Stuff We Like: John’s Irish Strap

This little strap has turned out to be one of the most versatile and downright indispensable accessories a utility bicyclist could ask for. We like it so much that we keep a few stashed here-and-there on various bicycles, just for those times when we need one to solve some unanticipated problem. Here are a few ways in which an Irish Strap might be used in a pinch:

  • To stabilize an overstuffed pannier (see above)
  • To lash a laptop or u-lock to a rack
  • As a belt
  • As a pant cuff strap
  • To stabilize a rando or porteur bag
  • As a secondary camera strap
  • To lash a basket or crate to a rack
  • To compress a sleeping bag
  • As a toe strap
  • As a sling (yikes!)
  • As a leash for a lost dog encountered on a ride
  • As a tent stabilizer
  • To hang a lantern
  • Etc., etc., etc….

I have a drawer full of velcro straps that rarely get used because they have a limited range of adjustment and they’re difficult to draw tight. I also have a bunch of double loop straps with plastic hardware that are pretty much useless. In contrast, the Irish Strap has a clasp made of metal that absolutely does not slip; it’s plenty long* but adjustable all the way down to just a couple of inches; it’s wide enough, but not too wide, so it’s strong, yet it fits many of the loops and handles on bike bags, tents, and such; and finally, it’s made in Ireland and it looks terrific, which should count for something.

John’s Irish Strap at Rivendell

Disclaimer: Rivendell is a sponsor of this website.

*The Irish Strap is available in either 19″ or 39″ lengths. The 39 incher is far more versatile and you can always wrap the excess strap back on itself if the length isn’t needed for a particular task.

8 Responses to “Stuff We Like: John’s Irish Strap”

  • Lovely Bicycle! says:

    to lash a laptop to a rack??…
    (surely you don’t mean directly to a rack?)

    My laptop has a solid state drive, but she nonetheless quivered upon reading that!

  • Alan says:


    Within its heavily padded, impregnable case, of course… :-)

  • Doug R. says:

    Ja man, I love the Rasta colors Man! However, do they come in a basic black?

  • Brian Fyfe says:

    I also love my John’s Irish straps because of the colors and Arno buckles. An alternative source is the Coghlans Arno Straps. Coghlan’s sells about half a million different camping accessories available at most outdoor and army surplus stores. They are basic black, and come in 24′, 36″ and 48″ lengths for $3.00 to $5.00 per pair.
    Here’s a link to one source:

  • Lovely Bicycle! says:

    I think the colours are nice actually – because all of them are there, the strap matches everything : )

  • RI SWamp Yankee says:

    Umm. In boyscouts, we called that a “sleeping bag strap.” That particular kind of sleeping bag strap is an Arno strap, after the spring-loaded, metal Arno buckle, which has been known to dent, bend or rust if mistreated. $8 per strap is unreasonable, even for RivBike.

    The local army/navy surplus store will have generic arno straps, $5 per pair in a 4-foot length. For less than two bux each, Sears will have 6′ Coleman Utility straps with polycarbonate quick release buckles, which have been known to laugh heartily if mistreated.

    They can be shortened with a pair of scissors and a lighter, tho learning to tie a two-half-hitches or sheepshank knot might be a better solution for overlong tiedowns.

  • Jake says:

    Surly also makes an $8 strap, the “junk strap”. It also has a metal buckle, but is black and longer (120cm), and probably not made in Ireland.

  • Thomas says:

    I realize this initial post was made a while back, but I’ll put my 2 cents in anyway. A poster above asked if they come in black. They do. I just bought a couple of two-packs in the 60″ length at my local hardware store ( which is an Ace Hardware affiliate). They are called Coghlan’s Arno Straps. The 60″ straps were $5 per two-pack. Shorter ones are cheaper but they are also easily cut with scissors and then burned
    on the end with a lighter to seal them. These are made in Ireland and I’ll assume they are
    the same as Riv sells. I like the striped ones but not enough to pay $8 each.

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