Jumping out of an airplane with nothing but a parachute to get you safely to the ground requires quite a bit of trust in the material and mechanics of that parachute. Common sense dictates that you would want a parachute material capable of withstanding the stresses of skydiving. Well, guess what? The same kinds of forces that put stress on parachutes also put stress on truck tarps. So why not use parachute material to make a better truck tarp?
We have good news in this regard: parachutes are not just for jumping out of airplanes. Manufacturers are now beginning to utilize parachute cloth for making stronger, lighter truck tarps capable of withstanding the punishment of the open road. Mytee Products has just introduced our own selection of parachute/airbag tarps.
We know, the industry has been using vinyl for what seems like an eternity. But as great a tarp material as vinyl is, parachute cloth is better. We encourage you to at least consider parachute cloth tarps when it comes time to replace your vinyl and canvas.
Basics of Parachute Cloth
Parachute cloth is as a ripstop nylon material. It doesn’t really have to be nylon, but most parachute cloth is. The ‘ripstop’ designation refers to the fact that the cloth is exceptionally resistant to rips and tears thanks to a special kind of weave.
Normal weaves go in just two directions. The warp goes in one direction, the weft in a perpendicular direction. Parachute cloth is different. Parachute cloth manufacturers employ a special technique that involves interweaving reinforcement threads throughout the fabric in a crosshatch pattern.
If you have ever seen a baseball diamond just prior to the first pitch, you should have a good understanding of what a crosshatch pattern is. The outfield displays a crisscross pattern left by a mower being run across it earlier in the day. If you were to take that mower and go across the infield one more time, perpendicular to the intersections of the crisscross pattern, you would wind up with a crosshatch pattern.
The extra weave essentially creates an extra woven ‘joint’, as it were, at every intersection of the warp and weft. This is what gives parachute cloth its exceptional strength. The mass of the extra thread provides additional reinforcement throughout the entire weave.
Lighter Is Better
Now that you understand the basics of parachute cloth, let us discuss why it is a better alternative for truck tarps. The benefits of parachute cloth can be encapsulated in a single word: weight. Simply put, lighter is better for most applications.
As a truck driver, you know that the point of tarps is not cargo securement. Your loads are secured by way of chains and straps. You deploy tarps to protect cargo from weather and road debris. As such, you need tarps strong enough to withstand highway speeds, rough weather, and temperature extremes. If you can get away with a lightweight material without compromising tarp integrity, that’s good for you and your physical health.
Let face it; vinyl tarps are heavy. They are unwieldy under windy conditions. A parachute tarp that is up to 40% lighter is a lot easier to deploy in any weather. It is easier on your back and arms, too. And don’t forget speed; a lighter tarp can be deployed faster because it requires less physical effort on your part.
Yes indeed, parachutes are not just for jumping out of planes anymore. Now you can use the same material skydivers trust their lives with to protect the cargo on the back of your trailer. It is a beautiful thing.