Turn Old Inner Tubes Into Bungee Cords

IT ClipsWhen we first saw IT Clips, we immediately thought they were nifty little things.

These plastic clips turn your old inner tubes into adjustable bungee cords that allow you to strap all kinds of things on your bike. You can either snap the clips together to make a closed loop, or use the hooks to secure the strap to a luggage rack or trailer.

The uses for bike touring are obvious. Instead of buying new compression straps or bungee cords to hold things like your tent to the back of your bicycle, you can recycle your inner tubes for the same purpose.

We enjoy this type of green thinking, so we got a couple pairs to try out. Over the last few months, we’ve been using the IT Clips on weekend bike tours. Here are our impressions.

What We Like:

  • They Work – We weren’t sure if these would be as good in practice as in theory but they actually do work. Just thread the inner tube through the clips, adjust the length and strap them on your bike.
  • They’re Strong – Inner tubes are incredibly tough. They don’t break or fray, like some cheaper bungee cords tend to do.
  • There’s A Wow Factor – People notice these little straps and comment on them. They’re a great conversation starter.

IT Clips In Practice

What We Don’t Like:

  • They’re Heavy & Bulky – The strap we made with an old tube from our touring bike weighs 190g. The compression strap we bought from a camping shop is just as strong and weighs 30g. There’s also a significant size difference.
  • IT Clips vs Compression StrapsThey Can Be Tough to Tighten – Our straps made from inner tubes tend to stretch and loosen a bit over a day’s ride. It’s only a little bit (nothing is in danger of falling off) but nonetheless, we haven’t yet managed to get these straps really tight and have them stay tensioned as well as our compression straps.

Our Verdict: There’s a definite appeal to the IT Clips. We’ll keep a few around home as extra straps, just in case one of our normal straps breaks or if we need to carry an unusually big load. We might even take one set of clips with us on a long bike tour, so that we could fashion an emergency strap if necessary. For shorter trips, we’ll stick to the compression straps we bought from the local camping store.

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Comments

  1. heather
    8th June 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    Even greener: eschew the clips completely and just use the innertube. Because they’re rubber, you can tighten down your load very securely before tying the end of the innertube to a spot on your rack. (Then tuck the ends under the stretched part of the tube if needed.)

    When I lived in Vancouver BC I used to secure bags of dog food to my rack this way to get them home:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildsheepchase/5396547518/

    I thought everybody knew about using innertubes for tie-downs? Seems like a silly product to me.

    • friedel
      9th June 2011 at 11:31 pm #

      I suppose the one benefit of the clips is that they make it slightly easier to adjust the inner tube to the required length, and to hook / unhook it, rather than tying and untying knots but yes – you certainly could achieve almost the same result without the clips.

  2. Pilar Lara
    25th August 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    Well, this is really interesting. I never knew this can be done.

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