuff, and how to cope with problems. Please make sure the subject describes the tip clearly!
Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, At the foot of the Bear Glaciers, eternal ice, British Columbia, Canada

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Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, at the foot of the Bear Glaciers, British Columbia, Canada.

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Old 31 Oct 2010
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Home-made alternative to bungees

Hey HUBB, I made this strap because I hate bungees so much and I'm bikeless until later this week so boredom got the better of me.

I used to have Andy Strapz and they were really good but I don't want to pay for DHL shipping to Bolivia then deal with customs so I made these. The dual locks are heaps stronger than velcro too, I use them for all sorts of stuff.

As mentioned, I'm bikeless and had to test them on the chair.... they seem to be really strong though.

What you need:
Used / blown inner tube
3M Dual locks
Puncture kit

Instructions (very simple):

1) Cut a strip from the inner tube then wash it, I washed it with soapy water then some bathroom spray as the soapy water wasn't good enough

2) Roughen the ends & apply rubber cement and let it dry for 5 minutes (just like putting on a patch when repairing a puncture)

3) Peel the backing off the dual locks and apply them to the ends of the inner tube. I do this in two places for added strength.

4) Put some weight on them and let them dry overnight
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Old 1 Nov 2010
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dual locks what are they?
saw something smiler in nam they just tied them up though
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Old 1 Nov 2010
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Sorry Pocket - in my experience inner tube elastics don't last long before sunlight (or something) rots them and they snap. And they're not stretchy enough. Maybe others find differently.

But I like your idea of alternatives to standard stuff.

Bungees are hard to beat actually; better than these de luxe "alternative" thingies you can buy at inflated prices.
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Old 2 Nov 2010
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Originally Posted by Caminando View Post
Sorry Pocket - in my experience inner tube elastics don't last long before sunlight (or something) rots them and they snap. And they're not stretchy enough. Maybe others find differently.

But I like your idea of alternatives to standard stuff.

Until a year or so ago I was still using bungees that I bought in the 70's. At the moment there's one holding the door shut on my daughter's rabbit hutch that's been there in rain / sunshine etc for at least 10yrs and is still ok. For something I can buy for about 30p each at the local pound shop that's pretty good value.

You're right about inner tube elastic bands not lasting (not as long as bungees anyway). I've been using one on the bike to hold the power lead into my old Garmin GPS for a few years and each one lasts about 8 -10 months before it snaps. This is in stretch once and leave mode, not constant stretching as it would be in bungee mode so I'd expect the life to be considerably shorter if it was used like this.
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Old 2 Nov 2010
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According to the 2ridetheworld.com folks:

Q. What do you use to strap your kit to your bikes?

A. We now use webbing straps cut to length. We started our trip like many others by using 'bungee cords' (elasticated cord with hooks on the end), but soon found that we were having to replace them every few months, due to wear and tear. Webbing straps with buckles are much more hard wearing and allow us to tie down kit much more firmly, vital if you're off-road or riding corrugations at speed, this is when you don't want anything to move or shift its weight.

I haven't had a bungee wear out but I find they're frequently not quite the right length. Either they're too short and you have to pull them too tight or they're so long they don't pull tight enough.

I use a standard motorcycle net (essentially made of thinner bungee) just to hold everything in place, but I use carabiner at each corner to guarantee that if any of its attachment points go it will remain attached (speaking from experience, not theory). The carabiners stay on the net when i take it off so it's minimal effort to reattach. I also put them through a handle or loop or whatever i can on one item under the net, so that if the item slips out it'll stay attached to the bike (again, experience). Also, I have one webbing strap with quick release buckles that i run around the sacks i'm holding to the seat (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, MSR Dromedary) front to back down the center line. which passes around one of the lines of the net to guarantee things stay in place under it.

The crabiners just take a couple seconds each to slide through whatever they're attaching to and securing, and the peace of mind is worth a few extra seconds to me.
-Dachary & Kay
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Old 15 Dec 2010
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When travelling I like to use a cam lock strap, similar to a webbing strap and has a spring loaded buckle...... you can tighten so tight the strap becomes like a guitar string and will make a note when plucked yet can be undone in seconds even with gloves. They are more costly than a bungee but far more usefull as can be used as tow straps to help salvage a stuck bike.
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Old 16 Dec 2010
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If your bungee's are too long feed the end of the "rope" through the hole in the hook and either tie a knot in it (if you are going to need to lenghen it again) or cut off the excess and fasten 2 plastic tie wraps around the end of the rope.

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Old 12 Jan 2011
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The very well-traveled Makiko Sugino of Japan used bicycle tubes all over the place!
Yes, the sun does eventually weaken them, but they are cheap or free and in abundant supply in even the most remote places.

I've always hated bungees, spring loaded, sharp metal hooks. No thanks.
I found the flat webbing with the simple plastic cams worked best for my luggage

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Old 22 Jul 2012
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One big advantage to bungees over webbing straps: if your load settles in transit, webbing straps can become loose, whereas bungees will (within limits) tighten up on the load and keep it secure.

If I have a big load and/or expect a lot of rough riding, I use both - webbing straps for strength and bungees for security. Haven't lost anything yet

As has been mentioned, I have bungees still in regular use that are 15+ years old and still work fine.
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Old 22 Jul 2012
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First lets be clear that we're talking about black rubber bungies with hooks on either end. The cloth wrapped ones aren't worth bothering with.

There are cheap bungies, which deteriorate, get cut, and regularly break under load. You buy them in the places where all the other cheap, easily broken stuff is for sale. They're worthless.

Then there are really, really good bungies which never break, last nearly forever, are almost impervious to degradation or being cut when wrapped around sharp edges. Grab one and stretch it and you'll know it's in a different league from the cheap stuff. Their only real fault is that the s-hooks need to be crimped tightly through their holes or they'll fall out and be lost. You can knot, double, twist or hook them back on themselves to make them shorter if that's what's needed. There's almost always a way to tie almost anything tightly with a bit of experimentation.

I used to use them to tie ladders and planks on my truck, then drive at highway speeds without fear: I'd stretch them as tightly as I could, using all my strength. Despite the notably vulnerable feeling ("You could put an eye out with that thing"), I don't think I ever snapped one doing this. It is worth eyeballing them for wear and tear every now and then.

Of course, camlock straps (and other varieties) work too. So does rope, if you're good with knots. I find bungies more versatile.

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Old 22 Jul 2012
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I have bungies to hold ladders and the like to the roofrack on my van but never use them on the bike. They are never quite the right length even though I make my own to length when I repack the drybag or tent it never seems to be the same size. Much prefer nylon straps with camlock buckles.
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Old 22 Jul 2012
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Combination used here: straps to hold the load then elasticy cargo net to hold the loose end/act as a back up. The net is great when you buy a lump of local bread or something odd shaped and you can just stuff it under until you are ready to eat it.

I'm starting to like that double sided Velcro used for holding cables. It sorts out it's own loose ends. Put three thicknesses through a rucksack clip and round the cargo rack and you've got a tie down point that just clips on an off.

I still find a certain odd joy when I find that a lump lopped off some blown inner tube solves a vibration problem though.

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Old 23 Jul 2012
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Rok straps, so much better. ROK Straps - The Ultimate Stretch Strap - HOME
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Old 23 Jul 2012
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Originally Posted by estebangc View Post

I've only ever used ordinary bungies. Some last forever, some only a couple of years. I've always found it's easy to tell when one should no longer be used. The stretch becomes loose, they have a brittle feel about them, or some other change. It seems to me that sunlight is usually the cause of deterioration.

I've never had one fail 'in service'. And find them very easy to use, and ideal in all situations. (Including, in a moment of mad adventurousness, strapping a steel scuba cylinder - the largest available in the 70s - to the back of my bike for a journey right across southern London. And back. That really gave me 100% faith in these things).

So I've never looked for an alternative. But if I did feel the need for something a bit special for a special application, these ROK Straps are the ones I'd go for. Have checked them out in the past.
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Old 24 Jul 2012
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After reading Mark and McCrankpin, I started to think (doesn't happen often, so I let it run... ). I've had mainly bad, but also a couple of good bungees. This is what I (think I) have recognized in high-quality bungees:

1) MAIN feature: they are not so elastic in the sense that after a certain point, you definitely cannot pull any more because the outter fabric covering the rubber stops any advance. At that point, they feel like a regular rope. I guess it's the way to protect their (elasticity) properties against over-stretching (it comes to my mind when you pull too much spring and it never comes back agian). Cheap ones feel you can still pull a little more.
2) That outer fabric feels very solid, could hold many kilos under extreme tension (mine are black, fabric and rubber, btw, was Mark said! cheap ones' rubber is usually white)
3) They are thicker (the rubber).
4) Hooks are much thicker and solid, you feel no way you can bend them with your thumbs.
5) The endings are better cut, fixed and fit better in the hooks.
6) As said, you get them in your hand and you already feel they are way better.
7) They are more expensive and don't come 10 in a bag with different lengths.

Does it fit with your experience? Please correct me if I'm wrong (I haven't tried/found many good bungees).

Why I do feel that ROK straps are better:

1) VERY solid.
2) You don't have to mess looking for a different place to hook/pass the bungee through when the luggage/parcel(or scuba bottle! Oh, man, that's faith not only in your bungees!!!) is bigger or smaller (or has more O2 liters!) to have a good fit.
3) They don't scratch anything (hook caps tend to fall, is it only me or cheap ones?)
4) You really decide the tension (linked to point 2), since you pull the strap going through the buckle. And you can pull a lot, so everything is rock solid, well attached.
5) The flat surface shares the tension over a wider area, so they do not embed them into your luggage as sometimes bungees do.
6) There are no hooks (I add to the urban legend, but a friend assures a knows a guy who got one-eyed do to a bungie; after seeing his scary face when he saw me packing lousily and shouting "WATCH OUT, always out of the return path!", since then I really take more care/believe him/got Rok straps). If you release the strap by mistake, since the rubber part is quite short, they won't fly back (if you save your eye, you can still angle your ear!)
7) They don't pay me (yet), but after this speech I'll ask for my commission!

SUMMARY: A combination of a nylon strap with a bungee, with the good things of each.

1) In very rare cases you may struggle to find a place to loop them. It happened to me on a Honda PCX125, where it was almost impossible to fit anything (no hooks, nothing protrudring, only a slight lip around the seat), but bungee worked (bad, but better).
2) You need faith in the buckle. If it brakes or releases, your load will definitely fall (but you still use them in pairs). So I would not leave them parked under the sun innecesarily to protect the plastic. Good bungees seem to resist anything, as said.
3) I feel the outer fabric covering the rubber may be a little less sturdy.
4) Not very cheap...


PS: I feel overanalysing, like writing "what should be the attributes for the perfect thimble?". Man, it's only a metal piece on the tip of your finger!!!!
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