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Sep 14

Using Strap Guards To Prevent Straps Breaking Due To Abrasion

Using Strap Guards To Prevent Straps Breaking Due To Abrasion

How And When To Use Ratchet Strap Guards

A year ago, my friend and I were headed for a fun-filled day of trail riding with our four wheelers. The place we were headed was 200 miles away from where we live. Carefully securing and testing the ratchet straps to the trailer, It was time to head out for adventure. Everything was going according to plan until about 100 miles into the trip.

Suddenly, my friend hit a pothole in the road and we hear the dreaded sound of a ratchet strap snapping loose. That is one of the worst sounds to hear as you’re headed to a well-planned adventure into the mountains. Looking back at the four wheelers, they were both still there, but mine was sitting at an angle. Telling my friend to pull over, we got out and inspected the damage.

The Cause of the Ratchet Strap Snapping

A simple little strap guard like this can end up saving you a lot of money by simply keeping your straps in one piece!

A simple little strap guard like this can end up saving you a lot of money by simply keeping your straps in one piece!

Upon close inspection, we noticed that the strap snapped in the exact place where it was rubbing against the trailer rail. The square tubing that the trailer rail was constructed of wore the ratchet strap and caused it to snap. Luckily, we had a spare strap to replace the damaged strap and the whole day was not a waste.

Preventing Ratchet Strap Wear Due to the Edge of Your Trailer

The best way to prevent this kind of strap wear from ruining your trip is to buy some strap guards. These little modern marvels are a great way to prevent this type of strap wear. Sometimes we forget that the material that the ratchet straps are made of is either nylon or a polyester webbing. Even though these are the best materials for the job, they are, after all, just plastic.

When polyester webbing rubs against the metal of the trailer, the plastic starts to wear and melt at the contact point. When we use strap guards, the guards are placed in between the strap and the corner of the square tubing on the trailer. At the point of contact, instead of the strap rubbing against the metal, it is rubbing against the strap guard. This will put wear on the guard instead of the strap.

In conclusion, a ratchet strap guard would have prevented our almost catastrophic adventure. Preparing for these things ahead of time will ensure that your trip is a success. It is recommended that you use these guards wherever your straps come in contact with the trailer. In doing so you will prevent accidents and the unnecessary spending of money to fix damage to your precious cargo.

Sep 09

What to Know when Purchasing a Ratchet Strap Kit

Vault Cargo Management Ratchet Straps

Make Sure Your Ratchet Strap Kit is the Right Kit For You

These days there are a variety of ratchet strap kits, fitted with a variety of fasteners, for virtually any tie-down job,. So whether you are tying down a kayak or canoe on top of your vehicle or tying a boat to a trailer, there is a ratchet strap to fit your needs. Simply informing your professional retail provider of what you need to tie down enables them to lead you to the right ratchet strap kit to fit your job.

How to Choose the Right Ratchet Strap for the Job

This ratchet strap kit from Vault Cargo Management is a solid set of straps to keep in your truck or trailer!

This ratchet strap kit from Vault Cargo Management is a solid set of straps to keep in your truck or trailer!

The weight and size of the cargo you need to tie down are important factors to consider when choosing a ratchet strap kit. That’s why there is usually a manufacturer’s recommendation and class rating printed on the label of any given kit. The two biggest numbers to look at when purchasing a ratchet strap kit are working load limit and break strength. The working load limit is basically the maximum recommended load from the manufacturer. The break strength is the amount of force that it will actually take to break the strap or mechanism.

While there are some exceptions, most straps are made out of one of two different types of material:

Solid Straps

These straps are usually made of nylon and are quite durable. They can be used for many years if taken proper care of. They allow you to tie down heavier loads and they tend to last longer than their elastic counterparts. This type of ratchet strap kit usually comes with durable hooks on the ends that are hard to bend out of place. They can handle loads well in excess of 100lbs without stretching or fraying.

Elastic Straps

These elastic straps don’t last as long as nylon straps, nor are they as good at securing heavy loads, but they compensate with flexibility. The material  stretches and distorts, weakening the strap over time in exchange for added range of motion and

These Masterlock Bungee Cords are a nice elastic option, and even come with a nice organizer to help prevent them from getting tangled.

These Master Lock Bungee Cords are a nice elastic option. and even come with a nice organizer to help prevent them from getting tangled.

flexibility. The class rating is very low and they are only recommended for extremely light cargo.

Anything over 100lbs should not be tied down with elastic straps. They should be used only a small number of times before being replaced. The label should tell you the recommended usage.

The Ratchet

An important factor to consider in purchasing a ratchet strap is the ratchet itself. Before using the strap, make sure you read all the directions that come with the strap. Durability and ease of use should be your guides in deciding what to buy.  Also, determine if the kit is recommended for one person to use or if two people are required to use the strap.

Proper Maintenance of the Ratchet and Strap

When caring for your ratchet strap, make sure you spray the gears and components of the ratchet with a lubricant such as WD40. This will minimize the risk of it locking up and rusting. If it does rust, it could cause the ratchet to become hard to release when you reach your destination. After each use, check over the strap making sure there are no rips or worn areas. This could cause the strap to snap while you’re going down the road. When storing the strap, make sure your roll them up in order to keep them from tangling when not in use.

Sep 07

Know the Difference Between Ratchet Straps and Lashing Straps

Do you know what type of tie down is right for this situation?

Your safety on the road depends on these devices, and there are a variety of names for them: ratchet straps, tie-down straps, cam straps, lashing straps. For car transport, though, it doesn’t matter what you call them as long as you know how to use them properly.

So What Is The Difference?

Technically, ratchet straps are a length of durable, webbed material (typically polyester) connected to some type of ratchet.

Pictured: A Vault Cargo Management Ratchet Strap

The ratchet is used to provide tension higher than a simple knot tied by hand could provide, making it easier to secure cargo tightly. They can be found with load capacities between 2,000 and 15,000 lbs, which means they are typically used for heavier applications, such as securing a vehicle onto a trailer or a large appliance inside a covered trailer.

Cam straps (or cam buckle tie-downs) are similar, but slightly different. Typically coming in 1- or 2-inch versions, these feature a thumb-depressible cam. The cam usually has 12-20 teeth that “grab” the strap that’s been fed through it, holding it in place. These come in several varieties: one type has a slot designed to fit into a trailer or vehicle’s track, and may be rated up to 2,500 lbs.

Now What Is the Deal With These Lashing Straps?

A more common type of cam strap simply has a buckle that is designed to loop back and attach to the strap itself. These generally have load capacities of 1,000 lbs or less. Obviously, the fact that you can adjust these with only a thumb means that cam straps are typically used for much lighter applications, such as securing small items to a trailer or inside a truck bed. People commonly use this type of straps to secure kayaks and canoes to the tops of cars and SUV’s in combination with kayak carriers and roof racks.

Pictured: A Set of Vault Cargo Management Lashing Straps

Pictured: A Set of Vault Cargo Management Lashing Straps

The terms tie-down straps and lashing straps, are simply catch-all terms that may mean either of the types discussed above.

Whether you’re using a covered truck to move your home’s contents or using a trailer to transport your off-road vehicle, it’s important to know the different types of straps and their potential uses to avoid a mistake that could result in loss of property, injury, or even death.

Vault Cargo is pleased to offer a variety of tie down solutions for securing your cargo during transport. The 15-foot premium ratchet straps feature a 1500-pound break strength. The lashing straps come in both 12-foot and 8-foot versions, meaning Vault Cargo is your go-to source for all your cargo transport needs. Order from Amazon or directly through the Vault Cargo website today!

 

Sep 06

Loading Kayaks and Canoes Onto Your Roof & Securing Them Safely

The Proper Way to Load and Secure your Kayak or Canoe to Your Roof

There are two ways of loading kayaks and canoes onto your vehicle roof. There is the two-person method, and if you are strong enough (and have a back to handle it), the solo method. After that, it comes down to your tie down equipment. The lasing strap is recommended for innumerable reasons. Properly strapping your kayak to your vehicle can mean the difference between a fun-filled day at the lake and an instant disaster.

In this article, we will discuss both methods, solo loading, and loading with two people. We will also compare the two methods with a recommended conclusion.

Method #1: Basic Two-Person Procedure For Loading Kayaks & Canoes

  1. Lay out the lashing straps on top of your vehicle before putting the kayak in place. Placing the straps across the roof beforehand allows you to properly set the kayak in the proper place, and you won’t have to reach under the rack after settling the kayak.
  1. Place the kayak next to your automobile, parallel to the vehicle. This will allow you to access it quickly and lift it swiftly into position.
  1. Both persons grab the kayak at each end and use a standard two-person overhead lift, raising the kayak evenly and keeping it level.
  1. Position the kayak so it’s directly above the rack, then set it down gently on whatever rack attachment you’ve mounted. A roof rack or kayak rack is recommended so that the ratchet straps have something to secure the kayak to, and they will save your vehicle top from getting severely scratched.
  1. Remember the steps and unload the kayak in reverse. Reversing the procedure will ensure proper unloading and you do not risk damaging the boat.
    The Thule Hullavator is a serious piece of ergonomic machinery when it comes to loading kayaks!

    It might come with a pretty hefty price tag, but the Thule Hullavator is a serious piece of ergonomic machinery to help with loading kayaks!

Method #2: Loading Kayaks & Canoes On Your Own

  1. Most kayak saddles come with mounted wheels, so the lone paddler can basically set the bow of the kayak against the back support, take hold of the stern, and roll the kayak forward into the front support of the rack.
  2. Another solo loading idea is having an Integrated lift system installed, such as the Thule Hullavator, and the lift will do all of the heavy lifting for you. This option is slightly costly but is worth it if you are going kayaking often to be alone.

Now to Properly Secure the Kayak to the Roof Rack

There is really only one way to go about securing the lashing strap around your kayak and rack.

This ProGrip XRT Rope Lock Tie Down is great solution to secure the bow & stern after loading kayaks.

This ProGrip XRT Rope Lock Tie Down is great solution to secure the bow & stern after loading kayaks.

We prefer lashing straps over ratcheting straps because they won’t get so tight as to crush your kayak. You can still get them tight enough so as to not let the kayak slide out while you’re going down the road. Give it a good solid tug when you tighten it, testing the strap by grabbing it and trying to slide it back and forth. Tighten until the strap no longer moves one way or the other. 

Repeat the same procedure for the back strap. It is always best to go to the rear of the kayak and ,by using your weight, push and pull it back and forth, trying to pull the kayak from its mounting. You’ll also want to use either additional lashing straps or some rope lock tie-downs similar to the ones pictured in this article in order to secure the bow and stern (front & back) to the front & back of your vehicle. This will ensure the kayak or canoe won’t come loose if you have to accelerate or brake too suddenly.

After these steps are complete there is only one more thing to do – Enjoy your kayaking trip!

This graphic from eTrailer.com does an excellent job of showing what the finished product should look like!

This graphic from eTrailer.com does an excellent job of showing what the finished product should look like!

 

Sep 03

When Should You Use Ratchet Strap Tie Downs?

Do you know what equipment to use when securing loads on your vehicle? A ratchet strap? Bungee Cord? Would you be willing to bet someone's safety on it?

Imagine you have the car trip of a lifetime planned but you’re wondering how you will manage to take your canoe, tent, accessories, and hunting gear with you. This doesn’t even include your clothes, food and camping equipment. Ratchet strap tie downs, often referred to simply as tie-down straps, are considered much sturdier than bungee cords and are an excellent way to transport large amounts of cargo securely.

Why Bungee Cords Are Inferior

Don't trust your belongings and someone else's safety to a small little bungee cord...

Don’t trust your belongings and someone else’s safety to a small little bungee cord…

Bungee cords do have a use, but they are not intended for tying down an object to a vehicle.

  • The elasticity of bungee cords allows loads to shift and possibly fall out
  • Bungee cords stretch out and then break
  • They’re more useful in securing coverings like tarps over heavier loads

Ratchet straps are available fairly inexpensively in packs of four as “motorcycle hold-downs,” or as “ratchet straps” when they have hooks or “lashing straps” when they’re sold without hooks. Even the cheapest ones are stronger and more reliable than bungee cords.

The ideal set-up for tying a down a load onto a Jeep or other sport utility vehicle is that it has a roof-rack. Be mindful not to tighten the ratchets so much that you damage the roof-rack. If you don’t happen to have a roof-rack, then use the straps to tie the load down by opening the doors on either side of the vehicle, running the straps through the car, using the inside of the roof to fasten the load up top. The individual straps of the ratchet strap tie-downs will need to be hooked together in order to make it long enough to fasten the load using this method.

In order to secure the load from shifting front to back or from side-to-side, all four ratchet straps of the ratchet strap tie-down set need to be used, with two straps lengthwise and two straps covering the width of the kayak, canoe, or other load.

 

Items That Can Be Fastened to the Roof of a Vehicle

Obviously, you won’t want to carry your personal items in this manner. Here’s a list of items typically fastened with ratchet straps:

Next time you head out on your next camping adventure, be sure to consider how you plan to get everything there!

Next time you head out on your next camping adventure, be sure to consider how you plan to get everything there!

  • Bicycles
  • Tents
  • Duffel bags
  • Kayak
  • Canoe
  • Skis

Larger items are ideal for ratchet straps, but if you have several smaller items, wrap them in a tarp first and then fasten them to the vehicle. Exercise extreme care when driving with a load of gear fastened to your vehicle. Even careful and seasoned drivers will need to occasionally hit the brakes without any warning. Before taking to road, test your straps by trying to move the items with your hands. If everything is secure, you shouldn’t be able to move anything, which means you’re good to go.

Aug 31

Should Have Brought A Bigger Boat…

I’m as big a fan of kayak fishing as the next guy, but from time to time you really wish you had yourself a slightly more stable platform and room for a second set of hands…

That’s probably precisely what Jon Black was thinking as he took his kayak out to fish just off of Sanibel Island in Florida. Sanibel is located in Lee County and is in the Gulf of Mexico, just west of Fort Myers Beach. Sanibel is a barrier island, which means it is a collection of sand on the leeward side of the solid, coral-rock of Pine Island.

Black hooked into a goliath grouper, which is known to be in these shallow tropical waters and is a bottom feeder. He owns the Crazy Lure Bait and Tackle shop in Cape Coral Florida and luckily had the right equipment (or at least used to until his rod broke) to reel this monster in for a solid catch. The fish measured 83 inches long and over 73 inches in girth, putting its estimated weight at nearly 552 pounds and yet, Black still reeled it in while sitting in a kayak.

So as you’re loading your kayak onto your roof rack or kayak carrier this Labor Day weekend for some nice relaxing fishing, be sure to strap in tight!

We’ll be up in Green Bay, Wisconsin so if we manage to hook into anything this big you’re definitely going to see us on the news! They don’t grow them quite this big up here!