5 Flatbed Trucking Uses for Mesh Tarps

The mesh tarps we sell at Mytee have a lot of great uses around the home, including providing shade on those sunny summer days. We sell a lot of these tarps to construction companies as well. They are used as privacy barriers during both building and road construction. As a flatbed truck driver, you might be interested to know that mesh tarps can be very helpful to your job.

Our truck driving clients tend to buy more lumber, steel, and smoke tarps than anything else. But we do cater to some drivers who need a supply of mesh tarps on hand as well. They buy mesh tarps for five different kinds of loads:

1. Sod Loads

Covering a load of sod is not necessarily to protect it from the weather or flying debris. It is really just to keep everything in place during the trip. The challenge with sod is preventing the sun from cooking it during transport. That’s where mesh tarps come in handy. A steel or lumber tarp would trap too much heat underneath, heat that could kill grass before it ever reaches its destination. And because sod is so fragile, truckers just cannot afford to take chances.Mesh tarps keep everything in place, while still allowing plenty of air circulation.

2. Tree Loads

Flatbed truckers face the same challenges with tree loads that come with hauling sod. They need to use tarps to keep everything in place during transport, but lumber and steel tarps can cook trees. Mesh tarps are the solution. It is also interesting to note that tree loads do not usually have to go great distances. They spend less time under tarps as a result.

3. Agricultural Products

Some agricultural products stacked in crates are better served by steel tarps that can keep the weather out. But like sod and trees, other agricultural products are terribly sensitive to heat. Fresh fruits and vegetables immediately come to mind. A truck driver may load crates of fresh produce and then cover the stack with a couple of mesh tarps to prevent any of the product from flying off during transport. The produce can breathe during transport, reducing the risk of spoilage.

4. Beehives

Transporting beehives is interesting, to say the least. Most times, beekeepers do not need their hives covered during transport because the bees are sedated. But a trip that is longer than usual may require tarping. Once again, mesh tarps are the ideal solution. They allow the hives to get plenty of air while still keeping everything in place.

5. Construction Materials

Using mesh tarps to cover construction materials isn’t routine, but the need does arise from time to time. Think of things like expensive slate tiles or imported paver stones. These kinds of materials are usually wrapped in plastic after being placed on skids. The plastic keeps everything in place, but shippers may ask for a tarp just to prevent any road debris from coming in direct contact with the load. A mesh tarp will do the trick. Truckers prefer the mesh tarp for these loads because it is lighter and easier to apply.

Mytee Products carries high-quality mesh tarps in different sizes and colors. We even have purpose-built mesh tarps made just for bee hauling. You can browse the entire inventory of mesh tarps we carry in our online store. Rest assured that every product we sell is manufactured to the highest standards of quality in accordance with all regulations. When you purchase from Mytee, you are purchasing cargo control equipment and supplies you know you can rely on.


How to Use Hay Tarps for Covering and Composting

We have dedicated previous blog posts to discussing the proper use of hay tarps for protecting stored hay on the farm. It turns out that many of the things farmers have to be concerned about with hay storage are actually good for another practice. Furthermore, that other practice is made better with the use of hay tarps.

What is the practice being referenced here? It is the practice of composting. Farms are great places for composting because there are so many natural materials readily available. A farm with a good composting strategy can reduce its need for chemical fertilizers while also reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfills or burn piles.

Covering Hay with Tarps

Before we discuss using hay tarps for composting, a quick refresher about covering hay is in order. Farmers who choose to use hay tarps over barns or purpose-built structures do so for a number of reasons, among them being flexibility and portability. The tarps are also used to protect bales of hay in the field until they can be collected.

As you might remember from previous posts, the key to covering hay with tarps is to avoid excessive moisture while still allowing hay bales to breathe. Bales that are wrapped too tightly in tarps are bales that cannot breathe. This can cause heat buildup that might eventually lead to spontaneous combustion.

On the other hand, covering bales too loosely can allow excess moisture to penetrate the hay. A good rain storm is all it takes. Moisture leads to mold, mildew, and eventual losses. As you can see, there is that fine line that has to be observed when covering hay with tarps.

Hay Tarps and Composting

Composting is the practice of combining certain kinds of biodegradable material in a large pile and allowing it to decay over time. In reality, the soil under our feet is partly the result of thousands of years of composting. That’s another topic for another post, though. For the purposes of this post, we want to talk about composting on the farm.

A general rule of thumb for good composting is to combine natural materials by focusing on color. You want equal parts green, brown, and other colors. That means composting things such as grass clippings, hay, expired fruits and vegetables, and so on. All the material is combined in a composting bin or in a large pile well away from any structures.

Where does the hay tarp come in? Covering a compost heap with a hay tarp traps heat and moisture in the pile. This speeds up the decomposition process considerably. You can do even better by removing the tarp from time to time, turning the pile over, soaking it with water, and putting the tarp back on. Regular turning over and soaking minimizes the amount of time necessary for decomposition.

You do not have to worry about heat and moisture in a compost pile because there is no danger of spontaneous combustion. Obviously, mold and mildew are not a concern either. You can cover a compost pile with a tarp and forget about it until the next time it needs to be turned over.

Mytee Has Your Hay Tarps

In addition to our large selection of truck tarps, Mytee Products also carries hay tarps for agricultural uses. Our hay tarps are made of heavy-duty, 8-ounce polyethylene fabric that has been treated for UV resistance and waterproofing. They are tough enough to withstand the harshest conditions on your farm. When you are ready to purchase, don’t forget the 16″ spiral anchor pins.


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.


How to Easily Enhance a Headache Rack

If you are a flatbed trucker working without a headache rack, you really need to rethink your strategy. You are but one accident away from a load coming through your cab in a hard-braking scenario that exceeds the tensile strength of your straps or chains. Having said that, truckers with headache racks can enhance those racks with a quick and dirty trick that is easy and inexpensive.

Get more out of your headache rack by securing stacked railroad ties at the front of your trailer with 5/16 chain and a break-over binder. Railroad ties are pretty easy to come by, and in some cases, you can get them for free if you know where to look. You can use 4 x 4 timbers if you don’t have access to railroad ties.

Truckers who haul freshly harvested timber use this trick all the time. Why? Because logs are among the most unruly pieces of cargo you can put on the back of a flatbed trailer. Being careful to stack timbers securely helps to some degree, but you never know when a log is going to shift forward. Adding the bulkhead just makes a driver safer.

How and Why It Works

At first glance, it might seem like building a bulkhead to enhance a headache rack is a waste of time and effort. After all, the whole point of the headache rack is to provide a tough barrier between tractor and load. But here’s the problem: cargo shifting forward on a trailer has to cross that open space between trailer and cab in order to do damage. Any cargo that does manage to traverse that empty space unimpeded has momentum behind it. Momentum is the killer.

A log with enough momentum can severely damage a headache rack to the point of requiring replacement. In a worst-case scenario, a log can send pieces of the rack through the cab. Building a bulkhead on the front of the trailer prevents deadly momentum.

The laws of physics dictate that stacking a load flush with a wooden bulkhead greatly reduces the risk of cargo striking the back of a tractor because the bulkhead provides a surface area capable of absorbing and dispersing the energy of moving cargo. Thus, a bulkhead prevents cargo from getting the momentum it needs to do damage to the tractor.

Easy to Remove

The suggestion to use railroad ties and chain to build a bulkhead is not coincidental. The design is intended to create a bulkhead that is easily removable when it is not needed or it might be in the way. It’s a lot easier to remove chains and railroad ties than to break the welds of a permanently affixed bulkhead system.

If you know you have a month’s worth of loads that do not involve any timber, you can quickly remove your bulkhead and go on your way. The same goes if you have to take an oversized load that needs a few extra inches off the trailer. It only takes a few minutes to reinstall the bulkhead when you need it again.

Here at Mytee Products, we sell a variety of headache racks in different sizes and configurations. Headache racks are great tools for protecting your truck and providing a bit of extra storage at the same time. For those loads when your headache rack may not be enough to protect you, consider building a quick and dirty bulkhead using railroad ties and chains. This simple but effective fix could make a difference in protecting both you and your truck.


Top 5 Bungee Strap Hacks for Truckers

You just ordered two packs of bungee straps from Mytee Products. You will eventually go through all of them, but you suddenly realize that having 100 straps on board your truck is a bit of overkill. No worries. Bungee straps are not just for tying down tarps. As a flatbed trucker, you can do a lot of amazing things with those little black wonders.

Below are some of the more creative bungee strap hacks we have come across online. If you have additional hacks not listed here, we would love to hear your ideas. The incredibly versatile bungee strap is to the flatbed trucker what duct tape is to the DIY homeowner. There seems to be no end to how bungees can be used.

1. Hang Your Tarps

Neatly folding your tarps and storing them in the toolbox is the normal thing to do. But you might find yourself dropping one load only to drive just across town to pick up the next one. A quick and dirty way to save time is to fold your tarps into rolls and hang them from the headache rack with half a dozen bungee straps. It is fast, easy, and you are not risking any damage to the tarps.

2. Hang a Quick Clothesline

You may spend your life on the road, but you still need to do your laundry. Save a little money at the laundromat by not using the dryer. Instead, stretch some bungee straps across the inside of your sleeper cab and then hang your laundry. Let it dry as you drive. You can take everything down when you stop for the night.

3. Replace a Broken Curtain Rod

Your sleeper cab hopefully affords you a measure of privacy with the strategic use of curtains. Those curtains are hung on either plastic rods or cords. If one of them breaks, a couple bungee straps works as a good substitute until you can purchase a proper replacement. And if your sleeper cab does not come equipped with curtains, you can make your own with an old blanket or set of bedsheets and a few bungee straps.

4. Secure Things in the Cab

What kinds of things do you carry in your sleeper cab? We have known truckers to bring along things like microwave ovens, crock pots, and trash cans. You can secure any and all of those extra items with bungee straps. And before you say it’s not necessary, just remember that you never know when a sudden stop or start will knock something off a shelf. Even simple road vibration can cause something like a hotplate or coffeemaker to travel across a shelf and fall off.

5. Secure Toolbox Doors

Toolbox doors are going to remain tightly closed when they are brand-new. But time wears on toolboxes just as it does the rest of your rig. Once those toolbox doors start to loosen, just a single bungee strap across the top will keep them place even at highway speeds. You will not have to worry about the door suddenly flying open as you’re cruising down the interstate at 65 mph.

Every flatbed truck driver knows bungee straps are great tools for securing tarps. But the versatility of the trusted bungee strap goes well beyond that individual use. Bungee straps are perfect for a lengthy list of needs inside and outside the truck.

Mytee Products carries a full selection of bungee straps with crimped hooks. We also carry bungee rope cord, replacement S hooks, and rubber rope hooks. We offer great prices on each of our products – especially when you buy in bulk.