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Friday, June 21, 2024

Ratchet Strap Safety Tips for Off-Road and Camping Enthusiasts

Photo by PeopleImages.com – Yuri A via Shutterstock

If you’re into off-roading or camping like me, you know that securing your gear is crucial. A loose load can result in damaged gear, lost gear, and if things get really bad, might even cause an accident.

Most folks prefer ratchet straps for securing loads – and for good reason. They’re an indispensable tool for keeping your equipment safe and sound during your adventures (and they’re easy to use). However, if you’re new to using them, it’s easy to make mistakes that could lead to disaster.

So, let’s leave the disasters for the movies and explore a few ratchet strap safety tips that will help you use these handy tools like a pro!

Table of Contents

Ratchet Strap Safety Tips: Choosing the Right Ratchet Strap

ratchet strap safety choosing the right strap

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When it comes to ratchet strap safety tips, choosing the right strap is the first step…

Overloading straps is a recipe for disaster, so always check the weight rating of your ratchet straps to ensure they can handle the weight of your load. If your straps aren’t rated high enough, don’t cut corners and try to use more straps. Instead, invest in straps of varying weight ratings so you’re covered in all situations.

Look for straps made from high-quality materials like polyester, which are resistant to UV rays and abrasion. This makes them durable and reliable in harsh conditions, and requires less frequent replacement, so more money stays in your pocket.

Lastly, select straps of appropriate length and width. Longer straps offer more versatility, while wider straps distribute pressure more evenly, reducing the risk of damage to your load.

Inspecting Your Ratchet Straps Before Use

ratchet strap inspection

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Before you hit the road, inspecting your ratchet straps is absolutely critical. Check your straps for frayed edges, cuts, and damaged stitching. Even minor damage can compromise the integrity of the strap, so if you spot damage, don’t use that strap.

Ensure the ratchet mechanism and hooks are free from rust and fully functional, too. A faulty ratchet mechanism or hook can fail under tension, posing a risk to your gear and safety, so this step is essential!

Clean your straps after each use and store them properly, too. Dirt and moisture can weaken the fibers over time, so a little upkeep goes a long way in extending the lifespan of your straps (I’ll cover some ratchet strap storage tips a little later, too). Incorporating these procedures with your existing safety checks for camping will make your trips all the safer.

Ratchet Strap Safety Tips: Proper Loading Techniques

ratchet strap safety strong anchor points

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Proper loading techniques are vital for ratchet strap safety. Distribute the weight of your load evenly to avoid shifting during transit, which can be dangerous and potentially damage your gear.

Likewise use only strong, secure anchor points on your vehicle or trailer, as weak anchor points can fail and render your ratchet straps useless. Once you find good anchor points, position the straps, ensuring they lay flat against the load. Twisted straps reduce holding strength and can cause unnecessary wear and tear.

Securing the Load for Safety

ratchet strap safety tips secure the load

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Securing your load properly is at the heart of ratchet strap safety tips…

Use the ratchet mechanism to tighten the straps snugly, but avoid over-tightening, as this can damage both the straps and your gear. To ensure a secure hold and prevent shifting, use multiple straps to distribute tension evenly across the load.

Periodically stop during long trips to check the tension of your straps, as vibrations and movement can cause them to loosen over time. If straps have loosened, retighten them and conduct regular checks throughout the rest of your trip. Taking two minutes to check on each strap can help you avoid shifting loads, lost loads, and worse!

Ratchet Strap Safety Tips During Use

ratchet strap safety during use

Photo by CHALERMPHON SRISANG via Shutterstock

Safety practices are a must when using ratchet straps. Follow these tips to a tee to prevent problems:

  • Never exceed the weight capacity of your ratchet straps, as overloading increases the risk of strap failure, which can be dangerous.
  • Use edge protectors on sharp edges to prevent the straps from cutting through, thereby extending the life of your straps and ensuring safety.
  • Keep your fingers away from the ratchet mechanism during tightening to avoid pinched fingers, a common but easily avoidable injury.

As with most things, ratchet safety is mostly about using common sense!

Storing Ratchet Straps

ratchet wrangler with straps

Proper storage is key to maintaining your ratchet straps. Store your straps in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, as UV rays can weaken the fibers over time, reducing their strength. Roll your straps neatly to avoid knots and tangles, which can weaken the fibers and make the straps harder to use.

Of course, rolling the straps and keeping them that way is easier said than done…

If you’re like me, your collection of ratchet straps is more like a rat’s nest. Try as you might, the straps come unrolled, intertwine with one another in your toolbox, and turn into a nightmarish mess. But that’s where the Ratchet Wrangler comes in!

This simple, yet clever gadget makes storing your straps incredibly easy. Simply stuff the strap in a pouch, close the cover, and throw it in your toolbox for the next time. There’s no need to roll the strap up, either, so this method not only protects your straps but also saves you time. That’s just part of the reason why I picked Ratchet Wrangler as one of my favorite overlanding accessories of 2024!

ratchet wrangler

Ratchet Wrangler is made from an ultra-stretchy material that accommodates straps of all different sizes. Pick up a handful of Ratchet Wranglers, and you’ll have a complete system for organizing your once-messy straps. What’s not to like about that?!

Even if you store and protect your straps in something like Ratchet Wrangler, it’s still important to inspect the straps periodically for any signs of wear or damage. Catching issues early can prevent accidents down the road and ensure your straps are always ready for use. That’s the ultimate ratchet strap safety tip!

Final Thoughts

ratchet strap in use

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Ratchet straps are essential for off-road and camping enthusiasts, but they must be used correctly to be effective. By following these ratchet strap safety tips, you can ensure your gear stays secure and your adventures remain safe.

Remember, a little attention to detail goes a long way in preventing accidents and prolonging the life of your equipment. Take the time to be sure you can secure loads safely, and you (and everyone around you) will be the better for it!

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