Cargo webbing is used for a variety of tie downs, cargo nets, seat belts, etc., but there’s a difference in the fabrication of the webbing. Polyester webbing and nylon webbing are the two major categories, along with another polyester fabric webbing that’s actually called seatbelt webbing. While all three may seem similar, some differences will make one better than another for certain applications.
Nylon webbing offers a good combination of both stretch and strength. It has the ability to stretch about 5% to 7% at rated capacity and approximately 30% at break strength. This snap-back quality makes nylon cargo webbing a great choice for recovery straps because of its ability to recover stuck vehicles.
Like nylon webbing, polyester webbing is strong and durable, but it lacks the ability to stretch the same way nylon does. This makes it ideal for tie-down applications where cargo must stay secure and not be allowed to bounce: ratchet straps, motorcycle tie downs, cargo nets, etc. Polyester cargo webbing is also versatile as you can add your own tie-down hardware to create your own custom tie-down straps.
Seatbelt webbing is actually also a polyester webbing so it offers the same benefits of strength and little stretch. While still a tough, high-quality webbing, it is a less expensive option because it’s offered in just one size and three color options. Seat belt webbing also has a thinner profile than typical polyester cargo web, so it’s great for lighter duty applications such as bag handles, life jacket straps, etc.
Sizes and strengths of cargo webbing
Webbing ranges in widths from 1” to 12” and various lengths. It’s important to keep in mind that a longer strap will not increase the break strength ability, but a wider width will. Each strap width should include tensile strength information, which is the maximum amount of stress a strap will take before failing or breaking. The work load limit will vary by the use or application.