There are items which seem to hold an infinite number of uses, that are worth carrying on any outing whether an outdoor adventure, a day at work or anywhere in between.

Zipties are one of these infinite use objects. They weigh almost nothing, take up almost no space at all, and are so simple a young child could use them.

Zip Tie Love

Zip Tie Heart

Zipties have the original intent of lashing together electronic cables. They are wonderful for this purpose, and can help to streamline and clean up a tangle of wires behind your computer or entertainment center.

Most often zipties are made from a hard nylon material. Their brilliance comes in their secure one-way ratcheting system. Once tightened down they do not let loose.  They can be tightened further but can not be loosened. This feature is what allows you to feel confident in their use.

Zip Ties

Depending on your intended use and amount of preparation time available, it can be a good idea to have several styles of zip ties around. They come in various lengths, thicknesses and colors. For outdoor use there are UV-resistant variety available. For weight bearing and truly heavy duty use I recommend the variety with a metal tab as part of it’s rachet system. There are also ziptiees made entirely of stainless steel.

Given their low per-piece cost, zip ties can be utilized without much concern.

I have zip ties holding my lights on the front of my basket.

Zip Ties on my Bike Basket

Lighting mount zip tied to the front of my bike basket.

Zipties also fasten my basket to my handlebars.Bike Basket Zip Ties

Bike Basket mount arms zip tied to my handlebars.

Zip ties can help secure luggage, bags or anything else with zippers, shut.  Before heading away from camp for a hike, ziptie your tent doors shut.  No, this isn’t the end-all be-all of security but it does provide a hindrance, and also a way for you to know if anyone went snooping when you where away from your bag or tent.  Clip them open with scissors or a pocket knife upon your return.

Zip Tie Zippers

Jason from Gear Talk uses zipties to hack his own Nalgene style bottle for his back country adventures.

Zip Tie Cap Keeper

Need to lash an extra piece of gear onto your pack while hiking? Zipties to the rescue!

The friendly folks at Dutch Bike Co. have documented their DIY snow tires using zipties.

Zip Tie Snow Tires

Did the pull to your zipper snap off? Throw a ziptie on there for easy zipping.

I’ve used a ziptie to secure a trash bag onto a picnic table while camping on a particularly windy night.

Simply Bike uses zip ties to decorate her bike.

Lovely Bicycle uses zip ties for a clean look to her after-market dynamo lighting installation.

Keep in mind that depending on the color of your zip ties, they can become an almost invisible helper.

Alternately, they can also become a style element:

Zip Tie Art

Then there are those who just enjoy the style of the zip tie and what it represents:

Zip Tie Ring

The best ways to utilize zip ties really are only limited to your particular situation and a little creative thinking.

Zip Tie Repair

Where have you used zipties before?

 

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It’s shocking how much dirt, grime and grease can collect in your bike chain .  I never really understood the concept when I would only occasionally ride my bike.  Now that I commute to work on my bike the chain gets pretty darn nasty all too quickly.

If you’ve got a dirty chain to clean and want an easy DIY way to make it happen, we’ve got the hack for you.

The tools at hand: two old tooth brushes, and some strong tape:

Tools to make your own chain brush.

Roll a small amount of the tape on itself to create the center stabilizer.

Then lay the two brushes out as so, ensuring that the bristles of the two brushes are touching – almost overlapping one another:

DIY Chain brush

Wrap the tape around the brushes:

DIY Chain brush

Ta-Da!  Your very own chain brush!

DIY Chain brush

Now put it to good use!

Hold the brush over the chain, and cycle your chain through the brushes by rotating the pedals of the bike.

DIY Chain brush

 Now you’ve got an easy and fuss-free way to clean and maintain your chain.

 

This is the second in an ongoing series of Chris’ Hacks.  Don’t miss out on these posts!  Sign up to receive free email updates from Mountainize.com

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I like to be prepared.

But I also like to keep things simple.

If your going to have a problem while out on your bike, I’m the guy you want along for the ride.

Here’s what I carry on every bike ride to ensure I’m never stuck far from home:

A repurposed microphone bag stores my stash.  I believe in using what you have before buying something new.

My Bag

It all fits inside:

It all fits inside my bag.

And it’s all organized for quick access:

All organized inside.

Spread out for better viewing:

The contents of my bag:

 

The contents:

Inside the first baggie (From lower left, moving counter clockwise.):

  • 2 safety pins
  • super glue
  • 4 zip ties

Moving counterclockwise in the above photo:

Spare Tube

All this in a package that weighs only 1lb., and measures 12″x4″.