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photo courtesy RichardBH, 7/6/2011. Photo was taken from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rbh/

Let’s face it, no matter how good we are with our tent camping trip prep, from time to time we’ll forget something. Or, we find ourselves at the site, having traveled for a few hours to get there, and you start to bring out your gear and you find something that’s broken. It’s times like this that can try the patience of all of us. What do you do when you’re too far from a store to replace it, and you only have what you brought with you to deal with the issue? You improvise!

So you start rummaging through your gear to see what you have. Maybe some lengths of rope, an extra tent peg or two, a stray piece of newspaper. Aha! You were smart and packed in one of the best items to have in your gear stash: a ratchet strap. This post will shed light on some great uses for a ratchet strap. Now most of us have used ratchet straps to secure loads on our cars and trucks, and possible on a trailer as well. They work great for this, but have you ever thought about what other uses a ratchet strap has while you are tent camping? Well wonder no more! I’ll share 5 of the coolest uses for a ratchet strap, so make sure before you head out for your next tent camping excursion, you pack at least one ratchet strap in your gear.

Ratchet Strap Use #1

The first interesting use for a ratchet strap is as a run for your dog or cat. For this use you shouldn’t need much more than a light duty ratchet strap (but of course, it depends on the size of your dog). Make sure that you get one that is as long as you can find, as you won’t know just how far apart the trees will be at your camp site. You will also need a large screw locking carabiner that will glide over the strap, and you will also attach the lead to this carabiner from your pet. What is nice about this setup is that you can control (to a degree) just how far your pet can roam in your camp site. You can raise or lower the ratchet strap on the tree trunks to limit how far out from the line your pet can roam. You can also adjust the lead from your pet to the screw locking carabiner as another option as well. A couple of notes about this setup. First, I do not recommend chaining together multiple straps so that you have a really long run. The hooks in the middle will catch the carabiner and limit how far your pet can travel, so just avoid that scenario. Second, I recommend having a separate run for each pet; if you bring two dogs with you, have them each on their own run. If you “stack” the runs on the same trees, be prepared to have to disentangle your pets from time to time.

Ratchet Strap Use #2

The next great use for a ratchet strap is as a clothes line. Sure, you can buy clothes lines at the store, but then you have to tie knots, or they aren’t long enough, or they sag when you put some wet items on them, and on and on. Instead, ratchet straps make for great clothes lines for a number of reasons. First, you can make them as long or as short as you need and as nature allows. Second, because they are colored, and they are wide (as opposed to a round rope), they stand out and people are less likely to run into them. Third, they can take the weight of wet clothes easily, and if needed can be tightened up with a quick ratchet or two. Fourth, they can be wound up and stored easily for future use. All in all, a ratchet strap makes a superior clothes line for your tent camping excursions.

photo courtesy Bureau of Land Management, 10/13/2016. Photo was taken from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mypubliclands/

Ratchet Strap Use #3

A third use for ratchet straps is for holding up your hammock. As people who’ve tried using a hammock before can attest, the lines that come with a hammock just are never the right length. So instead, ratchet straps come to the rescue! These have the feature of being able to be just as long or as short as you need to string up your hammock between the ideal trees on your camp site. Its also easy to move your hammock up or down on the tree trunk as well, so if you want to stack hammocks you can do so easily and quickly. Prefer to have your hammock at a slant? No problem there. Need a tarp over your hammock to keep dry? Use another ratchet strap over your hammock and lay that tarp over it. Now that’s a cool setup!

Ratchet Strap Use #4

Number 4 on this list of uses for ratchet straps is putting up a bear bag. Now some of you readers may be asking “what is a bear bag?”. Simply put, a bear bag is a bag that is suspended off the ground in a tree, usually 10 to 12 feet up, and it typically contains food and/or other items that attract wildlife. There are several options when putting up a bear bag where ratchet straps can be used. One option is the PCT, Pacific Crest Trail, option. In this method, where you would otherwise put a small stick/toggle on the line, you could instead put the ratchet. You then leave more line hanging down like normal in the PCT method. This will require a long strap, at least 25 feet or more, to do properly. Another method to consider is putting one or more ratchet straps between two trees, at least 10 to 12 feet off the ground, and then hanging your bear bag from this line, often with a carabiner. Check with your local regulations on what is and is not acceptable for hanging bear bags.

photo courtesy Lucas Sampaio, 6/6/2010. Photo was taken from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/indamoon/

Ratchet Strap Use #5

Finally, the last use for a ratchet strap in this post: slacklining. This is a fun activity that doesn’t take much in the way of equipment, just a long ratchet strap strung between two trees. However, this differs from tightrope walking in that the ratchet strap will not be tight between the trees, but will instead be slack such that there is a noticeable bow to the strap. Slacklining builds balance and can be quickly setup and taken down or moved when needed. The strap should only need to be a couple of feet off the ground, so the level of danger in being injured is small, but care should still be taken.

Wrap Up

So these are the first five interesting uses for a ratchet strap. They are a versatile tool that should become a permanent addition to your tent camping gear. Shop for ratchet straps with Amazon and others.

Got some feedback on this topic? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, send me an email or share it on social media! Happy Tent Camping!

Featured Image photo courtesy Lost Parcels, 3/28/2017.  Photo was taken from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lostparcels/

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