The Ultimate Ratchet Straps Guide to know how to fasten and secure cargo. Tips on where to keep your tie-downs, how to store your straps, and step-by-step instructions on how to use them!
Many people find Ratchet Straps to be difficult to use and understand. Lack of familiarity and a general misunderstanding of the anatomy of the ratchet strap contribute to the frustration. But here at Shipperʼs Supplies, we believe that using our straps should be easy.
That is why we have written this article in which we break down the four parts of a Ratchet Strap that you need to know about in order to properly understand it. Once you are done with this article we hope that you are equipped to not only use one but to understand it fully as well.
How Ratchet Straps work together to secure Cargo
To fully understand ratchet straps it is important to go over some of the terminology and how the various parts work together to make the final product. The basic Ratchet Strap has 5 main parts that you will find listed and defined below.
Polyester Tie Down Webbing – Polyester Tie Down Webbing is the material used to make the strap portion of the ratchet strap. The webbing used for our straps is made of rigid polyester material. This material is resistant to UV rays, water, and stretching so it is the ideal strap for any outdoor hauling you may be doing.
The webbing is an integral part of the whole ratchet strap because it is the most prone to wear and tear. It is important to replace the strap completely if the webbing shows any signs of damage.
Adjustable End – The part of the Ratchet Strap that is fed through the selected center slot of the tension device is called the adjustable end. The adjustable end is typically unattached from the tension device but on occasion, it is sewn to the tension device. When an adjustable end is sewn to the tension device it is referred to as captivated.
Captivated Ratchet Straps are fairly uncommon because most people prefer to be able to switch out the long end if necessary. With captivated straps, the end is not replaceable so the end fitting that you have is the one you are stuck with. Captivated straps do have the advantage of never coming unattached which prevents loss.
Tension Device – The tension device is responsible for tightening down whatever load you may be securing. The device that is used in the case of a ratchet strap is called a ratchet. There is also a tension device referred to as a cam buckle. Cam buckles are typically used on lighter loads due to their lower breaking strength while ratchets are used on larger loads because of their sturdy construction.
The advantage of cam buckles is the ease with which they can be tightened. They act almost like a belt and one pull can do the trick if used correctly. Ratchets, on the other hand, are much harder to use and are tightened with a ratcheting motion that locks the load in securely. We have a variety of different tension device hardware options on our site with size and material customizations available.
Fixed End – The fixed end of a ratchet strap is the section that attaches to the tension device. This section is also sometimes referred to as a short end because it is almost always the shorter of the two ends. Our in-stock short ends are usually either 8 or 12 inches, but we are able to cut them to any length that you might need.
End Fittings – The piece of hardware that attaches the ends of your strap to the tie-down point is called an end fitting. These end fittings come in many shapes and sizes and can accomplish many different purposes. Hardware like flat hooks is mainly used in the flatbed industry. S hooks and wire hooks are used for hauling small recreational vehicles.
Snap hooks are used for automobile hauling. And E Track fittings are used in moving trucks, semis, and trailers. These are just a few of the broad uses for end fittings, but the list goes on and is growing constantly. You can even mix and match hardware if your job requires a special kind.
How to use a Ratchet Straps Instructions
In order to tighten your ratchet straps, you will want to make sure to follow the steps below to keep your cargo secured. You can use our picture instructions if you become confused!
Step number one – Make sure to keep the Ratchet Straps Handle positioned in an upward position while wrapping around the ratchet straps webbing around the desired cargo you wish to secure. You will want to make sure that the cargo you are securing is properly rated for this tie-down strap for the safety of your cargo.
Step number two – Pull the release on the ratchet by pulling upward until you feel the release of the ratchet is open from the spring.
Step number three – Pull webbing through, releasing any additional slack of webbing that has not been removed already.
Step number four – Start ratcheting by raising and lowering the handle to tighten the tie-down webbing to desired tension.
Remember you want a snug ratchet strap that is not too tight. Over-tightened ratchet straps may damage your cargo or tie downs over long periods of use.
How to Release a Ratchet Strap Instructions
When you arrive at your destination or if you are needing to untighten your cargo simply pull up the ratchet handle upwards which can be found on the ratchet and open the ratchet flat. Once the ratchet is flat and the handle is pulled upwards you can pull the excess webbing out of the ratchet and store it for future use.