The Basics of Tie Down Straps

The Basics of Tie Down Straps

A tie-down strap is a length of webbing that is tensioned and used to secure cargo or equipment for transportation. They are available in lengths ranging from around six feet for small loads to 40 feet for commercial trucking applications, and typically range from one inch to four inches wide. Tie-down straps come with two ratings to indicate overall strength; break strength describes the maximum comfortable weight that can be supported before the strap fails, and working load describes the maximum weight that a tie-down can support with regular day-to-day use without becoming damaged. The working load is generally calculated as one third of the break strength.

Hooking Up Safety Straps to a Ramp


Lashing Straps

Lashing Straps feature an easy-to-use gator clip, and are generally the lightest-duty tie-down strap with a maximum of 100-lb working load and 220-lb break strength. They are designed for use on cargo carriers, game carts, and other small loads.


Cam Buckle Straps

Cam Buckle Straps are generally lighter-duty than ratchet straps but heavier-duty than lashing straps. They are designed for use with medium-sized loads such as dirt bikes and ATVs, and can have up to a 500-lb working load and 1,500-lb breaking strength. They are easy and quicker to tighten and release than a ratchet strap, but cannot safely secure as much weight.


Ratchet Straps

Ratchet Straps are named for their method of locking and securing the strap via an easy-to-use ratcheting system. Ratchet straps can have a working load limit up to 5,000 lbs. with a 15,000-lb break strength rating, and can create a tighter and more secure restraint – ideal for solid, heavy loads. If you’re not sure how to use a ratchet strap, please read our article on How to Use Ratchet Straps, which includes a step-by-step instructional video.

Please note:
Bungee Cords, also known as shock cords, are neither safe nor reliable when it comes to securing cargo for transportation. They are better suited to light-duty applications such as hanging a tarp or tying up small items for storage. To find out more, please read our article Five Reasons You Shouldn’t use Bungees Instead of Tie-Down Straps.

Types of Hook Ends



S-Hooks are the most standard type of hook end, S-hooks fit just about any hole to remain secure when a simple strap would not.


Snap Hook

Snap Hooks are similar to an S-hook, but feature a latch that snaps closed around the tie-down point to provide a more secure grip than an S-hook.


Flat Hook

Flat Hooks feature a low-profile, versatile design to go over the rub rail of a trailer, and can use other tie-down straps as anchor points.



J-Hooks, also known as wire hooks, are typically used on one end of a ratchet strap to tightly grip onto an anchor point.