How to Use Tie Down Straps Like a Professional

September 21, 2017

Before we head on to ou​r step by step guide on how to properly use tie down straps it is best if we introduce the three different varieties first. This should help you differentiate between the three and learn the variances when it comes to their uses.

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    Basically, the three I’m speaking of are over-center lever cam type straps, cam straps, and the ratchet straps.
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    The Over-center Lever Cam Strap
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    This type of strap utilizes friction between the webbings to lock in place. Similar to the cam straps, it utilizes the lock to produce tremendous pressure that will increase the grip between the webbings. While it is a bit more complicated to use than the cam straps it does offer better grip and traction to hold together equipment. However, applying the appropriate pressure using the over-center strap is far easier to accomplish when compared to the cam straps.

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    The Cam Strap
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    Simple and easy to use, the cam straps use a spring loaded mechanism to lock the webbing in place after pulling on it. Simply pull on the strap once the webbing is threaded within the lever and frame. Release the tension by depressing on the lever.

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    The Ratchet Strap
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    The ratchet strap is designed for ease of use and it definitely shows. You can apply pressure to the strap and easily slack up the cargo with a simple pull and release. The ratchet will also lock in place once you achieve the desired pressure. Once you get to the desired tension you simply rotate the ratchet into the closed position to completely lock it in place. Just remember to wrap the straps around the cargo once as too many may cause the ratchet mechanism to get stuck.


Important Tips when Looking for a Tie Down Strap

The first factor you need to consider when choosing a tie down strap is the Working Load Limit (WLL). Some will only show webbing rating which is not reliable as it only shows the strap’s break strength (BS). Always go for the tie down strap that shows a WLL rating of 500 lbs. and above to ensure that it will be able to hold various sizes of cargo.

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If you can, get the tie down strap that utilizes spring retainer hooks. This helps you further secure cargo and significantly lower the risk of the equipment slipping out. You should also look for straps that come with hooks that have WLL rating equal to that of the assembly WLL rating.


Tie Down Straps User Guide

The tie down strap is designed to be used as simple as possible. You won’t really need an intricate step by step guide but you do need to know how to use it properly. Properly threading the webbing and securing the straps is vital so don’t rush it or do a sloppy job when securing equipment. Below is a simple guideline that covers the important steps when securing your cargo.

  • Step 1:   Loop the webbing around the cargo / equipment / box. Now, insert the webbing into the middle rotating spool of the closed ratchet.
  • Step 2:   Pull the straps from the other side of the ratchet. Pull it as far as you can but leave a little bit of slack. You don’t want to tie it too tight which might damage the webbing.
  • Step 3:   Now, once you figured out the proper tension simply open the ratchet by raising and then lowering it flat to the other side.
  • Step 4:   Once you have flattened the ratchet mechanism the webbing will start to wind itself down and get locked in place. You can increase the tension on the strap by simply ratcheting the plate. Again, don’t tighten it too much.

Here’s a quick video tutorial on using tie down straps to help you along the way:

As you can see, using the tie down strap is extremely easy. Just a key point to remember such as not tightening the straps too much and you’re all good. Now, how about releasing the tie down strap? Well, it is just as easy as locking it in place.


Releasing Tie Down Straps

Again, the tie down strap is actually just as easy to detach as it was to apply.

  • Step 1:   Look for a small tab on the plate handles. This is the release tab and pushing on it will take off the tension on the webbing.
  • Step 2:   Once you have the tab pressed, open the ratchet again as flat as possible until you hear a click.

And here’s a quick video on how to release a tie down strap:


Final Thoughts

Having a tie down strap is one way to secure your equipment when traveling. I highly recommend you get one of the best and highly rated tie-down straps in the market for your outdoor activities as it is a great way to secure your items during travels among other things. Sure, we can do the old boy scout knots but having a tie down strap will make thing much easier and faster.

Kevin Smith

About the Author

Kevin Smith

Ahoy there! The name’s Kevin Smith, the proprietor of this little travel and outdoors blog. The outdoors has always been a passion of mine since I was a kid as my parents were avid campers themselves. They taught me everything I know when it comes to camping, hiking etc. and I would like to do my part by imparting my know-how to like-minded individuals who enjoy the same hobby as me. I started this website in the hopes of helping other people when it comes to answering questions, giving tips and recommendations focusing on the camping niche. Along with some close friends of mine, we are here to help you make the most out of your outdoor experience. Enjoy your stay and enjoy the wild side!

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