BY MARK MAYNARD
What camper among us hasn’t been thwacked by a cheap bungee cord?
Mitch Weiss of PU-Products has heard plenty of those stories.
“I can’t count the number of people I have talked with who know of someone who has lost an eye or chipped a tooth from a bungee cord that slipped out of hand or broke loose from cargo,” he said.
Most bungees, tie downs and strapping systems are poorly designed and made to be sold as cheaply as possible, Weiss said. Cheap bungees degrade from extended exposure to the elements and the metal clasps don’t stay tight. “They are rendered useless after one or two uses,” he said.
But this innovator of ways to secure cargo items has found a better product developed by an Australian company. Its ROK straps are flat stretch bands and superior to tube-style bungees because they are less dangerous and last longer, Weiss said.
A ROK strap’s solid-rubber core is wrapped by a polyester coating with box stitching at each end. The rubber-coated hooks feel heavy-duty, and the flat strap won’t roll off of cargo.
“I tested two 12-inch straps by supporting an engine block for hours — with my Rolex watch below,” he said. “After testing, the ROK Straps still looked and functioned as new.”
There are four styles of straps with weight ratings of 90, 125, 165 and 200 pounds. The straps are available in lengths of 12 inches to 60 inches for solid straps and up to 15 feet long for adjustable straps. Colors include pink, lime green, black and green camouflage. Some have loops in place of hooks so they can be wrapped around roll bars, roof racks and motorcycle rails. Pricing ranges from $4.50 to $10 for the fixed-length straps and $6 to $12 for adjustable-length straps.
“I’ve stacked boxes in my truck to impossible heights and traveled hundreds of miles without ever having to check the load,” he said. “I recently flipped my Yamaha Rhino and the fuel jugs stayed in the bed Rax because they were secured by one 12- to 42-inch (half-inch) ROK Strap,” he said.
There’s even a ROK dog leash, which has a traffic lead and a lower handle so the dog can be better controlled in a crowded area. The lower handle can be run through a vehicle’s seat-belt loop to secure the animal while off-roading, Weiss said. Prices range from $23 to $30.
Weiss got started in this business trying to find better ways to “safely transport difficult-to-secure items in trucks, trailers and off-road vehicles.” Along the way, he has designed holders to carry utility jugs, coolers, propane tanks, 11-gallon dump cans and 5-gallon buckets. Each holder is made of heavy-gauge aluminum, TIG welded and mounted with stainless-steel hardware.
The only product Weiss doesn’t source from the United States is a line of ROK Straps, which are manufactured in Hong Kong.
For more information, visit www.pu-products.com.
Green car-care products can sometimes be like organic deodorants — they work if you don’t mind smelling a little earthy.
Eco Touch car-care products seem to be more evolved than some brands — and they smell of citrus and herbs. James Dudra and business partner Anne Ruozzi founded the New Hampshire-based company in the hopes of saving a few gazillion gallons of water from the regular washing and cleaning of vehicles. What began with Eco Touch Waterless Car Wash has grown to six cleaning and polishing solutions as well as microfiber towels.
Four of the six formulas have small amounts of water in their compositions with other vegetable- and mineral-based ingredients in the recipes.
I’m a convert in the church of waterless car washes, and the Eco Touch formulation is a good one that shines and emulsifies paint. The 24-ounce spray bottle, $10, will clean several vehicles and works well on plastic lawn furniture, painted wood and just about anything that can be washed with water. The metal polish ($8 for 25 ounces) wasn’t impressive on aluminum or stainless steel, but it puts a surreal gleam on chrome, including bathroom and kitchen faucets, porcelain stovetops, microwaves and refrigerator doors. (I can get a little carried way with some testing.)
Eco Touch Carpet (Plus) Upholstery has a pleasing orange scent and does not leave an oily residue that just gathers more dirt. The dashboard protectant (with carnauba wax) dries smooth with a satin finish.
Not all makers of car-care products offer their own general cleaner, which is always needed when scrubbing the interior and other grimy areas. Eco Touch all-purpose cleaner has an herbal-sage aroma and is effective on most surfaces. The cleaner is nontoxic, biodegradable and made without ammonia or alcohol. The same goes for the Eco Touch Window Clear, $6.49 for 24 ounces.
It seems most of the popular car-care brands use bottles that are designed to break or wear out just as the last of the product is used. The Eco Touch bottles are robust with a good handgrip at the neck, and they are not prone to tipping over. The sprayer releases a fine mist and the pump will outlast the solution, so it can be used again and again. The microfiber towels ($7 for a two-pack) are high quality, not from the cheapo bundle at the discount store.
ECO-FRIENDLY EAGLE ONE
Eagle One is out with a new Gel Wax it says is kind to the environment because it contains no petroleum solvents. It should be kind to the user, too, because it requires less effort to apply and buff out. Just apply the wax to one section at a time and wipe off immediately.
Gel Wax is made with Brazilian-sourced carnauba and other polishers to enhance durability and water beading, the company says. Additional benefits include no white residue and no discoloring of black trim and molding.
Eagle One Gel Wax is available at auto-parts stores. Pricing will be about $10 for a 16-ounce bottle.
For information and detailing tips, visit www.eagleone.com or call 800-432-4531.
Mark Maynard is driving in cyberspace at Mark.Maynard@uniontrib.com.
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