EasyKlips Make DIY Tarps Much Easier

EasyKlip Mini

Like many of you I love sleeping under a tarp when I go backpacking. The benefits of being able to travel light are obvious plus there’s added bonus feeling of getting closer to my surroundings – being exposed at both ends like I am.

Sure, pitching a tarp requires some practice (Rule #4) in order to get good at it, but most of the high-end ultralight tarps available today have superb fittings, cord tensioners, and tie out loops that make adjusting the tarp tension incredibly easy (see photo of my Gossamer Gear Spinn Twinn below).

Corner Tensioners on SpinnTwinn

Of course that’s all well and good if you have a custom-made lightweight tarp, or if you’re proficient enough to sew in your own mini cord tensioners (I have a post on those coming soon).

What if you want to make your own tarp or use a piece of left over material for a make-shift tarp or shelter? You could sew in some loops, punch some holes for grommets, or use some of those clunky old tarp crocodile clips that are sold at just about every big box hardware store these days.

Plastic Tarp Clips
You can find those cheap crocodile tarp clips (see the blue clip in the photo below) almost everywhere now, but they’re a lousy solution in my opinion and here’s why: They’re heavy (28g) and they don’t grip! Sorry, was that too technical? Seriously though, not only are they heavy and way too big for what most of us would need, they are fundamentally designed wrong.

Tarp Clips Compared

You have to exert a lot of force to ‘lock’ the clip in place on the tarp material and if you can’t get it tight enough it will either come loose or chew away at your tarp from all of the friction/movement – trust me I’ve seen my friends ruin their truck tarps/covers using these things.

The overall concept of a detachable plastic tarp clip is not a bad one, if you can make them light enough and design them in such a way as they actually work. Well, that’s exactly what Hunter Cochrane, the inventor of the EasyKlip, has managed to do.

EasyKlip Mini

Using Physics
The biggest difference between the EasyKlip and all the other plastic tarp clips that I’ve seen is how they work. Unlike the clunky crocodile clips that you have to manually tighten, the EasyKlip uses the tension of the line to automatically tighten itself onto the material it is attached to. The harder you pull the tighter it gets.

It does this by cleverly using the force of the tension and a wedge design to draw back the upper gripping plate, forcing it between a restrictor that in turn applies pressure on the two flat gripping plates causing them to tighten against one another as the tension is applied. As long as there is tension on the EasyKlip it will remain firmly attached. Remove the tension and the plates of the EasyKlip disengage and it comes off.

EasyKlip Mini

The EasyKlip comes in two different sizes, regular (23g) and mini (12g). While these may not be anywhere near as lightweight as using cord tensioners or sewing in loops, think of how convenient these are for all manner of backpacking uses. They fasten and detach quickly with no need for any holes and work equally well on corners or at mid points.

I now carry a pair of the mini EasyKlips in my first aid kit for wshtf scenarios or if I have an equipment rips or failure. The larger version is perfect to have in my truck and to use with a heavier gauge tarp cover, but the minis are perfect for adhoc use on the trail.

EasyKlip Regular & Mini

Would you ever use a detachable tarp clip like the EasyKlip for any outdoor activities? If you have ideas on how they could be used I’d love to hear.

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  • http://BarefootJake.com/ Barefoot Jake

    I love this idea. Curious how they would hold up in high winds? Have you experienced this?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      They work great! I used them recently with my GG Spinn Twinn just for kicks on a weekend hike. The EasyKlips did fine because as the wind picked up they cinched tighter. The draw back is that with 6-8 of these the weight really begins to add up.

      But for people looking for an easy DIY tarp with no sewing or hole punching needed, these are an easy option. They’re also great for hanging things up at camp and for clothes pegs when drying out wet clothes.

      • http://BarefootJake.com/ Barefoot Jake

        I also wonder how they would old against Tyvek or a Emergency Blanket?

  • http://twitter.com/BarefootJake Barefoot Jake

    I love this idea. Curious how they would hold up in high winds? Have you experienced this?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    They work great! I used them recently with my GG Spinn Twinn just for kicks on a weekend hike. The EasyKlips did fine because as the wind picked up they cinched tighter. The draw back is that with 6-8 of these the weight really begins to add up.

    But for people looking for an easy DIY tarp with no sewing or hole punching needed, these are an easy option. They’re also great for hanging things up at camp and for clothes pegs when drying out wet clothes.

  • http://hiking26.blogspot.com/ Jeremy Platt

    Thanks a bunch, can’t wait to try these for prototyping!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      That’s exactly what I was thinking too. These are a quick and easy way to tie out a tarp or shelter without any need for sewing – if you have trouble finding them let me know. BTW – definitely get the mini size :)

  • http://hiking26.blogspot.com/ Jeremy Platt

    Thanks a bunch, can’t wait to try these for prototyping!

  • http://twitter.com/BarefootJake Barefoot Jake

    I also wonder how they would old against Tyvek or a Emergency Blanket?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    That’s exactly what I was thinking too. These are a quick and easy way to tie out a tarp or shelter without any need for sewing – if you have trouble finding them let me know. BTW – definitely get the mini size :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/dharveymi David Harvey

    The trouble with EasyKlips, even their smallest version, is that they are quite heavy. I would like some about half the size and weight.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      David, weight is very subjective. Compared to a sewn in loop or UL cord tensioner the EasyKlip mini is quite heavy, but compared to the ugly, large crocodile clips that I’ve seen hikers use the EasyKlip is a significant upgrade.

      I get your point though 100%. I recently chatted with the inventor to see if they would be interested in a UL version of their mini style and for the most part they were. The trouble is we are such a small niche market that if the demand is not sufficient for a UL version these no incentive to design and manufacture them which costs money.

      Let me ask you this, what weight would be considered acceptable for a single, detachable tarp clip?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dharveymi David Harvey

    The trouble with EasyKlips, even their smallest version, is that they are quite heavy. I would like some about half the size and weight.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    David, weight is very subjective. Compared to a sewn in loop or UL cord tensioner the EasyKlip mini is quite heavy, but compared to the ugly, large crocodile clips that I’ve seen hikers use the EasyKlip is a significant upgrade.

    I get your point though 100%. I recently chatted with the inventor to see if they would be interested in a UL version of their mini style and for the most part they were. The trouble is we are such a small niche market that if the demand is not sufficient for a UL version these no incentive to design and manufacture them which costs money.

    Let me ask you this, what weight would be considered acceptable for a single, detachable tarp clip?

  • Steve W

    I wonder how they would work in a situation where you know the line tension is going to vary from tight all the way down to zero. Would they have a tendency to fall off?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Steve, the EasyKlips work by having at least a small amount of tension, without it they would indeed fall off. They are not regular clips that attach by sheer grip, they work against the tension and become tighter the more tension you have.

  • Steve W

    I wonder how they would work in a situation where you know the line tension is going to vary from tight all the way down to zero. Would they have a tendency to fall off?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Steve, the EasyKlips work by having at least a small amount of tension, without it they would indeed fall off. They are not regular clips that attach by sheer grip, they work against the tension and become tighter the more tension you have.

  • Jamie

    Brian, Would any of these clips work to pull a sleeping bag tight around your pad when laying the bag over like a quilt? I am thinking they could grip the zipper, but wondering how much tension they would need?

    Thanks