End-fittings are the metal pieces on the ratchet straps, winch straps, and G70 chains. These elements are key components of effective cargo hauling; end fittings are the main method of anchoring straps or chains to the truck so you can tighten them enough to hold the load in place.
There are a lot of different end-fittings to choose from, enough that it can get somewhat overwhelming if you’re just perusing through a catalog on your own.
Popular End-Fittings For Truckers
Fortunately, there are some shortcuts to figuring out exactly what end-fittings will work best for the jobs you have.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a look at the ten most popular end fittings, explore their key features and drawbacks, and figure out what types of jobs they’re right for. Let’s jump in!
1. Flat Hooks
Flat hooks are incredibly popular, versatile end-fittings for ratchet straps and winch straps.
Typically, manufacturers forge flat hooks made of steel so they’ll be able to handle a high working load limit. Many designers plate flat hooks with gold chromate or coat them with black powder to protect the hook from accruing rust damage or accumulating scratches and dents.
Flat hooks can also be compatible with an L-Track anchor system if you incorporate a flat-hook receiver.
2. Wire Hook
Wire hooks are unique end-fittings. Some catalogs call wire hooks “double-j” hooks due to their curved shape. While flat hooks are broad, wire hooks are narrow. This is useful when you want to anchor your strap in a crevice in between two obstacles, or to a hard-to-reach spot on your rub rail.
The trade-off to the increased positioning opportunities due to the wire hook’s narrow fame is, wire hooks have a lower working load limit than flat hooks.
You know your load! For some hauls, the trade-off is completely worth it. Just make sure you stay within the bounds of the Department of Transportation’s laws and regulations.
3. D-Rings (Delta Rings)
Technically D-Rings are a subset of delta rings, albeit the most popular subset.
Delta rings, as a group, are closed steel structures that are typically pre-connected to a chain, winch strap, or ratchet strap. They tend to use geometry to their advantage, utilizing a simple, strong shape to distribute tension evenly.
D-rings and Delta rings are an excellent choice if you know you need to connect your strap to a hook or peg of some kind. They are compatible with most hook anchor points.
S-hooks have a simple design, and they’re most popular as end-fittings for tarp tie-downs like bungees, tie-down cords, and wire rope.
These steel hooks have a straightforward S-shape. It can be molded to fit anchor points of different widths or bent to connect with anchor points at a variety of angles, which is a useful feature.
S-hooks are weaker than flat hooks. However, that works out most of the time: they’re primarily used as tie-down end-fittings rather than end pieces for cargo control straps.
5. R-T-J Hooks
R-hooks, T-hooks, and J-hooks typically are not used during cargo hauling. Instead, these hooks are useful for tow truck drivers or anyone else who needs to recover a vehicle.
Auto manufacturers specifically designed these hooks to attach securely to anchor points on the frames of distinct types of cars.
R-hooks are compatible with Ford vehicles, T-hooks are designed to connect to the frame of GM and Chrysler vehicles, and J-hooks can secure and tow most Japanese and European-made vehicles.
An RTJ-hook cluster is a convenient end-fitting for a tow chain if you want to be prepared to recover every type of vehicle.
6. Snap Hooks (Twisted Snap Hooks)
Snap hooks give you extra security while hauling. These unique, steel hooks incorporate a keeper, a spring-based mechanism that can open and then spring shut, latching the hook closed. A closed snap hook is a complete, unbroken shape, similar to a delta ring.
Snap hooks mitigate the risk of a strap or tie-down becoming unhooked or popping loose from its anchor point when driving down a bumpy road.
Swivel and Twist
Twisted snap hooks–also called swivel snap hooks- take this a step further by incorporating a twist in their frames. This prevents straps from accidentally twisting during your haul.
Snap hooks are excellent end-fittings that are compatible with many anchor points, including tie-down plates for wheel nets. If you choose a snap hook end-fitting, make sure it’s a compatible size with your intended anchor point.
7. Clevis Grab Hooks
Engineers typically incorporate a clevis grab hook as an end-fitting on chains rather than polyester webbing straps.
You can easily attach these large hooks onto another vehicle’s securement point or a chain. They fit onto the end of a chain by incorporating a steel bolt to the throat of the hook. These hooks open and close completely, in a similar fashion to a shackle.
Shackles are steel end-fittings that incorporate two strong, closed shapes. A removable bolt (similar to a cotter pin, but thicker) closes the shape nearest to the shackle’s throat.
Shackles are compatible with most hook anchor points.
9. Chain Anchors
Chain anchors are hook-and-chain end-fittings connected to a fabric strap.
These heavy-duty steel end-fittings can give your strap a bit of a strength boost. They are also less flexible than straps alone.
A chain anchor is useful in a circumstance where your cargo needs the heavy-duty securement you can only get from a chain, but also needs the soft touch of a strap made of polyester webbing.
Chain anchors typically incorporate steel grab hooks as the ultimate end-fitting.
10. Fabric Loops
Fabric loops are the softest end-fitting.
Designers make these loops by folding and reinforcing the ends of a ratchet strap or winch strap. Like the rest of a ratchet strap, a fabric loop is made of polyester webbing.
Fabric loops can connect to hook anchor points. They’re useful if you need a very flexible, soft point of connection.
So there we are, then: the most popular end-fittings and what they’re good for. If this guide was useful for you, you might enjoy some of our other guides on the ins and outs of cargo hauling.