Lynx tie-down straps

Update on January 13, 2015. I just learned that Lynx will have a booth at Overland Expo WEST this May, so you'll be able to see this clever tie-down system in action and pick up a set or two. 

I hate cargo nets. 

Every one I’ve had the misfortune to use has proven itself unwieldy, snarl-prone, and impossible to adjust to achieve uniform tension across bulky and mismatched baggage. Yet there are many situations in which standard ratchet straps simply will not work. And doing without is not an option—if, God forbid, you find yourself in a road accident or a rollover situation on a trail, it would be embarrassing if your shoulder belts and air bags all worked perfectly to save you, and a flying camera bag or camp stove gave you a concussion, or worse.

The Lynx tie-down straps are the answer to a lot of those situations.

Each Lynx tie-down comprises an adjustable nylon strap, a short length of solid-natural-rubber elastic sheathed in polyester, a quick-release Fastex-like buckle, and a plastic hook on each end. Okay, so what? Here’s the trick to the patented straps: The cunning hooks can be snapped together to create a completely customized web suited to almost any pile of cargo you need to secure. Each one adjusts from 19 to 45 inches in length, but you can also join them end to end to create almost any length you need. 

The hooks snap together . . .

I gathered up a motley assortment of Pelican cases, range bags, and camera bags, and had no problems quickly assembling a five-legged spider of Lynx straps to secure the pile to the tie-down loops in the back of my FJ40 (of course a prerequisite for the straps to work is a decent array of strong tie-down loops in your cargo area). If I’d been doing the same thing in the back of a long-bed pickup, I could have assembled two spiders and joined them with a connecting strap. The configurations are limited only by your imagination.

 . . . to lengthen a strap or create a web.

The adjuster buckle on each strap makes one-hand snugging of cargo easy, and the elastic section assures that a rough road or a load that manages to settle won’t allow a hook to come loose. It also make unfastening the system simple without the necessity of loosening the adjuster or unfastening the buckle. Given that elastic component, the Lynx straps can’t be considered replacements for full-on ratchet straps. I wouldn’t secure a line of full jerry cans against a bulkhead with only these, nor would I trust them to immobilize my 60-pound Pelican case full of tools in a collision (the company conservatively rates them at 25 pounds each; a web should handle a corresponding multiple of the individual rating). But the straps seem perfect for securing clothes duffels, camera bags, tents, stoves, and the like—all those sundry items that go in on top after you’ve ratchet-strapped the really heavy stuff.

Best of all, if you just need a couple of straps for, say, securing a sleeping bag to a motorcycle seat,  just disassemble your FJ40 spider and there you go. Or hook four or five inline to create a ridgeline for a tarp—and use extras to create guylines that give a bit in a breeze. The hooks will fit standard tarp grommets, and are large enough to grab most motorcycle luggage racks and the upper rails of many roof racks (if not, you can simply loop the strap around the rail and put the hook through it). Pondering further, I remember a roof tent I reviewed equipped with a fly that flapped in the mildest wind. A few Lynx straps would have solved that problem more effectively and with much less hassle than the paracord solution I devised..

As you can see, a half-dozen of these straps could come in handy in dozens of situations. And I’m free at last from cargo nets.

The Lynx website is here. (Just ignore the ATVs parked off the trail.)