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.


How To Mold Proof Your Poly Tarps

Blue poly tarps are very popular with our clients because they are so versatile. They can be used to cover the bed of a pickup truck, build a lean-to, protect a wood pile, temporarily cover a leaky roof, and so on. With the right care, they are durable enough to last for years. So, what’s all this about mold? Why does it grow on tarps and, more importantly, what do you do about it?

Mold is a type of fungus that grows in multicellular structures, as opposed to single cell fungi classified as yeast. As a group, molds are known to exist in a dizzying number of species with all sorts of interesting characteristics. Yet all molds have a few things in common:

1.They need the right temperature and moisture level to thrive;
2.They are not fussy about their food sources; and
3.They can be very difficult to eradicate once established.

When mold appears on a blue poly tarp, it is because mold spores in the air have come to rest on the tarp and found the right mixture of moisture, food, and heat. That combination is an open invitation to multiply and spread. What many people do not know is that mold spores can be present along before being seen with the naked eye.

PolyTarp

Small but Powerful

Mold spores are a natural part of the environment and are all around us even though, individual spores are too small to see. Furthermore, mold growth is not a constant problem because the vast majority of spores never become airborne. However, all it takes is a windy day to change things. When a fair number of mold spores become airborne, they can easily find their way to any number of surfaces that provide the right conditions for multiplication.

Imagine a blue poly tarp covering your woodpile at home. A bit of wind could deposit mold spores over its surface without your knowledge. Some moderate light during the day, combined with overnight dew, make the top of your tarp a good breeding ground. There is also ample food for the mold by way of any dirt, debris and other organic matter that settles on the tarp. In just a few days, you could see the beginning stages of significant mold growth.

Removing Mold from Poly Tarps

Now that you know why mold grows on your tarps, you need to know how to remove it. Thankfully, it is not difficult. The process starts by spreading the tarp out on a flat surface in a sunny area. Spray the tarp down with a high-powered hose to loosen the mold and any debris surrounding it. Next, use a soft brush and a cleaning solution to scrub the tarp until the mold is gone.

You can purchase commercial mold treatments or make your own with baking soda and white vinegar. Regardless of your choice, you need to get close enough to clearly see the surface of the tarp. If you leave any mold behind, it could continue growing even after your cleaning efforts.

Lastly, hang the tarp up on a rope line – preferably on a warm day and in a sunny area. The faster and more thoroughly you dry out the tarp, the less likely it will be for mold to return. Be sure to fold the tarp and put it away, or re-apply it as it was before, as soon as it is dry. Leaving it to hang on a line for days is just another invitation for mold


Car Transport: Chains or Winch Straps

Which is better for car transport, chains or winch straps? This question has been debated for decades. It turns out that there is no right or wrong here. It can be a bit of a predicament to judge which products benefits outweighs the other as all that matters is that the straps are used properly to protect and secure the car being transported.

Having said that, transport chains seem to be the preferred tool of choice among companies that specialize in mass car transport. Smaller companies who transport single vehicles for individual owners tend to prefer the winch straps. Let us step back and look at both. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Transport Chains

Transport chains were the industry-standard before webbing straps were introduced to the freight forwarding industry. Chains are strong, durable, and more than capable of handling the weight of heavy cars. Using them for car transport is not difficult either. If you can use a hook and a ratchet, the system is pretty simple.

Here are some things to consider:

•Vehicle Hook Mounts – Automakers now build hook mounts into their vehicles as a matter of course. Two mounts are located at the front of the frame, usually on either side of the radiator, while rear mounts can be found near the rear axle. A driver simply hooks a chain to each of the mounts and tightens it down with the ratchet.

car transport

•Chain Tension – The biggest disadvantage to using chains is the possibility of damaging a vehicle by ratcheting them too tightly. A chain should provide just enough tension to keep the vehicle secure without pulling on it. Chains that are too tight can bend frames and do other sorts of damage.

•Improper Hooking – The other concern of using transport chains comes by way of drivers that might be unaware of the hook mounts. Without this knowledge, they may choose to hook chains to axles or bumpers, causing significant damage once tension is applied. If chains are to be used, drivers need to be educated in how to use them.

Winch Straps

Winch straps can be used for car transport by securing them around wheels. Straps are considered safer and significantly less damaging to cars, so manufacturers are beginning to look at mandating their use for new car transport. As long as the straps are used properly, they keep the vehicle just as secure as chains while mitigating risk of damage to axles and frames. The flexibility of the straps also enables a minimal amount of movement to accommodate for road shock.

As with transport chains, winch straps can be installed improperly. For example, allowing a strap to come in direct contact with wheel rims can scratch the finish or do other types of damage. Axles can also be damaged if tension is not applied evenly to all four tires. Having said that, the industry sees very few problems with winch straps overall.

As a truck driver, you may have to decide between transport chains and winch straps – even if you are not transporting cars. It is a good idea to thoroughly research both options along with the implications of using each one. Remember, the right tool for the load will make your job as a truck driver a lot easier.


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.


The Importance of Tarps for Farmers

If you drive through Chase, Kansas these days, you are likely to see a recently built structure that slightly resembles bridge trusses built over the top of a large, concrete box. You may not know what it is, but locals know that the structure will be used to store grain when complete. It is currently being constructed by an Illinois contractor on behalf of the Central Prairie Co-Op. The storage bin’s owners will use tarps to cover the grain in storage.

The design of the structure is such that grain can be easily loaded and unloaded without compromising the quality of the product. Hay tarps will keep out the weather and, in so doing, prevent the growth of mold and other contaminants within the grain product. Yet the tarps can be easily removed to allow the storage structure to be quickly filled using a dual-purpose chute. The chute will also be used to transfer grain from the storage area to waiting trucks. It is a well thought out design that maximizes storage capacity and efficiency at the same time.

grain-storage

As for the tarps, these will be made from high quality canvas. Canvas tarps are preferred over vinyl in this case because they are more breathable. The additional weight of the canvas will also make it more secure in windy conditions and better able to withstand precipitation and changing temperatures. The design calls for the use of fabric sidewalls, or ‘curtains’, that can be opened or closed as the weather dictates.

Importance of Covering Grain

Covering grain with canvas or tarps is about more than just convenience. Grain is susceptible to different kinds of mold and bacteria growth that could make the product unsuitable for human or animal consumption. Moisture encourages that growth. Keeping the grain dry reduces the risk of contamination and keeps the eventual selling price of the product as high as possible. It also prevents grain fires.

Though it may seem counter intuitive, grain with a moisture content that is too high can spontaneously combust. Once again, it comes down to the growth of bacteria and mold. The right combination of water and oxygen encourages microbial growth within the grain. As bacteria grows and multiplies, it produces heat that is then trapped within the grain. The heat can build up to a point of igniting the grain.

It is for these same reasons farmers cover their hay after harvesting it. They choose tarps rather than out buildings because tarping is a more cost-effective solution that also gives the farmer more flexibility in how his/her land is used when hay storage is not required. Tarps are easy to apply, easy to store and inexpensive enough that they do not significantly affect the farmer’s budget.

Mytee Products carries a full line of vinyl hay tarps in 10 different sizes. Each of our hay tarps is made with heavy-duty polyethylene fabric that has been UV treated. If you need canvas tarps instead, we carry those too. All are made with 100% duck cotton canvas for maximum breathability and durability.

Sources:

1. Hutch News – http://www.hutchnews.com/news/local_state_news/new-grain-storage-rising-ahead-of-the-wheat/article_bccfb95d-e5cb-5b06-8693-9f980a0d6a87.html