If there’s one thing that most Australians have in common, it’s a love for the outdoors. Whether it’s spending time outside at home, going to the beach, or planning regular camping trips, it’s simply fun to get out of the house or the office.
That said, everyone has their own list of must-have items to make their outdoor experiences fun and safe. It’s also not uncommon to find a variety of ratchet tie down straps on the list. Have you tried it yet?
Always Add a Few Ratchet Tie Downs to Your Outdoor Gear
If you’ve only recently decided to see what all the camping fuss is about, you may not be familiar with a little gadget called a ratchet tie down strap. More commonly used to tie down cargo or heavy loads during transport, these handy items are a must-have in your camping bag too. Not sure why? Keep reading!
1. Secure a Hammock or Three
Sleeping on the ground among hundreds of little creepy crawlies isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. That’s why many people prefer to sleep on a hammock when they’re out camping. However, the hammock ropes may not always be long enough to get your makeshift bed at the right height.
To avoid the frustration, many experienced campers opt to ditch the rope altogether and rather use tie down straps. It’s as simple as looping the one end of the strap through the hammock and the other around the tree. Since tie downs are adjustable, you can easily set your hammock at the right height.
Additionally, tie down straps are a great way to connect your children’s hammocks. First-timers will be more likely to feel comfortable if they can see that they are connected to mom and dad’s hammocks.
You can also pack an extra hammock which you can use as a storage place for loose bags, jackets and anything else that will clutter your campsite.
2. Create a Central Light
While you may be quite comfortable with the fire as your only source of light, children often feel nervous being out in the dark—especially if they have their own tent in the camp.
In this instance, it’s a good idea to set up your tents near some trees. String a tie down strap between two trees and then simply hang your outdoor lantern on it. Not only will you keep animals away, but you’ll also provide light.
Furthermore, opting to hook the lantern onto a strap in the air rather than letting it stand on the ground is a safer option. You’re making sure your lantern doesn’t get knocked over or end up causing an accident.
Tip: keep an eye out for special hooks that can hold up your tie down straps without harming the trees.
3. Keep the Creatures Out of Your Supplies
Another benefit of the overhead tie down straps is that they are an excellent way to hang supplies. This keeps critters and small ground insects from getting into the food. In this instance, make sure to use two trees that are in the shade to avoid food spoiling in the direct sun.
It’s also a nifty way to hang a bag of water bottles or even a first aid kit, especially if you’re camping in a large group. Knowing where essentials can be found eliminates the stress of looking for something in an emergency. Here you want to use a mesh bag as this will ensure that the items in the bag remain ventilated. Pack a few cooling blocks in the bag if you’re using it for food items too.
4. Avoid the Rain
Rain and camping absolutely don’t go together. Yet, no matter how well you plan your camping trip, there’s always a chance of having a downpour. Many campers prepare for this by including a tarp or two and a few different-sized ratchet straps to create some cover.
Here you want to identify four trees, relatively close together—preferably not downhill as this will put you right in the path of mud and flowing water. Once you have identified your trees, secure your tie down straps to the corners of the tarps and simply hoist them high enough to provide adequate shelter.
It’s a good idea to tie the tarp at a slant so that the water runs over one edge and doesn’t pool in the middle. Use this makeshift roof to cover tents or even a communal area where everyone can sit until the storm passes.
Don’t put the tarp over your campfire as this could easily set the tarp on fire. Furthermore, smoke may get trapped under the tarp and pose a health risk.
Ratchet tie down straps and the accessories that go along with them should be a staple in every vehicle and camping bag. Remember, camping should be fun, which means you’re allowed to use a few gadgets to make the excursion safe, enjoyable and memorable for everyone!