In this article: We'll unbox and review a pair of VehicleX's ratchet tie-down straps and detail out some of their key features.
No one wants to drive up to your destination only to backtrack to find something that flew off the roof or out of the bed of your truck. Whether you're securing gear to the top of your SUV, strapping down a Razr to the trailer or tying down your Christmas tree from the lot – you're going to want a quality tie down strap that's strong and reliable.
Ratchet straps are the new way to secure your stuff. Gone are the days of yanking on a pull-strap to get enough tension on the handlebars of your bike so that it won't topple over around a corner! There's a few good options on the market now, but I recently received some of VehicleX's 15ft ratchet straps and figured I'd give you a look at them as we open them up. So in this article, I'll open up a brand new set of the straps, point out some of their key features and give you an honest opinion so that you know what you're getting into if you choose to buy them.
VehicleX Ratchet Tie-Down Straps – Feature Overview
Storage Carry Bag
The first thing that you're going to see when you open up your Amazon or shipping box with your VehicleX tie-down straps is the included carrying bag. And what I like about the VehicleX bag vs some other tie down brand's draw-string bag is that it's square shape and zip up lid. Maybe it's just an OCD thing but throwing a bunch of tie down straps into a pull-string bag isn't as satisfying as packing them into a zip-up case that'll fit neatly under the back seat of your truck. I've always been the guy to wind up the straps so that they're not just a mess in a bin. Personally, this type of bag would be my preference.
Tie-down straps have a few different types of hook shapes/types. Among them you have “T” hooks, “S” hooks, snap hooks, carabiner and “J” hooks (to name a few). The VehicleX ratchet straps feature a closed “S” hook with a spring-loaded clip. They're vinyl coated and look pretty heavy duty even though these aren't the ‘heavy duty' sets.
The hooks have a spring-loaded clip too. Having a clip can be a blessing and a burden though. For these types of straps, which include a soft loop to strap down things without placing the actual “S” hook on your handle bars (for example), it's ideal because you can put both sides of the loops onto the hook and clip them in. The loops won't ever come out. This'll simplify things when you go to put tension on the straps. However, if you're not using the loops, the clips can sometimes get in the way if you try to hook onto something sizeable. In particular, and I'm sure most of you have experienced this, clipping onto something that's juuuuust the right size to make it incredibly difficult to unclip. That said, I do like the clip idea on these hooks and for 95% of cases – like hooking onto one of my truck bed clips, using the loops around a motorcycle handlebar, etc – the clip will come into handy and prevent the hook from falling off when you're putting tension on the strap.
The only thing I would have liked to see is the clip coated with the same material as the hook like they do on their Heavy Duty tie downs.
Breaking strength is probably one of the most important factors when you're purchasing a tie down strap for gear or for heavy items. 1200-1500lb breaking strength is probably the most common among cheaper ratcheting tie down straps. But once you step up from your Home Depot or U-Haul options, 2000-2500lb breaking strength is actually pretty common too, followed by your ~4400lb+ breaking strengths which are normally labeled as heavy duty.
VehicleX's standard Ratchet Tie Downs have a breaking strength of 2200lbs, which is a little higher than average tie down straps. Unless you're strapping down heavy equipment, these are probably going to cover 99% of use cases out there like strapping motorcycles down or tying down gear to your roof, etc. What really dictates breaking strength is the strap material, width and stitching but I'll get into that next. And no, I'm not going to try to put these to the test and load them up with over two thousand pounds of tension. You'll have to trust the rating.
Strap Size & Length
VehicleX offers two lengths for their 2200lb ratchet tie downs – 8′ and 15′. The 8ft options are perfect for the bed of your truck, roof racks, etc. But, if you're looking to strap down large items or pack up a U-haul I'd probably recommend the 15ft to give you some room. You can always just wrap up or loop up excess straps.
The straps are 1″ wide and are made from polyester webbing. Just by looking at the straps, it's tough to really determine quality but comparing them to some of the standard/cheap straps I have from Home Depot they're definitely thicker with less give which is expected because my cheaper straps have a much lower breaking strength. The stitch pattern looks nice too, nothing really to note there.
I mentioned this briefly earlier but the VehicleX ratchet tie-downs also come with soft loops. If you're not familiar with soft loops, they're used to wrap around an object (like handlebars) so that you don't have to put your metal hooks directly on the item you're trying to strap. It prevents scratching or damaging your item but they also open up your ability to tie down objects with less-than ideal hooking surfaces. They're 18″ long so it really opens up your ability to strap down/around all sorts of objects. And like the rest of the strap they're made with the same polyester material, stitching and are 1″ wide.
Ratchet Mechanism & Quick Release
The ratchet mechanism on these is pretty standard for the most part. The handle is “ergonometric” which basically means it's more comfortable and easier to pull than a standard metal handle. But to be honest, comparing the handle to my cheaper ratchet straps there is a significant difference in comfortability when ratcheting the VehicleX straps. However, the handle isn't like what you'd find on a heavy duty strap that's more of a loop and wide enough to wrap your hand around. I don't think that's really necessary though on these types of straps. If you want heavy duty, get the heavy duty ones.
The release mechanism was pretty flawless. No stickiness or difficulty releasing them when they were under pressure like many of the others I've tried.
The actual ratcheting mechanism is spring loaded so that it doesn't open up randomly. It is a little raw though and I wish it were coated black or something like many of the competitors do. Even though they look a little raw, I don't think corrosion is a concern.
What's In the Box
- 4 ratchet straps: either 8′ or 15′ depending on what you purchase
- 4 soft loops: 18″ long
- Zip up carry bag
- Warranty card
Here's a few more photos as I opened the tie downs up for the first time.
All in all, these are a great choice for a ratchet tie-down. They're priced alongside most of their competitors in the mid $30s, have a little higher than normal breaking strength for a standard tie-down (2200lbs) and come in a couple lengths to fit your needs. I like the bag a little better than some of the other options on the market, with the zip-up top and handle.
The ratcheting mechanism functions perfect and the release didn't stick or give me any trouble when loosening up under tension. I wish the clips were coated with the same material that the hooks were though, but I guess you need to purchase their Heavy-Duty straps to get that. I also wish they came velcro straps to keep them neat or tie up excess strap, but that's just my OCD talking again. Overall, very pleased with these and ready to start putting them to use.