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Thread: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

  1. #1
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    Default Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    The only kind of bungee cords I've used are the kind with a bundle of rubber strands under a braided cover. The end hooks are crimped over the whole assembly if metal, molded on if plastic. They're pretty good when new, but lose elasticity quickly and are dead after a few years.

    I've seen, but not used, the black solid rubber bungees with no cover. The ends of the cords have molded-in holes with metal hooks installed.

    How do the solid rubber bungees compare with the braid-covered strands? Is initial elasticity about the same? Is service life any longer?
    I will beg you for advice, your reply will be concise, and I will listen very nicely and then go out and do exactly what I want! (Apologies to Lerner and Lowe.)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    I use bungee cords to make my compost bin cover critter-proof. The braid-cover ones last about six months; the solid rubber ones are indestructible. In five years here, I have had to replace the black rubber one once because it grew legs & walked away (I think that the garbage man either kept it or accidentally let it drop into the truck bin).
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    The solid ones are used to secure tarps on trucks. I find lots of dead ones on the side of the road. They are not as stretchy. Depending on the use, they may or may not be suitable for what you need.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    I use both types in varous sizes. In general the black rubber units do not stretch as far but tend to be more durable. I usually get rid of at least one and often both S hooks and replace with line for more flexability in the use.

    A great application for the rubber strands in core, braid sheath is this 6' long piece that incidentally holds up a roll of paper towels. It is there to pick up the slack in the centerboard pennant when I run aground, thus keeping the pennant from jamming between the board and the trunk.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    When the pennant is holding the weight of the board, the paper towels are against the overhead and thus won't just unroll in a breeze.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    Hardware store bungie cords are not made to the same quality as 'shock cord' from industrial sources. Here's a source for some of the decent quality stuff -- http://65.110.86.132/line/shock/index.htm
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    I think you need to use chain & chain binders. No sun degradation all!

    I too have found the plain rubber to last better. Do note that they may mark whatever they're on with black "skid marks" - particularly after being in the sun a bit.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    On those covered bungies; do not over stretch them and do not stand in line with the direction of pull. They are responsible for knocking out eyes on a routine basis when abused.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    What David said. There are various grades of the covered bungie cord material. The woven cover fabrics on the better ones are much more resistant to UV damage, which helps to protect both the cover and the stuff under the cover. Buy marine grade shock cord by the foot and get yourself a pair of hog ring pliers and some stainless hog rings in a size that fits your cord. The solid rubber ones also work (until they break, which usually takes a while, but does eventually happen) but they don't have anywhere the amount of stretch that shock cord does, so what's best depends on the specific job.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    Both kinds really vary in type and quality and I use both types outside where they are exposed to cold, heat, rain, snow and UV. The solid ones are on the door to my dog yard pulling it shut. They get stretched several times a day and are out there year round. Out of the three bungees on the door I replace maybe one per year. They can be found quite thin, and also perforated so you can make loops with the S-hook. These are usually a bit more stretchy. The bare metal S-hooks like to scratch things, like your car.

    The covered multi-strand ones can be pretty good also, and I use one to hold the back end of my dogsled on the roofrack pretty much all winter long. The better ones last several years before becoming "dead", but I once bought a pack at the dollar store and came out of the bag pretty much dead.

    When in a store I now look for the ones that are not separately packaged and I stretch them right there before buying. I've sometimes rejected them if they were too soft or stiff for my application or mostly dead already while still on the rack.

    I also save the metal hooks of both kinds. The hooks from the covered kind can be reused with material bought off a roll at an industrial store if it is the same diameter. They have a little end cap though that tends to fall off, turning these into scratchers too.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    I used this http://www.apsltd.com/covered-solid-...etch-cord.html on my Thistle with very good results.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    I use the molded rubber ones on occasion but most often inside my shed to hang weed wackers, ladders, sailboat spars and stuff like that. They have S hooks and low stretch that tend to shake loose if the tarp flexes too much so I normally stay away from those on boats (all my boats are stored outside). They are also more suited to heavy trucker tarps that are 20ish oz compared to 8-9 oz boat cloth. I use extra ties to keep them from falling out but it's a hassle. I've had them break where the S hook goes through and show deterioration when stretched...they last outside about the same as 1/2" diameter bungee.

    My go to for tarps are the regular bungees sold everywhere except I buy spools and make my own. Its a bit of a cash outlay up front but in the long run has paid off. Bungee stretches it's cut length and is easier to adjust tension. Closed plastic hooks are more secure than the wire hooks and I can make custom sizes for anything. I replace 3/8" bungee every yr here in Florida under full exposure. My 1/2" bungees go double that but I believe the spooled stuff is higher quality than the ones at HF or Wally world but black or blue lasts longer than white in the sun.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    As said above. There are very useful in the right application. I would say, however, that severe injury caused by bungee cords in use increased in proportion to their size and length. If and when one comes adrift under load, and that will on occasion occur, they are wicked projectiles. Be careful out there.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    I have some of each type that are well over 20 (maybe 30!) years old and still fine. I have other newer ones that have only lasted a couple of years. I suspect the solid rubber type, which like newer tires have a short life because of a mandate to remove lead (Pb) from rubber.
    The braided cover type I don't know why, but the older ones that are still good were made in the USA...

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    I make my own using black braided elastic. They seem better than bought ones but not as strong.
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    As said above. There are very useful in the right application. I would say, however, that severe injury caused by bungee cords in use increased in proportion to their size and length. If and when one comes adrift under load, and that will on occasion occur, they are wicked projectiles. Be careful out there.
    I want to double up on this. A family member who is an Ophthalmologist says that rubber bungees are the #1 leading source of eye injury in America today. As a trucker I use them all the time but keep my face out of the line of fire.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    I run a 42' motor cat with mesh 'trampolines" forward, the 'tramps' are laced in place with shock cord, renewed as needed. Under some tension (maybe 25% stretched) and in the tropics on a working boat. We get at least two years. The right stuff is US made polyester cover, nothing else comes close. I use an ebay vendor whose biz name is "rope dope" or something close to that. No affiliation, just wanted to share a source and the info.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    https://www.westmarine.com/buy/just-ducky-products--24-red-super-shock-cord-sold-by-the-foot--405136?recordNum=33
    Bought some of these about five years ago. Still going strong. They've been in the back of my pickup out in the sun without a failure.
    "If a man speaks at sea where no woman can hear, is he still wrong?"

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    And see, I thought those would be 'just ducky' too... but I had one fail when holding outboard motor cover on -- in the garage, not in the sun -- after about 3 years. Had hoped for much longer use.

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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Hardware store bungie cords are not made to the same quality as 'shock cord' from industrial sources. Here's a source for some of the decent quality stuff -- http://65.110.86.132/line/shock/index.htm
    You've got that right, some light aircraft use "bungy" cord as the springing medium for their landing gear, and, dont forget "bungy jumping". You can bet that stuffs not the same as the stuff you get from the dollar shop.

    John Welsford
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    Fisheries supply now sells Dyneema (Spectra) covered shock chord. It seems to last well and if the rubber ever lets go, the cover will still hold some heavy stuff.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    Thanks for all your input. I think I will continue to to what I have been doing:

    1. Buy cheap braid-covered-strand bungees.

    2. Replace those in more critical service (e.g. holding things down when trailering) when they start to lose elasticity.

    3. Using old ones for less critical service (e.g. holding down tarps) until they get really dead.

    4. Throwing dead ones out.

    I don't use bungees in any situation where a single or even double failure would lead to major trouble.
    I will beg you for advice, your reply will be concise, and I will listen very nicely and then go out and do exactly what I want! (Apologies to Lerner and Lowe.)

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    FWIW: Using the braided bungees on a vehicle/trailer, etc., on the roads is illegal in some states. In Georgia a painting contractor's truck was loaded with ladders held down with them. A bungee snapped and one ladder went through the windshield of a car in the opposing lane. Almost decapitated a high school girl on her way to school.
    If I had a dollar for every girl who found me unattractive, eventually they would find me attractive.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    Quote Originally Posted by rbgarr View Post
    FWIW: Using the braided bungees on a vehicle/trailer, etc., on the roads is illegal in some states. In Georgia a painting contractor's truck was loaded with ladders held down with them. A bungee snapped and one ladder went through the windshield of a car in the opposing lane. Almost decapitated a high school girl on her way to school.
    Also - while cheaper immediately... no bargain long-term.
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    Using something stretchy to hold down anything more than a tarp or a length of 1/2" plastic pipe while going down the road is pretty foolish. Ladders? Not a chance.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip Chester View Post
    Using something stretchy to hold down anything more than a tarp or a length of 1/2" plastic pipe while going down the road is pretty foolish. Ladders? Not a chance.
    I use 5' lengths of 1/2" (450 lbs rated strength) to car top kayaks and dinks. Wrapped tight a couple times and secured properly its better than rope. I use rope for fore and aft so they can't break away though. 5/8" aircraft bungee is rated something like 700 lbs if someone wants to go that route.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    We used to occasionally see customers kayaks at our stores which had been left on roof racks in the sun using bungie cords instead of straps or rope. They heat up and you can bake permanent dents into the boats where the rack bars or cradles sat from the constant tension. These are nearly impossible to fix.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    We used to occasionally see customers kayaks at our stores which had been left on roof racks in the sun using bungie cords instead of straps or rope. They heat up and you can bake permanent dents into the boats where the rack bars or cradles sat from the constant tension. These are nearly impossible to fix.
    That reads as if straps and ropes are immune from denting hulls. In reality any and all of them will dent the hulls if not tensioned properly. Large bungee takes no more tension than a strap or rope does and is too strong to stretch at speeds. Its easier to get the right tension with bungee. I have the speciality kayak straps and they are better and easier than rope but flutter if you don't twist first.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    I doubt that straps and rope are immune to denting hulls with all the morons who inhabit this planet, but having spent around 25 years in the kayak selling business, in every instance I can remember of kayaks with baked-in dents, they had been held down by elastic tie downs - shock cord or more often, solid rubber and left out in the sun. That's enough to tell me that they won't be used on any of my boats. Having access at dealer prices to just about any system I wanted, I settled on Yakima cradles on our kayak trailer and racks and using Yakima straps. Not cheap, but very well designed. Our end tie downs when car-topping are usually black, super low stretch polyester yacht braid with a trucker's knot. You can also bend boats by applying too much tension to the end ties, so there is a fine line between tight enough to do the job well and too tight.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Bungees: Solid rubber vs. braid-covered strands

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    I doubt that straps and rope are immune to denting hulls with all the morons who inhabit this planet, but having spent around 25 years in the kayak selling business, in every instance I can remember of kayaks with baked-in dents, they had been held down by elastic tie downs - shock cord or more often, solid rubber and left out in the sun. That's enough to tell me that they won't be used on any of my boats. Having access at dealer prices to just about any system I wanted, I settled on Yakima cradles on our kayak trailer and racks and using Yakima straps. Not cheap, but very well designed. Our end tie downs when car-topping are usually black, super low stretch polyester yacht braid with a trucker's knot. You can also bend boats by applying too much tension to the end ties, so there is a fine line between tight enough to do the job well and too tight.
    If people don't know better than to leave poly kayaks cinched down under pressure for long duration in the sun (95F Florida anyway) they will learn the hard way not to do it. It seems all opposition to bungee is from those who haven't used them or used them correctly. It all about the operator and size. In my experience large bungee does a better job than straps for securing and preventing distortion, dents or whatever. 1/2" bungee needs almost zero tension, remain tights and doesn't relax like kayak straps do.

    About expensive gear...I have a kayak trailer for long hauls with lots of camping gear, Thule car racks (chose over Yakima because they have a wider flat pressure point instead of Yakima's round tube), Thule side loader, Yakima Mako saddles (round flex mount fits the square Thule) and a pile of long purpose sold kayak straps, bungees and ropes. The saddles with straps were good for keeping the boat moving from side motion but bungee does the same thing and is easier. Saddles support the only part of the hull that isn't prone to oil canning and oil canning is typically caused by straps or ropes being cinched too tight anyway. My issue with saddles is having to lift the boat single handed over them and not being able to slide yaks over on the racks...I'm 69 yrs old and lifting 55lbs overhead starting bothering me at 50ish. It's way inconvenient to remove and reinstall the 4 outside saddles every time so I can slide. Saddles didn't live up to being the most user friendly for me or do a better job and reside in the bottom of a bag that hasn't seen daylight in yrs.

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