Five Reasons You Shouldn’t Use Bungees Instead of Tie-Down Straps

Bungee cords and tie-down straps are not the same. Bungee cords, also known as shock cords, are designed to absorb shock and are great for holding down a tarp or securing the cover on a cooler; but not for containing heavy, bulky, or airborne-prone items. Tie-down straps, however, are specifically designed to secure cargo for transportation. They are available in a variety of lengths, widths, strength ratings, hook ends, and securing methods. To learn more about tie-down straps, see our article on the basics of tie-down straps.

Below is a list of reasons to seriously reconsider using a bungee cord for securing heavy, bulky cargo.


You never know the exact strength of a bungee cord.

Most bungee cords do not come with a rating to let you know how much weight they can hold. Tie-down straps, however, will have both the minimum weight at which failure can occur (break strength) and the maximum weight they can support with regular use (working load) printed on them.


It doesn’t matter how short the trip is or how quick it will be.

Even if you’re only traveling a short distance, you never want to trust a cheap bungee cord to hold your valuable cargo. An elastic cord may allow a load to shift; risking the safety of surrounding motorists, yourself, and your belongings.


Overloaded or old bungee cords wear out quicker than you think.

A bungee cord should never be stretched more than twice its resting length. Even with normal use, bungee cords will eventually stretch permanently, fray, or break as exposure to sun, rain, wind, and extreme temperatures can accelerate a cord’s deterioration. Bungees should be replaced at least every year, even with light use.


Bungee cord hook ends are just as unreliable as the cords themselves.

Just as is the case with the cord, you’ll never know the exact strength of the bungee’s hooks. Bungee cord metal hooks can bend and straighten out, break and unleash the object they were securing, or even simply scratch your cargo.


A stretched bungee cord that slips from your hand becomes a sharp and dangerous projectile.

Injury due to loss of grip on a stretched bungee cord happens more often than you might think it would. Slipped cords can recoil at speeds between 45 and 60 miles per hour, and can cause serious damage to sensitive areas such as your eyes.

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