Purchasing tarps can be a fairly substantial expense for the independent trucker. As with any other business owner, a responsible trucker wants to spend an appropriate amount on the tools of his or her trade without spending frivolously. In light of that, you might be wondering whether or not you should invest in smoke tarps. The answer to it depends on the types of loads you haul.
The typical smoke tarp is a smaller tarp measuring either 10′ x 12′ or 12′ x 12′. It generally is not intended to cover large loads entirely. So what’s the point in purchasing smoke tarps? A smoke tarp is specifically designed for the front and top of your load. It is put in place to protect your load from smoke, soot, and dirt. Right off the bat, it makes sense to consider smoke tarps if you haul loads that do not have to be covered fully yet might be sensitive to the smoke and soot coming off your exhaust stack. PVC pipe would be a good example.
A load of PVC is durable enough that it does not necessarily need to be covered entirely. However, your client does not want to have to clean soot from the product after you deliver the load. Attaching a smoke tarp at the top of the load will protect it during transportation.
Additional Uses of Smoke Tarp
The smaller size of the smoke tarp means it can be used for other purposes as well. The additional uses might make it worthwhile to invest in one or two, especially given that they are less expensive than larger tarps. These uses include:
- Noise Reduction – Sometimes you haul loads that make unnecessary noise. For example, PVC and steel pipe can whistle in the wind. You can put an end to that whistling by securing a smoke tarp over the front of the load.
- Flaps – Smoke tarps can be combined with larger tarps to act as flaps. For example, you may have a lumber tarp without enough drop to fully cover certain portions of the load. The smoke tarp becomes an easy to apply, ‘extra’ flap.
- Small Loads – Every trucker knows that applying tarps is time-consuming and money-losing. So for small loads, it might be faster and more worth your while to use one or two smoke tarps rather than trying to grapple with a larger steel or lumber tarp. The faster you can get your load tarped, the more quickly you can get on the road.
- Tarping Emergencies – Lastly, it is always good to have at least one smoke tarp on hand for emergencies. For example, you may have a steel tarp that develops a pretty significant hole or tear while in transit to your destination. Applying the smoke tarp allows you to complete your trip without having to stop and deal with tarp repair.
As always, do your homework before you invest in smoke tarps. There are some manufacturers whose products are not as good as others are. Also, keep in mind that spending the least amount of money possible is not always the wisest decision. You might be better is off spending a little extra up front for a tarp that will last longer and perform better.
At Mytee Products, we carry a 10′ x 12′ smoke tarp made of heavy-duty 18-ounce vinyl. The hems are double stitched and reinforced with webbing; brass grommets are installed every 24 inches along the perimeter and there is a row of D-rings, complete with protection flaps, positioned 2.5′ from the lower hem. This is an affordable smoke tarp that is also tough and durable.