More from: ratchet straps

The Secret to Preventing Tarp Billowing

After spending 20 to 30 minutes tarping a load, nothing aggravates a flatbed trucker more than looking out the mirror 25 miles down the road and seeing one or more of those tarps billowing in the wind. Billowing tarps reduce fuel efficiency and risk both straps and cargo. Truckers hate billowing tarps.

The question many new truck drivers struggle with is how to prevent billowing. After all, moving down the highway at 65 mph creates a lot of air movement around a flatbed load. Any natural wind added to the equation just makes things worse.

So, what is the solution? The secret to preventing tarp billowing is in how tarps are applied at various points of a load.

In the below post, we will explain how to secure tarps that will not billow as you drive down the road. You can use ratchet straps, bungee straps, bungee rope, or even nylon rope as you see fit. A combination of bungee straps and ratchet straps is the best way to go for efficiency and speed.

Tight at the Front

Physics and common sense dictate that air flows across a load from front to back. Therefore, common sense also dictates that tarps should be getting the most attention at the front of the load. Veteran truckers who tarp well, will tell you that the front of the load is key.

The most important thing for preventing billowing is to make sure the tarp at the front is as flat and tight as possible. If you do not give air a clear path under the front of the tarp, you will reduce the likelihood of billowing across its entire surface. So think tight and flat.

One suggestion from veteran truckers is to start by securing the front corners of the tarp with bungee straps. Pull the tarp tight and secure the rear with bungee straps as well. Then go back to the front of the load and apply one ratchet strap across the top of the tarp as far forward as possible. You can then use bungee straps or bungee rope to go around the front edge of the tarp, hooking to a strap on either side, to keep the vertical surface of the tarp lying flat.

Work Your Way Back

Once the front of the tarp is flat and secure, work your way back. Use additional bungee straps at key points to secure the tarp to either your trailer or the load itself. Another ratchet strap across the middle of the tarp will keep that section flat. Finally, wrap the entire perimeter of the load using bungee rope from corner to corner. This keeps the edges of the tarp secure against the load.

The advantage of using bungee rope here is that you can apply fairly large sections of rope without creating a safety hazard or risking damage to the load.

One veteran trucker we know offers another tip that makes sense. He says that it helps to take a few extra minutes to make sure tarps are applied evenly. An uneven tarp is harder to keep flat and tight because you are working with different amounts of material at various points across the load. An even tarp gives you the same amount of material at the critical points, making it possible to apply even tension with each bungee or ratchet strap you use.

Remember, the secret to preventing tarp billowing is to concentrate on the front of the load in order to ensure the tarp is flat and tight. If you can conquer the front of the load, the rest should be fairly easy.

Material Choices: Not All Ratchet Straps Are Equal

Makers of winch and ratchet straps for cargo control can choose from a number of different construction materials. The three most common are propylene, nylon, and polyester. Of those three, propylene is not recommended for the trucking industry because it does not handle heavy loads very well. Among the remaining two choices, the latter is the best choice for cargo control.

To say that all ratchet straps are not equal is obvious if you understand the differences between the three materials. Propylene is material generally reserved for needs that do not require heavy load limits. For example, you might find it used to make bag straps, belts, and other similar things. Winch and ratchet straps for flatbed trucking are rarely, if ever, made with propylene.

Five Reasons Nylon and Polyester Are Better

Before you buy new winch or ratchet straps for your truck, we encourage you to consider material choices. The material you choose could end up having a significant impact on how securely your cargo is carried. Below are five reasons nylon and polyester are far better choices than propylene.

1. UV Protection

Ultraviolet rays from the sun can do damage to cargo control products without a truck driver ever knowing it. Ultraviolet rays can dry out and crack rubber bungee straps; they cause significant discoloration of truck tarps; they can reduce the life of the stitching material used to hold tarp material together. Where ratchet straps are concerned, polyester is the most resistant to UV rays. Nylon is fairly resistant as well.

2. Overall Strength

The biggest reason propylene is inappropriate for heavy loads is because it stretches considerably. Stretching of up to 50% is not abnormal for propylene. Nylon can stretch up to 30% under the heaviest loads while polyester is not likely to stretch beyond 15%. Once again, that makes polyester ideal for ratchet straps.

3. Tensile Strength

Tensile strength is defined as the maximum load a material can bear before breaking. Once again, propylene does not hold up very well. The average propylene strap is good only for about 700 pounds whereas nylon and polyester can manage loads of up to 7,000 pounds and 10,000 pounds respectively.

4. Resistance to Abrasion

Abrasion is a big problem in the trucking industry. From the sharp edges of cargo to the flatbed trailers that carry it, there are a lot of things that can cause abrasive friction on ratchet straps. Neither propylene nor nylon stand up well to abrasion. Polyester does.

5. Water Resistance

Lastly, water resistance is something truckers have to be concerned about. If a strap that were to become saturated it would automatically be weaker under load. It would also be prone to mold growth and more rapid breakdown under continual cycles of saturation and drying.

Believe it or not, the worst performer in the water-resistant category is nylon. Propylene actually does better in this regard, which is why it is used for things like lifejacket straps. Ultimately though, polyester is again the clear winner.

Winch and Ratchet Straps from Mytee

Hopefully you have detected a pattern here. Polyester is the material of choice for winch and rapid straps because it is far superior to its alternatives. It is the material of choice used by our manufacturers.

Mytee Products carries a full line of winch and ratchet straps ideal for flatbed truckers and their cargo control needs. You can shop for your straps by browsing our inventory like a catalog, or by using the handy search tool now available on our website. Search by price, load limit, brand, etc.

Ratchet Straps Ensure Safety On The Road

Truckers use myriad of products to ensure the safety of the cargo that they pull. They use tarps to protect the cargo from harsh weather conditions and external elements as they have the responsibility to deliver the goods safely to its destination. Truckers also have the responsibility to tie down their cargo in such a way that is should not disturb other drivers on the road. For this the truckers need to ensure that when they drive at high speed on the highway their cargo should remain in place.

The best way to secure the cargo on a flatbed trailer is through Winch Ratchet Straps. They are made of strong polyester webbing. Ratchet strap can be used for the tying down goods on a truck, car or van.

Tips on tie down:

  • The primary thing for ensuring safety of the goods and securing them on the truck bed is about arranging them properly on the platform. If the goods are arranged properly it becomes very easy for you to cover them with a tarp and then later tying the tarp and goods down on the flatbed with straps.
  • Once you arrange your load on the flatbed, cover them using appropriate tarp. There are many types of tarps available in the market like lumber tarps and steel tarps. Once you choose your tarp, cover and secure you cargo, place the excess material on the corners under the load to avoid wind whip. It is very necessary to make sure that there is no scope of wind gushing through the tarp, or it will slow you down and also cause a disaster if the tarp tears.
  • After you make sure that your tarp is placed properly on the cargo, you have to tie it to the flatbed using straps. Many flatbed trailers have inbuilt tie down straps, but if your truck does not have that then you can use ratchet or winch straps. These straps will make sure that your heavy duty cargo and the tarp will remain in place.
  • There are different working load limits for different straps; you can use multiple straps according to the ranks of the straps. For example is your load weighs 10,000 lbs and your strap has working load limit of 500 lbs then you need to use 20 straps to secure the cargo robustly on the trailer.

For the optimum safety of your cargo and other motor drivers on the road, do not exceed the working load limit of your straps and also make sure your straps are in good shape while tying down. I understand being a truck driver you don’t want to be responsible for any mishaps or accidents caused due to materials flying off your truck.