How to Secure Things in a Pickup Truck

Learn the best ways to secure your belongings in your truck using retractable ratchet straps.

a pickup truck with a motorcycle tied down in its truck bed.

Did you know that in 2019, out of about 6.8 million car crashes reported in the U.S., 212,000 were caused by objects on the road? We all know that pickup trucks are great for transporting all sorts of items – from motorcycles, ATVs, and kayaks to furniture and heavy equipment. But if these items aren’t tied down properly, they can get damaged or even fly out of the truck while you’re driving—and that’s the last thing we want to happen.

Below, we’ll introduce the straps and truck tie downs we recommend and show you how to use them to secure your cargo in your pickup truck.

5 steps to secure items on your truck

a step by step guide on how to use our recommended truck tie downs- retractable straps to secure things in a pickup truck

Step 1. Open the ratchet handle

All you need to do first is to open the handle to nearly 180 degrees to pull out the strap.

Step 2. Hook the strap

If your truck bed has anchor points to hook the straps to, perfect—go ahead and use them. If not, no worries, you can easily install some!

Step 3. Tighten the strap

This step is easier than you might think. Just pull the handle up and down until the strap feels tight enough. But be careful not to overdo it—you don’t want to tighten it so much that it damages your item!

Step 4. Lock the strap

Simply close the ratchet handle or push it down to lock the strap in place.

Step 5. Release the strap

When you’re ready to release, just open the handle all the way to 180 degrees and the strap will automatically retract!

Best truck bed tie downs

1. Heavy tie downs

one of the truck bed tie downs we recommend

This type of truck tie down is best for securing kayaks, motorcycles, or furniture. When it comes to tying down a kayak or motorcycle, two straps should do the trick!

  • Size: 1 in x 12 ft
  • Breaking strength: 1800lbs/816kgs
  • Working load limit: 600lbs/272kgs

2. 1 in x 6 ft retractable ratchet straps

one of the truck tie downs that can secure things like dirt bikes or e-bikes.

If you’re tying down something like a dirt bike, e-bike, or lighter furniture, this kind of strap is definitely a great choice!

  • Size: 1 in x 6 ft
  • Breaking Strength: 1,500LBS/680KG
  • Working Load Limit: 500LBS/227KG

3. 1 in 10 ft retractable ratchet straps

retractable ratchet straps that can tie down jetski, motorcycle, or cargo.

If you happen to own a motorcycle, kayak and a jet-ski, this strap is literally perfect for you!

  • Size: 1 in x 10 ft
  • Breaking Strength: 1,500LBS/680KG
  • Working Load Limit: 500LBS/227KG

What are retractable ratchet straps?

Retractable ratchet straps are tie-downs that automatically retract the strap. What makes them different from the regular tie-downs is their ease of use. There’s no need to tie off ends or thread straps before use. Just hook the strap, tighten it, and you’re good to go. Plus, you won’t have to deal with any annoying, flapping extra strap!

Make sure you choose the right strap for your cargo! The strap’s weight capacity should be higher than the weight of the item you’re tying down.

How do you choose the tie-down points?

Choosing the right anchor or tie-down points is crucial when securing any type of cargo with retractable ratchet straps. Different items require different tie-down points, but all should be strong, in good condition, and securely fastened to prevent the straps from slipping or coming loose.

The tie-down points for securing a dirt bike

When securing a dirt bike in a truck bed or on a trailer, using the correct tie-down points is essential for safe transport. Here are the primary tie-down points and techniques for securing a dirt bike:

  1. Handlebars: The most common tie-down points on a dirt bike are the handlebars. We recommend using soft loops to wrap around each handlebar near the grips to avoid scratching or damaging the handlebars. All you need to do next is to hook the strap on the soft loop!
  2. Foot Pegs: Attaching straps to the foot pegs can provide additional stability. This helps prevent the bike from moving side to side. Again, using soft loops is recommended to protect scratching the bike!
  3. Frame: Some people prefer to tie down their dirt bikes by the frame, especially if it provides a more secure anchor point than the handlebars or foot pegs. Make sure the chosen frame part is strong enough to handle the tension.

The tie down points for securing a motorcycle

Here are key tie-down points to consider when securing a motorcycle:

  1. Handlebars: Much like with dirt bikes, the handlebars are commonly used as tie-down points. Attach soft loops around each handlebar to prevent scratching, then hook your straps to these loops.
  2. Triple Tree: For motorcycles, the triple tree (the part of the bike that connects the handlebars and front wheel to the frame) is a strong point for attaching straps. This can be a better choice than the handlebars if you’re concerned about damaging them. Soft loops can also be used here for extra protection.
  3. Frame: Tying down from a sturdy part of the motorcycle frame can provide secure anchoring. Choose non-moving parts that are structurally sound and capable of handling load tension without causing damage.
  4. Fork Tubes: Some prefer to use the fork tubes near the front of the motorcycle as tie-down points, using soft straps to avoid scratching the chrome or paint.
  5. Swingarm or Rear Frame: For the rear of the motorcycle, the swingarm or a secure part of the rear frame can be used. Again, use soft loops to protect the finish.

Most pickup trucks today come with a variety of built-in tie-down points, including hooks and loops. Be sure to choose points that offer the best hold for your cargo and double-check that they’re properly secured to the bed.

tattooed man securing box cargo on pickup truck using strapinno retractable ratchet straps

6 tips for securing cargo in a pickup truck

Securing cargo in a pickup truck requires some general rules and tips to ensure the straps won’t get loose and risk items falling off your truck. Here are a few to consider:

1. Organize Your Items

Before you start strapping items down in your truck, organizing them is critical to a secure and safe hold. Make sure to place the heaviest items at the front of the truck bed or the area near your cab to balance your truck’s center of gravity. Otherwise, an uneven level of weight distribution can negatively affect your vehicle’s steering and stability.

2. Protect Delicate Items

If you’re loading delicate items like art pieces, appliances, or furniture, use moving blankets or webbing protectors to keep them safe. Add padding to the corners where the straps touch to prevent friction and damage. Make sure the pads are securely attached so they don’t come loose during the trip. Using protective pads is an easy and effective way to protect both your straps and your items.

3. Secure with Multiple Straps

When strapping down the items, make sure you tie them down from at least two different angles, so if one strap comes off (although unlikely with retractable ratchet straps), there’s still another strap holding your cargo. However, it is highly recommended to use multiple retractable ratchet straps.

4. Use Soft Loops for Hard-to-Hook Objects

Use soft loops to secure objects that are hard to hook. These soft loop straps are helpful as a tie-down extension for dirt bikes, motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, and UTVs. Aside from securing your stuff, soft loops can protect items from damage and help keep your vehicle scratch-free. Create tie-down points to attach the hook so it won’t scratch your car’s paint. However, ensure that the straps are rated for the weight of the cargo and are not frayed, and follow proper steps when securing the items.

5. Attach Bright-Colored Flags

Attach a bright-colored flag on overhanging items or those that lay past your truck’s tailgate. Flags allow the vehicles behind you to see the end of your cargo to prevent them from accidentally hitting your load.

6. Double-Check Everything

Lastly, make sure to double-check after loading items on your pick-up truck. Double-checking all the straps and attachments ensures everything is tight and secure, preventing serious road accidents.

Final thoughts

Retractable ratchet straps are not only easy to use, but they make tying down items safer and faster. Strapinno offers reliable retractable ratchet straps that can effectively secure items in your pickup truck. Grab yourself a pair of Strapinno’s retractable ratchet straps and enjoy the amazing retractable features of these tie-downs!

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