Canvas Tarps Are Tough Tarps

Vinyl is the material that makes up the vast majority of our truck tarp inventory. But Mytee Products also carries a selection of canvas tarps as well. We understand that canvas tarps are tough tarps, and sometimes drivers need that extra toughness. There are times when vinyl will just not do.

This post will explore just why canvas is such a tough material and what that means to truck drivers. So let’s start by first discussing the difference between plain and duck canvas. They may look the same to the naked eye, but they are distinctly different products.

A standard canvas tarp is made from a fabric constructed of heavy fibers (usually cotton) woven together in a plain weave. The weave is tight enough to be water-resistant and reasonably tough under most circumstances. Duck canvas uses a similar weave, but the density is greater. The advantage of duck canvas is that the tighter weave makes it more resistant to weather. The downside is that it is not as breathable.

Both types of canvas can be treated with wax to make them waterproof. This is obviously not necessary to protect the fabric itself, but it is a big plus for truckers who need to keep moisture out. Waxed canvas tarps do need to be retreated every now and again.

Why Canvas Is So Tough

The toughness of canvas is really a matter of physics. To understand this, first ask yourself what it is that causes damage to truck tarps. Usually it is things like sharp edges, airborne debris, and weather. All these things exert force on the tarp fabric that can lead to rips, tears, etc.

Resisting damage is a matter of resisting those external forces. What makes canvas so tough is the weave. By using a high concentration of fibers woven together in an over and under pattern (this is the plain weave pattern), canvas makers are creating a surface that absorbs energy and dissipates it across its entire surface. Each one of those little fibers handles some of the energy directed at the surface of the tarp. The more fibers there are, the more effectively energy is absorbed and dissipated.

As for the weave, it allows energy absorbed in one portion of the tarp to be transferred across the entire surface by way of the fibers touching one another. Furthermore, each fiber supports the ones around it through the over and under contact of the weave. When external force is exerted on the fabric, the fibers that initially absorb it are supported by the surrounding fibers even as the energy begins to dissipate across the entire surface of the tarp.

Life after Trucking

If you have ever wondered just how tough canvas is, consider what might happen to your tarps after they are no longer usable for trucking. Canvas tarps can be recycled and used to create all sorts of things. For example, there is a company in Europe that recycles rubberized canvas truck tarps by turning them into full size travel cases.

The tarps are cleaned, cut into smaller pieces, and sewn together into large travel bags with inflatable frames made out of bicycle tubes. Using canvas as the main material allows for rolling the bag up into a fairly compact package when not in use. When unrolled and inflated, the combination of bike tube and canvas creates a durable, water tight suitcase that rivals any hard-shell product on the market.

We love canvas tarps because they are tough tarps. If you need one or two to fill out your inventory, Mytee Products has what you need.


How Tough Is Your Headache Rack?

A story appearing last year on the automoblog.com website described two ‘autobots’ vehicles being sold at the 2016 Barrett-Jackson Auction in Arizona. One was a tractor that was custom built to portray the Optimus Prime character of Transformers fame. One of the things that caught our attention was the description of the headache rack mounted on the back of this truck. The article described it as being an “armor-like headache rack.”

Describing something as armor-like is a complement to its strengths and toughness. That led us to wonder about the toughness of the headache racks on the real-life trucks that traverse our nation’s highways. If you are a flatbed trucker, ask yourself just how tough your headache rack really is.

Up to the Task

There is a purpose for having a headache rack that goes above and beyond aesthetics.A headache rack is intended to protect both cab and driver in the event that cargo breaks free and shifts forward. The headache rack is supposed to prevent the cargo from crashing through the back of the tractor. With that in mind, a good headache rack has to be up to the task. It has to be strong enough to withstand the forces of physics in the event of an accident.

The purpose of a headache rack dictates that function is the priority when buying one. Yes, a clean and polished headache rack is a visual chrome feast for the eyes on a tricked-out truck that looks as good as it drives. But all the aesthetics will not mean much if that freshly polished rack cannot hold up to the forces of a shifting load during a forced hard stop. Truck drivers should buy their headache racks first and foremost as a safety device. After that they can talk about aesthetics and peripheral utility.

Shopping for a Rack

The headache rack is one area where it does not pay to skimp. So what do you look for while you’re shopping? Start by looking for something made with high-strength, premium alloys. An alloy is a material derived by combining multiple metals or a single metal with other elements.

Alloys are defined by their bonding characteristics. Thus, their superiority is found in their strength and durability. An aluminum alloy headache rack is going to be tougher and stronger than a pure aluminum alternative. Likewise for any other alloys a manufacturer might use.

Finally, make the effort to visually inspect any headache rack you choose before you buy it. If you are forced to purchase online because you cannot get to the supplier in person, make sure your purchase comes with a reasonable return policy just in case it arrives in less than perfect condition. Your visual inspection should include looking at all the welded seams and the entire face of the headache rack. There should be no cracks or breaks of any kind.

The Optimus Prime truck sold in 2016 is nothing but a Hollywood showpiece. As such, whether its headache rack is truly armor-like doesn’t really matter. It is just for looks. The same cannot be said for your own truck. If you are flatbed truck driver, you absolutely have to have an armor-like headache rack to protect yourself and your truck.


6 Important Things to Know about Tire Chains

Do you routinely drive in regions requiring snow chains during the winter? If so, you know all about what it means to chain up before heading into bad weather. If you are new to trucking or winter driving, tire chains may be foreign to you. One thing is for sure in either case: chains can cause a lot of problems if you don’t know how to use them.

Mytee Products carries tire chains for both 22.5-inch in 24.5-inch tire chains. We invite you to purchase your chains through us, along with all your cargo control supplies including tarps, bungee straps, ratchet straps, and edge protectors.

In the interests of advancing public safety, we have compiled a list of six important things to know about tire chains. Know and understand these things, whether you are a veteran or a rookie.

1. Keep to a Safe Speed

Tire chains are only intended to withstand a certain amount of punishment. Drivers should never exceed speeds of 30 mph when chained. Going any faster could cause chains to break while in motion. This could be dangerous for driver and vehicle alike.

2. Avoid Bare Pavement

Tire chains do not hold up well against bare pavement either. So while there may be some instances when it’s necessary to drive short distances on bare pavement, the practice should be avoided as much as possible. As soon as a driver gets through the area of snow-covered roads, he or she should find a place to pull off and remove the chains.

3. Chains Slip on Pavement

Something else to note about chains is they tend to slip on bare pavement. If a driver is braking on bare pavement while still chained up, he/she has to be more gentle in the process. It is very easy to lock up the wheels and slide on chains. On the other end, hitting the gas too aggressively could cause the drive wheels to spin on bare pavement. Drivers should accelerate slowly.

4. Routine Inspections Are Necessary

Truckers will naturally tighten their chains when first deploying them. However, it is generally recommended that chains be inspected and re-tightened at regular intervals. Chains will loosen as the miles roll by, making them subject to breakage.

5. Chained Tighteners Can Cause Problems

Chain tightening devices have a tendency to pull chains off-center if they are not used the right way. A driver who is not intimately familiar with how to use such a device should avoid doing so. There are other ways to effectively tighten chains.

6. State Regulations

Nearly every state in the union has some sort of regulations in place pertaining to tire chains. Truck drivers should make themselves familiar with those regulations in any states where they plan to work during the winter months. Running afoul of the regulations could result in a citation.

Along those same lines, there are a few key regions in the U.S. were chains are mandatory during the winter. In some of these regions truckers will find chains at highway department chain banks. A word to the wise though: drivers should not rely solely on chain banks to meet their needs. If no chains are available when a driver reaches the start of a mandatory chain area, he or she will have to wait until a set is available.

Tire chains are part of winter driving for truck drivers. Hopefully you have had some experience chaining up your truck. If not, you will probably have to learn eventually. Just remember that chaining up is not the end of the world. You will get pretty good at it with enough practice.


What to Do with Shade Tarps this Winter

Winter preparations mean different things to different people. For example, you might use a couple of shade tarps around your home during the summer. What do you do with them during the winter? Do you leave them in place, or do you take them down and store them? This post we will discuss winter preparations related to shade tarps.

As a reminder, shade tarps are tarps made with mesh material. They allow some sunlight and air to pass through while still blocking just enough to provide a nice respite. People use shade tarps to create outdoor areas for sitting, entertaining, and so forth. Tarps can be any number of colors; black and green are the most common.

Leaving Tarps in Place

The first thing to discuss is whether you should leave your shade tarps in place. That depends on where you live and kind of weather you normally see during the winter. Someone living in Central or South Florida probably doesn’t have to take tarps town. The worst Florida residents see in a typical winter is a little bit of rain every few weeks.

Those who live in climates with harsher winter weather should by all means take their tarps down. Shade tarps are designed to block the sun; they are not strong enough to withstand snow, ice, and the heaviest winds of winter. Exposing shade tarps to winter weather could lead to their ruin.

Cleaning Shade Tarps

When it is time to take down and store your shade tarps, a good cleaning is in order. Never store a tarp that has not been cleaned – you never know what kinds of dirt and debris are trapped in between the webbing. As for cleaning, never use harsh chemicals or chlorine-based cleaners. A mild detergent and some warm water will be sufficient.

The best way to clean a shade tarp is to hang it across a laundry line. If that’s not possible, laying it flat on the ground works too. Use a soft bristled brush and the detergent solution to gently brush away dirt and debris. Afterward, rinse off the tarp with a hose and let it dry.

You might be tempted to put a small shade tarp in the washing machine. Don’t do it. The agitation of the washing machine can damage the material, especially if the tarp wraps around the agitator and gets stuck. It is easy enough to wash a tarp by hand, so just avoid the washing machine altogether.

Storing Your Tarps

Finally, the same rules that apply to storing other kinds of tarps also apply to shade tarps. First and foremost, never store a shade tarp if it’s still wet from cleaning. Don’t fold it, don’t roll it, don’t do anything until it is completely dry. Otherwise you risk creating an environment that promotes mold growth.

Next, fold or roll your shade tarp up in an orderly fashion. Do not just gather it up like a pile of dirty laundry ready to go into the washing machine. A neat, tidy fold will make your tarps easier to store and less prone to rips and tears from having to be forced into an uncooperative storage space.

Finally, choose a storage space that is clean, dry, and away from direct heat. Although shade tarps are built to withstand heat and moisture to a certain degree, you’ll extend the life of your tarps by not unnecessarily exposing them to unfavorable conditions.

Winter is coming, so take the correct measures to protect your shade tarps. Then they will be ready to go when spring arrives.


Basic Principles of Hay Tarp Safety

While conducting a brief review of past blog posts, it occurred to us that it would be a good idea to share safety tips involving hay tarps. We talk a lot about trucker safety for cargo control, but apparently the topic of hay tarp safety hasn’t been addressed. This post aims to change that.

It is important to start an ongoing discussion centered around using hay tarps safely, beginning with this post covering a few basic principles. We may produce future posts that get into more advanced principles for hay stacking, tarping, and moisture control.

If you are looking for a way to protect your hay without using a barn or storage shed, Mytee Products has several options to choose from. We carry a full line of hay tarps along with temporary storage structures made with galvanized steel pipe and heavy-duty PE fabric.

And now, on to the basic principles of hay tarp safety.

Principle #1: Limit the Size of Your Stacks

We never cease explaining to truckers how dangerous it is to walk on the top of a load to secure tarps. In fact, we recommend avoiding the practice if at all possible. The same applies to stacks of hay. Every new layer you add to a stack also adds height. If your stacks are too high, you may find you have to climb on top in order to properly secure tarps. Remember: with height comes increased danger in the event of a fall.

It is best to limit your stacks to 10 or 12 feet, at the most. If you do have to climb on top, make sure you use an extension ladder long enough to elevate you above the top of the stack as you climb on. Attempting to get on top of a stack using a stepladder is just not wise.

Principle #2: Don’t Tarp Under Windy Conditions

Avoid attempting to deploy tarps on windy days. Hay growers, like truck drivers, sustain a good number of their tarp-related injuries as a result of wind catching tarps. If you absolutely must deploy a tarp on a windy day, make sure you stand up wind of your haystack. Then, if the wind does catch the tarp, it will blow away from you instead of against you.

Principle #3: Get Help When Tarping

Hey tarps are a lot heavier than you might think. Therefore, do yourself a favor and get help when you are ready to cover your hay. There is no need to be a hero by trying to tarp yourself. Being a hero could result in a hernia, a back injury, or something worse.

Principle #4: Wear Protective Gear

You will most likely be using straps or bungee cords to secure your tarps. As such, you should wear head and eye protection. You never know when something could snap back and strike you with enough force to knock you on your backside. The last thing you need is a head or eye injury.

Principle #5: Check Grommets before Deploying

With the exception of damaged seams, the weakest link on any hay tarp is its grommets. You can go a long way toward remaining safe by inspecting every grommet prior to deployment. If a grommet appears even slightly damaged or loose, do not use it. Either get the tarp fixed or work around the grommet in question.

At Mytee Products, we firmly believe in the safety-first mindset. We encourage our hay tarp customers to use the utmost care when covering hay stacks this fall. Your hay can be replaced; you cannot be.