Monday, July 4, 2011

Fastener DuJour - the Visclamp

Happy Birthday America! Love your spacious skies, purple mountain's majesty, fruited plains, and amber waves of grain. So much so that I've been backpacking, camping, bike hiking and snow-camping in them for about 40 years now, so imagine my surprise to learn the even Google, the keeper of all knowledge, doesn't know what a visclamp is! :-O

I happen to  have a few, left to me by my old friends Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone. In service to all mankind, or at least the part of mankind that still fiddles with tents and tarps, here is a picture of a visclamp.

Alas, there appear to be none available anymore, at any price. If you have any, NEVER lend them out. You'll NEVER get them back. EVER. They sprout legs and crawl off in ways that would challenge the creativity of a small army of Hollywood script writers.

Proof-of-life photo of a pair of visclamps who floundered en'route to the Ark

The ball is pushed up through the fabric and the large hole, and then the clamp is slid along its rails until the ball is over the small hole, whereupon the guy line is routed through the large hole and wala, instant movable grommet. Think "super-duty garter belt fastener".  (they're still making those)

They're absolutely bomb-proof fasteners, and will hang on to fabric or random places on tents with crazy tenacity. There are some plastic do-dads that attempt to do the same job, and if you're lucky enough to always be latching onto ripstop nylon, or some other crazy tough fabric, they'll do. But in high winds and thin sheets, these babies are the only option.

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