What I want to do
Get past zip ties, and suggest that the cowardly balloon mappers among us use re-useable velcro ties for checking the tension or "lift" on the balloon to see whether we've filled it enough.
or we could use the Dosemagen tie-a-bunch-of-string-around-the-balloon-neck-and-everything-else method. I think I bought these at Lowe's, but i've seen them for cheap on amazon in packs of 100 or something crazy like that.
zip ties have to be cut, unless they are the reusable kind; this creates some consternation if you under-inflate the balloon, which I always do. Once you measure your lift, and find out you've under-inflated the balloon (again), there's always that 5 minutes spent cutting the first zip tie, and the worry that the scissors will pop the balloon.
well, no more! this time, we used a velcro tie as a temporary tie until the balloon was inflated to the proper lift.
My attempt and results
it worked. we inflated the balloon to almost enough, then secured the velcro tie to check the lift. We measured the lift, found it wanting, then we took the velcro off to add more helium. This also gave more students the chance of inflating the balloon.
Although i went ahead and attached a zip tie for redundancy for the washU high altitude flight, I probably didn't need it. The wind was gentle this day, so while this was not a real stress test, I'm fine with that.
I recommend that you consider the use of velcro ties. very handy.
Questions and next steps
I do not recommend Ben's towel pants. He just looks uncomfortable.