Roof rack straps might be the least flashy but most important piece of gear in your road trip kit.
While you might not give them much thought, they tend to be tasked with securing your most expensive outdoor toys. I’m talking about surfboards, bikes, skis, snowboards, kayaks, you name it. As a general rule, if it’s over 6 feet or has more than one wheel, it’s going on the roof, or it’s not going at all.
Naturally, you want to be sure it’s still on the roof when you arrive at the trailhead or carpark or wherever it is, far from home, that you’re about to have fun.
Now, I’m notoriously bad at tying knots and securing things to roofs. My dad, a builder, is neither of those things, and will be the first to say I have not upheld the family name when it comes to securing things practically.
I admit all of this because I reckon it makes me the perfect candidate to review the Australian designed and tested WRAPTIE™ roof straps.
In fact, the founder of WRAPTIE™ made a point of telling me that, ‘small children use them, so I am sure you will be fine.’
Let’s find out if I can keep up with small childrens nimble hands and whether my girlfriend’s longboard made it to Killalea State Park from Manly in one piece. A lot of pressure!
Design & Ease of Use
Before getting into their application, it’s worth actually trying to explain what these things look like. WRAPTIE™ reckon they’re, ‘unlike anything you have used before!’ and they’re not wrong.
Half of the strap is made with a ‘hook and loop’ fastener like velcro, which is stitched into the elasticated strap.
This does away with the need for metal buckles or ratchets and means you can fasten the strap to itself without the need for complicated knots. It also means there’s no excess strap or rope at the end to go berserk flapping away on the highway.
While not reinventing the wheel since hook and loop fastening has well and truly been around the block, WRAPTIE™ are a 2021 Good Design Award Winner for their innovative and proven strap design.
It’s even super easy to pack the straps away neatly, since you can just fasten them back onto itself and wrap it up.
Versatility & Application
After some initial confusion when we first attempted to strap a longboard to the roof — because straps without buckles are confounding when the buckled kind is all you ever see — we quickly came around to the idea of the velcro.
Not only did the grippers provide extra grip while driving through some pretty heavy rain at 110km/h, but they also protected the board’s rails from the straps potentially digging in.
However, the straps themselves are much more forgiving than non-elasticated straps and I don’t think they would be able to ‘dig in’ or damage gear, like conventional straps and ropes are known to.
Things got considerably easier the second and third time we strapped the board down after we realised you really could trust the hook and loop system to hold the board securely in place.
WRAPTIE™ reckon you can tie boards down in as little as 30 seconds and I reckon we managed maybe 2 minutes in just the third attempt, so it’s entirely possible!
While we relied on the straps for surfboards, I can definitely see how they might be employed to secure tents and tarps when windy, tie down bags, bundle poles or equipment, or use the smaller lengths to secure things to bikes.
The industrial strength velcro has a a holding strength of 50kg, so it’s up to the imagination really
Wait what? There’s a heading on sustainability for some tie-down straps?
Believe me, I was as surprised as anyone when I discovered a core focus of WRAPTIE™’s business model was its commitment to sustainability.
They’re tie-down straps after all, even those who make a serious effort toward understanding supply chains and sustainability probably wouldn’t give too much thought to such a product, but WRAPTIE™ did.
Just going off the ‘Earth Friendly’ descriptions online, it’s clear someone high up really cares about the planet and their impact — increased sales notwithstanding.
However, if you were debating between a set of these and something from a competitor, the fact that much of the companies straps are made from recycled materials should give it the edge.
Each strap contains on average, 1 plastic bottle and the WRAPTIE™ rubber Grippers contain more than 30% recycled rubber, taken from old tyres and shoe soles. As of 2021, this has equalled a total of 60,000 bottles that haven’t gone to landfill.
They’re also a co-organiser and sponsor of the largest clean-up event in Taiwan — where the products are made — as well as being a signatory to the New Plastic Economy – Global Commitment and unsurprisingly there’s also no plastic packaging to contend with.
I’ve not bought a lot of straps in my time, so I figure when you’re forced to get some, you might as well get some that are with you for the long run.
The Classic 240cm straps and rubber grippers used here cost $80 combined. While you can go as crazy as you want buying different bundled packs which tend to come with a decent discount, because the straps are so versatile, you really just need to get a few in your desired length.
While they’re obviously more expensive than a generic ratchet strap, there’s a lot more bells, whistles and grip to be found here and it’s worth considering their crazy versatility. For those that are constantly tying and securing things for whatever reason, I’d consider these to be a pretty worthwhile investment. The 2-year warranty also doesn’t hurt to see.
Still, they might not be for you if seriously ‘strapped’ for cash… get it!
Should You Strap In?
If you’re in the market for new straps, I’d say it’s hard to go past a set of these.
Not only can small children use them, I can too, so really anyone should be able to use these with peace of mind.
Matt was sent the straps by WRAPTIE™ and was allowed to keep them afterward, the views are his own.