Gear Wrangler: Davis MiniShockles



When it comes to boats, theres never a shortage of stuff to secure, coil, or hang up. Bungee cords are the default go-to in many cases, but they gradually lose strength and degrade over time due to UV damage; also, the hooks rust and can scratch finishes. We recently looked at a product thats advertised as being a bungee cord on steroids: the Davis Instruments MiniShockles.

MiniShockles are designed to be safer, stronger, and more secure than a typical bungee cord. Theyre constructed of UV-resistant, black nylon webbing sewn over a marine-grade elastomer. The maker claims that the outer sleeve provides the strength needed to absorb heavy jolts and that the elasticity holds gear securely in place. Each end of the MiniShockle sports a rust-resistant 316 stainless-steel wire gate snap, which has a rated safe working load of 300 pounds.

We found the MiniShockles to be both well-constructed and strong. The stainless-steel snaps are of good quality with a smooth finish, rounded edges, and easy one-handed operation.

However, the MiniShockles are not particularly cheap, especially when compared to the bag of bungee cords you can pick up most anywhere. But, the quality and longevity of the MiniShockles should mitigate the price somewhat over the longhaul.

MiniShockles are available in three lengths, from 12 to 24 inches, and retail for $14 to $16. They come in any color you want, as long as that color is black, and they have a one-year limited warranty.

Bottom line: Its a given that youll find numerous uses for MiniShockles once theyre aboard, from securing light objects to strapping down heavier gear. As weve just started long-term testing, we cannot yet support their claims of longevity, but based on their construction quality, our initial impression is that the MiniShockles will give years of trouble-free service, far more than bungee cords can.

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida.


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