As a flatbed trucker, the secret to fast and efficient load securement is having all the right equipment at your disposal and immediately ready to go. It all starts with organization. How a trucker stores his or her winch straps, chains, tarps, etc. makes a big difference when it comes time to tie down and tarp a load. To illustrate the point, let us talk about storing winch straps.
Winch straps are webbing straps that go over the top of a load before being run through a winch and clamped down tightly. They constitute one of the most important tools in the truck driver’s toolbox. Without winch straps, cargo control would not be as nearly as efficient as it is. That is a different topic for a different post, though.
Keep Them Tightly Rolled
The first thing an experienced trucker would tell you is to keep your winch straps tightly rolled up when not in use. A tightly rolled strap is very easily thrown over the top of the load at tiedown time. As an added bonus, it automatically unrolls while in motion. The driver simply retrieves the other end and secures it.
A general rule is to secure rolled up winch straps with large rubber bands. You can buy rubber bands in bulk for pennies apiece. The only downside is that rubber bands do not hold up well under weather extremes. Winter cold is especially troublesome because the rubber dries out and breaks. So if you are going to use rubber bands, check stored straps every now and again. Replace any broken rubber bands you find.
Store Them in the Headache Rack
A common storage solution for rolled winch straps is the headache rack, according to Mytee Products. Some of the headache racks they sell have built-in shelves that are ideal for these sorts of things. If your headache rack is lacking shelves, you can either build some yourself or look for another storage solution.
A headache rack with built-in storage may offer enough room for all your straps. If not, you will have to come up with some other method to handle the excess. At any rate, headache rack storage is ideal for winch straps because it is weatherproof and easily accessible.
Build a Custom Shelf
Some truckers prefer headache racks that are nothing more than plain, steel plates. Others do not use headache racks and all. A better solution for both scenarios is to build a sturdy wooden shelf mounted either on the back of the tractor or the front of the trailer. A wooden shelf is not weatherproof, but it will get the job done. This option does offer the added benefit of allowing the trucker to build a customized shelf to his or her exact specifications. Think additional storage here.
Grab Some Milk Crates
More than one truck driver has snagged a couple of empty milk crates and mounted them to the underside of a flatbed trailer. Rolled up winch straps can be stacked neatly inside and then secured with a couple of bungees. The nice thing about milk crates is that they are already designed to withstand quite a bit of punishment. They are a cheap and easy solution that does not take a lot of effort to deploy.
In whichever way you do it, make sure you store your winch straps in a way that keeps them rolled up and well-organized. Then you won’t have to struggle with them when it comes time to tie down a load. Just grab, attach, throw, and secure. You’re done in a flash and on your way.