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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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.