Bikepacking straps are an essential part of a gear kit both for securing random things to random places as well as using for emergency repairs. There are now a crap ton of strap materials, lengths, styles, and features. Here we compile a complete list of options as well as some considerations for strapping stuff.
What makes a strap a good bikepacking strap?
Just got to hardware store and you'll find entire walls full of straps and cords. But are they all good for bikepacking? Probably not. Here are a few things we would consider non-negotiable for a great bikepacking strap that will last a long time and do their job of carrying things without a fear of failing.
Non-marring materials that won't damage metal contact points
Non-slip buckles that won't budge even after bouncing on janky trails for days on end.
Variable length adjustment to lengthen or shorten the straps on the fly
Micro stretching for secure grip is a big plus.
Non-elastic materials that are anti-fatiguing
What straps we left out
In general, we left out generic webbing straps sewn to a generic metal buckle. Not because they're not worthy. They work great, but there are countless versions of them and this list is for straps that are either purpose-made for biking or have features that make them stand out of from traditional straps.
We also left out a ton of straps that are identical to Voile. Many of them are probably similar quality and probably function similarly. But Voile Straps were the original and have become trusted by bikepackers around the world so we're going not going to get into all the Amazon and Home Depot brands that identically mimic Voile Straps.
What About Bungees, Are They Good for Bikepacking?
When you first start strapping things to your bike, it's normal to dig through the junk drawer in your garage start cobbling together some bungee cords. To be clear, I've used bungee on many trips and they can certainly do the job. But there a lot of reasons why they're a pretty awful solution especially when there are tons of inexpensive that straps that function way better and won't leave you stranded or constantly stopping to adjust bungees.
5 Reasons bungee chords are bad for bikepacking:
Most of t hem don't have variable lengths. All they do is stretch which means if the strap is too long, you have to find really random ways to tie up the slack and this usually compromises their effectiveness.
They have too much stretch and not enough tension. You have to bungees really tight to get enough tension on them to not lose your seat bag on bumpy trails and by that point, some of the elastic strands are prone to breaking.
They depend on additional places to hook. Since they don't have variable lengths, you have to find places on your frame to hook them and you'll finish your trip with the pleasant surprise that your paint is gone on your frame.
Elastic fatigues with time. The longer you own elastic straps, they more likely they are to lose their tension and just keep getting longer.
The metal hooks will scratch your frame.
1. Voile Straps
Voile Straps have a pretty good history for being the most popular bikepacking straps for a long time, and for good reasons. Their standard straps come in 5+ lengths and they're also available in XL (wider) versions as well as Nano (tiny and narrow) versions. Plus they come with nylon non-marring buckles and also make Rack Straps specifically designed for lashing gear to front and rear racks.
In recent years, several companies like Tailfin, Restrap, Salsa, and Sea to Summit and have made some pretty clear improvements over the traditional Voile strap. But Voile straps continue to be ubiquitous in bikepacking circles and usually the first strap to come to mind for bikepacking solutions. Learn more at Voile Straps.
Why Voile Straps Are the Best
They've been making straps since before you were born and have unmatched length, width, and color options.
2. Tailfin Cargo Straps
There are many Voile strap copycats and the Tailfin Cargo Strap might initially look like one of those but there are several differences than actually separate these entirely from Voile straps. First, the holes go further on the buckle end and the loose end which makes the useful cargo diameter reach larger and smaller than Voile straps.
Next, the the buckle connection is more secure than Voile and less likely (or impossible) to slip under load like a Voile strap can. Lastly, the buckle is curved because these were specifically made for bikepacking and hence they fit perfectly up against curved frame tubes and Nalgene bottles. Tailfin's products are also notoriously monochromatic which means you can get these straps in any color that you like, as long as it's black. Learn More at Tailfin.
Why Tailfin Cargo Straps Are the Best
They're designed 100% for bikepacking with durability and function that outperforms traditional rubber straps.
3. Restrap Fast Straps
These are the the lowest profile straps on this list. They're incredible strong and nearly as thin as paper. Coming in two colors (black and orange), they lock down with a cam buckle rather than using a pin and hole like Voile Straps. Under heavy stress, they can slip a little so they may not be the first choice for strapping large heavy bags. But they're perfect for small and medium-sized loads and probably the very best pick for bringing extra straps for emergencies and just-in-case scenarios because they take up less than 25% of the space of Voile straps. Learn more at Restrap.
Why Fast Straps Are the Best
Fast Straps are extremely durable but only take up 25% the space of a Voile strap.
4. Sea to Summit Stretch-Loc TPU Straps
Sea to Summit makes a lot of excellent camping gear and their Stretch-Loc straps have have a fan base of bikepackers who just want the straps to stay put. Stretch-Loc TPU Straps are the only straps that have a Keeper Strap that holds the straps firmly in place when when you take your gear out. Every other strap frustratingly falls off when not in use but these just lock in place. They come in six lengths with two width options and three color choices.
Why Stretch-Loc TPU Straps Are the Best
They are the only strap that stays in place even when you take out the cargo.
5. Salsa EXP Series Rubber Straps
Salsa's take on a bikepacking straps puts the durability and function of other straps into one integrated piece. Every other strap has a separate buckle and strap piece that is susceptible to slipping or tearing. With these straps, slipping is impossible and tearing can only happen if the entire strap simply snaps. Apart from that, these are made similarly to other traditional rubber straps. Learn more at Salsa Cycles.
Why Salsa EXP Series Rubber Straps Are the Best
They're the only one-piece rubber strap that can't slip or tear
6. Titan Straps
Okay, I said I wasn't going to include Voile Strap exact copies, but here we are.Titan Straps are a pretty player in the field of bikepacking straps despite not having any significant differences from Voile Straps. They come in three styles, Industrial, Utility, and MIni. Industrial straps are wider than thicker than Utility Straps and then the Mini ones are lighter duty version for smaller applications.
Why Titan Straps Are the Best
These are really heavy duty straps with multiple weight options and they function like the Voile Straps we're all used to.
7. Rivendell John's Strap
Rivendell has been making John's Strap for a long time. Rivendell is known for vintage-y bikes and gear that look and function beautifully without caring about the endless marginal gains of incremental innovation. From their own product description they say this, "There are dozens of other general purpose straps out there, and most of them are slightly easier to use than this one. But this one is easy enough to use, and the goal isn't maximum ease of use, once a certain ease of use has been attained. Got it?" Enough said. Learn more at Rivendell.
Why Rivendell John's Strap is the Best
They're made in Sweden, have a nice looking stripe, and will probably still be working fine when you're nice and old.
8. Austere Manufacturing Cams and Cam Straps
For starters, Austere is known for their cam buckles and you can either sew your own strap onto them or buy a strap that they've sewn on. These are concretely the most expensive strap buckle of it's kind you may ever see and they have a cult following.
They're CNC machined from billet aluminum to deliver the ultimate in simple, lightweight, and elegant utility and sometimes, well, you just want the very nicest thing in a given category and this is probably it. They make them in lovely colors and if you've got access to a sewing machine, you can easily make your own strap. Learn more at Austere Manufacturing.
Why Austere Cam Buckles Are the Best
They feel fabulous in your hand, have been lovingly engineered by a boutique maker, and are impressively strong and light.
9. Surly Junk Strap
If you think these just look like pretty long toe straps, you wouldn't be alone. But they say "Surly" on them and sometimes if it aint broken, don't fix it. Surly generously offers a couple of ideas for how to use these straps which include securing small dogs to your child as well as holding a splint in place while you drag your friend out of the woods after he breaks his leg. Learn more at Surly Bikes.
Why Surly Junk Straps Are the the Best
I'm not sure what to say here. They are probably just fine if you love things that are just fine.
10. All Mountain Style OS Strap
This is a one-piece strap with no metal and comes in the highly fashionable color of black. It's not quite a copy cat of Voile Straps although at a quick glance, you might think it is. Here's why it's not: nubbins. Three nubbins to be exact. These go through the main loop then unlike traditional rubber straps that fold back in order to secure on the hook, they continue right through the loop and secure on a nubbin that sticks out right on the strap itself. But the nubbin advantage doesn't end there. There are two more nubbins on the side of the strap that keeps the strap keep from sliding off. It drives me nuts when strap strap keepers slide off so I love this feature.
Why All Mountain Style OS Straps Are the Best
They've got three nubbins that secure straps without folding them backwards plus two more nubbins that hold the strap keepers in place.