How to Choose a Recovery Strap or Tow Strap

Image of 8"x16' recovery / tow strapWhile the terms recovery strap and tow strap are often used interchangeably, a tow strap and a recovery strap can be very different and are usually used for different purposes.

Recovery strap

-Made of nylon for a higher stretch value.
-Used for “recovering” a vehicle that’s immobilized.
-Sometimes also called snatch straps for the ability to “snatch” a vehicle from a stuck position.
-Can also be used for towing
applications. Continue reading “How to Choose a Recovery Strap or Tow Strap”

E-Track: Ratchet Strap or Cam Buckle Strap?

Image of e-track ratchet strapIf you’re considering E-track for your trailer or truck, or even a non-transport use, such as in the garage for storage, all of the different options in track and accessories can be confusing.

One of the most important choices will be e-track straps and tie downs. Cam buckle straps and ratchet straps  are the most popular straps, but there are differences between the two that can help you decide which will work best for your job.

E-Track Ratchet Straps

image of 2" e-track ratchet strap

– An e-track ratchet strap can be tightened significantly more than an e-track cam buckle strap. A ratcheting action uses leverage and force to pull the strap very tight.

– The tighter tension makes ratchet straps for e-track better for securing large, heavy loads.

– E-track ratchet straps have a work load limit and break strength than e-track cam buckle straps.

 

 

E-Track Cam Buckle Straps

Image of 2" e-track cam buckle strap

– E-track cambuckle straps are simpler to assemble and use than e-track ratchet straps.

– Tension is more easily controlled with cam straps so there’s less danger of over-tightening and damaging more fragile cargo.

– E-track cam buckle straps are quick to secure and more convenient to use.

 

All of our e-track ratchet straps and e-track cam straps are available in three sizes, each in a tough 6,000 lb. polyester webbing:

  • 2″x12′
  • 2″x16′
  • 2″x20′

E-track straps are typically color-coded for easy identification of length:

  • Yellow = 12′
  • Gray = 16′
  • Blue = 20′

E Track: Not Just For The Truck or Trailer Any More

If you aren’t aware of the versatility of E-track, a quick search of this blog can get you started. It’s great for securing motorcycles, ATVs, lawn tractors, pallets- just about anything once you install it in the back of a pickup truck, on a flatbed trailer, or in an enclosed trailer.

But have you thought about the many uses for etrack around the garage, storage shed, barn, or worksite? This handy track and the various options of straps and end fittings make this system an invaluable tool for many non-transporting uses.

In the garage, install an 8′ length of e-track along wall studs. Image of painted etrack tie down with o-ringStock up on fittings like an E track tie down with O-ring as well as S hooks, and you’ve got an easy way to hang everything from tools to lawn trimming equipment to sporting goods.

In a storage shed, install two lengths of vertical e-track and add a wood end socket. A simple 1″x6″ lumber piece creates a spot to place a sheet of plywood to create instant decking to maximize your space.

Image of vertical etrack with shoring beamsFor a similar set-up with the ability to handle heavier loads, use an adjustable shoring beam instead of a 1″x6″; our 85″ adjustable aluminum shoring beam extends to 95″ and has a work load limit of 2,200 lbs. for shoring and decking applications.

 

 

In a barn or stable, e-track singles or 2′ horizontal e track can come in handy since their small size makes them simple to install nearly anywhere.

Image of horizontal E-track with two rope tie off fittings

Insert a rope tie off into an e-track single or 2′ track and you instantly have a D ring to loop a rope, twine, etc. through securely. This handy assembly can hold doors open, secure animal leads, hold feed bags or bins against the wall when paired with a rubber tarp strap– the uses are endless.

On the worksite, install horizontal e-track along the wall if you have items such as panels, Image of horizontal e-track lumber, tires, ladders, etc. that lean against the wall. Securing these items to the wall is easy with the wide variety of sizes and styles of E-track ratchet straps and cam straps that are available. Add plastic end caps and you’ve got a safe, versatile storage spot.

An e-track single or smaller length of 2′ E-track is also handy for mounting to utility carts like those used in a warehouse for smaller scale securing an hauling jobs. Pick up the 2′ galvanized e track if your equipment will be outside and exposed to the elements.

Flatbed Tarps: Lumber Tarps and Steel Tarps

Flatbed truck tarps are an essential for any flatbed truck driver. There are differences between a lumber tarp and a steel tarp, as well as features to look for in both.

Lumber tarp
A lumber tarp is generally used for long haul truckers to protect lumber, hay, pallets, and other bulky cargo. It is designed with a flap to fully cover the ends of the load.

One of our best-selling heavy duty lumber tarps unfolded:

Steel tarp
A steel tarp are sometimes sized slightly smaller than a lumber tarp and is four-sided to protect loads of steel rods, sheets, cables, etc. that have a lower profile.

Weights and construction
Tarps also come in different weights so there’s something that will work for nearly any job. Although all of our tarps are made of PVC-coated polyester for excellent tear resistance, the weight of the fabric differs between the lightweight, mid-weight and heavy-duty styles. Depending on the drop size (height), each tarp has either two or three rows of D-rings running the length of the tarp

The d-ring construction also differs slightly. Lightweight and midweight tarps are designed with fabric abrasion strips that run the entire length of the tarp to add protection:

Image of mid-weight lumber tarp d-rings

 

 

 

 

 

Heavyweight tarps have additional fabric abrasion pads stitched to the tarp underneath the D-ring:

Image of heavy-duty lumber tarp d-ring

 

 

 

 

 

Colors
Many of our stock tarps are available in black, red or blue on our website. Several are also available in green, yellow, gray, and white by calling our sales team toll free at 866-444-9990.

Tarp accessories
Repair kit. Even the most durable tarp can tear over time, so be sure to keep a tarp repair kit on hand. It includes a patch and vinyl cement so you won’t have to order the two separately.
Corner protectors. These are an inexpensive way to protect your tarp from abrasions, as well as your cargo. Our corner protectors are available in steel and plastic in a variety of sizes.
Rubber tarp straps and rubber ropeTarp straps come in a variety of lengths, in both natural rubber and EPDM rubber. Rubber rope is another great option since you can create custom length straps when paired with a .

Tarp Straps: Natural Rubber vs. EPDM

Here in the Midwest- like most of the country- we’ve had some extreme temperatures this summer. While we all know hot temps can be dangerous if you’re outside for a long time, it’s also important to remember your outdoor equipment is taking a beating in the heat and sunlight as well.

One type of equipment that can be purchased specifically for temperature and climate conditions is tarp straps. Did you know there’s difference between EPDM tarp straps and natural rubber tarp straps? Although they may look the same, there are some differences that make one a better choice over the other.

EPDM is Eethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, which is a type of synthetic rubber. EPDM rubber offers excellent resistance to heat, ozone, acids and bases, which is why it’s very common in the automotive industry in the form of seals, hoses, belts, etc. Because it stands up so well to extreme temps, it’s ideal for hot climates, and for summer use in all climates where it will be exposed to heat and sunlight. EPDM rubber tarp straps are an excellent choice for the hot summer months.

Natural rubber tarp straps are ideal for winter and cooler climates as natural rubber will not crack and split in colder conditions. Natural rubber tarp straps will also stretch further than EPDM and will also return to its non-stretched, normal length quicker than an EPDM strap will.

Rubber tarp straps are relatively inexpensive (especially if you buy them in our bulk quantities of 50 per box) so if your straps will be exposed to the elements in the hottest summer temps and coldest winter temps, it’s a good idea to switch them out from season to season. Our best sellers in bulk quantities include a 21″ length and a 31″ length. Pallet price discounts are also available, which cuts the price per strap even more- call our sales team at 866-444-9990 for more information.

About tarp straps from US Cargo Control:

  • Both natural rubber and EPDM straps are sold individually, in bundles of 10 or in boxes of 50.
  • Lengths include: 9″, 15″, 21″, 31″, 41″.
  • Replacement tarp strap hooks are also available in a 100-ct. quantity.

 

 

New Products Review: Flatbed Trailer Products

Lots of new products have rolled out onto our US Cargo Control website lately, including many in our flatbed trailer group from Merritt®- a trusted manufacturer in the industry.

If there’s a product or a group of new items you’d like to see added to our website, be sure to let us know- either by a comment below or contacting us at 866-444-9990.

Headache Racks

Image of headache rack
Merritt® Headache Rack

A Merritt® Equipment headache rack is an excellent investment for a truck/trailer. Sometimes also known as limited security racks (LSR) or cab guards for trucks, these not only look sharp but can add a measure of security to the cab in the event of an accident. We offer two aluminum cab guard styles: 70″ wide with E-Z view window and an 80″ wide with chain racks. Both feature Dyna-Tube extrusion on the outer edge for a tough yet smooth aerodynamic border. Mounting kits in both a 17″ size and a 21″ size are also available so you’ll have everything you need for easy installation.

 

Tire Chain Carriers

Image of tire chain carrier
Merritt® Tire Chain Carrier

It’s not too early to be thinking of winter driving. Tire chain holders that mount right to the frame are a great way to keep chains organized, and a locking lid keeps them secure. The space-saving design is only 8” wide and is available in both an 18” size for frames with fairing packages and a 24″ size for open frame models.

Also be sure to check our selection of tire chains. We offer two styles, both from Pewag, a trusted manufacturer in the chain industry.

 

Deck Covers

Image of deck cover
Merritt® Deck Cover

Aluminum Dyna-Deck covers are a simple, fast way to create sturdy walking deck spaces on your rig. The top-mount design is ribbed to create a non-skid surface and allow for draining. Variable mounting points make them easy to install, with no drilling required. All are 33.25″ wide so they easily slide together. Choose from three different lengths:  18.5″L, 28″L, 37.5“. Each deck cover meets DOT regulations for a walk area. 

How To Tie Down an ATV Using Ratchet Straps

Ratchet straps are an easy and fast way to secure an ATV for transport, and generally range in size from 1″ to 4″ wide. For best results, be sure to choose a ratchet strap with an adequate working load limit (WLL) to secure the weight of your vehicle.

Once your ATV is on the trailer and the parking break is engaged, begin by taking the long end of the strap and feed it up and through the frame of the ATV. The frame is the most stable part to tie down; do not wrap the strap around the axles or any other moving part that is vulnerable to bending or breaking.

After the ratchet straps are secured to the trailer, it’s important to pull the slack out of the strap before you begin ratcheting. Spooling too much webbing around the shaft which will not allow you to tie it down securely. While holding the strap end tightly, ratchet to tighten. Wrap any excess strapping around the taut strap to keep it from blowing during transit.

Secure your ATV with four tie down points- two in the front and two in the back- to prevent forward, backward, and side-to-side movement.

It’s also a good idea to check your state DOT regulations for any additional rules and regulations for transporting an ATV.

How to use a Load Bar Holder

Load Bars and Cargo Bars are a necessity to all kinds of cargo trailers.  But the big questions is – what do you do with the load bars when they are not in use?

Use a Yellow Rack Load Bar Holder

This Load Bar Holder can have many uses – use it as a storage rack for many different pieces of cargo equipment.  It will safely store load bars, straps, and pressure bars – and it is compliant with CSA 2010.

Leverages either vertical or horizontal e-track.

How to Install E-Track in a Trailer

Its always important to install E-Track right where it needs to be…but where is that?

Etrack comes in many different sizes (singles, 2′, 5′, 8′ and 10 feet), as well as painted or galvanized.  When putting e-track in a trailer, it is best to find the wall studs – same applies if you are mounting it on the floor.

Mark the studs with a marker or pencil and then you can attach your e-track to the wall/floor.  We have found #14 self tapping screws are great if you are attaching via the studs.  1/4″ bolts with nuts and washer work best if drilling through a thick plywood floor.

So, if you want to install Etrack in a trailer – you will usually use two rows on the sidewall.  It is not necessary to to put e-track all the way to the corner if your trailer, it can save a few bucks and you will not use it most of the time.

How to Use Mover Bands

Elastic mover bands are a must-have accessory for moving. These giant rubber bands are perfect for securing drawers and doors closed on furniture during a move, and unlike tape they won’t leave a sticky residue. They’re also ideal for placing over a moving blanket or moving pad to keep the extra layer of protection in place. If your furniture is going into storage, they’re gentle and safe enough to leave on for an extended period of time.

While packing tape goes into the garbage after you’re all unpacked, these stretchy bands can be re-used after the move: use them to secure cardboard boxes closed in storage; keep around pet food cans and bags outdoors to keep unwanted critters out; keep lids on outside garbage cans; secure coolers closed when camping; bundle hiking supplies together for easier carrying…  the uses are many!

Our mover bands come in four sizes: Big (27″), Large (30″), Extra Large (36″) and Oversized (44″). Keep in mind that measurements are when laid flat before stretching- they stretch to over twice their length when in use.

Be sure to check out our entire line of moving straps & mover bands on our moving supplies page at US Cargo Control.com.

Galvanized E-Track vs. Painted E-Track

The choice of using galvanized etrack or painted e-track can be based on three factors: price, color and installation location.

Price

Painted e-track is slightly cheaper than its galvanized sibling.  But for the most part – galvanized is only a couple dollars more, because of the process used to treat the metal.

Color

E-Track’s color is also based on which version of etrack you are buying.  Galvanized is a silver color – which can help it blend in if you are looking for a solution to match aluminum. It is slightly more reflective than aluminum.

Painted etrack is green and powder coated – which makes it resistant to scratching and will hold up well to daily use.

Installation Location

Finally we get to what kind/where you plan to install your e-track.  If the installation is on the exterior, then the best choice will be galvanized.  This treatment provides the best resistance to elements in the e-rack lineup.

How to Thread Ratchet Straps and Cam Buckle Straps

While both ratchet straps and cam buckle straps are used to haul various types of cargo and come in sizes ranging from 1″ to 4″ in width, there are some key differences between the two.

Ratchet straps

A ratchet strap is available with many different fittings: chain extension, d-ring, e-track fitting, e-track double stud fitting, f-track hook and spring e-fitting, flat hook, flat snap hook, j-hook with d-ring, s-hook and vinyl coated wire hook.

Polyester webbing is most often used for both ratchet straps and cam buckle straps because it has a low stretch rate and is very resistant to abrasion.

How to thread a ratchet strap

1.) Open the ratchet so you have access to the take-up spool.

2.) Slide strap through the spool and bring it right back on itself.

3.) Pull on the strap to remove the excess slack.

4.) Once the slack is removed, you can start to ratchet the strap to the desired tension, keeping the strap straight.

5.) Once you have reached your desired tension, lock the ratchet down to its closed position.

To release the strap, open the ratchet all the way so it is completely flat and pull the strap out.

In cases where you do not need the strength of a ratchet strap, a cam buckle is an excellent choice. Cam straps are also available with various types of attachment hardware: butterfly fitting, e-track fitting, F-track hook and spring e-fitting, handle bar strap with S-hook, flat snap hook and s-hook.

Cam buckle straps 

Cam buckle straps typically come in 1″ and 2″ sizes. This video highlights the differences between ratchet straps and cam buckles and also shows how to thread a cam buckle.

How to thread a cam buckle strap

1.) Turn the cam buckle over and thread your strap back through  while pressing the thumb release.

2.) While pressing the thumb release, pull the strap to your desired tension and then release.

To release the strap, press the thumb button and simply pull the strap.

In choosing between a ratchet strap and a cam buckle, it generally depends on work load limit or how fragile the product is that you are securing. If the cargo is light and fragile, go with a cam buckle since you cannot run the risk of over-tightening and crushing the product. For items heavier or more sturdy, a ratchet strap is a good choice.