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There’s a local morning radio show that plays a special call-in feature before every major holiday, “Where Ya Going, Whatcha Taking?” Listeners phone in with colorful tales of mothers-in-law, great uncles and green bean casserole. But sometimes the “what you’re taking” part is much more complicated than holding a delicious raspberry fluff on your lap.
Say you are headed out for a weekend camping trip, helping your best friend move every one of his worldly possessions or picking up Grandma, who gets around best with the help of a power scooter. Whether you are trailering, loading into the bed of a pickup truck or have a handy hitch-mounted carrier, you need to secure the items being transported in the most safe, dependable way. What kind of tie down straps will best do the job?
First, understand there are much better options than using a length of rope or a bungee cord you dug out of the garage. Not using the proper equipment and techniques puts you, other motorists and your possessions at risk. You also need to consider the size of the job at hand and make sure you have straps that are the proper length, width and strength.
There are many lengths of tie downs available, from just a few feet to upwards of 40 feet for commercial trucking applications. The same holds true for strap width, typically ranging from one to four inches wide. Just remember that when it comes to tie downs, “more” is, generally speaking, better. In other words, better to be safe with heavier straps than sorry with tie downs that are not strong enough for the job.
Tie down straps come with two ratings to indicate overall strength. While the Break Strength rating tells you the minimum weight it would take to cause the strap to totally fail, it’s the Working Load rating that you really want to pay attention to. Working Load is the maximum amount of weight that a tie down can support with regular, day-to-day use and without damaging it. Working Load is calculated as 1/3 of the Break Strength.
Once you determine what you need for a tie down strap in terms of the length, width and load limit, you have more options to consider. The two main strap “styles” are Cam Buckle Straps and Ratchet Straps, and there are advantages to both.
Cam Straps are generally lighter-duty than Ratchet style and create tension through the metal teeth in the buckle to hold the strap taught. They are easy to tighten and release, an advantage for someone who may not have great hand strength or dexterity. However, if the load you are securing is a solid or dense item, such as a refrigerator or other appliance, it may be more challenging to get a Cam Strap tightened. Something like an ATV or dirt bike, however, that has “give” because of its suspension will be easier to get a secure hold with the Cam Strap style.
Ratchet Straps typically have a higher strength rating than Cam Straps and can create a tighter, more secure strap tension. However, they tend to be slightly more complicated to use and release, so they might not be ideal for all users. The Ratchet Straps also tend to be the more expensive option.
Beyond the strap styles of Cam and Ratchet, tie down straps have many different options available in terms of the hook end varieties. S hooks, J hooks, flat hooks, snap hooks and more all have advantages in particular applications; this discussion may be addressed in a future posting.
Finally, a note about overall quality. Be aware that there is a significant difference in the tie down straps available in the marketplace! The material of the strap itself, along with the quality of the metal used in the buckle and hook ends, can create significant differences in the tie down’s performance and length of life. Cheap, soft metal in a buckle will wear teeth down more quickly and lead to a strap slipping or loosening. Some ratchet handle styles are designed without an opening for an easy-to-grip handle, making them more difficult to use. Invest in a good quality set of tie down straps, and they should, with normal use, last indefinitely.
In addition to the many sizes, strap and hook end styles, there is a multitude of tie down accessories and specialized tie downs available. You can check some of them out here.
So with your quality tie down straps in hand — where are you headed next, and what are you taking?
Here is a new item we added to Discount Ramps.com
The Advantage SportsRack GlideAWAY hitch mounted 4 bike carrier is the newest addition to the Hitch Mount Bike Rack category. This bike rack features a unique accordion folding design that allows the rack to be pulled away from vehicle. This gives you an additional 23 inches of access the rear of your vehicle when extended. It also features a latch that secures the unit in it’s closed position. Fits both 1 1/4 inch and 2 inch receivers with included adapter. Make of heavy duty tubular steel with powder coat finish. Includes a 2 year manufacture’s warranty.
Thanks for reading! Jay Tamez – Discount Ramps LLC
Discount Ramps is now offering a new bike rack system that is designed to be mounted to almost any pop up camper frame. This new pop-up camper bike rack is a one of a kind bike rack system that allows you to haul 2, 4, or even 6 bikes at a time depending on which rack model you choose to purchase. Note that to haul 6 bikes you will need to get the 4 bike model and purchase two additional front fork or tire mounts to be attached to the rack. The models that we are now offering as kits are listed below.
Two Bike Rack Systems
RVPB020-1: This is our basic two bike rack system that can securely hold and transport up to two bicycles at once. (This kit does not come equipped with the recommended tire pads.)
RVPB020-1TP: This is the same two bike camper rack as listed above, however, this rack comes with two of the recommended bike tire pads which will distribute the weight of the bikes more evenly across the camper roof and prevent the camper from getting tire scuff marks or rubbed abrasions.
Four Bike Rack Systems
RVPB040-1: This is our four bike pop-up camper bike rack that comes without any of the bicycle tire pads.
RVPB040-1TP: This bike rack kit comes with the four bike system as listed above but also includes four bike tire pads to protect your camper roof.
Our new pop up camper bike rack is one of the only pop-up camper racks that allows one to haul their bikes on the front of their camper without having to make modifications or drill holes into their camper which would eventually lead to leaks along with voided warranties on new camper systems. A few features that we have built in to this camper bike carrier include things like the ability to telescope the upright support beams/bars which allows the rack to fit and accommodate many different roof heights that are unique to each pop up camper. Another great feature that is built in to this bike rack is that it can be easily turned into a 2, 4, or 6 bike rack system by simply purchasing the appropriate kit. For instance if you have the 2 bike model you can purchase additional wheel holders or skewer kits to add the capacity to carry all the way up to 6 bikes total!
Visit our main website for additional information and pricing on our Pop up Camper Bike Rack Systems.
If you would like to see the rest of our bike racks view our main bike rack category page.
*NOTE: DiscountRamps.com LLC recommends that you mount your bikes via their forks as that is the most secure method of mounting your bikes for transport!*
We have recently added a new hitch cargo carrier system to our website that is unlike any other carrier on the market. It is called the Take-A-Seat hitch mounted carrier. The Take-A-Seat carrier is a 3-in-1 system that allows you to carry cargo or bikes and allows people to sit on it as a chair/bench. When the Take-A-Seat is setup as the cargo carrier it can haul an assortment of items ranging from toolboxes to coolers or any other item that is under 500lbs (for the 2″ hitch model) and 350lbs (for the 1-1/4″ hitch model). When this hitch carrier is setup in the bike rack position it allows for users to carry up to 3 bikes at a time. It even has an integrated tie-down system to secure the bikes to the carrier. When this unit is set up in its last form, as the hitch mounted seat, two people can comfortable sit to enjoy a great tailgating session. It even comes with two cup holders! Here is a picture of the Take-A-Seat Cargo Carrier in action (Picture also shows it setup as bike carrier and hitch seat).
As you can see this carrier is the most versatile on the market and we’re proud to offer it to our customers at very low prices. (Note: Pricing varies depending on size and color chosen.) The standard color for this carrier is black. For further details on the Take-A-Seat hitch cargo carrier, bike rack, and seat checkout DiscountRamps.com.
If you are looking for a carrier that isn’t made of fabric check out our other hitch cargo carrier models.
Here is just one example of our popular steel folding carrier and bike rack cargo carriers that mounts in to your hitch.