The end of my rope
You want some advice? Keep a bag or pack full of ropes and straps in your vehicle.
Back when I kayaked more often, I got in the habit of leaving a daypack full of NRS straps in my truck. (It’s one of those trucks that people insisted on calling an SUV so that the soccer moms would want one. Phfft. It’s on a truck frame. It’s a truck.) When we were loading kayaks and canoes, I just reached in the back and, under something, there were my straps.
They came in handy another time when I was helping a buddy move into his apartment too, but then when we turned our backs for a minute, a homeless guy snagged my pack full of straps and ropes. I’m neither/nor when it comes to being a Democrat or a Republican. I’m enough of one to hope that he got some good use out of my gear, and enough of the other to hope that he accidentally hanged himself with them. And I’m just plain human, so I hope they cost him something somewhere in his life.
Anyhow, I ponied up the money to replace my nice NRS straps and the climbing-grade ropes we used to tie down boats, and I’ve never regretted having them. I have been really ticked off when my wife cleans out my messy, manky, mucky truck and ‘puts away’ my strap pack. Usually, I’m out somewhere and need a strap or rope to secure something and they’re not there. I swear a lot and then locate them upon returning home. They go back into the truck until the next cleaning.
The pack, which has now expanded to the truck pack and a bag that hangs in my storage building, is full of some oddish stuff now that it’s been around for years, too. Bungee cords, a coil of nylon rope you can get at Lowes or Home Depot, some bungee thingies with weird clippy bits on the ends, some twine that I suspect simply crawled in there one day and set up housekeeping. The NRS straps (not all of which are NRS straps, y’know, some are other brands) are various lengths and colors. When I first started the bag and needed the straps every few days, the straps were neatly rolled up and rubber banded. Now they look like a viper pit on orgy day. Tangled, and happy to be so.
Handy, though. Bike rack wobbling a little on the interstate? Strap it! Luggage needs to be on the roof ’cause you packed the living hell out of the rest of the truck? Strap it! I even saw a buddy of mine pull a prussic made of spectra rope out of his truck, attach it between two bumpers, pull another guys truck out of the muck, and destroy a carabiner in the process. The knots will likely never come out of that rope, either.
So, bottom line- if you have a disused pack lying around, and a tangle of ropes, bungees and straps here and there- make a single unit out of all of it and toss it in your adventure vehicle. If you don’t have a vehicle dedicated to adventure- well, this is a first step in that direction, ain’t it?
Don’t have straps? You can shop some here. They’re not the big clunky ones with the hooks and ratcheting thingamabobs, but by golly, I’ve used these straps to hold kayaks on trucks, gear in canoes, gear in rafts, kayaks on rafts, bikes on racks, and even to tighten sixteen staves together while the glue set between them to make a cub scout drum body. Probably set a leg with one if you had to.