Best Ratchet Tie Down Straps for ATVs and UTVs
Keep your ATV or UTV secure on your trailer
Unless you have pristine sand dunes, scenic mountain trails, or vast open wilderness at your back door, as well as a dealership that offers pick-up and delivery, you’re going to need to trailer your ATV or UTV at some point. I’m going to take a moment to compose myself because I’m betting there is at least one of you out there that has all that. For the rest of us, we have to trailer our machines, and that is going to call for the use of ratchet tie down straps.
When it comes to important equipment you need when owning an ATV or UTV, the first thing most people think of is safety gear like helmets, goggles, and gloves. While they’re not wrong, good ratchet tie down straps are some of the best towing accessories to secure your load and safely transport a machine on a trailer, or even in a truck bed. Yes, there are some products out there that do the same thing with a slightly different function, such as wheel chocks, etc., but for the most part, the vast majority of riders out across this wide world use ratchet tie down straps. Ratchet straps secure the machine by tightening it down and loading up the suspension, using the rebounding force against the machine to help hold it snug and secure.
With so many varieties of ratchet tie down straps available, it can be hard to determine which is best for your needs. That is where our team of editorial experts come into play. We’ve covered thousands of miles towing ATVs and UTVs securely and have picked out what we feel are some of the best ratchet tie down straps for you to choose from.
Lead Photo By Eli Madero
Table of Contents
1. Editor's Choice: Mac's Tie-Downs 6'x1" Ratchet Strap Utility Pack
When it comes to quality tie-downs, rest assured that what you get from Macs Tie-Downs are going to be some of, if not the best in the business. If you wonder why, its because that is all they do and it shows in the high quality of their products like their Ratchet Strap Utility Pack. This pack comes complete with 4 of Macs 6 x 1 ratchet tie-downs that each have a 2,800 pound minimum breaking strength, 4 1 x 18 soft loops, 4 strap bands and a compact duffel bag to keep everything together when not in use. To see just how good this strap kit is, we ordered a set to put to the test while transporting some of our ATVs.
[caption id="attachment_108807" align="alignnone" width="668"] It might not seem like much to you, but I really appreciate the sturdy, compact duffle bag that comes in the kit to keep all of your tie-down gear together. Photo Credit: Eli Madero[/caption]
Before using new products to transport machines, I really like to inspect the quality of the products that Ill be using. Things like the quality of the strap material, the stitching to secure the strap to the ratchet mechanism and hooks, and most importantly the ratchet itself need to be inspected before use. If any of the aforementioned are inadequate, you stand a good chance of having a loose load and we all know what that can lead to.
Well, upon inspection everything appeared perfect on the products in the Macs Tie-Downs Utility Pack. The ratchet assemblies are large when compared to some lesser priced ratchet straps that you might find at big box stores and feature a patent pending EZ-Release design. To secure your load to the truck or trailer, Macs uses a strong select nylon webbing that gets secured to the ratchet assembly and ? thick, vinyl coated S-hook utilizing their characteristic double box stitch that provides maximum tear resistance under the most extreme loads. This same stitching is also utilized on the 1 x 18 soft loops.
One of my favorite features of these straps is that they are a 1-piece design. This means that you dont need to worry about feeding the strap through the ratchet mechanism before use. While this might not seem like an important feature to many, I appreciate it because its one less item that can get lost or misplaced. Some might see this as a disadvantage in the event that the webbing material becomes damaged from tears or abrasion, but Macs offers a rewebbing service that other brands dont. In fact, you can get replacements for every part of your tie-downs directly from Macs to keep your pack in perfect condition.
As for the operation of the ratchet tie-downs, I cant say enough good things about them when I used them to tie down my ATV and spare parts during a move to my new state. The large, vinyl S-hooks were easy to place on my trailer's anchor points, and by utilizing the soft loops I easily found a good securing point on my ATVs frame without having to worry about the frame paint being damaged. The shining star of the strap assemblies is the ratchet mechanism. Ive had plenty of ratchet tie-downs from a number of different brands, and the ones from Macs are hands down the best I've ever used.
[caption id="attachment_108803" align="alignnone" width="668"] All tie down's are not created equal. When put next to a discount brand ratchet tie-down (with a claimed 1,500 lb break point) it's easy to see the differences of the two that range from the hook size to the size of the ratchet mechanism. Photo Credit: Eli Madero[/caption]
For starters, the ratchet assembly is larger than many competing brands, meaning that its easier to grab the handle and release mechanism. Oh . the release mechanism. This has been the headache component of many ratchet straps, but not with the Macs. When you pull the release mechanism, the barrel of the ratchet spins freely so you can loosen the strap with ease. As for the ratchet itself, the operation is smooth and the locks firmly hold the strap barrel in place. Of course with any strap, regardless of how good everything is, I still recommend double checking the tightness of your straps after towing 20 miles or so. As you travel its not uncommon for straps to slightly stretch and loosen up
To wrap the review of the Macs Tie-Downs Utility Pack, I dont think you could find a better set of ratchet tie-down straps anywhere for transporting ATVs and large motorcycles. Macs has hit it out of the park with the quality of materials and workmanship in this kit. The tie-downs themselves are amazing, but when you throw in a good set of soft loops, hook and loop bands to make storage and securing of excess strap webbing easy, all with the convenience of a carrying bag, there isnt another set that Id want for my hauling needs. Now if youre looking to haul something larger like a UTV, dont fret because Macs also has a UTV Tie Down Pack that is designed for the additional weight of those loads.
2. Runner Up: Rhino USA Ratchet Tie-Down Strap Kit
Coming in a close second on our list, the Rhino USA ratchet tie down kit is a good option for those that want a strong set of ratchet tie downs but dont want or cant spend as much as our top pick. If you think the name sounds familiar, youre right as youve probably seen some of the other products that they manufacture such as tow straps and recovery gear in addition to the tie down kits.
I was able to get my hands on their Heavy-Duty Ratchet Tie Down kits to see if they were as good as they claim. The kit comes with 4 ratchet tie downs that feature 1.6 wide poly/silk blend webbing straps with vinyl coated S-hooks. These S-hooks also feature integrated safety clips that have a rubber cover to prevent surface scratching. The ratchet assemblies also feature a rubber end-cap design that are claimed to increase comfort when tightening or releasing the ratchet and the straps are secured in place on the hooks and ratchet assemblies using premium double diamond stitching, which Rhino USA claims to provide a breaking strength of over 5,000lbs.
The kit also comes with 4 strap extenders that are made from the same 1.6 webbing used for the tie-down straps, 4 velcro straps so you can secure any unused strap material, and a convenient draw string storage bag to keep everything together and your tow rig uncluttered. Combine all these features with a lifetime warranty surely has to be the winning combination, right?
[caption id="attachment_108815" align="alignnone" width="668"] The Rhino USA strap (bottom) is wider when compared to the Mac's by over .5", which some may consider an advantage. The Mac's strap is actually thicker and has a higher breaking point when looking at the numbers. Photo Credit: Eli Madero[/caption]
I tested these straps head-to-head with our Editors Choice winning straps while transporting my Honda TRX 450R, with each side of the machine set up identically as the other. Right off the bat, as I wrapped the strap extender around the frame of my ATV I could instantly see a difference between brands. While the 1.6 strap does provide excellent strength, it also does make the strap less pliable when trying to wrap it around a tight corner of an ATV frame. The bulkiness of the wider strap just isnt as easy to work with. This was also noticeable when securing the strap in the S-hook of the ratchet-tie down. If you just looped the extender through itself requiring only one end to be secured in the S-hook, it was no problem. If you are going to run both looped ends of the extender through the S-hook the bulkiness made it tougher to get properly in place. Part of this issue is just the amount of space you have in the S-hook because of the safety clips placement. Its not a horrible issue, but just requires more finesse and time to get things secured.
[caption id="attachment_108813" align="alignnone" width="668"] The Rhino USA ratchet tie downs have strong S-hooks that also feature integrated safety clips. These are good when using the supplied strap extenders, but when you want to secure them to a frame or other mounting point, they might limit your anchor choices by being in the way. Photo Credit: Eli Madero[/caption]
Now to the ratchet assembly itself. Just like the ones found on Macs products, these are fairly large giving you confidence that they will hold large loads in place without worry. During transportation, I never had any issues with them and tightening the load down before I left was easy. The difference I found was when releasing the tension of the tie-down when unloading. The Rhino USA ratchet tie-downs do have a smooth release as claimed but didnt freewheel as easily as our winners when in the release position. In fact, I found that I had to hold the release mechanism back and give some good tugs to get the spool to start unwinding. Again, not a horrible issue, but when compared to our top choice it just wasnt as easy.
When done you can easily wrap the straps up and secure everything together with the supplied Velcro straps and toss them into the drawstring bags to keep it all together. The bag not as nice as the small, zippered duffle bag as our winner, but still functional just the same.
Are these straps bad? Not at all. In fact, I felt confident in them to secure my ATV down rough country roads. The differences between our two top options are very small details, which you might say are reflected in the price you pay since these cost a little less than a third of our top choice.
3. Best Budget Option: AUGO Ratchet Straps
if you're in a pinch and on a budget, these ratchet straps from Augo come in clutch! For less than thirty bucks, you get for 15' x 1" ratchet straps that Augo claims to have a 2,200 lb break strength, but have a recommended load capacity of 733 lbs. The straps feature vinyl coated S-hooks that have an integrated safety lock to ensure that your straps won't come free in the event that they loosen up. The ratchet assemblies themselves feature a rubber
For less than $20, the AUGO ratchet tie down straps kit features four 15-foot ratchet straps with a 1,500-pound breaking force and two bungee cords. The ATV and UTV tie downs have coated S hooks to prevent scratching, and what AUGO says is a unique molding technology that ensures that the handles never fall off and our equipment is completely secure.
4. Best Big UTV Strap: Trekassy
With the trend of big, multi-passenger UTVs going strong in the market, you need a way to secure these monsters to the trailer and have peace of mind that it isn't going anywhere. The Trekassy wheel net tie down kit is designed to securely hold even full size trucks down to a trailer, so your UTV will be no trouble whatsoever. The UTV tie down system comes with four solid ratchets with snap hooks, four 12-foot tire straps, four 36-inch soft axle straps, and a carry bag. The tire straps/wheel nets are non-abrasive and will fit any size wheel and will hold your UTV tight to the trailer. These aren't the cheapest UTV tie downs, but are up for just about any task.
5. Commercial Style Option: Erickson
If you are willing to make some modifications to your trailer, the Erickson commercial ATV strap tie-down kit is worthy of consideration. This ATV tie down system includes two ratchet straps (six feet long, two inches wide) and four E-track powder-coated wheel chocks. Those wheel chocks need to be bolted to the bed of your trailer, but when that is done you have a completely secure set up. The chocks go in front and back of both rear wheels and will fit tires up to 30 inches in diameter. Once the chocks are installed, you can drive over them when loading and unloading. Used together, this kit is able to support a vehicle up to 1500 pounds, so it can conceivably be used for some UTVs.
What Do You Need To Look For In Ratchet Tie Down Straps
First, you need to know the weight of the machine that you're transporting and make sure that the straps are strong enough to secure it in place. All ratchet tie down straps are not created equal. If you look at some of the different ratchet tie down straps on our list, you can see a difference in the thickness of the straps, and on some of them how the stitching is to secure the strap to the ratchet assembly and S-hook. It would be a shame, and very dangerous, if you tried to save a few bucks by purchasing some thin strap ratchet tie downs that didn't met the weight requirements of your load and lost your ATV on the road.
How Many Different Ways Are There To Secure My Ratchet Tie Down Straps To My Anchor Location?
S-hooks are the most common attachment style for tie-down straps because of their simplicity and ability to be used on metal rails where other forms may not work. They come in various sizes, and we recommend to go with some that are larger when you're transporting an ATV. Another common type of attachment is an S-hook that features a spring loaded "keeper". These types are great for keeping your strap secured to your anchor point in the event that your strap develops slack. Finally you can also use a flat snap hook, which is much like the S-hook with a keeper, but much more heavy duty in design. These are typically used with anchor points where D-rings or track systems are in use.
What Is The Best Way To Use Ratchet Tie Down Straps
I am always amazed when I learn a new trick, especially when it comes to securing a load on a trailer. When it comes to using ratchet straps, I have picked up a few tricks along the way. You always want to start out by having your machine centered on the trailer, with the majority of the weight forward of the rear-most trailer axle. If youre hauling two machines, make sure the weight is even side-to-side. This will help balance the load going down the road and help you avoid the death-wobble.
When possible, I like to hook the ratchet mechanism end to the trailer. The strap end then hooks to the machine. One of the best ways to secure the strap to the machine is by using a soft loop. This keeps the metal hook from scratching the machine, and it gives me a solid point to secure the strap to. If you are securing the machine from the handlebars on an ATV, use soft loops and secure it from the base, near the bar mount. Never use the ends, as it can damage controls, grips, or worse, come loose. The front of the frame works best for both ATVs and UTVs. Always use a strap on each side and try to make the force applied even, to keep the machine level. At the rear of the machine, I have found that the trailer hitch area, or the rear-most exposed part of the frame, is the best place to secure it. Again, coming from both sides to even the load.
A tip I picked up from long-haul truckers is to give the ratchet tie down straps a twist before you tighten them down. The most common point of failure comes when the strap wears against a surface and breaks, or comes loose. Having that twist causes the strap to move with the wind and greatly reduces the amount of force the wind exerts on the strap, reducing fatigue on the strap, and on the anchor points. Sounds crazy, but ever since I was told this, I havent lost a tie down!
How Can I Make My Ratchet Straps Last Longer?
Im as guilty of it as anyone. You get to where youre going, and you take off the ratchet tie down straps, and you just chuck them into a pile into the back of the truck. Not really the best way to take care of things. It gets worse when you do it when its raining or snowing, and the straps get put away wet. Do yourself a favor, and take a few minutes to roll them up and put them away right. If its wet, make sure you stretch them out and dry them fully.
A shot of WD-40 on the ratchet mechanism will save you so much grief, too. When they start to stick, and you know what I mean, spray some good penetrating oil into the ratchet and slowly work it for a few minutes. I always like to use WD-40 because it is naturally based, made from mostly fish oil, do it won't hurt anything it gets on, except maybe a nice, clean shirt. Don't ask me how I know this.
9/6/2022: Added two product reviews (Mac's Custom Tie Downs and Rhino USA ), updated product links, removed OOS items, added FAQ questions, added additional resources
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