The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Homesteading tool box note

tow strap close up of the hooks

I've discovered that a good cloth tow strap is a great addition to the homesteading tool box.

We used ours recently to tow the golf cart back to the trailer when it had a problem.

It's also handy when winching out something that's stuck in the mud.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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The one thing I don't like about these is that it is hard to judge wether a strap is worn beyond safe use. At work we are obligated to have them tested every year.

For recovery it is best to use a recovery strap (aka snatch strap). Dedicated recovery straps are more flexible to deal with the stresses of recovery.

But I prefer to use straps with a loop at the ends in any case. Use a D- or bow-shackle to fix the strap to whatever you're hoisting or towing. The shackles should have a higher load rating than the strap. So in case of overload, the strap will break but you won't have it catapult a shackle at you. :-) A shackle is safer in general because it cannot come loose like a hook can.

In any case, those straps are usually nylon. So store them away from sunlight to prevent degradation and hose them off with water before storing them if they get dirty. Over time dirt can damage the fibers.

Comment by Roland_Smith Sun Oct 17 07:23:08 2010

Wear is definitely an issue. We wouldn't use this tow strap off the farm any more, I think (except for maybe a quick tow down out little country road to the mechanic a mile away.) But it's very helpful to have a bag full of tow straps and chains for quick tows on the farm, or to hook up to our comealong and pull something out of the mud (or to pull a fallen tree out of the way.)

I'll have to remember that about dirt --- although we keep our tow material out of the light, we have been known to put it away dirty....

Comment by anna Sun Oct 17 19:53:53 2010

Be careful if you want to clean your straps with anything other than plain water. Nylon is vulnerable to e.g. acetic and other acids and bleach.

Comment by Roland_Smith Sun Oct 17 20:29:13 2010
Water is what I clean with mostly anyway.
Comment by anna Mon Oct 18 07:17:39 2010
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