Types of tire chains?


I carry cable chains because the only time I chain up is when I'm forced to at the chain control checkpoints.
Ive been in this category for 20 years or so, but I’ve recently been thinking of changing to true chains without rubber tension elements. One of the annoyances I have with the cables is the amount of space they consume due to their stiffness. Having never owned true chain based chains, do they store in a smaller space? I.E. I would love to put them in a .50 cal ammo can. I am, however, 90% sure I’ll never use them beyond test fitting.


Peter, we appreciate your photos, but you literally cannot put chains on the front of a newer 1500 Ram truck. Just like Toyotas, the IFS knuckle is too close to the tire sidewall to fit much more than a pinky finger in there. Add bigger tires and it's TIGHT.

For the rest of you, rubber "tension" bungees are crap. You cannot keep chains tight with bungees not matter how many you put on. You MUST drive a small ways, then re-tighten the chains after installing. Once you've done this a time or two, you have chains that will not come off, and they won't fling out and rip off the fenders when your bungees stretch as you go faster... Good chains have cams that you rotate once you've done the initial slop removal. I recommend you don't buy ladder chains without the cams...

chain cams.jpg
Note the 3 cams . To use these, you install the chains as tight as possible, then tighten the cams using your hands if you're me, or the "tool" that they come with if you're reasonably organized. Drive 1/8-1/4 mile, stop, loosen the cams, take up a link or two inside and out, and re-tighten as many of the cams as possible. No bungees, no problem.

FWIW, I've been plowing our HOA out for several years in SW CO. We're at 7000', with about 10 miles of roads and two really steep hills with turns. On a good winter I have chains on the back of the truck much of the time. I do not chain the front because there really isn't room on my 2500 GMC, and because I do enough turning in cul-de-sac's that I don't want all the binding. I have not had any issue turning with only the rear chained up.

I started with some medium duty v-bar chains, which worked well but were very buzzy at 15+mph. They also tended to really dig up the road if I spun a bit pulling someone out of the ditch. Two years ago I got a deal on some of the diamond style Laclede Alpine Super Sport diamond chains, still in the packaging. Figured I'd give them a try and see how they worked. I can't say enough good about this style chain!

diamond chains.jpg
(Picture is of competitor chain, the Laclede chains have no black bungee, only a hook on the end of the red section, but are otherwise the same.)

They are very easy to install without jacking up the truck or parking on a block or something. I usually only have to tighten them once after driving a few hundred feet and they're good and snug for the rest of that tank of fuel. (Gotta pull the chains to go get fuel...) No bungees, no buzzing, no worries. They have held up just fine, and offer a much better ride, as well as reduced road damage as compared to V-bar chains. After installing them a couple times, I think they're easier to install than the old ladder chains that I was using before. They came in a bag that stores them semi-flat, so I can drop them behind the seat when I don't have them on. I've probably got a few thousand miles on them plowing, and the square links still have sharp biting edges. Again, these are what I think would work the best for most folks...

I never looked up the price on the chains I have... I just did, and they're pretty expensive, with the only retailer I found as OReilly's, and a price of $240. The set show above are Onorm brand on tirechain.com, and go for $125. Same 4.6mm link size, same tensioner method, or perhaps better.
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Active member
I bought a set of Konig XG-12 Pro’s for my Sprinter van. I bought them specifically because they can be attached quickly without having to move the van.

This past week it snowed pretty good here and turned to ice while I was leaving work amd things got really bad coming down a hill. I managed to get my van over to the side of the road and rest my passenger tire up against the curb so I would stop sliding. I had the chains on in about 5 mins and was on my way. They paid for themselves easily and I got home in one piece. I consider these medium duty chains and also have a set of V-bar chains for forest roads etc when I know in advance things will be ugly.

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I hear ya', Bravo30.
That's the main reason I purchased the RUD 4x4 GRIP chains...get stuck, slap the chains on drive out of stuck situation.
Well, at least most of the time...sometimes it does take a bit of winching.



Well-known member
We just bought the OEM tire chains for the rear wheels of our vehicle. The only challenge, is that they weigh over 350 pounds combined...


Tire chains for us are a last ditch effort for serious snow traction.
Never do we ever wear chains on the road, even in nasty North Idaho winters.

We always carry a set though, and I will only run V-bar IceBreakers, with cam-locks, and heavy bungies.

They aren't cheap, around $400 for a pair as I recall, and I get them from tirechain.com