bing tracking image

Cargo Tie-Down Methods

Picture of several tie-downs in use

Methods of Securing Cargo

You can choose from several different kinds of tie-down methods to secure cargo on your truck, trailer, or utility vehicle. The following links will take you to more information on each type.

Basic Tie-Downs
Cargo net Tie-down strap Bungee cord Tie-down chain
Cargo nets and tarps Straps Bungee cords Chain
Specialty Tie-Downs
Boat straps in use Vehicle tie-down - axle strap Watersport tie-down Ladder rack tie-down
Boat straps Vehicle tie-downs Watersport tie-downs Ladder rack tie-downs
Tie-Down Anchors
Tie-down anchors E-track strip
Standard anchor points Track systems

Cargo Nets and Tarps

Cargo net

Usually, cargo nets and tarps are used to cover multiple items, loose loads, or oddly shaped cargo. You should select a net based on the dimensions of your cargo carrier, trailer, or truck bed. Also, you should match the number and type of hooks needed to secure the net to your attachment points. When you're looking at cargo net sizes on, remember that we list the unstretched dimensions unless otherwise indicated.

Pros of Cargo Nets

  • Attach and detach quickly and easily
  • Sized for specific applications so you can easily choose the right size
  • Secure multiple or oddly shaped items

Cons of Cargo Nets

  • Limited to cargo carriers, truck beds, and trailers of specific sizes
  • Designed for light-duty use only
  • Can allow secured items to shift


At, we carry tarps in a variety of sizes and weights. If you need to protect your load from the elements, be sure to select a heavier-weight tarp that has a polyethylene coating. This coating provides protection from UV rays and harsh weather. Tarps can be secured using bungee cords, general-purpose straps, or clips that are made especially for securing tarps. To reduce wind flap, consider a tarp made of mesh. But remember that a mesh tarp won't keep out rain.

Pros of Tarps

  • Protect loose material from wind and water
  • Available in different sizes
  • Secure multiple or oddly shaped items, or loose material

Cons of Tarps

  • Difficult to handle in wind
  • Designed for light-duty use only
  • Can flap in the wind (mesh tarps reduce wind flap)
  • Can heat up when exposed to sunlight


Tie-down strap

Made of tough material, tie-down straps are available for a wide range of applications. Light-duty straps secure lightweight items like kayaks. Beefier straps can handle heavier items like cars. With a variety of hooks available, straps can fit almost any kind of anchor point. Straps have a cam buckle or a ratchet to help you tighten the strap and keep it tightly secured.

Pros of Straps

  • Available in a range of weight capacities
  • Available with different kinds of hooks
  • Lighter than chain
  • Won't scratch finished items the way chain can

Cons of Straps

  • Could fray and wear if stretched over sharp edges
  • Could be damaged by heat from an exhaust
  • Could break down from long-term exposure to UV rays from the sun

Bungee Cords

Bungee cord

Bungee cords are ideal for securing tarps and smaller, lightweight loads. At, we offer bungee cords in a variety of lengths with either carabiner or hook ends. The cords of some bungees are flat to keep it from rolling when the cord is stretched over an edge.

Pros of Bungee Cords

  • Attach and detach easily
  • Secure small or lightweight items quickly

Cons of Bungee Cords

  • Designed for light-duty use only


Tie-down chain

Of all tie-down methods, chains have the most muscle to handle the toughest tie-down jobs. They're ideal for agricultural and industrial applications. But they're also heavy to handle. If you must strap down heavy loads though, chain is your go-to choice.

Pros of Chains

  • Durable and heavy duty

Cons of Chains

  • Heavy to handle
  • Could damage finished surfaces
  • Can rust

Tie-Down Anchors and Track Systems

D-ring anchor E-track installed in trailer

Almost all tie-downs - nets, bungees, straps, and chains - are equipped with hooks so that they can be attached to anchor points. Typically, you can attach tie-down hooks to the edges of a cargo carrier, to the rails of a trailer, or to the built-in tie-down anchors in your truck bed. But sometimes you may not have enough or even any anchors. If this is the case, you can add your own tie-down anchors. At, we offer many types of anchors, from simple D-rings to fully customizable E-track tie-down systems.

Specialty Tie-Downs

Collage of specialty tie-downs in use

Specialty tie-downs are made for specific applications. This includes straps to tie down your gear for watersports, including kayaks, canoes, boats, and surfboards. Other specialty tie-downs let you quickly secure wheeled machines. Another kind of strap makes it easy to attach equipment to ladder racks. If you need tie-downs for a particular application, one of these specialty kinds could make the job of securing your gear easy and fast.

Boat Straps

Boat tie-down strap

If you tow a boat, you can get tie-down straps specially made for the job. Heavy-duty BoatBuckle straps are equipped with Kwik-Lok buckles or ratchets to allow for rapid loading. And the padded buckles and vinyl-coated steel S-hooks of these straps protect your boat's finish.

Specialty straps are made for tying down the bow, gunwales, and transom of your boat. Some of these straps can be permanently attached to your trailer. For convenience, these permanent straps retract so they're out of your way when not in use.

You can also get straps to tie down battery boxes and gas tanks.

Vehicle Tie-Downs

If you need to secure a wheeled vehicle, you can choose from among several types of tie-down setups especially designed for this use. You can get straps made to secure the axle of a vehicle or to go over a tire to hold it and keep it from rolling. Light vehicles or machines like motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVs, construction equipment, and mowers can be secured with tie-downs that include chocks or frames that brace one of the vehicle's wheels. See the following types of specialty tie-downs to find exactly what you need to secure your vehicle.

Axle Straps

Axle strap tie-downs

These tie-downs consist of 2 pieces - a strap that forms a loop around an axle of your vehicle and another strap that connects from the loop to an anchor point on your trailer. The second piece usually includes a ratchet for tightening the strap. These straps can connect to suitable anchors, including E-track.

Wheel Nets

Wheel net

These tie-downs form a cradle of straps that go over one of the tires of your vehicle and connect to anchor points on your trailer or tow dolly. They often include a ratchet system so you can easily tighten the straps. Many wheel nets can be attached to E-track anchors.

Special Tie-Downs for Lightweight Vehicles

Strap and chock vehicle tie-down system from Erickson Motorcycle wheel chock by MaxxTow

Several kinds of specialized tie-downs are available for lighter machines like ATVs, motorcycles, and snowmobiles. Check out specialty tie-downs for the following types of vehicles:

Wheel chocks are a great way to secure wheels when you tie down your vehicle. Some chocks are made to hold a motorcycle wheel firmly in place. Others are designed to secure ATVs.

Wheel tie-down system from Pack'Em

A popular option for safely hauling ATVs, construction equipment, and mowers is the versatile tie-down system from Pack'Em. This system has low profile chocks that mount to the surface of your trailer or truck. Your vehicle's tire rests in between the chocks and is secured by a strap that wraps over and attaches to slots in the chocks.

Watersport Tie-Downs

Specialty watersport tie-downs

You can easily secure canoes, kayaks, surfboards, paddleboards, and other kinds of boats to vehicle rooftops with these specialty tie-downs. Some of these tie-downs work with standard crossbars and others are designed to work in combination with specialty racks that are made for particular watersport craft.

Anchor strap in use

Anchor straps provide a useful anchor point for tying down watersport gear. They can also help you to secure other kinds of rooftop cargo. These straps mount under your hood or trunk and can be pulled out when you need them to provide loops for attaching tie-downs. When you don't need them, you can tuck them under your hood and out of the way.

Ladder Rack Tie-Down Straps

Ladder rack retractable tie-down strap

CargoBuckle makes a ladder rack strap to tie down ladders or other cargo. It mounts permanently to your ladder rack, ratchets for convenient tightening, and retracts when not in use. All of these features give you a lot of convenience.

Updated by: Raymond P.

Last updated: 7/10/18



Sports and Recreation

Trailer Parts


What our customers are saying:

"WOW! I am impressed! I called to place my order and real person answered, spoke perfect English, albeit a slight southern accent, and my order was sent within a day, shipped quickly and I had it a few days later. I saved over a hundred dollars over local and installed it my self. I cant imagine how that they could do any better. THANKS!"

Cedar Springs, MI

Popular Vehicles

About Us
photos and videos
Original Photos & Videos

Produced to make sure you know what you are getting and you get exactly what you need.

Installations Completed

To make sure products work and fit the way they are supposed to.

etrailer call center
Phone Calls & Emails Answered

1,125,924 phone calls and 1,350,587 emails to help find the right solution.

etrailer training
Average Hours of Product Training

We get to know our products firsthand so experts can better help you.

etrailer service
Years of Quality Customer Service

Assisting our neighbors and customers, face to face at the counter.

etrailer experts
Pages of Expert Information

Created to make sure you have all the answers to your questions, from real experts.