Choosing the Right Tie-Downs and How to Use Them
Hauling anything in the back of your rig, on top of a car, or in a trailer requires a tie-down or two. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself backtracking and picking up pieces of whatever you were hauling (emphasis on the word “were”).
That said, there are a few choices when it comes to tie downs and just as many questions on how to use them. We’ve put together a quick list for you.
Rope & Twine
Most home improvement places have a box of twine you can use if you forget your tie downs. Or you can carry plenty of rope to tie down your load. The only issue here is the knot. If you know how to tie a proper Trucker’s Hitch knot (something we’ll cover in an upcoming Coastal article), you’re set. If not, you might want to go with something a little easier, such as a bungee cord or other straps.
Tarp Tie Down Straps
If you’re using a tarp, these rubber straps with metal s-hoods on each end are a great option. While straps won’t hold a heavy load, they will keep your tarp from flying away. Often these are used in addition to a set of tie-downs as a way to protect whatever you’re hauling from the elements.
Coastal Tip: Tarp tie down straps come in various lengths. Measure the distance from the eyelets of your tarp to the anchor point on your rig or trailer for a tight fit. Carrying a set of various lengths ensures you don’t have to run to the store each time you haul something new.
While bungee cords aren’t great for heavy loads, they are perfectly useful for tying down smaller furniture or lighter items. For best results with a bungee cord, tie items to the inside back or side of your rig or trailer. Simply anchor one end of your bungee cord and bring the bungee around the item you want to secure. Then, pulling tightly, anchor the other end of the cord on the other side of the item. Try to use a different bungee cord for each item. Bungee cords are also very good for securing a tarp.
Coastal Tip: Bungee cords come in various lengths and weights (amount of resistance).
Ratchet Tie Down Straps
If you’re haling a china hutch, refrigerator, equipment, or other big items, you’ll want to use ratchet tie downs. Most ratchet tie down options use nylon straps and a ratcheting mechanism to tighten down loads of up to 15,000 pounds.
To use ratchet tie down straps:
- Secure the ratchet mechanism to an anchor point using the s-hook.
- Secure one end of the nylon strap to another anchor point.
- Pull the opposite end of the webbing through the slot at the center of the rotating portion of the closed ratchet, leaving some slack.
- Start ratcheting the webbing using the ratchet handle.
When you’re done, your load should be completely secure and the excess webbing should be spooled in the ratchet.
Packs, such as the Erickson 1,200 lb. Re-Tractable Ratchet Straps, come with everything you need to keep everything in place. Best of all, these options are very simple. Instead of threading webbing or worrying about the right length, you just pull out the webbing like a tape measure, anchor each end, and ratchet it up.
Coastal Tip: Ratchet straps are rated by the weight they can secure. Be sure your straps exceed the weight of whatever you are planning to haul.
Secure Your Load at Coastal
From bungee cords to ratchet tie down straps and packs, we’ve got what you need at your nearby Coastal Farm & Ranch. Not sure how ratchets or bungee cords work? Just ask when you’re at the store and one of us will share what we know.