Sometimes You Just Want Canvas

A tarpaulin is to a flatbed truck driver what packing materials are to a shipper. And just like packing materials, tarps protect valuable cargo and come in different varieties for different kinds of jobs. Sometimes, you just want canvas tarps. Tarps made of woven cotton, linen or polyester offer great protection, breathability, and durability.

Canvas is a material that was in use long before there were trucks. In the 13th century, medieval warriors were using canvas to cover their Pavise shields. By the early 15th century, artists were using the material as a medium for painting. Over centuries, canvas has been used for everything from shelter to clothing to sails.

The strength of canvas is the tight plain weave used to produce it. By weaving the threads as tightly as possible, weavers can achieve a very strong material that is water resistant and breathable at the same time. Modern canvas used for things such as tarpaulins and tents are given an extra wax treatment to make them waterproof.

Canvas Truck Tarps

As a material for truck tarps, canvas is woven in varying weights and strengths, graded by number in descending order. This means that the lower the number, the heavier and stronger the material. Truckers prefer heavy-duty duck canvas because of its extremely tight weave.

canvas-tarps

The following are some of the benefits of canvas for truck tarps:

  • Less Abrasion – Poly and vinyl tarps aren’t as responsive to temperature fluctuations as canvas. As a result, they can be somewhat abrasive in colder weather. A big advantage of canvas is that it remains soft and supple regardless of the weather. When you are protecting cargo that is easily scratched, canvas is a better option.
  • Breathability – One of the main reasons for choosing canvas over poly or vinyl is its breathability. Even with a wax coating for waterproofing, canvas allows for airflow more readily than other materials. This is one of the reasons it is preferred in agricultural settings. Canvas is a very good option for loads with which there are some concern about mold and mildew forming.
  • Long-Term Strength – Mankind has been using woven materials for centuries because of their strength. Canvas is no exception. A canvas tarp that is properly cared for can last for decades – potentially even a trucker’s entire career if he/she is careful. As long as you are putting money into tarps, you might as well put some of it into canvas that will last.
  • Application – Canvas tends to be a bit heavier than poly or vinyl which adds to its advantage as it makes canvas tarps easier to apply in breezy conditions. A canvas tarp is less susceptible to catching the wind and taking off when you are trying to tie it down.

It should be obvious that canvas is not the right choice for every job. Nevertheless, when it is, it is hard to beat the benefits it offers. Our best advice to truckers is to look around before you purchase new canvas tarps. Choose a heavy-duty product, such as those we sell here at Mytee, made from a 100% duck cotton canvas. Grommets should be fabric reinforced and hems and seams should be double stitched.

The canvas tarps you purchase will be an investment in your business as a trucker. Therefore, do not be afraid to spend a little more to get the best possible quality. Your investment in heavy-duty canvas tarps today will pay off in the long run by protecting your loads from everything the open road can throw at them.


Tarping and Un-Tarping with Canvas Tarps

A brief perusal of a few online trucker forums suggests that tarping loads is the least appreciated aspect of flatbed hauling. Tarping takes time, the weather does not always cooperate, and, in some cases, it can even be a bit dangerous. In such cases, canvas tarps can be a lot easier to work with than vinyl or poly.

Truckers use different kind of tarps for different jobs. For example, a lumber tarp with flaps might be chosen for a tall load requiring protection down the sides. A small smoke tarp is a good choice when the driver only needs to protect the front of the load from exhaust. When weather and height are a concern, canvas could be the way to go.

canvas-tarp

Tarping with Canvas

One of the first things you notice about canvas is that it is a bit heavier than vinyl. This makes it a better material choice when you are trying to tarp in windy conditions. The key is placing the folded tarp in the right position on the load so that it can be gradually secured as it is unfolded. A gradual unfolding and securement is not 100% foolproof, but it does reduce the chances of wind gusts posing a problem.

Truckers also find canvas more forgiving in cold weather. Why? Because canvas does not get stiff and brittle in cold temperatures like vinyl does. It will unfold just as easily during the winter as it does in the summer, so you will have less to deal with when you are trying to secure your load in bad weather. The same properties that keep canvas pliable during cold temperatures also mean fewer adjustments as a result of changing weather conditions and temperatures.

Un-Tarping with Canvas

Tarping your load in windy conditions is not only made easier by canvas – so is tarp removal. Again, the heavier weight of canvas makes it less likely to flap in the breeze. Canvas is also less likely to become stuck on edges or corners, making it more forgiving when you are uncovering your load.

When it comes to folding your tarps, the benefits of canvas are immediately observable. Canvas folds easier, is more likely to stay in place during subsequent fold-overs, and less likely to move in the breeze during the folding process. This makes canvas a lot easier to be folded into a tight, neat package that fits into your utility box as it’s supposed to.

It should be obvious that removing a canvas tarp in cold weather is easier as well. Just like tarping, uncovering a load using a vinyl or poly tarp can be a real hassle when the temperatures dip below freezing. Truckers have to be more concerned about rips and tears as well, due to cold temperatures making poly and vinyl more brittle. There are fewer such worries with canvas.

Of course, canvas is not the right material for every job. There are times when poly or vinyl tarps are a better fit. This is why truckers typically have several different kinds of tarps stored in their boxes. One thing we will say is that canvas should be part of every truck driver’s collection. There are times when tarping and un-tarping with canvas is safer, faster, and more efficient.


How To Mold Proof Your Poly Tarps

Blue poly tarps are very popular with our clients because they are so versatile. They can be used to cover the bed of a pickup truck, build a lean-to, protect a wood pile, temporarily cover a leaky roof, and so on. With the right care, they are durable enough to last for years. So, what’s all this about mold? Why does it grow on tarps and, more importantly, what do you do about it?

Mold is a type of fungus that grows in multicellular structures, as opposed to single cell fungi classified as yeast. As a group, molds are known to exist in a dizzying number of species with all sorts of interesting characteristics. Yet all molds have a few things in common:

1.They need the right temperature and moisture level to thrive;
2.They are not fussy about their food sources; and
3.They can be very difficult to eradicate once established.

When mold appears on a blue poly tarp, it is because mold spores in the air have come to rest on the tarp and found the right mixture of moisture, food, and heat. That combination is an open invitation to multiply and spread. What many people do not know is that mold spores can be present along before being seen with the naked eye.

PolyTarp

Small but Powerful

Mold spores are a natural part of the environment and are all around us even though, individual spores are too small to see. Furthermore, mold growth is not a constant problem because the vast majority of spores never become airborne. However, all it takes is a windy day to change things. When a fair number of mold spores become airborne, they can easily find their way to any number of surfaces that provide the right conditions for multiplication.

Imagine a blue poly tarp covering your woodpile at home. A bit of wind could deposit mold spores over its surface without your knowledge. Some moderate light during the day, combined with overnight dew, make the top of your tarp a good breeding ground. There is also ample food for the mold by way of any dirt, debris and other organic matter that settles on the tarp. In just a few days, you could see the beginning stages of significant mold growth.

Removing Mold from Poly Tarps

Now that you know why mold grows on your tarps, you need to know how to remove it. Thankfully, it is not difficult. The process starts by spreading the tarp out on a flat surface in a sunny area. Spray the tarp down with a high-powered hose to loosen the mold and any debris surrounding it. Next, use a soft brush and a cleaning solution to scrub the tarp until the mold is gone.

You can purchase commercial mold treatments or make your own with baking soda and white vinegar. Regardless of your choice, you need to get close enough to clearly see the surface of the tarp. If you leave any mold behind, it could continue growing even after your cleaning efforts.

Lastly, hang the tarp up on a rope line – preferably on a warm day and in a sunny area. The faster and more thoroughly you dry out the tarp, the less likely it will be for mold to return. Be sure to fold the tarp and put it away, or re-apply it as it was before, as soon as it is dry. Leaving it to hang on a line for days is just another invitation for mold


Car Transport: Chains or Winch Straps

Which is better for car transport, chains or winch straps? This question has been debated for decades. It turns out that there is no right or wrong here. It can be a bit of a predicament to judge which products benefits outweighs the other as all that matters is that the straps are used properly to protect and secure the car being transported.

Having said that, transport chains seem to be the preferred tool of choice among companies that specialize in mass car transport. Smaller companies who transport single vehicles for individual owners tend to prefer the winch straps. Let us step back and look at both. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Transport Chains

Transport chains were the industry-standard before webbing straps were introduced to the freight forwarding industry. Chains are strong, durable, and more than capable of handling the weight of heavy cars. Using them for car transport is not difficult either. If you can use a hook and a ratchet, the system is pretty simple.

Here are some things to consider:

•Vehicle Hook Mounts – Automakers now build hook mounts into their vehicles as a matter of course. Two mounts are located at the front of the frame, usually on either side of the radiator, while rear mounts can be found near the rear axle. A driver simply hooks a chain to each of the mounts and tightens it down with the ratchet.

car transport

•Chain Tension – The biggest disadvantage to using chains is the possibility of damaging a vehicle by ratcheting them too tightly. A chain should provide just enough tension to keep the vehicle secure without pulling on it. Chains that are too tight can bend frames and do other sorts of damage.

•Improper Hooking – The other concern of using transport chains comes by way of drivers that might be unaware of the hook mounts. Without this knowledge, they may choose to hook chains to axles or bumpers, causing significant damage once tension is applied. If chains are to be used, drivers need to be educated in how to use them.

Winch Straps

Winch straps can be used for car transport by securing them around wheels. Straps are considered safer and significantly less damaging to cars, so manufacturers are beginning to look at mandating their use for new car transport. As long as the straps are used properly, they keep the vehicle just as secure as chains while mitigating risk of damage to axles and frames. The flexibility of the straps also enables a minimal amount of movement to accommodate for road shock.

As with transport chains, winch straps can be installed improperly. For example, allowing a strap to come in direct contact with wheel rims can scratch the finish or do other types of damage. Axles can also be damaged if tension is not applied evenly to all four tires. Having said that, the industry sees very few problems with winch straps overall.

As a truck driver, you may have to decide between transport chains and winch straps – even if you are not transporting cars. It is a good idea to thoroughly research both options along with the implications of using each one. Remember, the right tool for the load will make your job as a truck driver a lot easier.