When my friend came to pick me up for camping, he secured our stuff in the back of his pickup truck with something I’d never seen before: bungee cords with carabiner clips rather than hooks.
I immediately started asking him where he got them and how he liked them — the answers were Sierra Trading Post, and he loved them. I have a love-hate relationship with bungee cords. They are really useful for securing things, but the hooks get tangled in everything and they can come loose at the most inopportune time.
What I really like about these bungee cords is that the end is round without any protrusion, so they can be threaded through and around cargo without catching. I also like that once you clip it onto something it stays put until you unclip it.
Then today I was browsing a local sports shop and found these CargoLogic Snap Hook Flat Bungees. They are a little more expensive than standard bungee cords at $4 for a single 25″ bungee, but I picked one up to test anyway.
When I got home I looked online to see if I could find a more universal — and hopefully cheaper — source. I found that Home Depot actually carries similar bungee cords, in 24″ and 48″ lengths. They are made by Keeper, a brand I’m not familiar with. The carabiner hooks are aluminum and the straps are made from rubber with a UV resistant jacket. They claim the hooks are 3x stronger than “conventional” hooks.
The 24″ bungee costs $4, while the 48″ costs $5.
After searching for a while longer, the bad news is that $4 for a 24″ strap is the best price I could find for a single bungee strap with carabiner ends, but I did find a set of 15 straps of varying length on Amazon for $21.
These Rocket straps are a little different; they do have aluminum carabiners instead of hooks, but the carabiner ends are free to rotate rather than being encased in plastic. They are also have an 8mm core of a 50/50 blend of rubber and latex.
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I still have some questions and/or reservations about this style of bungee cord. For instance, how durable are the carabiner clips? They are cheap clips made from aluminum, with no weight rating, so can they really withstand the load?
My experience with cheap carabiners is that the gate spring is usually the first thing to fail, either locking the clip open or closed, or allowing the gate to flop around. Is this a failure mode I can eventually expect?
I’m also not sure if it’s more useful to have the carabiner clips move around the loop at the end of the bungee or if encasing the connection in plastic makes them easier to use. I suspect it’s easier to grab and control the bungees with the carabiners encased in plastic, but the more flexible end might be useful in some circumstances.