How to Transport a Ladder Safely | How To Carry a Ladder on Roof Rails With Ratchet Straps

Another video in my Van / Tool Loadout Series. In this video I share tips on how use ratchet straps to safely transport ladders on the roof racks of your work vehicle.

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Video Transcript:

Hello, I’m Michael with Field Tech Academy.

Today, we’re going to be talking about how to safely and securely

transport a long ladder on roof racks.

Many field techs

don’t have a full scale work van, so we’re working out of things like a minivan or an SUV, things that will have cross beams


roof racks.

But a ten foot or a 14 foot ladder is not going to fit inside one of these vehicles.

For those of you who may not already know how to do this, I’m going to run to my storage building, grab my ten foot ladder.

I’m going to strap it up on my roof


and show you how the straps work and how I tie it so that it’s secure. Let’s get into it.

You just want to take the ladder

on your roof racks.

You want to center it as best as you can.

Now, we’re going to go over how to safely strap this so that it will stay on the van

and be there when you get to your destination.

Of course, you can tie it down with rope.

I feel a lot safer with ratchet straps.

Buy a set of two ratchet straps,

so you can make two different crisscross patterns on the ladder to make sure that stays in place.

One side is going to be your ratchet side.

The other side is going to be a hook and a long strap.

A lot of your roof rails are going to be too thick.

On this one, as you can see, even though it will kind of fit.

I just don’t like that. I don’t feel safe with that.

I just take my hook, bring it around and wrap it around the roof rail portion, and I run it through the eye of this hook.

So there’s no way that’s going to come loose unless the strap literally breaks.

The other thing that I want to do is, I want to crisscross my pattern.

So I want to have one near the front in front of the cross beam. Going to the rear behind the cross beam. And then on the backside I’m going to do the same thing. I’m going to have one before the cross beam and crisscross it to the front of the vehicle in front of the cross beam.

The other thing that is very important,

you don’t want to just run this over the top of the ladder.

Even if it’s tight, you hit your brakes hard enough,

or you don’t strap it tight enough, it can simply slide out from the straps.

So what I will do is I will actually go underneath one of the rungs and come back up.

I’m going to do the same thing in the back. I’m going to come from the rear, come under one of the rungs and up and over. That wraps it inside the ladder.

There’s no way that’s coming off unless the straps literally break. Now we’re going to take the ratchet to the other side and actually attach the ratchet.

We’re going to bring this around. And remember, I have wrapped it under a rung and up and over.

I’m going to come to this backside,

and you can see you’ve got your hook.

So we are going to wrap the straps. I want to make sure that the hook opening is pointed away from whichever direction I’m pulling. Like so. So it’s pulling away from the opening so it doesn’t slip out. I’m going to run my hand down the strap to try to keep it as straight as possible so I don’t get a bunch of twists.

When you wrap this around, you don’t want it to be twisting because it’s going to be too bulky and it’s going to start filling up this space and you’re going have problems.

There is an opening right here. That’s where you’re going to thread your strap through. Going from the front, pull it out the back.

The other thing to make sure of is that you have your ratchet on top, not on the bottom. Because once this tightens up, you’re going to get blocked on being able to ratchet. So this needs to be on the top side.

You want to bring yourself up to a little bit of height here.

But you don’t want to go super crazy. You don’t want to have too much wrapping in this because it will get too bulky. Also don’t want to be super tight because you need this to wrap around enough times to grip itself.

Then take your thumb on this side, because you’re going to need to feed this.

This is actually going to feed into this as you’re ratcheting, so you need to keep this straight. So again, you don’t have bulk, and you can actually use this to hold this in the air and then you’re going to do your ratchet.

Now that has started locking down. I don’t want to

make it

as tight as possible until I get my other crisscross on.

So we’re back on the passenger side. We’re gonna do the same thing with the hook that we did on the front.

We’re going to wrap our hook under, run the strap through the eyelet.

And again, we want to make sure that we are behind the cross beam because we’re going to go towards the front.

Same concept as we did on the front.

We’re going to go under a rung and back up and over

and we’ll do a ratchet strap on this side.

Alright, same concept.

Again, we want the opening of the hook to be on this side because we want to pull the opposite of where that opening is.

So in this case, I’m going to have to have a little bit of a twist to have my ratchet on top.

That’s fine. So I’ve got my hook opening opposite of the direction that I’m pulling. You don’t want to be pulling in the same direction as that opening or it’s going to slip out.

So our strap from the back passenger corner runs through the eyelet again. And if it’s not lined up really well for you, all you have

to do is

just ratchet it a couple

of times,

and it will rotate it where you can actually get your strap through.

You’re going to feed it through, pull all the slack.

We’re going to make sure that our hook is in. Give ourselves a little bit of height here.

Now I should be able to really tighten it down and then double check the rear one

to make sure it is tight.

See I’ve still got movement because the second one isn’t tight.

There’s a little bit of left and right movement. There’s no front to back movement.

That ladder is not going to go anywhere.

So final step, of course, is you’re going to tie off your slack so it’s not flapping in the wind while you’re driving down the road.

Now once you reach your destination, you’re going to have to be able to undo the ratchet strap.

There’s a release right by the handle. Squeeze that release. It’ll allow you to bring the ratchet strap back up into the air.

There is a release right here that holds these teeth that you’re ratcheting. You need to push the ratchet just enough to release the tension off of this piece so that you can pull it down and away.

So I’m going to have to bring my ratchet back just a little bit so I get some leverage. So now I will release the leverage off of this piece so I can pull it with my finger. Then I have to squeeze this piece that’s under the handle as well to completely release


And then I pull while I’m holding both of those in


So by pulling that, then it makes it loose enough to where I can simply pull my strap the rest of the way out.

So in case


wasn’t really easily visible in place.

This is the piece that you need to release, and this is the squeeze that you need to release. These are your teeth that this is holding into place.

You’re going to squeeze this

to release

those teeth.


you’re going to squeeze this to

release the teeth here. So you got two different spots where it’s grabbing onto those teeth. You’re going to release, release, and then pull.

So that’s how you safely strap down a ladder to your roof rack.

You can do this with a minivan.

You can do this with an SUV.

Obviously, a full scale work van.

You might could do it with certain automobiles that have roof racks. You’re just dealing with a ten foot ladder. So it depends on how big your car is.

Bottom line is you just need to be able to make sure those straps are tight.

Your ladder doesn’t have a lot of left and right play or front and back play.

So as you can see, I don’t want to transport this 24/7 on top of my vehicle because of all the strapping and then I’ve got to worry about theft.

So you’d have to like put some kind of cable lock on it.

So I like to only carry this ladder when I actually have a call that needs it.

You know, you can go to Home Depot and Lowe’s and rent a 14 to 16 foot A-frame ladder.

But they are going to be made out of fiberglass and with that amount of length,

they are heavy as all get out.

So you want to reserve those for the times that you absolutely have to have them.

Most buyers will reimburse you for the cost of renting a ladder,

but you still have to come up with the money out of your pocket.

You still have to go to the place and get the ladder and

put it on your vehicle.

Having a ten foot ladder is a pretty good way to go. Getting an aluminum one is pretty lightweight. Unless you’re doing high voltage. Obviously don’t need to be using aluminum.

I know we talked about a pretty sexy subject today, ladders.

But these are the kinds of things that,

if you’re not in this industry, you need to know

so that you can be effective.


you’ve got value today, please like the video, subscribe to the


and check out my website at

I offer one on one coaching,

as well as some downloads for how I organize my van

and even a client list that you can buy that can

add new income

to your current situation.

I’ll see you in the next video!

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