Infinite Use: Zip Ties

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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?


Gear Worth Owning: Timbuk2 Hidden Messenger

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Timbuk2 Hidden Messenger Bag - Fully Loaded

I received the Timbuk2 Hidden Messenger as a door prize at a local Timbuk2 event here in SF.  I was happy to receive the bag, but to be honest I wasn’t sure what I received, as I had never heard of the hidden messenger before.  Timbuk2 is known for their traditional messenger bags, and their lifetime warranty.

When I got home and pulled the bag out, I was pleasantly surprised.  The hidden messenger is an extremely lightweight ( 0.39 lb.) bag, not too big and not too small.  It’s key design feature is that it can fold away into it’s own built-in pocket to be hidden away.  It’s made out of a nylon ripstop fabric.  Though, due to it’s lightweight construction it’s not going to be the best bag to weigh down and stuff full.

What fits in a Timbuk2 Hidden Messenger Bag:

What fits in a Timbuk2 Hidden Messenger Bag

In short time, it has become my daily carry bag.  I throw it in my bike basket for my commute in to work, 80% empty.  I can fill it up with library books or items from the drugstore on my way home, and still have room to spare.

I’ve spilled coffee on the inside of the bag, and was able to wash this bag in the sink with Dr. Bronner’s, and it was completely dry within a few hours.

Timbuk2 Hidden Messenger Bag Empty

I’ve even been caught in the rain with this bag, with important files inside.  Though this bag is certainly not considered waterproof, and the gap between the messenger flap and the main body of the bag is an easy spot for water to get it – my files stayed dry.

Timbuk2 Hidden Messenger Bag Folded Up

The small inner pocket (the same one that the bag folds up in to) is perfect for protecting smaller items, such as my house keys.

Though I don’t usually use the feature, I like knowing that the bag can collapse into itself and be stored or carried as a small zipped up pocket.

Ultimately, the Timbuk2 Hidden Messenger is a bag whose beauty is in its simplicity.

Timbuk2 Hidden Messenger Bag Fabric Detail

Timbuk2 Hidden Messenger Bag Logo Detail


  • Dimensions: 12.4 by 6.49 by 4.92 inches (W x H x D)
  • Weight: .39 pounds
  • Fabric blend of 90% Recycled PET and 10% Nylon.