If you’re tired of messing around with cheap ratchet straps that are difficult to use and don’t hold your sled securely in place — you know, the ones that are made in China from paper-thin webbing and come (unassembled) in a six-pack for about $15 — it’s time to step up to EK USA’s Ratshet Cat straps. They cost $39.99 for a pair, but they’re worth the premium price, for several reasons.
Reason No. 1 is because they’re durable. A set of Ratshet Cat straps has been laying in the back of my pickup for more than a year, ready to tie down snowmobiles, ATVs, dirtbikes and other heavy, wheeled objects. Durability on this set has been excellent, as the nylon webbing shows no signs of breaking down and the straps hold as tightly as when they were new. The ratcheting buckle became a little “sticky” and not as easy to disengage when it’s time to unload, but a few drops of oil on the mechanism fixed that.
Convenience and security are two more reasons I think Ratshet Cats are great. Unlike the ones you can buy at The Home Labyrinth store, these American-made straps were assembled and ready to use when I took them out of the package. The spring-loaded clip on each poly coated hook ensures the strap won’t unhook when the machine’s suspension compresses while hauling over rough, curvy roads that can cause slack in the strap. Without that clip, the strap could disconnect and turn your cargo into a yard sale on a county road.
An integrated soft strap proved handy to prevent damage to delicate surfaces — like painted bumpers — and it allowed connection around objects that were too large for the strap’s hook, like big plastic front bumpers on Arctic Cat and Polaris sleds. The rubber-coated handle looks nice and comfortable; the ‘Release’ tab is big, making it easy to use.
Ratshet Cat straps are adjustable from 24 to 78 inches with 1-1/8-inch wide nylon webbing. There are more than 20 color/pattern options. I suggest buying the wildest pattern so they won’t get “mixed up” with your buddy’s tie downs and you end up with a pair of his econo-straps after your next snowmobile trip.
— Andy Swanson