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Cinch Strap Method – An Emergency Alternative to Pipe Stakes

The flatbed trucker who frequently hauls loads of different size pipe might choose to use pipes stakes as his/her primary method for cargo control and preventing cargo from falling in the event of a strap failure. This is an excellent strategy that should be practiced by anyone who normally hauls pipe or tubing. But there are times when doing so is just not impossible. What do you do then? A trucker can use the cinch strap method of control as an emergency alternative.

Consider the trucker who arrives for a contracted load and, due to some kind of misunderstanding, is not prepared to carry a collection of odd-sized pipes. He has no pipe takes on board and no desire to spend valuable time hunting down and purchasing those stakes. His load can still be properly secured with the cinch strap method of pipe securing.

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How Cinch Strapping Works

Winch straps made of durable webbing material are usually run over the top of pipe loads and secured by winches on either side of the trailer. This method of strapping keeps the load firmly on the trailer. However, it doesn’t keep different sized pipes from spreading apart. Shippers try to do their part by tying multiple pieces of pipe together using nylon straps, but those straps are not going to hold up for the entire duration of a long journey. Cinch strapping is the solution.

Before piping is loaded onto the back of the trailer, run a winch strap across the bed and secure on one side using the appropriate winch. Position two or three additional straps, evenly space, the same way. Then step back and wait for the pipe to be loaded by the shipper. Once loading is complete, each of the cinch straps you laid down can be run over the load, back underneath the load, and then secured on the opposite side of the trailer. You are essentially creating a loop that, when winched tightly, keeps all of those pipes together. Then apply your winch straps across the top and you are done.

Combining Cinch Straps with Pipe Stakes

The process described above works well in an emergency situation when you really need pipe stakes but do not have them. But you can also combine cinch strapping with pipe stakes when you have loads that do not extend fully to the sides of your trailer. What would be the benefit of doing so? Protecting your pipe stakes in the event the load was to break loose.

Without cinch straps in place, those nylon straps that shippers use to tie pipes together could break and send the load falling toward the sides of your trailer with tremendous force. Pipe stakes should prevent the load from falling off the trailer, but they could be dented or bent in the process. Then you would be left having to purchase new stakes to replace them. Cinch strapping reduces this risk.

It’s a good idea to use pipes stakes whenever hauling mixed loads of odd sized pipe or tubing. An even better idea is to combine pipe stakes with the cinching strap method of securement for extra protection.

Mytee Products carries a full line of cargo control equipment, including both pipe stakes and winch straps. Each of our products comes from brand-name manufacturers and is made with reliable, durable materials you can trust for long life and maximum security. We invite you to take a look at our complete inventory while you are here on our website. You are sure to find everything you need for safe and secure flatbed trucking.


Many Ways to Use Pipe Stakes: Do What Works for You

Among the many tools flatbed truckers have at their disposal is the trusted pipe stake, used for securing pipe loads by creating a barrier to prevent a loss over the sides of the trailer. Pipe stakes are affixed to the trailer using sleeves that fit into stake pockets built into the trailer by the manufacturer.

Truckers may use steel pipe stakes because shippers require them, or simply because they prefer the extra security the devices offer. There is some debate as to whether any states require the use of pipe stakes but, in the end, it comes down to the driver’s legal responsibility to properly secure the load before starting a journey. There are multiple ways to do this.

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Securing Pipes Over the Top

A general rule for pipe stake height is 48” – you can purchase both taller and shorter stakes. When a load exceeds the height of the stakes, some drivers have been known to secure them over the top of the load by connecting opposite stakes with chain or straps. The extra tension pulls the stakes together and creates a secure load.

A benefit of this setup is that it provides a natural frame on which to place a tarp if tarping is necessary. On the other hand, securing pipe stakes in this way does take time that could be spent turning the wheels. A less time-consuming method of securing stakes is to run chain or straps around the perimeter of the trailer and winch everything tightly together.

Securing Pipes at the Base

Because pipe stakes tend to be made of galvanized steel, there is little worry about them bending or cracking as long as the pipe load itself is properly secured. The real concern is that stakes might break loose from their pockets during transport. Some drivers address this risk by securing pipe stakes at their base.

To do this, a chain is wrapped around the base of the stake, run down through the rub rail, sent back up the other side of the stake pocket, then run across the bed and repeated on the other side. This method is effective for pipe stakes of 48” or shorter. For longer stakes, securing at the bottom is sometimes complemented by additional securement at the top.

Shippers Ultimately Have their Say

The question of whether to use pipe stakes may not be so difficult to answer in light of shipper requirements. For example, a brief perusal of a number of trucker forums reveals that multiple shippers will not allow pipe loads to leave the yard unless drivers use pipe stakes. Shippers obviously have a vested interest in making sure their products arrive safely; they may not be willing to take a chance with a trailer that is not staked.

To keep shippers happy and loads secured as well as possible, pipe stakes are a good idea. The average trucker’s tool box should accommodate 48” stakes without issue, along with the associated hardware and hammer chocks. We recommend our own 48”, 7-gauge stakes with a 6” flat bottom that easily sits into most pockets

You may be tempted to make your own pipe stakes out of scrap, but we would advise against doing so. Purchasing a manufactured product ensures the integrity of the steel and the individual pipes themselves, offering you maximum stability, security and strength.

If you haul pipe loads, you need to keep a selection of pipe stakes on board. Doing so will give you access to more loads and more pay.