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Backpacking straps help you secure essential travel items like a yoga mat (for sleeping), hiking sticks, water bottles, and more, and also help provide balance and support to certain body parts. However, the straps can often get loose, especially if you have a smaller body frame. You can always pull the straps to tighten them, of course, but is there a more effective way to stop them from getting loose?
Here are methods on how to stop your backpacking straps from loosening:
- Use electrical tape to secure the straps when folded.
- Opt for a two-sided velcro.
- Sew your straps.
- Consider cutting off the straps.
While all these methods are good enough for the job, you’ll want to choose the one that’s best for you. Keep reading as I discuss every method and share my thoughts on which method I usually use for my backpacks. Let’s go!
1. Use Electrical Tape To Secure the Straps When Folded
If you have electrical tape or duct tape at home, why not use them to hold your backpacking straps in place? I always carry one of these while traveling – having broken or torn stuff is normal while backpacking, so they can come in handy for a ton of reasons!
Follow the steps below to fix your backpacking strap:
- Cut the amount of tape you want to use on the strap; 3-5 inches (7.62-12.7 cm) would be good. You may cut the tape using your hands or scissors.
- Determine how much of the strap you want to fold or roll. Make sure to leave enough room for you to adjust the strap. Once you’ve decided on a trim point, proceed to the next step.
- Roll/fold your backpacking strap starting from the end of the strap until the trim point. Hold the rolled/folded strap in place using your thumb.
- Wrap the rolled/folded strap using tape.
- Repeat steps 1-4 for other straps you wish to shorten.
This method is great because it does the job well and can last for a pretty good amount of time. If your backpacking straps are black, that’s great because the fix won’t be too visible when used with black tape.
The only downside is the tape can wear off with time, and it will need to be replaced from time to time. Duct tape will usually last longer than electrical tape.
Your straps are likely to be sticky once the tape is removed. This isn’t a problem if you’re going to cover them using tape again. However, if you want your straps to go back to their original forms, this stickiness is something you should keep in mind.
2. Opt for a Two-Sided Velcro
The steps for this method are similar to the method discussed earlier. However, this method will use two-sided velcro instead of tape. Using a two-sided velcro allows you to adjust your backpacking strap whenever necessary.
Fix your backpacking strap with a two-sided velcro using the steps below:
- Determine the length of the velcro you want to cut. I’d say about 3 inches (7.62 cm) long would be good.
- Split the velcro in half once cut. You’ll need a pair of scissors for the job.
- Slide the velcro into the loop at the end of your backpacking strap. If the end of your backpacking strap doesn’t have a loop, simply hold the velcro next to the strap.
- Roll the strap. Make sure one velcro hangs out on one end.
- Join the velcro.
- Repeat steps 1-5 for other straps you wish to shorten.
Strong And Secure - Self Engaging Design Wraps Firmly Onto Itself; Provides A Snug And Secure Fit When Fastened; Features Easy Engagement And Fast Release; Cinches Tight For A Secure Hold
Check out the Velcro Brand Reusable Cable Straps (available on Amazon.com). The straps come in a pack of 12 in various sizes and can be reused for different purposes. These strong and secure straps will hold your backpacking straps in place.
While this method is effective for stopping backpacking straps from loosening, it has a minor downside. Since you’re using velcro, that means the velcro may accidentally detach, especially while you’re walking in the wild.
3. Sew Your Straps
If you want to avoid sticky tape or sensitive velcro, you can try sewing your backpacking straps. You’ll need a needle and a thread for this method, and I suggest getting a thread of the same color as your backpacking straps.
This method might not be everyone’s cup of tea since it’s semi-permanent. You can always undo your stitches next time if you want, but they’ll leave stitching marks. If this doesn’t bother you, follow the steps below:
- Get your thread and needle ready.
- Determine the length of strap you want to trim.
- Fold the strap once. You’ve just made a big loop. Use your thumb to hold the strap in place.
- Bring the end of the strap to the loop/trim point. Your loop will look smaller now.
- Start sewing on the trim point. You can sew using any sewing style you prefer.
- Repeat the steps above for other straps you want to fix.
Alternatively, you can use a sewing machine instead of a needle for the job. That said, a needle makes more sense when you’re on the road.
4. Consider Cutting Off the Straps
This is a permanent method, so consider using this technique only when you’re sure you won’t need the additional length that comes with your backpacking straps. Consider this method only if your backpacking straps are made of nylon.
Follow the steps below:
- Determine where you want to cut the strap. Avoid cutting the strap too short.
- Cut the bag strap using scissors. You’ll notice the end of the strap is frayed.
- Take a candle and light it up. You can also use a lighter for the job.
- Hold the strap firmly and move it back and forth on the fire. You want to do this swiftly until the strap’s end melts and eventually seals.
- Repeat the above steps for other straps you want to fix.
I recommend using this method only for your waist or chest straps. You don’t want to risk making permanent cuts on other straps that could’ve been more useful when long.
If you’re more of a visual type of learner and prefer watching videos, click on the YouTube video below by the Hiking Guy to watch him demonstrate methods 1, 2, and 4.
Other Useful Tips for Fixing Loose Straps
There are other ways to fix loose straps other than the methods discussed above.
If you don’t have velcro, you can always tie your backpacking straps into knots to stop them from loosening. The knots must be tight. This method is especially good if your buckles keep slipping.
Consider replacing your buckles if they’re not sturdy enough. Low-quality buckles typically don’t have strong grips, thus why bag straps tend to become loose. Having them replaced, however, requires you to send the bag to a backpack specialist.
Loose backpacking straps can be annoying sometimes, but fortunately, you can fix them using tapes, two-sided velcro, a needle, thread, and fire. Alternatively, you can also tie your straps into knots or replace your buckles with better ones. It also helps to avoid carrying a bag that’s too heavy, though this isn’t always a viable option, especially if you’re a long-term backpacker or hiker.
The tape method is my preferred method. It’s easy to do, and the tape does an excellent job. Sure, it’s not a permanent solution, but it’s quick, easy, and effective. What about you? Which method you’ll be trying?
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