View Full Version : Buckles vs. ladder locks on pack straps

07-01-2009, 10:10 PM
I remember a while back there was a thread on 'Kifaru Tips'. I don't think it has been revived yet, however there was a post by Mel stating that you could replace the ladder locks with 1" buckles. It was only recommended for packs larger than the express.

After looking at the G2 packs, I've noticed that all the packs larger than the express (excluding the zulu and zxr) have the buckles as standard. Is there a reason why they don't? I'm looking to replace the ladder locks on my G1 ZXR, and just wondered if there was a reason for it before I did it.

07-01-2009, 11:37 PM
Hey Ryan, I'm assuming you are talking about the compression straps on the packs. We use ladder locks on the compression straps for simplicity, lighter weight, less cost, and lower profile. We only use side release buckles on the compression straps when they go over an access point, such as the front panel on panel loading packs, and side zip access like on the EMR/MMR. We also use them on the lower compression straps on the G2 EMR,MMR,AG1, and AG2, where they are used to connect the bag to the frame. The G2 Pointman on our website is actually from a pack that I had sent back to the shop for photos. I forgot that I had changed the compression straps over to side release buckles for the pics I put up on the old Kifaru Tips thread. The Pointman does NOT come with side release buckles on the compression straps. If you want to use side release buckles on the compression straps of our packs, it is a simple mod. Just get some of our slotted female SR buckles, and some adjustable male SR buckles. Cut off the ladder lock buckles, install the slotted female SR buckles onto the tab loop, and then thread the adjustable male SR buckles onto the straps. Here are the pics I had previously posted on the old Kifaru Tips thread:






07-01-2009, 11:55 PM
Thank you Mel. Yes I meant the horizontal compression straps. The 'quick access' reasoning makes a lot of sense. I was planning on adding buckles to my G1 ZXR because it only requires one hand to uncompress the straps. It's not direct access, but the slot pockets on my ZXR always require at least one loosening of a strap. For some reason I also feel as if I get an easier compression pull on buckles rather than ladder locks. Maybe it's just the motion/angle I'm doing it.

So...aside from the small loss in compressibility, has anyone noticed any other disadvantage to replacing the ladder locks with buckles? I guess if I really don't like the buckles, I can get the field repair ladder locks to put back on.

07-02-2009, 02:12 AM
Chiming in to advise doing some experientation--maybe try it on one side of the pack before you "commit."

It's been my experience that SR buckles lose tension more quickly than ladder locks, I suspect because the ladder lock "forms" to the load better and gets better tension from it. Could be my 'magination.

Either way, neat trick for the toolbox.

07-02-2009, 10:52 AM
It's been my experience that SR buckles lose tension more quickly than ladder locks, I suspect because the ladder lock "forms" to the load better and gets better tension from it.

I think this is the case as well. Both types of buckles hold best when the tension is exactly in line with the buckle. If both types of buckles are tensioned on a completely flat surface, they will hold equally well. A completely flat surface is almost never the case on a backpack however. So you've got a flat buckle that wants to lay flat getting compressed across a curved surface. The shorter the buckle, the closer to flat it will be able to lay on a curved surface. Ladderlocks are a lot shorter than SRs.

edit: This is why SRs work better across the front of a pack like on the navigator and xray -- the front of a pack is a lot closer to flat than the sides are.

07-02-2009, 11:11 AM
Hey guys, straps and evanhill are correct in their assessment of ladder locks vs side release buckles. A ladder lock buckle will hold it's tension better than a side release most of the time, and will not be as prone to losing that tension from a bump. With that said, here is another "trick for the tool box" as straps puts it. You can virtually eliminate any strap slippage or tension loss with either of the buckle types using this tip. The advantage of the side release buckle when using this tip, is that you can just click out, without having to remove the tension on the straps. Check out these pics:





07-02-2009, 11:17 AM
Yeah but then what do I do with all those Web Dominators?

Deep meaningful discussions about thermoplastic fasteners...

Time for ITW/Nexus to create an articulated side release buckle...

07-02-2009, 11:31 AM
I do something simliar, except for in the 2nd picture of Mel's, I take the end of the strap and put it through the loop formed. This makes it even more of a secure hold.

Do you guys actually use web dominators for the pockets? I have a good amount of them left over now that I've finally bought some elastic bands.

07-02-2009, 11:31 AM
Straps, IMHO Web Dominators are too bulky for pocket straps. I'd much prefer double sided velcro tabs or elastic bands. Web Dominators work great on compression straps, and the above tip can still be used with the Web Dominators.


07-02-2009, 05:09 PM
I use dominators on the straps that have fastex buckles, it makes it easy to adjust tension and soak up the extra webbing. However I put the dominator on the excess webbing, not the tensioned strap.

For horizontal compression straps and pockets, I tuck like Mel does.