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We get it, you're busy and need to move things quickly. There are trailers full of mowers, boats, and motorcycles to be towed, and a truck bed's worth of mulch, compost, and pavers to haul. But doing so unsafely will only lead to headaches and potential danger. That’s why it's time you learn how to use a ratchet strap!

A ratchet strap is a tool used to safely and securely strap-down or fasten a particular load to a trailer, pickup truck bed, or car. It’s a simple and easy-to-use tool that increases the safety of your cargo ten-fold when applied correctly.

So grab The Drive's informational team's hand and walk with us as we explain exactly how to use a ratchet strap and do so safely. Let's get safe!

What Is Ratchet Strap?

ratchet strap is a fastener or tie-down tool made of a fabric belt and a ratchet tie down set that allows the user to create tension between two ends that typically feature hooks. It is used to secure cargo, whether that’s in a truck bed, on a trailer, or on top of your car’s roof.

What Are The Parts of a Ratchet Strap?

Here are all the parts of a packaged ratchet straps.

Handle and Release

The handle actuates the ratchet strap’s axle, which tenses the strap and allows you to secure your load. The handle also features the ratchet strap’s release, a small piece of metal or plastic that you squeeze to release the strap’s tension. 


A spinning mechanism that is actuated by the handle and tenses the strap. 


A thin opening on the axle that the strap is fed into.


There are two pieces to the strap. The strap attached to the front of the handle and the non-attached strap that is fed into the ratchet strap’s slot and axle. 


Two metal hooks are attached to the straps, one on each end, and act as anchor points. And hook types include double J hooks, single J hooks, S hooks, U hooks, twist hooks.

Ratchet Straps Safety

Working with ratchet straps can be dangerous. When properly secured, the ratchet strap is under a great load, and frayed, cut, or improperly secured ratchet straps can snap. Here’s exactly how you can safely use a ratchet strap and not die, get maimed, or lose a finger—hopefully.

Here's How to Use a Ratchet Strap

Let's do this!

Lay out the strap and the handle.

Grip the handle and pull the release. 

Open the handle until it can be laid flat. 

Take the loose strap and insert the end without the hook into the slot. Pull it through until you have your desired length.

Close the handle. 

Attach the hook, attached to the handle to your anchor point.

Attach the hook on the opposite end to the second anchor point.

Open and close the handle repeatedly until you build tension in the ratchet strap and your cargo is safely secured.

For some people, selecting a Tie Down Strap is as easy as going to the store and grabbing the first one they see on the shelf. This is okay when you are taking your childʼs bicycle down the street or working on an at-home project, but when you are transporting your most valuable items across the country you will undoubtedly dig a little deeper into the type of Tie Downs you should use.

There are many debates as to which Tie Down is better and this article is meant to compare and contrast Ratchet Straps and Cam Buckles to help you make the decision on your own!
In this article, we will be using 4 different categories to compare and contrast Ratchet Straps and Cam Buckle Straps: Strength, Usability, Customization, and Durability.

Ratchet Straps – Our Ratchet Straps, also referred to as Ratchet Tie Downs, are available in sizes ranging from 1 inch to 4 inch. Each is made from durable polyester webbing that is designed to resist the elements. The breaking strength of our 1 inch Ratchet Strap webbing is 3,000 pounds with a Working Load Limit ranging from 500-1100 pounds depending on the hardware attachment. These Ratchet Straps are mainly used to secure smaller vehicles like ATVs and Motorcycles.

Our 4 inch Ratchet Strap webbing has a breaking strength of 20,000 pounds with a Working Load Limit of 5,400-5,670 pounds. These are the strongest straps on the market that are used for cargo securement purposes and are typically used for securing heavy machinery.

Cam Ratchet Buckle – Our Cam Buckle Straps, also called Cam Buckle Tie Downs, are only available in 1 inch and 2 inch widths. They are made out of the same polyester webbing as our Ratchet Straps. The breaking strength of the 1 inch Cam Buckle Webbing ranges from 1,500 to 6,600 pounds and had a Working Load Limit that tops out at 500 pounds because of the Cam Buckle hardware.

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