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Tow strap fittings

Selecting Towing Strap Fittings: Hooks and Shackles

By: Dawnerz


Time to read 3 min

In the realm of towing, precision and reliability are paramount. From the strength of the fittings to the seamless execution of the tow, every element matters. A key factor is choosing the right fittings to use with your towing strap.

Hooks and Shackles

Steel Hooks: Primarily used for road towing. They are not recommended for off-road recovery due to the risk of hooks becoming released and causing damage, due to uneven terrain and sudden jerking movements. While they offer simplicity and cost efficiency, they require caution and may not be the best choice for challenging conditions.

Soft Shackles: Also known as synthetic shackles, they provide a versatile alternative. Their soft nature eliminates potential damage to vehicles, making them suitable for both road towing and off-road recovery. They are also water-resistant, making them useful in cold and wet conditions. However, they might not be the ideal option for heavy loads due to the required thickness of the ropes.

Rigging Shackles: Every day within the material handling sector, robust rigging shackles find utility in linking lifting slings, wire rope, chain, and fiber rope either to loads or to one another. These shackles exhibit remarkable adaptability, existing in a range of designs, constructions, and materials. This diverse array of options underscores their versatility in both structure and application. Rigging shackles serve a multitude of purposes, including:

Types of Rigging Shackles

There are two main types of shackles most associated with towing straps, along with additional pin choices.


Anchor Shackle: Also referred to as bow shackles, anchor shackles possess a larger, rounded "O" shape appearance. While these terms are often used interchangeably, a bow shackle typically features a more pronounced bow area than an anchor shackle. The rounded design of both anchor and bow shackles enables them to accommodate loads from multiple directions without succumbing to significant sideload effects.


Chain Shackle: Alternatively known as D-shackles, boast a characteristic "D" shape design. Compared to bow or anchor shackles, a chain shackle features a narrower profile and generally incorporates a threaded pin or pin close mechanism. This smaller loop is optimized for bearing heavy loads primarily in a linear fashion.

Rigging Shackles

Pin Types

Screw Pin: Crafted with threaded pins that are inserted through one of the shackle's ears and then screwed into the other ear. This screw pin mechanism ensures a secure and robust connection for your loads. When tightened correctly, the threads of the screw pin engage fully, firmly gripping the shackle's ear, while the shoulder of the pin makes contact with the shackle's body.


In comparison to other types of shackles, screw pins excel in providing the fastest and most efficient means of both attachment and detachment. As a result, they stand as the optimal choice for tasks that necessitate a temporary yet steadfast solution.


Bolt-On: These bear a resemblance to screw pin shackles, though they come with subtle distinctions. In this variant, the pin mechanism is not threaded. Instead, a combination of a bolt and a cotter pin is employed to secure the shackle, eliminating the need for screwing it into the opposite ear. Notably, the presence of a cotter pin at the end of the shackle bolt introduces an extra layer of security, leading to their alternative moniker "safety shackles."

The enhanced security with bolt-on shackles renders them particularly advantageous for extended-duration tasks or situations where loads are prone to shifting along the shackle pin.

safety through connection

Another key point is to understand the load ratings of the fittings in relation to your chosen towing strap.


The Working Load Limit (WLL) is crucial, requiring fittings with Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS) exceeding the straps. This prevents damage due to breakage. The safety factor, often referred to as the Design Factor, determines the ratio between the working load limit and minimum break strength. The working load limit's rating should never be exceeded when using a towing strap.

Material Finishes: Both stainless steel and galvanized metal provide exceptional safeguards against rust and corrosion, rendering them both commendable selections.

Primarily, galvanized shackles are well-suited for industrial settings where excessive moisture isn't a predominant concern. Galvanized steel features a delicate layer of zinc oxide coating that shields the metal from elements that induce corrosion and oxidation. Notably, galvanized shackles offer great value, being more budget-friendly than stainless steel while retaining its strength and resilience.

In Summary

Ultimately, whether you're on-road or off-road, engaged in industrial operations or recreational pursuits, the synergy between the fittings and towing straps remains a fundamental pillar of secure and effective towing. Armed with this newfound understanding, you hold the ability to make educated decisions that enhance both the caliber and safety of your towing experiences.

Are you ready to elevate your towing game? Explore the world of towing strap fittings with precision. Learn about steel hooks, soft shackles, and rigging shackles. Discover the key to secure towing—understand the importance of load ratings, material finishes, and safety factors. Make informed decisions for safe and effective towing.

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