June 17, 2024

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A Tie-Down Strap Is Only as Good as Its Hardware

Whenever it is time to invest in new tie-down straps, one of the first things I look at is the webbing material of the product in question. I want a strong weave and a material that offers high tensile strength. But the webbing material is only half the equation. The other half is the hardware attached to it. A tie-down strap is only as good as its hardware.

Tie-down straps come in a variety of lengths and strengths. You can get different kinds of buckles as well as a full array of hooks. Of course, every piece of hardware is rated for a particular load. You need to know the total weight of your load in order to choose the most appropriate hardware.

Buckle Hardware

Tie-down straps are utilized with different types of hardware depending on the application. The first type of hardware is buckle hardware. Every webbing material tie-down strap has some sort of buckle that allows for tightening down the strap and holding it in place. Your two options are the cam buckle and the ratchet.

A cam buckle is a metal buckle with a spring-loaded plate that digs into the webbing material as you pull it through the buckle. As for the cam, it is a cylindrical piece over which the strap slides. Rollercam cam straps have a patented cam that actually rotates underneath the strap as you feed it through. This reduces friction.

A ratchet is a type of buckle that relies on a hand cranked mechanism to pull the webbing material tight. It also has a metal plate with teeth that dig into the strap. Its main advantage is leverage. Thanks to the ratchet mechanism, it’s possible to get the strap a lot tighter.

End Hardware

The next category is end hardware. Items in this category connect to anchor points on either side of the load. In most cases, you are looking at hooks. Snap, flat, and wire hooks are all in play. Lighter loads can be anchored with ‘S’ and flat hooks. Heavier loads might need heavy-duty grab hooks.

Anchor Hardware

Anchor hardware is the hardware to which you hook a tie-down strap. In the case of a commercial truck, the hardware is attached to the truck or trailer with welds. In terms of passenger trucks and light-duty utility trailers, the hardware can either be welded or bolted on.

The D-ring is one of the most common types of anchor hardware on the market. It is a favorite for flatbed trailers with wooden beds, given that the rings are easily affixed to the wood with bolts.

Track Hardware

Last but not least is track hardware. Box trailers are often outfitted with either ‘L’ or ‘E’ track systems for securing cargo to the walls rather than relying on floor anchors. In either case, specially designed hardware pieces fit into the track. A webbing strap is anchored to the track with some sort of hook. Track systems are very easy to use and offer a considerable amount of flexibility due to the fact that tracks can run the entire length of a trailer.

Needless to say that there are plenty of hardware choices for tie-down straps. Choices are determined by load weight and configuration. Hardware needs to be up to the challenge, just like the straps themselves. Going with hardware that isn’t capable of safely securing a load is too risky.

If you use tie-down straps, remember that they are only as good as the hardware that goes with them. Make smart hardware choices to go along with your straps.