Auto Recovery Straps vs. Tow Straps

We get a lot of questions about which straps to use when hauling and towing a vehicle versus the best straps for recovering cars from ditches or other situations. There is a difference between recovery straps and tow straps, and each type has its benefits.

Recovery Straps, Snatch Straps, Tow Straps
Situational usage of recovery straps.

Recovery Straps

Recovery straps are best used to “recover” a stuck vehicle. Say your car or off-road recreational vehicle gets stuck in the mud or a ditch and you’re not going anywhere no matter what you try. If you don’t want to call a tow truck, you can use another vehicle and recovery straps to do the job.

Recovery straps are made of a nylon fabrication that stretches when necessary. These straps, also called “snatch straps” since they can snatch a vehicle out of a sticky situation, have loops on each end.

3x20 strap with looped ends and Cordura eyes
Recovery straps have loops on both ends.

To use a recovery strap you attach the strap to the back of the vehicle performing the recovery at an appropriate frame point, and also to the front of the vehicle being recovered. Thread the strap through the eye of the other end to choke the frame. Make sure the strap is not rubbing against any sharp edges. If you need hardware to secure the strap, anchor shackles are great for recovery vehicles. As the first vehicle begins to move forward, the strap stretches and pulls the stuck vehicle free.

Recovery straps are safer for this type of usage than chain, they’re easier to use and they are not nearly as heavy. Making sure your recovery strap is in good shape is very important before using. Any straps that are frayed or warn increases the likelihood of breakage during a recovery. Straps with faded color are also more apt to break during usage. Store straps out of sunlight and away from excessive heat. Straps perform well in cold temps as well as heat, but should not be used in temperatures in excess of 194 degrees Fahrenheit. To clean your strap, spray with water and do not use chemicals.

Tow Straps

The biggest difference between a tow strap and a recovery strap is the stretchiness of the fabric. A tow strap is made of less-stretchy polyester, and is intended for the towing of a freely-moving vehicle behind another vehicle. Typically, tow straps have metal hooks on each end. Tow straps should not be used in the recovery of stuck vehicles simply because they are less stretchy and can more easily break under the pressure a recovery entails. Traditional tow straps and chains are similar in their towing applications.

Strap Safety

No matter which type of strap you’re using, there are standard safety protocols. Because straps can snap, or break, and launch through the air at a high rate of speed, it’s a good idea to keep any bystanders at least the distance of the length of the strap away from the application.

Choosing the right size strap is also very important. US Cargo Control straps come in widths from 2” to 12” with break strengths from 20,000 lbs. to 400,000+ lbs., and can be made to any custom length since we manufacture them in-house. We can also layer the strap from 1- to 4-ply designs, so you can get the width you want with the strength you need. More plies allow for a narrower strap with greater break strength than single ply.

Our straps are designed with CORDURA® at the eyes of the strap for better resistance to wear and tear. It’s important to note that US Cargo Control straps are manufactured with high-quality, heavy-duty nylon designed for both recovery and towing uses.

If you have any questions about what strap is best for your application, or if you need a custom strap please call us at 866-444-9990 and we’ll be happy to help you get you what you want, when you need it.

New Products: Wheel Nets & Car Tie Downs

Our selection of wheel nets and car tie downs continues to expand.

We’ve launched more than 20 new products, including value-priced 4-packs of wheel nets and 2-packs of tow dolly straps.

Also, the category page design itself has been revamped, so you can more easily find a strap to fit your needs. Shop using dedicated pages for Wheel Nets, Tow Dolly Straps, Wheel Straps, Axle Straps & Auto Tie Downs, and Tie Down Hardware. The Wheel Nets subcategory allows you to shop by wheel/tire size or by specific application.

Consider these factors when choosing a tie down:

  • Type of trailer being used and available anchor points. Do you plan to install additional attachment points?
  • Type of vehicle(s) being hauled.
  • Tie down restrictions, such as for racecars, custom models, and other low-clearance vehicles.
  • Vehicle weight. The combined working load limit of each tie down should be equal to or greater than the vehicle’s weight.

New ideas are constantly being explored and tested, so check back often! Among the changes and additions rolled out so far:

Stronger working load limit

Upgraded stitch patterns for two of our tow dolly basket straps – available with flat hooks or twisted snap hooks – bring the working load limit to 3,333 lbs. instead of 2,000 lbs. This allows them to be used on vehicles that exceed 4,000 lbs.

Larger tow dolly basket straps

Extra-large tow dolly strap

Extra-large tow dolly basket straps are now an option to fit most wheels larger than 17”.

These come with your choice of end fittings: two twisted snap hooks or two flat hooks.

The loose tail of the wheel bonnet can be paired with a 2″ ratchet or lashing hook to secure it to a trailer.

Our smaller versions accommodate most 14” to 17” tires.

Adjustable wheel nets with D-rings

Adjustable tow dolly strap with 4” top strap

D-rings have replaced cambuckles to increase the working load limit on adjustable models.

Several styles featuring height adjustability have joined our lineup. Two slots on both sides of the top strap let you position the horizontal webbing higher or lower when securing different vehicle tire sizes. Simply insert the horizontal strap through the bottom loop for large tires, or jump up a level for a snug fit on smaller wheels. Tighten the front-to-back strap around the wheel with the integrated D-ring, and the loose tail feeds into a trailer-mounted winch or ratchet.

Those with a 2” top strap are ideal for most wheels 14” to 17”, while a 4” top strap provides stability around wheels with diameters of 17” or larger.

Replacement straps for professional auto hauling

2″ x 10′ replacement wheel strap

We now offer replacement straps designed for double-deck car carriers.

These assemblies are similar to our existing wheel straps but do not come with a ratchet. Instead, the loose end feeds into trailer-mounted winches.

For easy connection to the trailer deck, choose two swivel J-hooks or two double-J wire hooks.

Three adjustable, cleated rubber blocks grab a tire’s treads for extra securement.

As always, call us at 866-348-3473 for help determining the right style of tie down for your application. We’re here to get you what you want, when you need it.

5 Tips for Hunting with Your Portable Tree Stand

Whether hunting with a bow or firearm, utilizing a portable tree stand is a popular way to gain an elevated view of approaching game and ensure your scent is not easily detected down below. However, tree stands can result in serious injury without preparation, the appropriate tree stand accessories and proper installation procedures. Add the essential hunting accessories and you’re ready for a good hunt.

Climbing tree stands allow for superior mobility while searching for the optimal spot to blend in and wait. No matter what portable tree stand you choose – even if you make your own – there are safety considerations to remember and best practices to follow. Use these tips the next time you venture out:

  1. Inspect your gear. Before you even leave home, look over all of your equipment and hunting accessories. Check your safety harness and straps for fray or other defects. Make sure the pieces of your stand are in working order. Double check your supply list so you don’t forget to pack any essential tools.
  2. Find the right tree. Locating an ideal tree may take a while unless you’ve previously scouted the area. Trees have to be sturdy enough to support both you and the platform. Live, healthy trees with a sizeable circumference are the goal. Tall and sturdy with no lower branches or loose bark are other preferred features. Some stand manufacturers set restrictions or size specifications. Confirm the area you’re in allows the type of system and accessories you are using. Screw-in styles or steps are frequently not permitted in order to protect trees from permanent damage.
  3. Lock your safety harness to the trunk. Getting your stand set up and safely secured can take a little while. Once you have the top and bottom parts of the stand ready to make the climb, tether your body harness to the trunk with a moveable ratchet strap secured just above the top of the stand. This securement will serve as backup if the stand falls. In addition, a safety strap from your harness to the tree takes some weight and pressure off the stand itself.
  4. Don’t rush the climb. Step onto the bottom part of your stand, which should already be attached to the tree. Once in the stand, you should be able to reposition the tree strap about 12” up the tree and tighten it back onto the tree. Grab the top part of your stand and move it upward, then use your feet to grab the bottom portion of the stand and lift that up, as well. Repeat this process a number of times until you feel you have a good overview of your area that’s out of a target’s line of sight, yet within your desired shooting distance. Descend the tree by simply reversing these instructions. Never carry your firearm or bow while climbing. Keep these items on the ground, perhaps in a bag, tethered to the top of the tree stand with a strap or a rope that you can pull up to you once you’ve secured your tree stand to where you plan to perch during the hunt.
  5. Check the local weather forecast. Know what conditions to expect. Temperature and precipitation affect how readily you can reach your tree stand, and influence the ability to see, hear and track your prey. Also, dress appropriately. Especially in high altitudes, a warm day can turn into a freezing cold night. If necessary, carry a blanket to bunker down with.

Keep these safety tips in mind to help guarantee a successful and injury-free harvest season. US Cargo Control carries a variety of hunting accessories such as camo blankets and camo safety straps with choices of hooks and ratchets for your unique needs. Call us anytime with questions: 888-719-4020.

Cargo Webbing: What’s the Difference Between Nylon and Polyester?

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 known in the industry as seatbelt webbing. While all three may seem similar, some differences will make one better than another for certain applications.

 Nylon webbing

Nylon Cargo Webbing
Nylon Webbing

 

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.

Nylon tie downs should not be used in temperatures above 194 degrees F (90 degrees C) or below -40 degrees F (-40 degrees C). It should also not come in contact with objects above or below those temperatures, including anchor points, the cargo being secured, or a vehicle.

Polyester webbing

polyester cargo webbing
Polyester Webbing

 

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.

Like nylon, polyester webbing should not be used in temperatures above 194 degrees F (90 degrees C) or below -40 degrees F (-40 degrees C), or come in contact with objects (anchor points, cargo being secured, or vehicle) above or below those temperatures.

Seatbelt webbing

Polyester Seat Belt  Cargo Webbing
Polyester Seat Belt Webbing

 

Seatbelt webbing is 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.

When using seatbelt webbing for any application, you should also follow the maximum and minimum temperatures guidelines outlined above for polyester webbing.

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.

Kits Make Motorcycle Tie Downs Easy

US Cargo Control offers many different types of motorcycle tie down systems. Kits are available to make selecting and installing a custom securement solution simple. The kits contain all of the pieces you’ll need to assemble a system that will allow you to transport your motorcycle safely. 3460-motorcycle-combo-strap-kit_4_640

Kits vary in complexity ranging from basic tie downs wit L-track rails and fittings to a more robust tie down system that will secure two motorcycles to an 8 ft. trailerAnchor point tie down kits are handy for those looking to install a securement system in a smaller space, like the back of a pickup truck. Anchor points can be installed really anywhere on the truck, allowing you to put them exactly where you need them.

Some kits include L-track rails. US Cargo Control L-track comes in a variety of colors that can be coordinated to match your truck, trailer or brand of motorcycle. Options include blue (Yamaha), green (Kawasaki), orange (Harley Davidson) and red (Honda). The olive green also matches military and camouflage products. Standard black and classic aluminum are also available. The L-track product is finished with a powder coat that amps up the color and protects the underlying aluminum from scratches.

8' Motorcycle Tie Down System with Wheel Chock
8′ Motorcycle Tie Down System with Wheel Chock

Strap kits are sold as a supplemental option to complete some tie down system offerings. Options including a combo strap kit and a 4-pack of motorcycle ratchet straps. Motorcycle straps feature a 1” rugged, polyester webbing that won’t stretch, mold or mildew.

US Cargo Control kits can be customized. If you do not see a kit that fits your specific needs or would like help selecting a kit call  800-969-6543. A sales specialists will be happy to work with you and help you find exactly what you need.

 

 

 

US Cargo Control Adds Kayak Straps

US Cargo Control is now offering kayak, canoe and boat tie-down equipment as the busy water sport season gets underway. These straps are specially designed to withstand the wear and tear of recreational water sports.

1" x 2' Endless Cam Strap w/ Wear Pad
1″ x 2′ Endless Cam Strap w/ Wear Pad

The straps are 1’’ wide and come in a variety of lengths. They are made with water resistant polyester meaning they will not mold, mildew or rot. Polyester can also withstand the sun’s UV rays and will stretch minimally.

USCC watersport straps feature a wear pad on the buckle as well as vinyl on all hooks to protect the boat from any cosmetic damage from metal pieces. US Cargo Control Category Manager Kerry Trenkamp brought on the new line of tie downs. She says her team prioritized protection when searching for the right equipment to add to the brand.

“The last thing we want our customers to worry about is damage,” Trenkamp said. “We understand the importance of keeping the watercraft secure and scratch-free.”

Many of the water recreation straps offered by US Cargo Control are outfitted with a cam buckle. People can over-tighten gear like a kayak or canoe with a traditional ratchet strap. That risk is limited with a cam buckle.

Retractable ratchet straps are also available as transom tie downs. They are designed to keep extra material from tangling and flapping during transport.

whitewater-park-gift-certificate2

The release of the new product line comes as Iowa’s newest and largest white-water course celebrates its grand opening. Manchester White Water Park in Manchester, Iowa will host its Let It Flow Riverfest June 19-21. US Cargo Control donated four, $25 gift cards and a gift basket containing US Cargo Control watersport straps to be given away during the event.

“We wanted to celebrate with area water sport enthusiasts and let them know these new products are available to keep their gear safe as they travel this summer,” Trenkamp said.

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Manchester White Water Park (Courtesy: Manchester White Water Park Facebook Page).
Manchester White Water Park (Courtesy: Manchester White Water Park Facebook Page).

 

What’s the difference between L-Track and E Track?

There are some big differences between L-track and E track for those looking to outfit their truck or trailer with a new tie-down system.

8 Piece 4' L Track Tie Down System- Blue
8 Piece 4′ L Track Tie Down System- Blue

L-Track is made from lightweight, heavy-duty aluminum providing a sleek look. While it will work in any vehicle or trailer it is ideal for a pick-up truck. L-Track has a much lower profile compared to E Track. The width of the track matches nearly perfect to the inside of the bed rails and can be installed flawlessly inside the ribs of the truck bed as well. US Cargo Control offers 2” anchor plates with 6”, 12”, 24”, 48”, 72” and 96” track lengths that are all available in a variety of colors that can be coordinated to match the truck.

E Track made in a horizontal style.
E Track made in a horizontal style.

 

E Track is much more industrial. It is commonly installed inside trailers, cargo vans, moving vans and enclosed semi-trailers. It is the industry standard for cargo control. These rails are heavy and powerful made from high strength 12 GA steel. US Cargo Control offers E Track in 2′, 5′, 8′ and 10′ sections and can come painted or galvanized.

US Cargo Control also offers wide selection of accessories, straps and fittings for L-Track and straps and tie-downs designed for E Track.

When deciding between the two systems consider your purpose and what you’re trying to secure. L-Track is light, sleek and can be coordinated with the paint on your truck or trailer. E Track is stronger, heavier and much more industrial. Both will work inside of a trailer — just consider what you were trying to do. If you need more information or help deciding give one of our product experts a call today at US Cargo Control 855-206-6269.

 

 

How to Get Your Trailer Motorcycle Ready

US Cargo Control offers a variety of tie-down systems so you can haul just about anything. If you’re planning to spend your summer on the road with your motorcycle we have a system that will work great for you.

TrackStar L-track Motorcycle Chock
TrackStar L-track Motorcycle Chock

Our TrackStar L-track Motorcycle Chock includes everything you’ll need to install the chock on a trailer or truck bed. The bundle includes a wheel chock, 8” long L-track, flathead phillips screws, nylock nuts and flat fender washers. To install the track, line-up the two nuts on the base plate with two holes on the track and push down. This will make the plunger mechanism pop-up. Then, slide it forward until the plunger sinks and locks the wheel chock in place. To remove, pull the plunger up and slide back until the wheel chock releases from the track. Keep in mind, standard L-track does not work with the TrackStar motorcycle wheel chocks. You will need to use USCC Extra 8” L-Track Kit if you want the ability to move the wheel chock to a different location on the trailer. Be sure to shop our entire line of motorcycle straps to find the right tie-down accessories for your bike. We offer a variety of colored straps to coordinate with your motorcycle.

Watch the video below to learn how to install the L-track and chocks onto a trailer.

 

 

What are the Different Types of L-Track Fittings?

L-track is a very versatile option to quickly create custom cargo-control systems. L-track is made of a simple, aluminum rail and is paired with special fittings and straps used to keep cargo snug and secure in pickups, cargo vans and trailers.

L-track featuring a single stud fitting O ring.
L-track featuring a single stud fitting O ring.

People use L-track because it’s easy to make their own, especially with its plethora of accessory options.

US Cargo Control offers two types of L-track fittings: single stud and double stud. Each type is placed in a grove along the track creating a secure, adjustable tie-down point. Various types of straps and hooks are compatible with both types of fittings. The difference between single stud and double stud fittings is in the name. Simply put, single stud L-track fittings fit into one slot, where double stud L-track fittings fit into two slots, making the connection point stronger with a higher break strength.

445-double-stud-fitting_4_640
L-track featuring a double stud fitting and strap.

Consider the type of ending you want on the fitting. US Cargo Control offers many different types including single stud fittings with an O ring and D ring plus a double stud with an O ring, D ring, pear link, delta link and others. USCC also offers various ratchet straps equipped with e-track fittings to keep all the pieces together.

US Cargo Control provides many options so you can make the best custom system for whatever you are hauling. If you don’t see exactly what you need, give one of the USCC sales specialists a call at 855-206-6269. They’ll work with you to track down what you need.

 

 

US Cargo Control Straps Trusted to Secure Professional Race Car

Abbate pic 4
Michele Abbate behind the wheel of her 2013 Scion FR-S race car.

US Cargo Control straps can be used to tie down some pretty precious cargo, but for professional race car driver Michele Abbate they are used to secure her most prized possession – her car.

Racing has been a big part of Abbate’s life since she was a child. The Las Vegas native says she’s been following racing since she was just a kid. Her older brother started racing when he was 10-years-old, and the family always traveled with him and cheered him on. It wasn’t until she turned 16-years-old that Abbate put herself in the driver’s seat and her own racing career took off.

“I was always intrigued by anything with a motor, because it was always in my life – my love was truly for wheel to wheel racing, because it was always where my passion led to,” Abbate said.

Abbate got her start racing autocross with her every day car – the same car she used to get to work and the grocery store was racing in local and regional autocross events. Her racing operation has since expanded to include a 2013 Scion FR-S race car and licenses with both the National Auto Sports Association and Sports Car Club of America.

It hasn’t been an easy journey. Abbate has overcome some serious roadblocks along the way.

Last year, she lost her title sponsor three days before her first race. That disappointing news forced her to become her own team owner, start a massive fundraising campaign and build her own race car. She and her crew-chief constructed the car and now run all the maintenance and repairs themselves.

“We are a two man team on a tight budget, but we are out there finishing in front of a lot of the big boys,” Abbate said. “He and I put in the blood, sweat, tears and finances to keep the team running.”

So when we say the race car is valuable – we mean it.

US Cargo Control 2'' ratchet straps used to secure the back of the race car to the transport trailer.
US Cargo Control 2” ratchet straps used to secure the back of the race car to the trailer.

Abbate trusts US Cargo Control to keep her car safe and secure as she travels all over the country for about ten races each year. Right now, she’s using 2’’ olive green ratchet straps with double J hooks to secure the back of her car to the trailer. She selected the color to coordinate with her car.

For the front, she uses US Cargo Control’s superior, heavy- duty BlackLine ratchet straps. She says they are the only straps she’s encountered that don’t snag, shear or rip while tied-down to the front of her car.

US Cargo Control heavy-duty, BlackLine straps trusted secure the front of the car.
US Cargo Control heavy-duty, BlackLine straps trusted secure the front of the race car.

“We have been using our BlackLines for over six months and they still look brand new,” Abbate said. “There’s nothing better than knowing you have the right tools for the job and we are thankful to have US Cargo’s products with us.”

Racing is a stressful gig and it isn’t just on the track.

Abbate says financing is her biggest struggle. Last year, she launched a crowdsourcing campaign, raising more than $13,000 to fund her 2015 racing season.

“At races we strive to have the best equipment, set up, and attitude; and off the track we work equally as hard to promote, expand, and advertise for all of our partners that make this possible,” Abbate said.

US Cargo Control is proud to provide products that give Abbate and her team peace of mind as she strives for greatness. To learn more about Abbate and her racing operation visit her website.

Michele Abbate with her self built FR-S Photo Credit: Richard Pochop
Michele Abbate with her self built FR-S. Photo Credit: Richard Pochop

 

Wear Sleeves for Tie Down Straps

image of cordura wear strap Protective wear sleeves for tie down straps are one of the best investments you can make for extending the life of your strap.

These lightweight yet rugged strap protectors are also known as Cordura Wear pads due to the common use of CORDURA® fabric in many of the sleeves. Today, most of these popular protective sleeves for tie down straps are made of a generic ballistic nylon fabric, but still offers the same superior abrasion- and cut-resistance. It’s important to note that a protective wear sleeve will not add any strength to the strap or increase its working load limit or break strength.

A protective wear pad can be used with all sizes and types of webbing, and the simple tube design fits snug enough to stay in place, yet can still be moved to the area on the strap where you need it. Because it’s movable, you can place it so it’s also in contact with the cargo, reducing sliding strap marks on the load.

Cordura wear sleeves are also customizable since they can be ordered by the foot. Widths available include:

Protective Wear Sleeves for 1″ Webbing
Protective Wear Sleeves for 2″ Webbing
Protective Wear Sleeves for 3″ Webbing
Protective Wear Sleeves for 4″ Webbing

Because the nylon fabric is designed to fit snug against the webbing, they can sometimes be challenging to slide on. To install, fold the webbing in half, push through the sleeve, then unfold and pull to straighten.

How to Install L-Track Singles

23573-anchor-point-tie-down-kit-w-round-base_1_375
2″ Round Anchor Point Tie Down Kit (#APK2RBL)

l-track singles from US Cargo ControlLike L-track rails, L-track singles are incredibly versatile. They’re great for adding a tie down point just where you need it, but the small size offers up even more options than a full length track.

In this video, we installed our 2″ Track Anchor Point Tie Down System, which includes 4 sets of a round anchor, bolt plate, ring, and fasteners. This kit is also available with rectangular anchor points here: 2″ Track Anchor Point Tie Down System-Rectangular.

We set up this system with two points secured to the floor and two on the front wall of the truck bed.

Products used:

Tools required:

  • Cordless drill with 1/4 inch drill bit
  • Philips screwdriver
  • 7/16 wrench
  • Tape measure and Sharpie marker

To shop our entire line of motorcycle tie downs, click: