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.

What’s the Difference Between Seat Belt Webbing and Polyester Webbing?

3321-polyester-seat-belt-webbing-2-x-600-roll-mixed-gray_1_640A: Seat belt webbing is actually a polyester webbing but it’s slightly thinner and typically has a lower tensile strength than regular polyester webbing that’s usually used for ratchet straps, cam straps and winch straps. It obviously gets its name from its main use as webbing used for seat belts and other automotive restraints, but it can also be used for a variety of other applications: tents, tarps, bag straps, camping gear, boating accessories, garden and lawn equipment uses.

Both regular polyester webbing and seatbelt webbing have excellent qualities for rugged use: it will not shrink, rot, mildew, or mold, because it absorbs very little water. It also stands up well to UV rays and many acids.

You can see all of our cargo webbing here: Webbing.

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10 Great Uses for Seatbelt Webbing

image of gray seatbelt webbing from us cargo controlWhen you hear about seatbelt webbing, you may get some great ideas for one or two uses, but are you really getting the most out of our high quality polyester webbing, or not?  Why keep this great material to just one or two uses when it can be used in so many different areas around your property?  Just take a look at the basic list of ten great uses for our seatbelt webbing, and let it give you ideas for the best ways you can use this excellent durable material.

#1 Custom tie downs

Add any type of tie down hardware like ratchet buckles, hooks, S-hooks, etc., and you can create tie down straps custom-made for a variety of tie-down jobs: hauling motorcycles, securing a tarp on a boat, attaching gear to a 4-wheeler, etc. You can even use multiple straps to create a custom cargo net. Seat belt webbing is thinner than typical polyester webbing, so it’s great for jobs where you need strength but in a thinner profile.

#2 Replace broken straps or handles

Instead of throwing out broken bags, backpacks, golf bags, etc., just create new, stronger straps from our seatbelt webbing, right to the exact length you need. The polyester web is also easy to add to camera bags, guitars and more, to make them easier to carry or handle.

#3 Make custom length leashes for large dogs

Not every dog is going to require the same type of leash, even among the same breeds.  You can create a custom length dog leash for the family’s best four legged friend and make sure it’s just right for walker and walkee.

#4 Replace older seat belt web

Our seatbelt webbing is an economically friendly alternative to many other types of webbing and straps used for the same exact purposes.

#5 Create “storage baskets” from rafters

Need places to hang tool boxes from in the garage or hang baskets of miscellaneous stuff where it’s easy to grab, but not taking up counter space?  Here you go!

#6 Add safety strap to open shelves

Have some shelves proving a little too narrow for heavy boxes?  Add safety straps across each shelf to keep all your stored things in place!

 #7 Create storage space on open walls in a garage or shed

If you have open wall studs in your garage, attach a length of seatbelt webbing across the wall, to allow for rakes, tools, etc. to be stacked and held in place between the stud. Also great for creating short straps to secure garbage cans to a wall, propping a door open on a barn, fastening around a tool box or other cargo during transit, and more!

#8 Repair lawn chairs or hammocks

Sometimes also called lawn chair webbing, the durable, low-stretch polyester is ideal for fixing or reinforcing framed lawn chairs, even hammocks and other outdoor furniture.

#9 Use as lifting straps for heavy loads

Lifting straps can be a great tool, as anyone who has ever worked on a farm and had to lift unwieldy bales of hay or bags of feed from one place to another.  Use these to make the lifting easier on you and your workers!

#10 Secure tents

The wide 2″ width of polyester webbing is perfect for reinforcing straps on tents. And because the polyester resists water absorption, it won’t rot or mildew like some all-natural ropes can.

Those are ten great reasons to go with our seatbelt webbing, which gives all the benefits of polyester webbing and often at a less expensive price.