How to Use Ratchet Straps: A Simple Guide for Secure Cargo

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Ratchet straps are essential for securing loads during transport, whether moving furniture, securing a motorcycle, or tying down cargo on a truck bed. These versatile devices are easy to use and offer high strength and stability when used correctly. This article will guide you how to use ratchet straps, ensuring your items are safely fastened and secure.

To start, it’s essential to understand the components of a ratchet strap. A typical strap consists of a ratchet assembly and a strap with various hook or end fittings. The ratchet mechanism and grab hooks allow you to tighten the strap around your load, and the hook or end fittings help anchor the strap to a secure point. To use a ratchet strap securely, ensure it is in good condition and free from damage to guarantee its effectiveness.

Key Takeaways

  • When used correctly, ratchet straps are easy to use and effective in securing loads during transport.
  • Ensure ratchet straps are in good condition and understand their components for effective use
  • Practice best practices and follow additional tips for the safe and secure ratcheting function

When Can You Use Ratchet Straps?

Ratchet straps are versatile tools that can be used for various purposes, from securing cargo during transport to fastening objects in place for storage or organization. They can handle loads ranging from light to heavy-duty, making them a go-to choice for securing items of different sizes and weights.

ratchet tie down

One everyday use for ratchet straps is in the transportation of goods. When you need to secure items in your truck, trailer, or on your roof rack, ratchet straps can provide the necessary tension and stability.

Another typical application of ratchet straps is in securing items for storage. Whether you need to fasten objects to shelves, tie-down equipment in your yard, or hold a group of items together, ratchet straps can provide the necessary tension and hold. They are especially helpful when dealing with awkwardly shaped or heavy items that cannot be easily secured with ropes or bungee cords.

In addition to transport and storage, ratchet straps can be used for various outdoor activities. They can aid in erecting tents, creating tarp shelters, or attaching equipment to backpacks, avoiding excess webbing.

When using ratchet straps, consider the weight and dimensions of the items you’re securing and the environmental factors such as wind, vibrations, and road conditions.

How to Use Ratchet Straps

Following the steps below, you can confidently and safely secure your load using ratchet straps.

Load securing with cam buckle straps

1. Use Release Catch to Open Ratchets

To effectively use ratchet straps for cargo control, knowing how to operate the release catch is essential. This device allows you to open the ratchet to thread the webbing and adjust the strap to your desired tightness. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you understand the process.

First, locate the release catch on your ratchet. It’s typically a small lever attached to the ratchet’s handle. Press and hold the release catch while simultaneously opening the ratchet handle.

2. Thread Strap Through Open Slot

To thread the strap, take the loose end of the tie-down strap and carefully thread it through the open ratchet axle slot. Maintain a neutral, clear webbing route, avoiding twists or overlaps. Pull the strap through until you have achieved the desired length to encircle your cargo.

With the strap properly threaded, you can use the ratchet handle to tighten the strap around your cargo. Close and open the handle repeatedly until the desired tension is reached. Ensure the tension is evenly distributed along the strap and the webbing is securely wrapped around the ratchet.

Remember that over-tightening the strap may cause damage to your cargo or the ratchet mechanism itself.

3. Secure the End Fittings

When using ratchet straps, securing the end fittings properly is essential to ensure safety and prevent the straps from coming loose. To start, pull the free end of the strap through the ratchet, and make sure there are no twists or knots in it.

Next, attach the end fittings securely, and consider the following tips for optimal performance. Finally, tighten the ratchet strap by cranking the handle back and forth until the strap is taut.

While doing so, ensure the strap does not exceed its working load limit or break strength, and inspect the end fittings to ensure they remain securely in place.

4. Pull the Free End of the Strap

Before using your ratchet straps, it’s crucial to inspect them for signs of wear or damage. Check for mildew, which can weaken the straps, and damage caused by rain, wind, snow, or UV rays. Look for fraying, abrasive wear, and tears that could compromise their effectiveness.

Pull the free end of the strap to remove any slack to begin tightening the ratchet strap. Make sure the strap lays flat and is not twisted, as this can weaken its strength and result in unnecessary stress on the strap during use.

5. Tighten the Ratchet

When you’re confident the strap is positioned correctly, begin tightening the ratchet by moving the handle back and forth in a smooth and controlled manner. Continue to do this until the strap is taut and secure. Keep in mind that over-tightening can damage your cargo, so finding the right balance is essential.

During the tightening process, be mindful of the effects of weather and other elements on your ratchet straps.

Finally, practice proper care and store your ratchet straps to extend their lifespan and maintain their effectiveness. Keep them clean and dry, and store them in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight to avoid damage from UV rays.

6. Close and Flip the Ratchet

Now that your ratchet strap is threaded through the open slot, it’s time to close and flip it. You should ensure the ratchet’s hold handle is fully open with the open slot facing upwards. It would be best if you were confident that the strap is properly threaded and free of any twists or tangles.

With the ratchet handle in the open position, pull the excess strap through the open slot to remove any slack. While doing this, ensure the strap is flat and properly aligned. It’s essential to do this step accurately to guarantee that your load will be securely fastened.

Next, place one hand on the base of the ratchet and use your other hand to start closing it by rotating it in the direction that tightens the strap. You will notice the ratchet gradually taking up the slack and creating tension in the strap. Continue to do this until the strap is tight and properly securing the load.

Once the ratchet strap is at the optimal tension, close the ratchet and flip it down, locking it into place. This ensures the strap will stay put and maintain the desired tension.

You have successfully closed and flipped your ratchet, and your load is safely secured. Always double-check the ratchet strap’s tension and position before transporting your cargo to avoid any accidents or damage.

Best Practices and Additional Tips

Ratchet Tie Down

When using ratchet straps, following the manufacturer’s instructions is essential to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Proper Wrap 

Begin by threading the strap through the mandrel, pulling it tight to remove any slack. To prevent the strap from slipping, wrap it around the mandrel at least two times before securing the ratchet handle. This allows for an evenly distributed tension and reduces the risk of strap failure.

Elements Exposure

Ratchet straps can be affected by exposure to sunlight, water, and extreme temperatures. Avoid prolonged exposure to these elements or use straps specifically designed for outdoor use to maximize their lifespan.


To keep your ratchet straps in good condition, follow these storage tips:

  • After each use, inspect the strap and ratchet for any wear or damage.
  • Unwrap the strap from the mandrel and carefully fold or roll it up.
  • Secure the strap with a rubber band or other fastener to prevent it from unraveling.
  • Store the straps in a dry, cool place away from sunlight.


Always follow these safety tips while using ratchet straps:

  • Do not exceed the strap’s weight capacity, as specified by the manufacturer.
  • Ensure the strap is securely anchored to the correct points on your vehicle or cargo.
  • Please avoid using the strap to secure sharp or abrasive objects that could damage it.
  • Regularly check the strap’s tension during transit and adjust as necessary.

By adhering to best practices and these additional tips, you can use ratchet straps confidently and safely for various applications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ratchet straps to control load loading.

1. How should I use ratchet straps on a truck trailer or van?

To use ratchet straps on a truck trailer or van, first, find anchor points for the straps. Attach the hook end of the strap to one of the anchor points and the ratchet handle end to the other anchor point. Pull any slack through the ratchet. To tighten the strap, repeatedly raise and lower the ratchet handle until the strap is secure. Make sure to avoid overtightening.

2. How can I connect two ratchet straps?

To connect two ratchet straps, thread the loose end of one strap through the slot in the closed ratchet handle of the second strap. Pull the loose end through until the two straps are tightly connected.

3. How often should I replace ratchet straps?

Inspect your straps before each use and consider replacing them every few years, depending on the frequency of usage.

4. How can I use ratchet straps for a kayak?

To secure a kayak using ratchet straps:

  1. Place the kayak’s right side up on your roof rack or trailer.
  2. Loop the straps over the kayak and around the crossbars of your roof rack or trailer.
  3. Attach the hook end and ratchet the handle end to the crossbars.
  4. Ensure the strap is not twisted and in contact with the kayak’s body to avoid damage.
  5. Tighten the straps using the ratchet handle until secure.

5. How can I use ratchet straps on the roof racks?

First, use ratchet straps on roof racks to ensure your items are correctly positioned on the racks. Loop the straps over your items and around the roof rack crossbars. Attach the hooks to the crossbars and ensure the strap is not twisted. Tighten the straps using the ratchet handle until secure. Check that the items are firmly in place and cannot move or shift during transit.

6. How can I undo ratchet straps?

First, to undo the ratchet straps, release any tension on the straps by pressing the release lever on the handle. Hold the release lever open and fully open the ratchet handle to a flat position. This will disengage the ratchet mechanism. Finally, pull the loose end of the strap to remove it entirely from the ratchet handle slot.

7. Can ratchet straps also be used for slackening, even though they are primarily designed for securing and tightening loads?

Regarding slackening, using ratchet straps might not be the best solution, but there are some cases where you can use them safely.

Buy from Us Today

Ratchet straps are used for tying down and transporting all sorts of items.

Our company sells the best versatile ratchet straps, essential tools for securing loads during transportation. You can order today by sending us a message via the customer contact form on our website.