Home centers and lumberyards typically have red plastic flags and twine or staples to fasten the flags to your extra-long load. But it seems like they’re almost always out of one of the above.
Fly Your Own Flag
Home centers and lumberyards typically have red plastic flags and twine or staples to fasten the flags to your extra-long load. But it seems like they’re almost always out of one of the above. Also, staples and twine usually come undone, liberating the flag before I’ve reached my destination. So I keep my own flag in my truck. It’s a red shop rag with a bungee cord run through a hole in one corner of the rag. I’ve never had this fly off, and it’s always there when I need it. — Saul Carvajal
These movable clamp-style tie-downs mount anywhere along your truck's box and clamp tightly to the side rails. You can position and remove the quickly with a socket wrench or socket. As with all clamp-type accessories, check them for tightness after the first half hour or traveling. Available at auto stores. Plus: You need these 16 bungee cord hacks in your life.
Cargo ramps help you roll heavy items
Each aluminum ramp end outfitted with a sturdy yellow pine or Douglas fir 2x8 or 2x10 will hold up to 700 lbs. (no big motorcycles). This works great for light motorbikes and wheelbarrows of dirt or mulch. "Ramparts" are available at auto parts stores and online. Check out these other utility trailer upgrades you can DIY.
Heavy-duty, quick-release straps are available in a variety of lengths, sizes and tensile strengths. Flexible Bungee cords work well for light-duty stuff but will stretch and fail if you're trying to secure heavy objects. An adjustable tie-down strap that you can cinch tight will keep a load from shifting and toppling. Choose one with a tensile strength at least twice the weight of your total load.
Stake hole tie-downs
Just push stake hole tie-downs into the stake hole and then turn the loop clockwise to compress the rubber insert. Give them several turns and then a yank to make sure they're snug. Check them again after traveling awhile and retighten them if necessary. Plus: These zip tie hacks make DIYing a cinch.
Cargo nets are perfect for keeping light items like cushions, inflated toys and chairs from flying out of the box. This type has eight fastening locations, and each hook has a built-in adjuster to secure the load to your liking. About $20 at auto parts stores.
Quick-release cargo bars
Quick release cargo bars keep boxes and coolers from sliding around in the pickup box. They'll adjust for small or large pickup boxes and ratchet tight with the squeeze of a trigger. The bars work great for keeping boxed or bagged items (even groceries) right behind the cab and out of the wind. Expect to pay about $30.