Learn about different tie down straps for different jobs with Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
If you’ve ever towed or hauled anything, you know how important it is to secure your load with tie down straps. Tie down straps keep both you and your cargo safe by keeping it securely fastened to your trailer or truck box. Without these tie downs, towing or hauling large loads would be dangerous and time-consuming. You would not only risk injury, but damage to your vehicle, the load you’re carrying, other drivers’ vehicle’s, and your trailer. But with so many different tie down straps available, knowing which one is right for your job can be difficult.
The one rule to remember in selecting tie downs is “there is no such thing as overkill.” You can never have a tie down that is too strong. That said, let’s look at the different kinds of straps and their best uses.
Tarp tie down straps
Tarp straps are a rubber strap with a metal s-hook on each end. As you may have guessed, they are used to secure tarps so they don’t blow away. This is a type of tie down that lets you protect your loads and equipment from the elements when you tow, haul, and store. These tie down straps don’t work to secure loads. They are often very short and the rubber that they are made of is very stretchy and not intended to bear weight. These are best used after your load is secured and you want to protect it from dust, rain, snow, hail, sleet, or other elements while in transit. When selecting tarp straps, the most important thing to remember is that they come in fixed lengths, so you may need to measure the distance from the edge of your tarp to your anchor point. You want to buy a strap that is just slightly shorter than that measurement.
Bungee cords are a cord made up of an elastic core surrounded by a nylon sleeve, with metal hooks on each end. While they are not technically tie down straps, they are very useful for tying things down. These are a handy tie down to have on hand, especially if you are a car owner that occasionally needs to transport something in your trunk that doesn’t allow you to close the trunk door. Using a bungee cord to keep the door secured down over the load will help keep the load secure and (usually) keep your line of sight through your rearview mirror unobstructed. Bungee cords can be useful for securing small items that like to tip over or roll inside of a car trunk or a truck box. Bungee cords are not very useful for heavy loads, as they are very stretchy and cannot bear much lateral weight. Since bungee cords come in fixed lengths like tarp straps, it is helpful to measure the distance you need to cover and buy a cord that is slightly shorter than your measurement.
Ratchet tie down straps
The most versatile tie down straps are ratchet straps. They are usually wide nylon straps with metal ratchet mechanisms to tighten them down over loads. When selecting this type of strap, the primary thing you must remember is to consider the weight of the load you are hauling. Ratchet straps come rated for securing weights of up to 15,000 pounds. Following the “there is no such thing as overkill” rule, you can’t go wrong by buying the strongest and longest ratchet strap you can find. The length is adjustable, and it’s better to have a strap that’s too strong for a job than one that’s too weak. If your strap is too long, just adjust it down with the ratchet and make sure you safely secure the excess strap. Rolling it up and binding it with a long zip tie works great. These straps are ideal for securing furniture, lawn mowers, ATVs, snowmobiles, larger vehicles, and heavy, loose loads like firewood.