More from: truck straps

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.


Essential Tools for Cargo Securement

The average consumer has some knowledge on trucking and cargo transportation depending upon their personal relocating experiences. Some truck drivers who are relatively new to the trucking profession tend to be unfamiliar to the tricks of tarping and protecting the load they are about to transport. Yet proper cargo securement is a matter of having the right tools at hand for each job.

Whether someone is new to the profession or is a veteran trucker, at the end of the day, it boils down to remembering and applying the basic rules of cargo securement. It is about preventing a load from shifting in any way that could damage cargo or cause it to fall from the trailer so that it reaches it destination safely.

Here are some essential and helpful tools truckers could use to protect their truckload:

E-Track Straps

E-Track straps are primarily used for dry goods or refrigerated trailers. It is a slotted rail normally installed along both sides of a trailer’s interior at a height matching that of the cargo. The purpose of e-track is to keep the cargo in place and prevent is from sliding around.

This can be accomplished in one of two ways. The first is to use a shoring bar or decking beam made of aluminum and galvanized steel. Each end of the bar is fitted with a mechanism that fits into the e-track and locks into place. A shoring bar can handle pretty substantial loads. Where more flexibility is required, ratchet straps can be used in place of the rigid shoring bar. Straps are attached on both sides of the trailer and ratcheted together in the middle.

truck-straps

Winch Straps

Winch straps tend to be popular with flatbed truck drivers. They are made with heavy duty webbing material that meets or exceeds all DOT regulations and industry standards. They typically come with a flat hook, wire hook or chain anchor on one hand. Winch straps get that name because they are tightened down using a standard winch system. They provide maximum cargo securement strength in a package that is easy to deploy.

Corner and Edge Protectors

Truck drivers never simply back up to a trailer, hook it and go. They have to make sure their loads are secured properly prior to departure. Flatbed drivers have to place tarps over their cargo as well. Tarps are used to protect cargo from varying weather conditions, road situation and while they use the right corner and edge protectors to protect their tarps from wear and tear.

Corner and edge protectors are a great option as there are many choices available depending on the application. For example, a pyramid shaped tarp protector needs to be used if a load may cut or rip the tarp. These small pieces of plastic are placed over sharp corners and secured with webbing.

Another popular option is the v-shaped edge protector. This tool comes in a variety of sizes and can be made of plastic or metal. V-Shaped edge protectors are used to protect cargo, tarps, and straps.

Having the right tools for cargo securement makes the trucker’s job much easier. Mytee Products carries a wide range of essential load securement tools that range from straps to edge protectors to high-quality tarps needed in North America.


Rubber Tarp Straps: Natural Rubber or Synthetic?

Every truck driver knows that you need the right tools for the job. There are different tarps for different types of loads, and different methods of fastening a tarp to the trailer bed. One of the more convenient types of straps is the rubber strap with the S-hook in either end. These straps come in both natural and synthetic, ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubbers. The question is – is one better than the other?

Neither natural nor synthetic rubber is a better product overall. Both have their pros and cons depending on how they are used. It is best to have both kinds on hand if you are a driver that works in all regions of the country and during all seasons. Both work equally well with steel and lumber tarps of all sizes.

Natural Rubber Straps

Rubber tarp straps are incredibly convenient when all you are doing is securing the tarp itself. They go on in just seconds, and are durable enough to handle road speeds and the elements.

rubber-straps

When you choose natural rubber, you are choosing a material that works very well in most environments, with the exception of the blazing hot sun of the American South and Southwest. High temperatures cause natural rubber to lose its elasticity, while UV rays break down the material’s composition.

On the other hand, natural rubber is the material of choice for winter use. Unlike EPDM, natural rubber does not become brittle in subfreezing temperatures. It also tends not to crack or tear in cold weather.

EPDM Rubber Straps

EPDM is an M-class synthetic rubber with a high ethylene content of between 45% and 85%. The higher the ethylene content, the more polymers can be used in the rubber mixture without affecting extrusion. This allows for a higher polymer cross-link density for stronger material.

EPDM is the best choice for securing tarps in hot weather under the scorching sun. This synthetic product holds up very well under high temperatures without losing strength or elasticity. EPDM offers a second benefit for sunny environments: it is not prone to breaking down from exposure to UV rays. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about EPDM in cold weather environments. Cold weather tends to make EPDM brittle and prone to tearing.

Keep in mind that branding does matter when purchasing your truck tarps and straps. Where rubber straps are concerned, the fact that they all look pretty much the same can be deceiving. You are better off paying a little more for a branded product in order to get a better quality strap with a longer life and more durability.

Pairing With Rubber Ropes

You will find that it is difficult to purchase rubber straps greater than 41 inches in length. So what does the trucker do when he or she needs coverage across a much larger area? Hooking multiple tarp straps together is not necessarily a wise idea because doing so creates more opportunities for failure. Instead, pairing straps with rubber rope is the best idea.

Rubber rope can be cut to the desired length for continuous coverage across your entire load. Then insert S-hooks at either end to be attached to shorter straps where necessary. The combination of rubber rope and tarp straps provides a perfect solution for securing any load.

When buying tarp straps, it is important to have the right tool for the job. Consider weather conditions, cargo type, and any other factors necessary to choosing the right straps.


How to Clean a Moldy Truck Tarp

Today’s modern truck tarps are made with mold resistant vinyl and poly materials that stand up pretty well to moisture and mold spores. And although winding up with a tarp covered in mold is rare, mold growth can still occur from time to time. Any mold growth on a truck tarp should be dealt with as quickly as possible in order to prevent it from spreading. Mold not only causes damage to cargo, it can also make anyone who is exposed to it sick.

Cleaning mold from a truck tarp is not difficult in principle. You can use a commercial solution purchased from the store, or you can create your own solution of baking soda and white vinegar. A good ratio is ¼-cup baking soda for every 2 cups vinegar. Regardless of the cleaning solution you choose to use, here are the steps for cleaning a moldy truck tarp:

1. Spread and Sweep

The first step is to spread your tarp out in an outdoor space large enough to let you lay it completely flat, with plenty of room to walk around. This is best done on a warm and sunny day when there is little chance of rain. You may need to weigh down the corners of the tarp if there is any breeze.

Next, use a stiff broom to sweep the tarp clean. You want to remove all of the surface dirt and loosen the mold at the same time. Be sure to sweep in the direction of the wind so that the loosened dirt and debris does not blow back onto the tarp.

truck tarp

2. Hose It Down, Scrub

Step number two is to hose down your tarp. Adjust the spray head to give yourself some pressure. This will help loosen more of a mold and any dirt and grime that did not come off with the broom. As soon as you are done hosing off the tarp, get right to work with your cleaning solution.

If you are using the baking soda and vinegar, apply the solution with a spray bottle or brush and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then take a soft bristled brush and scrub the mold spots until they come clean. You may have to add more solution as you go. If you are using a commercial cleaning solution, just follow the instructions on the bottle. When you are done scrubbing all of the spots clean, hose down the tarp for the second time.

3. Let It Dry

The last step is to let your tarp dry. If you can hang it up, it will dry more quickly while also reducing the chances that additional mold will grow. If it cannot be hung, at least use your broom to sweep off as much excess water as possible. Allowing the tarp to dry in the sun will ensure that all the water evaporates without promoting new mold growth.

When mold does form on a truck tarp, it is usually because it has folded and stored while still wet. All it takes to create mold growth is a little water and some airborne mold spores. So to avoid mold growth, do your best to allow your tarps to dry before folding and storing them. If that is not possible because of weather, pull them out and let them dry at the soonest available opportunity.


Understand the Basic Types of Tarps for Truck or Trailers

Trailer tarps

For flatbed haulers, Tarping is perhaps the most arduous part of the job, the chief reason why Flatbed Driving Professionals command a premium over others. Flatbeds, by their very definition, are open topped. Loads being hauled on flatbeds need to be tarped frequently to protect the load from the elements. Given the significance of Tarps to the flatbed hauler, it is important to understand various Tarp types and Tarping Systems.

Tarp itself is a commonly used term for plastic coated fabric. We can broadly divide Tarps into four categories: Mesh Tarps, Poly Tarps, Vinyl Tarps and Canvas Tarps. Of these four categories, only Poly and Vinyl Tarps are supposed to be totally waterproof. The Mesh Tarp is designed to let water and air pass through but hold back debris. Of the two waterproof tarps, those with polyethylene coating (Poly Tarps) are what one generally finds at Home Depot or Wal-Mart. These are cheaper tarps with reduced durability. Poly Tarps have various uses but are not suitable for Trucking applications. Vinyl Tarps are the most commonly used material for Trucking applications. Vinyl is the best material for Heavy Duty Truck Tarps. They tend to be more expensive but have the necessary strength to handle the strain from exposure to winds on the highway and also the tension from bungees exerted on the D-Rings of the Tarp.

Tarping can be done manually by the driver. Different sizes of finished tarps such as the Heavy Duty Lumber Tarp, Steel Tarp, Coil Tarp, Machine Tarp or a Three Piece Tarp can be kept rolled up above the Headache Rack or in the Toolbox. Once the Steel Coil or other load is placed on the trailer bed, secured with Tie-Downs or 3/8 x 20 G 70 Transport Chains and Ratchet Chain Binder, a Moving Blanket can be thrown on top of the load, the necessary Plastic Tarp Protectors Placed and then the Coil Tarp or Heavy Duty Lumber Tarp can be laid above the load. The tarp is then secured in place with 21 Inch Rubber Bungee Straps pulling down on the D-Rings. This is the most common yet manual method of Tarping a load. It is required for loads of unpredictable sizes, loads such as Machines.

For consistent loads, load of predictable dimensions, Mechanical Tarping systems are also available in the Market:

  1. Front to Back Tarp Systems
    The most common examples of such systems are Asphalt Tarp  and Dump Truck Tarping systems. The Tarp has two long pockets along the Trailer length. The system has two metal arms that are inserted through the side pockets of the Tarp. The tarp is rolled up into a cylindrical roll at the front of the trailer. At the time of deployment, the tarp is unfurled from its rolled position and extended out to cover the open area of the trailer. Asphalt Tarps are made of Vinyl while Dump Truck Tarps are made of PVC Coated Mesh. There are other sliding Tarp systems as well available which fall under the category of Front-to-Back systems.
  2. Side to Side Tarp Systems
    Side to Side systems are generally synonymous with Roll Tarp systems. The tarp is fixed on one end and free on the other. The open area of the trailer is covered with bows that act like a system of ribs on which the tarp can roll back and forth. The mechanism drives the free end to roll and simultaneously curl toward the fixed end. Such systems are common on Gran Trailers. For flatbed trailers, a Side-Kit system is used. It is similar to the Roll-Tarp system but the drop height is provided by a combination of Stakes inserted in the Trailer side pockets and 4 foot high panels inserted through the sides of stakes along specially grooved channels.

Automatic Versus Manual Drive

All mechanical Tarping systems can be driven by a manual crank or an electrically automated motorized drive. The automated systems, while more convenient, can be more expensive and complex. Manual systems can be effort intensive, especially during the winter months, but tend to be simpler and robust.