For a number of years we have resorted to using rubber tie down straps to help keep gear bags, gas cans and saddlebags well secured to our sleds. Sometimes it is the only tie-down method used, or was for a number of years. Then, as sleds became more sophisticated, they came with special hold-down systems and straps. But even these factory systems can fail, as we learned with some of the new XP accessories from Ski-Doo. We found our gas can laying along the side of the trail after the rivets that hold the brackets to the top of the tunnel pulled through (yes they were the OEM rivets). What to do? In that case, we got the gear home using a piece of rope that one of our guys had, along with using some safety wire to re-attach the straps to the anchors on the tunnel, minus the metal brackets they used to latch to.
Back at home, we grabbed a couple of our trusty rubber bungee cords and used our good old “X” pattern across the top of the gas can and rode it like that for well over 1,000 miles.
Anytime you want to secure gear bags or whatever kind of gear to your sled, the use of straps in an X has proven to be one of the most effective and staying methods we have found. For extra protection, twist the two straps together right at the “X” so if one strap does come loose, it will stay attached to the other one. It also helps to attach the hooks down on the running boards with the open end facing to the rear, so you don’t knock it off when riding (which is more likely if the open end of the hook is facing forward.) We’ve even taken a pliers and tightened the open end of the hook once attached if we’re at all worried about the security of the hook.
This all started back when we would walk to most any sled and drop on a set of saddlebags. Two straps and two minutes later we were ready to ride for days on end. We would line the inside of the saddlebags with a plastic bag, garbage sack, anything to give us an extra layer of water protection. It is amazing how many clothes and gear you can carry in a set of saddlebags! Normal people would actually mount bags to their sled, where we’re riding a different sled most every day or week, so we would always be looking for the temporary set-up instead of the year-long mount.
Sometimes we would have to drill four holes into the running board or into the rolled end of the running boards to mount the hooks into. Be careful if you should need to drill these holes, as one time we did that and this green liquid started to come up and out of the running board…….oops!