Like everyone else down here, I use ratchet straps to tie things down in the truck. They work great, but the UX leaves something to be desired, and it's never a quick operation.
Outdoor gear company Nite Ize has patented an alternative, at least for small loads: Their Figure 9 Carabiner Rope Tightener, which is designed to let you fasten things without having to tie a knot (or feed a strap through a ratchet slot).
Here's how they work:
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The maximum weight it will take is just 50 pounds, so these aren't right for every job, but I could see this being useful with small loads--and with one on either end, knot-free.