Bungee straps—those elastic cords with hooks that stretch over and secure loads—have to rank as one of the greatest inventions ever! Anyone who’s struggled with knots and trying to tightly tie stuff down with ropes can appreciate the value of being able to stretch and secure with a bungee cord. They have thousands of uses, from attaching extras to the outside of your backpack or kayak to securing a tarp over your pick-up load or woodpile. They can be custom-made by ordering the cord and attachments separately and building them to your preferred length. Here are a couple factors to consider when you’re shopping for bungees.


Rubber bungee tie-downs like these are economical, and long-lasting. Keeper

Bungees are made of either straight rubber, or with a latex strand or rubber core covered with a fabric shell. Quality will vary, and purchasing from a reputable manufacturer with good consumer ratings matters. Bungees are often used outdoors and subject to degradation from the weather and UV rays, so fabric coverings made with a high denier Dacron will be longer-lasting and better quality. Cordage Institute certification is a plus.


Choose the right bungee attachment to fit your needs. This product features caribiner attachments at both ends. Keeper

Straight metal hooks work fine, unless you’re worried about scratching your load. Plastic or rubber-coated hooks may be more scratch-proof. Some bungees feature clips or caribiner-style attachments, which offer greater load security, as do locking-style hooks.

Make your own?

Bulk shock cord to make custom bungees is available from sources like this one. Paracord Planet

If standard bungees miss the mark it is easy enough to make your own. Bulk shock cord is readily available in sizes from 1/8 inch diameter to 5/8 inch, and there are a variety of hook or other attachment options you can customize to fit your needs.