Not all gadgets require electricity. Many things are developments and improvements on existing products that make you think “I shoulda thoughta that!” Such it is with the latest item in my gadget queue, the P-Lock. These red corkscrew-like tie-downs are sold in pairs (the reason will become obvious) and will enable you to secure anything anywhere you can get to a patch of dirt to screw them in to!
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P-Locks are a new take on the old idea of the dog stake-out chain. These usually have a triangle-shaped head, and were designed to hold your dog’s chain while he ran around the stake. Due to the dog’s low angle of pulling, and the strength of the inclined plane wrapped into the spiral of the stake’s screw, it would take a huge amount of force to budge the stake from the ground. P-Loops adds an elongated loop at the top at a right-angle to the corkscrew, which, when paired with another one planted close by, overlaps and gives you a virtual secure locking point, right there on the ground.
The materials and workmanship of the PLocks is evident at first glance. The metal is rigid, thick, and the red powder coating is even and feels ample. (Thin powder coating will feel rough or even flake off when you rub it.) The joins where the “P” loop is bent and comes back to the main piece is tight and closed. The point on the bottom piece is level and flush, not just quickly fashioned. This shows an attention to detail that many manufacturers lose.
The packaging is simple and safe – the two units are cable-tied to a thick printed cardboard stock, and the points are covered by thick, form-fitting caps of black plastic. (Save these for later use!) Once you’ve clipped off the cable ties and removed the caps, you’re ready to secure something!
First, screw in one of the screws. Note the spot where the “P” loop is, and go out an inch or two. Then, back that first PLock one quarter turn. Near the point you marked, screw in the other loop. Once it’s in, rotate the first one back to overlap with the second, and lock your chain through the double loop. There’s no way to unscrew the locks without taking out the chain, short of digging a hole under the pair of them!
I tied my bicycle out in the back yard, so you can get an idea of how it would work. With nothing nearby, it’s as immobile and safe as if it was tied to a lamp post or bike rack. But bikes aren’t the only thing that could get stolen. Lawn furniture or ornaments, construction tools (ladders, generators, spreaders), athletic equipment, or even camping equipment could benefit from a bit of security in some places. You could chain up a boat in a public waterway and not worry that it would be gone when you return.
The website and packaging materials mention other uses – such as for securing large pieces during construction or assembly, or even tying down aircraft! At the price and ease of installation, these things should be in anyone’s trunk or truck box if there’s a remote chance you’ll need a firm anchor somewhere.