Cam straps are fantastic tools for camping. They are ideal for overlanding, kayaking, white water rafting, and on and on. They are handy to have around the house even if you are not into outdoor adventures. If you have never used a cam strap before, you have no idea how versatile they are.
If you are familiar with cam straps, how many ways can you think of to use one? It is an interesting question I began thinking about after reading a post on Outside magazine’s website. The author was outdoor adventurer and self-proclaimed gear guy Joe Jackson.
Although the article dates to 2017, it is as pertinent today as it was back then. Cam straps continue to be one of the most versatile pieces of kit outdoor enthusiasts can get their hands on. It is not a bad piece of equipment to keep around the house, either.
How Cam Straps Work
A cam strap (or buckle straps, if you will) is essentially a length of webbing with a cam buckle on one end. You thread the other end through the buckle and pull it tight. Cam straps are similar to cinch straps in how the straps remain secure under load. What makes them different is the cam itself.
Rollercam is a leading maker of cam strap tie downs. Its designers say that the cam is a rotating cylinder that allows the strap to move through the buckle with almost no friction. It also helps carry some of the load when the strap is being pulled tight. As a result, a gentle pull is all that’s necessary to fully tighten a cam strap.
Securing Inflatable Rafts
Getting back to Joe Jackson and his love for cam straps, he says they have become an essential part of all his outdoor adventures. At one time, he was apparently a rafting guide in California. He would regularly stack rafts five high on this trailer and secure them with a couple of cam straps. Then he would make the journey home without any fear of losing his cargo.
Securing rafts to a trailer seems like a pretty straightforward application. It makes a lot of sense, too. But Jackson didn’t stop there. He has also used cam straps to:
- ● take the place of a failing zipper on his backpack.
- ● secure a ski boot after one of the buckles broke.
- ● replace an adventure belt (a utility belt for outdoor adventures).
I would imagine Jackson’s list goes on and on. For 15 years he has trusted the cam strap to be his all-purpose replacement for rope, bungee cords, and just about anything else that would secure something in place.
Brand Really Does Matter
Jackson proved the versatility of the cam strap time and again in his 2017 piece. Though he mentioned spending a little bit more to get good quality, he didn’t say anything about specific brands. That’s okay. There are a lot of good brands out there.
The thing to remember is that brand really does matter in this case. A quality brand invests in high-quality webbing and sturdy, reliable cam buckles. Manufacturers of cheaper products do not necessarily put the effort or money into producing quality. You get what you pay for. But seeing as how cam straps are used to secure things in place, do you really want to take your chances by going cheap?
The trusted cam strap has been around for a long time. Over the years, its fans have figured out some pretty creative ways to use it. If you’re one of those fans, how many different uses have you thought of over the years?