Ropes are the long standing traditional way to fasten or tie things down. These days, those ratchet devices with straps and hooks have replaced knots and loops.

For some of us older people, ropes are still the logical tie-down tool. I have found that the ratchet devices are prone to jamming or coming loose in transit. They also seem to seize up frequently where I cannot get them to release the strap.

I accept that the ratchets may be full of grit to prevent them from working, but my ropes always work and they don’t jam or come loose.

The most important first step is to only carry/use good quality rope. You’ll notice that a lot of us often use ropes that are much longer than necessary for the task. That is because you don’t cut a good rope unless you have a repeated task for the shorter length.

Just keep it long and tie it off to avoid dragging it along the highway. Yellow braided poly rope is very strong and doesn’t stretch, but after it’s been tied in a knot, it remembers that knot forever and whenever it is slack it tries to go back into that knot and will not lie flat.

It is quite useful, as it is pretty much weather and cold proof (ie: it doesn’t freeze and become totally unworkable) and can be kept in lengths perfect for tying down loads on your trailer.

Higher quality ropes need a bit of protection from the elements as many of them will hold water (snow/rain/melt) in the spaces between the fibres and will freeze solid into the shape they were when stored.

They need to be thawed to use and that takes time. Higher quality ropes are, however, the best ropes to use when conditions are dry or when they have been stored away from weather.

Cheap cotton ropes will hold water forever and unless kept totally dry, are next to useless and they also stretch to a great amount.

In order for ropes to be the most useful, it helps to be identifiable and coiled rather than just dumped in bag or box.

Buying distinctively different ropes and/or colours allows you to quickly select the best rope for the task at hand. For example, the thicker white rope is for tying the canoe or a stack of lumber on the roof-rack. The shorter blue ropes are for lesser loads on the roof-rack. Since ropes come in colours, their length while in the storage box can be indicated by the colour to assist you in choosing a rope the correct length or strength for the task.

Nylon bags can also be used to store different lengths of rope. The rope length can be printed in felt marker on the side of the bag.

It is always a good idea to store each rope coiled so it avoids tangling with other ropes. It comes out of storage neatly, without pulling a bunch of other rope with it. Also spend a minute and coil the rope after it is used. It just makes rope use more convenient.