Sometimes there are several ways to accomplish an aspect of outdoor adventuring – from ways to start a fire, to pitching a tent, to simply finding a more comfortable or creative approach to a classic technique. Here are some that I’ve learned over the years…

Treating frayed ends of nylon straps:  


Nylon straps have pretty much replaced ropes and lines for securing loads to vehicles. One problem with these broad bands of woven nylon is the tendency of the ends to fray. This in turn makes threading the end through the buckle difficult. One way to keep the edge clean is to melt it with a heat source that melts the ends of the nylon fibers, welding them into a firm, rigid edge. 

That is usually sufficient to give you a solid, non-fraying edge. However, you can take it one step further by stiffening the end to form an easy-to-thread tongue. This is accomplished simply by dipping the ends into a plastic coating liquid used to re-surface hand tools.

The trick is to first dip the end of the strap into the thick coating to saturate the nylon enabling  the plastic goo to penetrate into the weave. Squeegee off the excess (you don’t want to add any additional thickness to the strap end) and let it dry. You’ll get plenty of stiffness from the curing of the liquid that soaked down between the fibers.

Nylon Strap Tie-Down Hood Loops:

Few of today’s automobiles have a slot or opening on the front end of the vehicle to pass through a line or strap used to tie down a roof load. Typically you must reach down below the flush-mounted “bumper” panel and find a place on the frame to tie off one end of a load-bearing line. Using nylon straps to create tie-down loops on each side of your hood can give you secure and accessible anchors for those load-bearing lines/straps.


The key to this approach is to make sure you have a secure, firm anchor point on the outside edge of the hood compartment upon which to bolt the loop as shown. The strap loop should be long enough to reach out beyond the hood when closed to provide a loop big enough to thread a strap or rope. When not needed it can be folded down and stowed under the closed hood. I’ve had such loops on my vehicles for over 10 years and have yet to need to replace them.


Re-entry into a kayak:

Many of us learned how to re-enter our kayaks after a capsize – usually from a class session in a pool or shallow swimming area of a lake. Typically we’ve stood on the bottom and jumped up onto the edge of the kayak, hoping our upward thrust was enough to get us high up and over the side of the craft. Don’t depend on it!


Deep water re-entry doesn’t give you that foot push-off option. Instead you need to “swim” up using your arms…and legs! That can be best accomplished if you raise you body to nearly horizontal at the surface and then, with a couple of hard kicks, literally swim up and onto the deck of your boat. This effort propels you forward while you use your arms to push the craft down as you simultaneously pull it towards you. Those dual motions, coupled with a good swimming motion are a quick and direct method to get you up and out of the water so you can work towards your re-entry efforts.