This article was written for all you guys and gals working out of trucks every day to keep homes, businesses, and farms maintained.
There is no worse feeling than watching the load on your ladder rack go flying over the hood of your truck when you slam on the brakes. The same could be said for looking in your side mirror as the load on your truck or trailer is spilling out into the road. If you work out of a truck, van, or trailer, having the right tools is a must. The time spent at a distributor tying down your load is not making you any money. Let’s take a detailed look at how a simple ladder rack strap saves us countless hours every year and changed the way we work forever.
The Problem With Standard Straps
If the photo above looks familiar, it’s because this is how most ratchet straps look piled up in the back of your van or truck. You show up to the warehouse to load the day’s inventory and spend fifteen minutes untangling straps. Once you finally get everything strapped down, you spend the next five minutes securing the excess strap, so it’s not dragging the ground. Rack-Straps eliminate these daily stresses by always being right where you need them, with no excess strap to deal with.
What is a Rack-Strap Tie Down?
A Rack-Strap branded tie down is a permanently mounted ratchet tie down strap that can be installed on ladder racks, vans, and trailers. They feature a simple design that uses only a few parts to help secure loads on vehicles and trailers. The manufacturer offers them in several configurations that allow you to mount them to round pipe, square tubing, and they offer adapters for mounting to utility work van racks. This is a must-have for any professional who struggles daily with securing the load on your work vehicle.
- Made in the USA.
- Bolts or welds to Rack, Always where you need it.
- Solid Steel Constructed Frame.
- Available in Zinc-Yellow, Zinc-Silver, or Powder coated Finishes for extreme weather protection.
- 8 Ft. x 1.5 Inch Wide Strap for large holding capacity.
- Complete assembly, ready to install.
- Multiple mounting brackets, fit almost any rack.
- Working Load Limit: 500 lbs.
How Do You Tighten a Rack-Strap?
Rack-Strap tie downs come with a short metal bar about six inches long that is used to cinch down your load with precise control. It is a little tool that stores right on the Rack-Strap itself and is always ready at a moment’s notice. The gravity fed bar will fall into the next cog as you tighten and guarantee your load will be right where you put it once you reach your destination. We have used Rack-Straps for over seven years now and never had one fail.
Rack-Strap Tie Down Real-World Examples
We have been using our Rack-Straps for years and trust them to secure all our loads, whether it is a stack of new garage doors or the ones we just removed. Here on the top of our F-250 pickup we have garage doors stacked twelve sections high for a total of five garage doors being secured with our trusty Rack-Straps.
Here is a normal trip to the distributor to pick up new garage doors for upcoming installations. We have five garage doors strapped down on both sides of the trailer using a total of seven Rack-Straps. As you can see, built-in straps make for a nice and tidy load when traveling down the road.
Our purpose built 16ft garage door trailer has four Rack-Strap tie downs mounted down each side of the trailer. The reason for this is when we are hauling 8 or 9 foot doors, we can use two straps per stack of doors to guarantee our load will still be there once we get to our first job. Having these straps built-in saves us half an hour every day not having to find and untangle straps.
We accumulate a lot of cardboard installing garage doors, and trying to secure it for the long ride home can be tough. This is yet another great use for Rack-Straps. Because they feature a ratcheting drive, you can snug the straps down super tight to prevent your trash from littering the road.
Here is yet another example of how we use Rack-Straps on our trailer. We sold a black leather couch and threw it on our trailer and criss-crossed a couple of rack straps in a matter of seconds. The load was completely secure and did not budge an inch. Because of the unique ratcheting system, we were able to snug it down without damaging the couch.
Other Uses for Rack-Strap Tie Downs
- ATV’s and UTV’s
- Pipe Fitters
- Irrigation Companies
- Gutter Companies
- Weekend Warrior
Rack-Strap Attachment Point
On all of our trucks and trailers, we have 5/4 boards mounted to haul garage door sections. Underneath these boards, we mounted a simple pick-up arm bracket with a pin that is used to connect an automatic opener to a garage door. You can probably find something like this online, or rig another type of bracket for a quick attachment point. This has worked really well for us, and it has never let us down.
Here is a view from the other side, showing a strap attached to the pick-up arm bracket. We mount these close to the edge of the board, so we can utilize as much strap as possible. Your strongest attachment point will always be going back to the frame of the Rack-Strap, like it was designed to be used. But, we have found it limits our carrying capacity, so we improvised a little, which has worked out great for us.
Rack-Strap Tie Downs for Pipe Racks
Rack-Strap branded tie down straps also come in a round pipe configuration that allows you to mount them to a ladder rack built with 1 1/4” to 2” OD pipe. What is nice about the round pipe mounts is you can perfectly select the angle you want the Rack-Strap mounted before drilling the holes. This type of mount is commonly found on many DIY ladder racks purchased at big box stores and Harbor Freight.
Alternative Rack-Strap Sold at Northern Tool?
Northern Tool sells a knock off version of the original Rack-Strap that we have purchased as well. They hold up good, but the strap is not the same quality as the original Rack-Strap. It is made from a softer material and has a tendency to wear quicker.
The original Rack-Strap in black offers a thicker strap with a tighter weave that is stiffer than what is offered from the Northern Tool version. Both models are very similar in looks, but the original Rack-Strap model seems to operate smoother over time. Both models are the same price, so you’re better off buying the original Rack-Strap, which will provide years of trouble-free service.
Rack-Strap vs. System One Work Winch
On my System One Tool Box, I have Rack-Straps mounted along with the System One Work Winches. If I am comparing the two, the Rack-Strap tie downs beat the System One Work Winches any day of the week. There is no comparison. The simplicity and ease of use with the Rack-Strap tie down is what makes them indispensable when working out of your truck daily. The ability to quickly retract the strap back onto the reel provides a rinse and repeat reliability and convenience that is second to none. Don’t get me wrong, the System One Work Winches are super heavy duty, but they are cumbersome to use when compared to Rack-Strap Tie Downs.
Buy Directly from the Manufacturer
Buying directly from the manufacturer will make sure they receive all the money from the sale, which will help to ensure they stay in business for years to come. If you purchase on Amazon.com, they will take a large cut of the profits, which is hard on small business.
We need to start supporting our local small businesses by purchasing products directly from them, even if it means we have to pay a little shipping. I don’t make any money if you buy from customtiedowns.com. I am writing this article to help out others who work out of their trucks and trailers and need to tie down stuff daily. Furthermore, I hope this article was useful.
As you can see, I am a huge fan of Rack-Straps. We have probably purchased over thirty straps through the years in many configurations, and not one has ever let us down. If you find yourself frustrated while tying down your materials, I highly recommend investing in Rack-Straps. They will transform the way you work and help keep the roads a much safer place.