Protection Not the Only Use for Flatbed Truck Tarps

Truck drivers invest in flatbed truck tarps primarily to protect the cargo from road debris, extreme weather, and other unforeseen situations. That’s why tarps have to be made of durable materials that can withstand the punishment of heavy over-the-road driving. That notwithstanding, there might be other reasons a shipper may require a flatbed trucker to cover a load with a tarp. In other words, cargo protection is not necessarily the only purpose of flatbed truck tarps.

A case in point was a flatbed recently photographed traveling down Route 77 in eastern Arizona. Not only was the truck carrying an oversize load, but it was also accompanied by a rather impressive convoy that included a number of other trucks and plenty of black SUVs. The rather large object underneath the massive gray tarp was pretty much unidentifiable.


This is a case in which the flatbed truck tarp used to cover the object was both protecting it from damage and preventing onlookers from knowing what was underneath. Although it is not for us to determine what the cargo was, however, It was covered for a reason- to protect it.

Keeping Cargo Secretive

There is plenty of speculation about what might have been under that massive flatbed truck tarp. The popular ideas range from, it might have been new equipment being transported to the Air Force Base to old equipment on its way to bone yard out in the desert.

Another possibility is that the cargo was totally unrelated to the military. It could’ve been a satellite dish or a piece of high-tech equipment or even construction equipment. We will never know, thanks to a massive gray truck tarp that effectively served its purpose.

Regardless of what was being transported through the desert, there are times when shippers demand secrecy of their cargo. Such cases would require flatbed truck tarps to completely cover all visible surfaces of the cargo, with no exception. Not only would these tarps have to be capable of protecting the cargo from road debris and weather, but they would also have to be secured in such a way as to prevent any parts getting loose or falling off during shipping

These kinds of loads travel across our roads more often than most of us realize. We just don’t know because truckers do such a good job of covering them entirely. They get where they are going with an intact load while shippers and receivers enjoy the benefit of keeping their precious cargo from eyes they don’t want seeing it. It is a win-win for everyone.

Truckers: We Now Carry Durabilt Binder Products

When flatbed loads require chains for cargo protection, binders become a necessary piece of equipment to have on board. Binders make it possible to tighten chains down with the appropriate amount of force. In light of that, Mytee is proud to announce that we have added a selection of four binder products from Durabilt to our inventory.

We carry Durabilt because we believe it is a brand name you can trust. Durabilt products are built to last yet still affordably priced for truckers. Our inventory now includes the following four products:

  • Durabilt Folding Handle Ratchet Binder
  • Durabilt Ratchet Binder
  • Durabilt Removable Handle Binder
  • Durabilt Recoilless Lever Binder.


Different Binders for Different Applications

The binders used by truckers are known both as chain and load binders. They are used as chain tensioners to secure cargo to flatbed trailers prior to transport. Whenever chains are used for securing a load, tensioning them with a binder is required.

There are two primary types of binders that truckers use:

  • Ratchet Binder – This kind of binder is designed with a ratchet handle and two opposing hooks that create tension on the chain as the ratchet handle is moved back and forth. It is the easier of the two to use.
  • Lever Binder – The lever binder utilizes tension hooks on either end to tighten chains using leverage. Lever binders are used when more strength is needed to secure a load, but they also require more work from the driver to deploy correctly.

Both kinds of binders are sold according to the size of chain they will be used with. For example, the Durabilt Folding Handle Ratchet Binder we now carry can be purchased in two sizes: 5/16 to 3/8 inches or 3/8 to 1/2 inch. The standard Durabilt Ratchet Binder offers an additional size of 1/2 to 5/8 inches.

It is generally recommended that, truckers carry multiple sizes on board commensurate with the chains they use. Of course, chain sizes also differ depending on the kinds of loads the trucker normally hauls. Truckers who do not want to invest in multiple sizes may choose to go with the largest chains and binders they will use most often.

The most important consideration when purchasing binders, is to make sure that both, the binders as well as the chains they will be used with, are rated equally. For example, a chain rated as grade 70 transport chain must be paired with an appropriate binder to maintain integrity. A binder with a lower rating becomes the weakest link in the setup, and could potentially compromise the protection of the load..

Choosing the Binder for You

Mytee has chosen to carry four binder products from Durabilt because we know that preferences vary between truckers. Each truck driver must determine for him/herself what products are the best. For many, however, it comes down to speed. Truckers spend a lot of time securing loads; this is time for which they may or may not get paid. Those who do not get paid for cargo control and protection don’t want to spend more time on it than necessary. They want the wheels turning and the miles accumulating.

Some drivers may find the folding handle ratchet binder to be the fastest and easiest one to use. Others prefer a binder with a removable handle. The only downside to the second choice is the ever-present risk of losing a handle.

At any rate, we are proud to offer the new selection of binder products from Durabilt to our customers. Feel free to browse our entire inventory for everything you need as a trucker.

Beveled Hardwood Lumber Better Than Scrap for Coil Loads

Hauling steel coil requires a different approach to cargo control for obvious reasons. When coils are loaded with the eye either to the front or side, the rolls have a tendency to shift back and forth on the trailer. To prevent this, drivers use lumber pieces as chocks to hold coils in place. We recommend beveled hardwood lumber rather than relying on scrap dunnage.

Mytee carries a selection of task-specific lumber with beveled edges in sizes ranging from 4 to 6 feet. These boards are ideal for hauling loads of steel coil up to 30,000 pounds. Lumber pieces can be used for cargo control of other types of cargo was well. Being that they are hardwood, they should last much longer than scrap.


Loading with Beveled Lumber

Shippers all have their specific requirements when it comes to how they want to load their coil onto trailers. Regardless of their chosen procedures, the finished product on any coil load must meet federal safety standards. Coils must be secured in such a way as to prevent movement in any direction. Beveled lumber is utilized on either side of the rolling edge.

Loading typically starts with placing lumber pieces in their approximate location. Coil is then lowered onto the trailer and held in place long enough for lumber pieces to be adjusted appropriately. Then it is a matter of securing the coils using chains, pieces of rubber for protection and additional pieces of lumber to create what is essentially a coil rack surrounding the load.

More often than not, drivers will have to use rubber pieces over the top of the coils and in the eyes to protect the material from damage caused by chains. Some shippers are very particular about their loads, being more than willing to refuse drivers who do not have appropriate dunnage or tarps to cover steel coil. It is always best for a driver to check with a shipper he or she has never worked with before arriving at the yard and finding out the trailer will not be loaded due to a lack of appropriate equipment.

Loading with Scrap Lumber

Drivers who choose not to invest in hardwood lumber for steel coil loads may choose instead to settle for scrap lumber the shipping yard may have in store. A driver may keep that lumber for future use until it is no longer up to the task. Having said that, we do not recommend this practice.

First of all, scrap lumber is just that. Even if a visual inspection would make it seem as though lumber pieces are undamaged, there could be internal damage that could seriously compromise the wood. Second, scrap lumber tends to be more prone to warping and cracking when exposed to the elements. Any such warping or cracking reduces integrity.

Task-specific hardwood lumber with beveled edges is always the best choice for hauling steel coil. When used properly, it meets federal standards without question. Shippers also like to see this kind of lumber used as well. When they know a driver is willing to invest in hardwood lumber, they rest more comfortably in the knowledge that said driver will take better care of the load.

Beveled hardwood lumber for steel coil loads should be part of the flatbed trucker’s equipment supply at all times. Individual lumber pieces will last for years if used properly and taken care of. For a small investment in task-specific lumber pieces now, the trucker can virtually guarantee he or she always has the dunnage necessary when arriving to pick up a load.

EPDM Tarp Bungee Straps for Flatbed Hauling in any Weather

The trusted bungee strap is one of the most commonly used tools in flatbed trucking. Straps can be used to secure tarps or provide an extra measure of support combined with other cargo control equipment. In light of varying weather conditions and other environmental factors that bungee straps are exposed to, we recommend EPDM rubber straps for best performance.

Mytee carries a full line of EPDM bungee straps in various sizes ranging from 10 to 41 inches. They come with ‘S’ hooks made of strong galvanized steel and crimped at one end to protect tarps from tearing. bungee-strap

Beneficial Properties of EPDM

EPDM is a synthetic rubber in the M class of rubbers widely used for industrial and manufacturing applications. The ethylene content of EPDM products is usually between 45% and 85%, depending on how the rubber is eventually synthesized to form the finished product. Where bungee straps are concerned, EPDM has some very beneficial properties that make it ideal for purpose.

For example, EPDM rubber holds up very well against most temperature and weather extremes. During the cold winter months, it is not prone to brittleness or cracking, remaining flexible even in temperatures well below zero, and does equally well in hot weather. Good quality EPDM can withstand temperatures of up to 300° F with no compromise in structural integrity. Finally, EPDM offers excellent resistance to diluted acids, alkalis, and ketones.

The only time drivers have to be careful with EPDM tarp bungee straps is with loads involving petroleum products and some solvents.Items such as gasoline and oil will cause the rubber to break down more quickly than it otherwise would. Concentrated acids can also be a problem.

Just Strap and Go

All of the technical aspects aside, EPDM bungee straps are loved by truckers because of their ease of use. You just strap and go. The flexibility of the straps makes it easy to secure tarps to just about any area of the trailer with more than enough tension to keep those tarps in place. Smaller straps are also very handy for holding down tarps under windy conditions while larger straps or chains are applied over a load. At the other end of the haul, removing bungee straps is as easy as applying them. They are a ‘quick and dirty’ solution with so many applications.

We recommend flatbed truckers keep an ample supply of bungee straps on board at all times. However, quantity alone is not the only consideration. Multiple lengths should also be addressed. Truckers should have an ample supply of 10- and 21-inch straps to start with, then add other sizes depending on the kinds of loads normally hauled. Over the years, the average trucker will accumulate a selection of all of the most common lengths.

Replacing Worn Straps

Truckers should understand – especially those new to the flatbed world – that even EPDM bungee straps do not last forever. Every strap will reach its end-of-life when it loses its flexibility or the eye at one end wears out. It is a good idea to give bungee straps a visual inspection before storing them away after a journey. Those that are worn or losing significant flexibility should be replaced immediately.

Mytee’s range of EPDM bungee straps are ideal for flatbed trucking. All of our straps are made from high-quality rubber that is UV resistant and tested for high tensile strength. Our straps come in boxes of 50 for the best possible pricing.

Using Tarp Repair Tape to Extend the Life of Tarps

America’s flatbed truckers rely on waterproof tarps to protect loads as they transport cargo from shipping yard to receiver. They cannot afford to use tarps that have tears or small holes which let in dirt, debris and the exposes the cargo to the elements, which in turn, could potentially cost the trucker his/her reputation and a paycheck or two. Keeping a supply of tarp repair tape on board goes hand-in-hand with always having reliable tarps to cover a load.

Today’s tarps are made from high-quality materials designed to withstand the harshness of trucking. Yet every tarp can still wear out over time depending upon, its exposure to weather conditions and the shipment is protects. Resilient tarps too can suffer punctures or tears caused by just about anything. Tarp repair tape is valuable to truckers because it makes repairing seams, holes, and tears easier, thereby reducing the amount of money truckers have to invest in their tarps.

To be clear, repair tape is not intended to fix extensive damage that compromises the integrity of a tarp. For example, you would not use it to join two halves of a tarp that separated at the seam. Such a repair would be far too stressful to hold up, even under normal conditions. But for everything else, repair tape is a less expensive option than buying new tarps.


Repairing Small Holes and Tears

Tarp tape is designed to be strong and waterproof. Therefore, a single-sided repair is usually sufficient for small holes and tears no bigger than a few inches. Repair tape is cheap enough that you could hit both sides if you were concerned about repair integrity.

There are factors to making sure your repair is watertight. First, the surface of the tarp should be clean and dry. The trucker must be careful to remove all dirt, grease, and anything else stuck to the surface. Second, the repair should be made on a flat, hard surface to ensure the tape can be applied with no wrinkles or bubbles. Tape should be pressed firmly into place so that no air is trapped between it and the surface of the tarp.

Repairing Larger Breaches

Larger breaches can still be repaired with tarp tape as long as the overall strength of the tarp has not been compromised. Gashes and seam tears are routinely repaired this way. Before applying tape to a larger breach, make sure to pay attention to the same two factors listed above. Start by applying tape to the outside first, then flip the tarp over and repeat the tape application on the inside.

Double taping larger breaches ensures strength and provides a near-impermeable waterproof seal. Having said that, tape applied to the inside of the tarp has a tendency to suffer damage from cargo over time. These kinds of repairs should be checked regularly to make sure the inside surface remains strong and waterproof.

In closing, some truckers recommend using a heat gun on tarp repair tape to ensure better adhesion. This is not recommended by manufacturers. The tape is strong enough by itself to adhere to tarp material without any need for additional heat.

Tarp repair tape offers an excellent option for repairing damaged tarps in order to extend life. Unless a tarp is severely damaged, you can add years to its life by repairing minor holes and tears with tape. Mytee now carries 2-inch tarp tape from BAC Industries in both black and silver. We recommend you keep an ample supply on your truck. You can use it to repair your tarps as well as making similar repairs to other materials at home.