Tarps and Straps: Above or Below?

One of the questions we frequently hear from new flatbed truckers is whether to strap a load above the tarp or not. This question arises from the fact that new truckers see their veteran counterparts do it both ways. Some like their straps above the tarps; others like them below. But it is truly a preference thing. There is no single way to use flatbed tarps and strap systems as long as the load is protected and the tarps and straps survive the trip undamaged.

What new drivers should understand is why veterans choose one set up over the other. They also need to know that the same driver may use different setups depending on the load being transported. It is like choosing between Kelley and Triangle truck and trailer tires – drivers make their cargo control choices depending on the loads they typically carry.

tarps and straps

Straps Applied Above Tarps

There are two primary reasons you may see truckers apply their straps over the top rather than underneath their tarps. The first is to prevent the tarps from ballooning in the wind. In such a case, the load itself has already been secured underneath with either chains or additional mesh straps. The tarp has been applied only to protect the cargo from wind and road debris. This set up makes it easy to apply flatbed tarps with very little fuss while using straps to prevent ballooning.

The second reason for strapping over the top of the tarp is to secure a soft load and preventing ballooning at the same time. A good example would be transporting crates of vegetables from a farm to the processor. Such a load is unlikely to be traveling hundreds of miles, so the driver is not worried about securing both the load and the tarps separately. He or she will just throw the flatbed tarp over the load, followed by securing each stack of crates – and the tarp at the same time – with a strap.

Straps Applied Under Tarps

Likewise, there are several reasons for applying straps underneath flatbed tarps. The first is to make sure maximum load securement is achieved. Sometimes a trucker will carry a load that does not conform well to tarping, so placing straps above the tarp would not provide the best securement. By strapping underneath, where straps come in direct contact with the load itself, the cargo can be made more secure. A tarp goes on top, secured at the corner and along the sides with bungee cords.

Drivers may also choose to apply straps underneath in order to avoid loose corners flapping in the wind. They use the same setup as described above. Flatbed tarps are placed over the already secured load and held in place with bungee cords. Along the same lines, this setup is also preferred among drivers who do not like the visual presentation of exterior straps.

Lastly, there are cases in which the driver really has no choice. Drywall is a great example. Most drywall shippers tarp their loads in the shipping yard so that there is never a question about the drywall being protected. All the driver has to do is to secure the load to the trailer and pull away.

Regardless of how you decide to use your tarps and straps, Mytee Products has a full selection of both. We also carry a full line of cargo securement supplies, tires (including 11R22.5 and 11R24.5 truck tires), tarping systems and accessories, portable carports and storage structures and, of course, a full line of steel, lumber, hay, and mesh tarps. If you need it, we have it.


What to Remember When Choosing New Truck Tires

Whether you are an independent operator or a fleet manager, you will face the decision of choosing new truck tires at some point during your career. You will be looking at tires for both tractors and trailers as well. What you choose will directly affect how your trucks perform down the road. It is safe to say that choosing truck tires is as important as choosing flatbed tarps and tarping systems.

Truck owners have a few standard choices in terms of size:

  •  295 truck tires
  • 285 truck tires
  • 11R22.5 truck tires
  • 11R24.5 truck tires

There is also the question of bias, radials and tubeless tires to consider. Ideally, a truck driver wants a tire that will provide maximum performance under most weather conditions and specific load requirements. Those requirements may change throughout a driver’s career. Therefore, a truck owner may have to reconsider all of his or her options whenever tires need to be replaced.

truck-tires

Size and Load Concerns

Perhaps the two most important factors when choosing new truck tires are size and load concerns. When we speak of size, we are talking about the size of a tire in relation to the rig on which it is being mounted. Size needs to be considered from three angles:

  • Vertical Clearance – Vertical clearance is the amount of space between the top of the tread tire and the structure above it. However, it cannot be measured solely by the amount of space that exists when the truck is at rest. Clearance changes along with axle movement as the truck moves down the road. Drivers need to consider total clearance on either end as dictated by a truck’s axle stop.
  •  Front Tire Clearance – This is the distance between the edge of the tire tread and the front of the tractor in the steering position. It must be measured by moving the front to full left, then to full right. Minimum clearance will occur somewhere between the two lock positions.
  • Tire Width – The overall tire width becomes important when mounting tires side-by-side on the same axle. Tire width must be measured at the top position rather than the bottom. Remember that the width at the bottom will increase under load as the tire surface is compressed.

In addition to the size of the tires themselves, drivers have to consider the kinds of loads they are carrying. Some shippers pay based on weight, expecting drivers to carry loads as heavy as possible while remaining within legal limits. One way to maximize load weight is to reduce the weight of tires and rims. But tires not rated to handle the weight of heavier loads will obviously be inappropriate.

Drivers and fleet managers can choose either bias or radial tires depending on their needs. Both choices include several subcategories including tubeless, tube-type, low profile, and wide-base single tires. Again, the choice relies heavily on the rig being used and the types of loads most frequently carried.

As with flatbed tarps and tarping systems, there is no particular tire that works for every driver under every circumstance. Tires are a very personal choice that each rig owner has to make individually. Thankfully, there are enough options and manufacturers to meet just about every need.

At Mytee Products, we are proud to serve our customers with a full line of truck and trailer tires. We carry several of the best-known manufacturers including Triangle truck tires. We also have multiple sizes as well. While you are shopping for truck tires, do not forget to upgrade your stock of flatbed tarps as well.


Tips for Using Portable Carport and Storage Buildings

Mytee Products is proud to have added portable carport and storage buildings to our inventory of valuable products. We believe these structures are perfect for a variety of needs ranging from hay storage to protecting your car or truck. At the same time, they are affordable and easy to setup and cuse. We currently have four different models in our inventory.

As with anything else, there are right and wrong ways to use a portable carport or storage building. Below is a selection of tips designed to help you, make the best use of your structure, for as long as you own it.

doublecarport

Quality Materials and Craftsmanship

The first and most important tip is to make sure you invest in a product made of quality materials and craftsmanship. Remember, your carport or storage building will have to withstand all that Mother Nature throws at it. This is not something to take lightly as every season has extremer conditions. Mytee Products has chosen an inventory line made with durable components such as galvanized steel and heavy duty, UV resistant fabrics. Aluminum is another option, but we believe steel makes the best material for a rugged and sturdy frame that will not rust.

Consider Positioning Carefully

Avoid the temptation of positioning your carport or storage structure based solely on convenience. Convenience is a factor, but there are other things to consider as well. For example, consider a property in a lightning prone state such as Florida. Any location visited by frequent lightning is a location in which you should avoid placing your structure near a tree. The last thing you need is for lightning to strike your favorite oak tree and crush your carport at the same time. Be sure to account for wind as well.

Anchor Your Structure Firmly

A heavy-duty hay storage structure may seem weighty enough at more than 700 pounds. However, you would be surprised at how easily such a structure can be picked up by a stiff wind. Every portable carport and storage building needs to be firmly anchored according to manufacturer’s instructions. The structure you choose may only need anchors at the four corners, or it may need to be anchored around the entire perimeter. Be sure to follow all the recommendations found in the owner’s manual that comes with your structure.

Be Aware of Roof Concerns

A high-quality carport or storage structure should be able to withstand the elements under normal conditions. Nevertheless, there are times when owners need to do a little extra to protect their units. For example, an unusually heavy snowstorm consisting of wet, heavy spring snow could be enough to collapse your structure if you don’t make an effort to remove any accumulated snow. Fortunately, carports and storage structures tend to have slanted or rounded roofs that make snow accumulation difficult. You should not have a problem most of the time. Nonetheless, if snow does accumulate, clean it off quickly.

Local Planning Approval

Depending on where you reside & where your structure will be located,you may or may not require local planning approval for a carport or storage structure. Before you make any kind of investment, check with your local planning board or zoning office. If approval is needed, it is usually a relatively simple matter involving submitting a simple diagram and paying a planning fee. If planning approval is not required in your area, you have lost nothing by asking.

Portable carport and storage structures are an excellent way to make use of outdoor space without investing in permanent structures. We invite you to look at our entire inventory of high quality, portable structures.


Tires and Tire Chains: Time to Get Ready for Winter

The beginning of the football season means something outside the sporting world – that winter is just around the corner! In some places like Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado and northern California, the snow will not even wait until the official start of winter in December. Truckers need to begin planning for winter driving now. Those plans include key components – tires and tire chains.

Owner-operators and large carriers, need to examine truck tires to make sure there is sufficient tread to make for a safe winter season. Just a trace of snow can be treacherous when tires are worn. As for tire chains, much of the planning centers around where your trucks normally travel and the various state laws having to do with chaining up.

truck-tire-chain

Truckers who operate from I-80 north should seriously consider carrying chains on board at all times. The same goes for many parts of Colorado between high I-80 and I-70. Weather can change rapidly enough that chains may be needed at a moment’s notice. Furthermore, the states are not necessarily cooperative in maintaining consistent laws across state lines. Below are two examples: California and Colorado.

California Law and Chain Announcements

The law in California does not stipulate specific times of the year when chains are necessary. Chaining is a decision left entirely up to Caltrans. If the weather does necessitate chain use, officials from Caltrans will send out a bulletin and activate signs located along the affected roadways. It is then up to drivers to make sure their vehicles are in compliance.

California has three different requirements depending on weather conditions and vehicles. For truck drivers, there is a choice between chains, cable chains, and spiders. However, cable chains are not permitted on some roadways under some weather conditions because they are not deemed reliable enough.

Affected roots in California include Interstate 8, Interstate 15, U.S. Highway 50, Interstate 5, and a few others. The law in California is significantly different compared to other states, like Colorado for example.

Colorado Chaining Laws

The chaining law in Colorado applies to every state, federal and interstate road in the state. Colorado has two levels of chaining requirements, depending on the severity of conditions. Furthermore, there are specific stretches of I-70 on which truck drivers are required to carry chains with them at all times from September through May.

Colorado does offer chaining banks where drivers without chains can pick them up as needed. However, drivers are better off buying their own chains if they regularly pass through Colorado on I-70. Otherwise, it is too easy to arrive at a chain bank only to find there are none left. Drivers found in violation of the law could face fines of up to $500. Blocking traffic as a result of not chaining up could double that fine.

Mytee Products carries a full line of tires and tire chains for America’s truckers. Our tire chains come in a variety of sizes, in both single and double configurations. If you do not see the right chains for your tires on our website, please contact us directly for more information. We may still be able to provide what you need.

We also carry a full line of tires for drive, trailer, and all positions. Once again, you may not see the particular size you need for your rig on our website. Nevertheless, we can likely still provide what you need if you give our sales department a call.

Winter is on its way so don’t get caught off guard by not having the right tires and tire chains. Prepare now before the first signs of snow fall.

Sources:

  • OOIDA – http://www.ooida.com/EducationTools/Info/chain-laws.asp

The Science behind Flatbed Truck Tarps

Flatbed truck tarps are one of the most important tools a flatbed trucker can own. However, the tarps in the trucker’s toolbox are more than just randomly manufactured pieces of fabric in different colors. There is actually a science behind their design, science you may not be aware of. Flatbed truck tarps are designed in such a way, as to provide maximum cargo protection in a package that is affordable and relatively easy to use.

The science behind flatbed truck tarps begins with the shape. Obviously, steel tarps are long and rectangular where machinery tarps tend to be squares or smaller rectangles. Lumber tarps combine long rectangles with additional flaps that come down over the sides of the trailer.

flatbed

Rectangles Are Extremely Flexible

Rectangles are the preferred shape for flatbed truck tarps because the rectangle offers maximum flexibility. A rectangle allows significant coverage for loads of all kinds, but with a narrow profile that makes it easy to handle across the back of a flatbed or a dump truck box. You can still get very good coverage with a square, but squares need to be bigger to cover the same area. This makes them less flexible and harder to work with. It is for this reason that square tarps are usually reserved for covering machinery or acting as smoke protection. Rectangles are still the preferred shape for most flatbed loads.

Flat vs. Shaped Tarps

Campers and hikers are known to prefer shaped tarps because their catenary cuts and curves provide durability and strength, especially along seams. A good shaped tarp has a very strong spine that makes it ideal as a shelter or hammock. Nevertheless, shaped tarps do not work well for most flatbed applications.

A shaped tarp is limited in coverage by the shape it takes. On the other hand, a flat tarp has no such limits. It works equally well whether the truck driver is covering a set of steel coils or a load of construction materials. The tarp will conform to whatever shape it is applied to with maximum protection at all times. Not so with the shaped tarp. That is why you don’t see shaped tarps used by truckers except in very rare and specialized circumstances.

Material Choices Equally Important

The science behind flatbed truck tarps even covers the materials manufacturers choose to use. For example, all of the tarps we carry at Mytee Products are made with heavy-duty vinyl or canvas manufactured as a woven product. It is the weaving that gives the materials their incredible strength.

A woven vinyl material is as strong as any other commercial or industrial fabric yet still lightweight enough to be easy to handle. Woven canvas is somewhat heavier, but it offers the added benefit of breathability for applications where moisture is a concern. In either case, the fabrics are woven according to detailed specifications that make them ideal for tarp manufacturing.

Grommets and D-rings

Lastly, grommets and D-rings are built into flatbed truck tarps to make securing them to trailers as easy as possible. Nonetheless, neither grommets nor D-rings are placed randomly. Grommets are sewn into the outside edges at specific intervals that offer the maximum number of securement options without sacrificing material integrity. The same is true with D-rings. Designers also place extra D-rings on specific kinds of tarps that make covering loads easier. The D-rings found on your average lumber tarp are a good example.

Tarp design is anything but haphazard. There is a lot of important science behind flatbed truck tarps that make them the perfect tools for their intended purposes.