What is a Winch Strap?

A winch strap is a robust, woven band typically made from polyester, designed to secure heavy loads during transport. Its high tensile strength and resistance to abrasion make it indispensable in ensuring cargo safety. With a variety of applications, from flatbed trucks to marine towing, a winch strap is a tool of choice for reliable load anchoring. Ever wondered about its mechanics and uses? Let's explore further.
Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

A winch strap is a fabric strap, often made of Kevlar®, that is used in place of a steel cable on a winch. Steel cable often frays and causes injury to the winch user. The cable also tends to rust and develop weak spots which can break when under pressure. Steel cable also has a tendency to become wedged together, causing it to become stuck, while a winch strap is easy to extend and spools onto a winch much more orderly than a cable.

A good winch can be an invaluable tool to an off-road enthusiast or a factory worker. When used in a factory or a manufacturing setting, the requirements for safe operation are a must. Many manufacturing accidents stem from a winch cable breaking or developing frayed strands of wire, which can cause severe cuts. By changing to a winch strap, the dangers of cuts and abrasions from frayed steel cable are eliminated.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Maintenance injuries also become a much lesser concern when using a winch strap. With a steel cable-equipped winch, the cable should be periodically un-spooled and checked for broken strands of wire. The steel winch cable should also be oiled to prevent rust and then wound back onto the winch spool in an orderly manner to prevent cable bind. Often, the practice of checking for frays leads to injury of the personnel examining the steel cable.

Examination of the winch strap is a much easier task. The winch strap is un-spooled easily from the winch spool and is checked for cuts and abrasions. Once checked, the winch strap is spooled back onto the winch and is ready for use. A cut winch strap is simply replaced, saving time over trimming frayed steel wire with cutting pliers. The fabric winch strap requires no lubrication or special treatment.

One benefit of using a strap instead of a cable is in the attachment of the hook. On a steel cable-equipped winch, the hook is attached to the cable by using cable clamps. Over time, the clamps can loosen and fail, causing the hook and its suspended load to crash to the ground. Conversely, the hook is attached to the strap by sewing the strap back to itself with Kevlar® thread. This style of attaching the hook is nearly fail-proof, as all of the threads would need to fail at the same time in order for the hook to come loose.

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