Low-Hassle Tie-Down Straps

Make straps quicker and easier to use

Few things are more irritating than trying to force the end of a tie-down strap through the spring-loaded buckle to strap down a kayak or canoe. Sometimes the ends feed through without hassle; other times, you fumble with them for several minutes while sweating under a blazing sun or freezing in a chilly wind. Many kayakers and canoeists continue to put up with this annoyance, never realizing that there is a quick, easy solution which can dramatically reduce the hassle of feeding strap ends through their buckles. All you need is a scissors, a lighter or match, and your tie-down straps.

Feeding a strap end through a buckle is a problem of friction and surface area. When you try to force the full width of the strap through a spring-loaded slot approximately the same size and thickness as the strap, it's sure to snag or bind. The secret is to reduce the surface area of the strap end by cutting it to a tapered point. This will transform the blunt end of the strap into a more effective wedge shape that will thread through the buckle with ease.

Cut off the strap end at a steep angle of 50 or 60 degrees to produce a long point that will easily reach through the buckle. Next, use a lighter or a match to sear the cut end, melting the nylon webbing together to prevent it from fraying.

When you need to use the strap, feed the tapered point of the end through the buckle. It should go right through. Then, grab the point to pull the rest of the strap through with ease. That's it! If you haven't alreadly tried this nifty trick, I guarantee it will make your tie-down straps easier and more convenient to use.

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© 2007, Wesley Kisting


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