Cam Strap

I remember being a boy scout when I was a kid. Back then I relied a lot on ropes and bungee cords during camping trips. I am not sure if cam straps existed back then (it was 45 years ago) but when I eventually learned about cam straps, I turned my back on rope and bungee cords for good.

What can I say? I love the cam strap. It is so simple yet so effective. I cannot think of a better tool for securing my golf cart to a utility trailer or keeping my wheelchair from rolling around in the back of the SUV.

The Defining Characteristic

A cam strap is a type of tie-down strap with one defining characteristic that separates it from all other options: the cam buckle. What is a cam buckle? Think of it as being similar to the common belt buckle.

A cam buckle is a single-piece buckle that consists of a metal frame, spring loaded plate, and cam. The open end of the strap is threaded through the buckle the same way you thread a belt through its buckle. But instead of a single post holding a belt in place, a cam strap’s spring-loaded plate digs into the strap itself. That is how it is held secure.

As for the cam, it sits between the frame and spring-loaded plate. The opening between the two is the area through which you thread the open end of the strap. Threading across the cam is what allows the strap to slide through the buckle so easily.

The Rollercam brand takes the cam concept to the next level with a design that ensures their cam actually rotates. A rotating cam reduces friction, thereby allowing you to pull the strap as tightly as you want to without the need to apply a lot of force.

Very Easy to Use

The cam strap’s simple design makes it very easy to use. You do not have to tie any knots. You do not have to wrestle with a ratchet. Just find your anchor points, attach your straps, and thread the open strap through the other’s cam buckle. Pull tightly and you are done.

I remember moving one time with a pickup truck and open utility trailer. After loading both, I had to secure their respective loads with rope. That meant running the rope back and forth down the entire length of the pickup truck. Lather, rinse, and repeat with the utility trailer. It took quite a while.

If I were securing the same load with today’s modern cam straps, I would be done a lot more quickly. Running cam straps takes significantly less time than deploying rope. That makes cam straps more convenient, too.

They Aren’t Right for Every Job

It is important to point out that cam straps are not right for every job. As much as I appreciate them, I would never use them to carry something extremely heavy on the back of a trailer. Cam buckles just are not appropriate for really heavy loads. A better choice is a ratchet strap.

One time I transported a vintage farm tractor for my father. I had access to cam and ratchet straps for that job, but I chose chains instead. I wasn’t going to risk transporting such a heavy vehicle with straps that weren’t up to the task.

You may have your own preferences for tie-downs. As for me, I will take cam straps whenever possible. I love the simple design, the ease of use, and the versatility they offer. I will probably never use a bungee cord or rope again.