Tying Down Cargo: Are Shock Straps Worth the Extra Expense?

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Tie-down straps come in all shapes and sizes. You can also buy different styles, including both static and shock straps. Static straps are the go-to straps for typical household news. But when should you use shock straps? More importantly, are shock straps worth the extra expense?

Shock straps cost more because they are more complex tie-downs with additional components built-in. They are unbeatable for certain types of jobs that might not go as well with static straps. Yet they would be considered overkill for some types of jobs. The best way to know whether they are worth the additional expense is figuring out how you normally use tie-downs.

What They Are, How They Work

A good place to start this discussion is with an explanation of exactly what shock straps are and how they work. A shock strap is a particular type of tie-down strap designed to simultaneously absorb shock and maintain tension on a load. Additional components are required to enable this capability.

Shock straps have built in shock absorbers and tensioners. When working properly, they expand and contract to accommodate load movement. Here are the key features one would expect from a shock strap:

  • Flexible Component – A component attached to a shock strap normally absorbs vibrations and forces caused by movement. The concept is similar to the shock absorber on a car. By integrating a urethane component or bungee core into the strap, the shock absorber can do its job.
  • Tensioning Component – In order for a tie-down strap to perform properly, it needs to maintain the desired tension. So in addition to the shock absorbing feature, a shock strap also has a built-in tensioner. It pulls back on the strap to keep everything tightly in place.

Although it might seem like a tie-down strap capable of moving and flexing would not hold a load as securely, shock straps actually work extremely well. As long as they are deployed according to manufacturer instructions, they maintain a firm hold while absorbing shock and flexing.

Common Uses for Shock Straps

So, when would someone choose a shock strap over a static strap? The general rule is that you use a shock strap whenever you are planning to carry cargo across uneven terrain. Think of an overlander securing cargo to the top of a truck. Overlanders are known for going off road. Shock straps are a solid choice for them.

Shock straps are also a good choice for tying down ATVs, motorcycles, and other toys. They work well for personal watercraft, canoes, row boats, etc.

Do not misunderstand. Static straps are still good. They still do a fantastic job of keeping cargo in place. Personally, I would look for a high-quality strap from a brand like Rollercam. Their cam straps are among the best in the business.

The Bad News About Shock Straps

As good as shock straps are, no type of tie-down is perfect. Shock straps definitely have some downsides, not the least of which is the fact that they can be very expensive. Compared to static straps, you could pay up to twice the price depending on brand. In addition, you may need to deploy more shock straps on extremely heavy loads simply because they do flex and move.

There are definite differences between shock and static tie-down straps. If you use tie-downs frequently, make a point of learning more about shock straps. You might find that they are just what you need for certain jobs that need the extra shock absorbing capabilities. And if not, you always have your static straps.

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