Why Headache Racks: The Definitive Answer

If we earned $100 every time a new flatbed truck driver asked us how the headache rack got its name, we might not have to sell trucking supplies to stay in business. Be that as it may, the question about the name of headache racks is as old as the rack itself.

For the record, a headache rack is a large piece of steel or aluminum mounted on the back of a truck cab. You see them on 18 wheelers and larger pickup trucks. Professional truck drivers often use their headache racks as a place to hang their chains and bungee straps.

For the remainder of this post, we want to talk about the name ‘headache rack’ and where it came from. If you are looking for a definitive answer, we have it: there is no definitive answer.

Protecting the Driver from Renegade Cargo

The first explanation of the headache rack name has to do with renegade cargo crashing through the back of a truck cab and injuring the driver. For a long time, there was a popular article circulating on the internet claiming that both the name and the device itself goes back to the days when surfing first became popular.

As the thinking goes, the racks were installed on pickup trucks to prevent harm to drivers if a surfboard were to break loose and crash through the back window. There’s only one problem with this theory: headache racks were around before surfing became popular. Second, you can spend all day traversing the roads of California and Hawaii, and you will probably never see a pickup truck with a headache rack carrying a load of surfboards.

There are other stories that use the same general theme without specifically referencing surfboards. The general idea being that headache racks are really the domain of pickup truck drivers attempting to protect their own heads.

Giving the Driver Headache

The second explanation is one that makes more sense where truck drivers are concerned. This explanation suggests that drivers, while working around their rigs securing cargo or doing maintenance, have a tendency to hit their heads on the metal racks. Unwittingly striking your head on such a large piece of metal would undoubtedly result in a headache.

If you are a professional truck driver, you are familiar with the scenario described here. Every truck driver has done it at least once, and many of you know drivers who do it routinely. Some hit their head so often that they have permanent marks. It is not a pleasant experience, to say the least.

We Have What You Need

The definitive answer about why headache racks are called as such is clear: there is no definitive answer. Therefore, there is no need for truck drivers to dispute or debate any longer. Far better to put your energies into being better drivers capable of delivering loads on time and in good condition.

As for the headache racks themselves, rest assured that Mytee Products has what you need. We have seven different models to fit a variety of needs and styles. We also carry installation kits, chain hangers, light brackets, and even tarp trays.

Your headache rack does not have to give you a headache at the time of purchase. Just shop the Mytee Products inventory to find what you’re looking for, make a quick purchase, and relax while we ship it right to your door. You’ll be protecting your head, or injuring it, in no time at all.


Ratchet Straps and Palletizing Strategies

On a beautiful spring day in central Florida, a flatbed truck was seen traveling down the road with a load of pallets packed with decorative paver stones. The pallets had been completely wrapped with shrink wrap before being loaded onto the trailer. To keep them secure, the driver ran two ratchet straps over each pallet row with large, plastic edge protectors between the straps and the cargo. This was the perfect setup for this kind of load.

Key to the driver’s strategy was securing the pallets from movement without damaging the paving stones. Now, it might seem a bit of overkill to use the edge protectors in light of the fact that the pallets were wrapped in shrink wrap, but shrink wrap does not cover the tops of pallet loads – just the sides. The highest layer of paver stones was fully exposed on the top surface. Edge protectors were necessary to protect the stones and ratchet straps alike.

Every Situation Is Different

The scenario described here is a perfect illustration of how wide the variation can be in palletized loads. For example, just because the shipper in this case used shrink wrap on the pallets doesn’t mean every shipper will do likewise. Paver stones are heavy enough that they will stay in place pretty much on their own, so some shippers will use a couple of aluminum straps along with large pieces of cardboard rather than shrink wrap.

How cargo is palletized really depends on the cargo itself and what the shipper believes is necessary to provide adequate protection. It is still the driver’s responsibility to get cargo to its intended destination without damage, regardless of how it is palletized. Therefore, it is not wise for drivers to rely on shippers and their palletizing strategies. Every situation is different.

In this case, all the driver needed to do to properly secure and protect the pallets was to have them stacked in rows before securing them with ratchet straps and corner protectors. If the palletizing method had been different, the driver might have had to choose another means of securing them.

This solution was relatively simple because all the pallets were of uniform size and height. Indeed, securing this load was probably one of the easiest things the driver ever had to do. There were no tarps involved, the weight of the pallets prevented them from being stacked, and the cargo itself was heavy enough that it was not prone to excessive movement.

The Right Kind of Equipment

As cargo and palletizing strategies are different, a flatbed driver has to keep a good supply of all the right equipment on board. In this case, it means ratchet straps and edge protectors. In other cases, drivers will need bungee straps, tarps of various sizes and materials, and even wood blocks to prevent cargo from moving. The inventory of necessary equipment can be rather extensive for truckers who are willing to haul just about anything.

Here at Mytee Products, we do our best to maintain a solid inventory of all the equipment and supplies to flatbed truck needs. We also strive to ensure that all the products in our inventory come from trusted brand names truckers know and recognize. This helps us to ensure quality with every product sold.

We have no way of knowing where the trucker in the scenario described here purchased his ratchet straps. But we can say that if they were purchased from Mytee Products, they were made with high-quality bedding material built to last. They were the perfect tool for securing that kind of load.


What a Good Cargo Control Inventory Looks Like

America’s truck drivers rely on Mytee Products for high-quality cargo control equipment and supplies. Why? Because we have everything that the average truck driver needs to get the job done. Furthermore, we might be able to find a unique piece even if it is not included in our standard inventory.

If you are building an inventory of cargo control supplies for your truck, it is a good idea to sit down and assess what you would need for the kinds of jobs you normally take. Visit a couple of trucking forums and ask for advice too. Other truckers will be happy to tell you what they recommend.

We can offer a bit of advice thanks to the time we have spent serving the trucking industry. We believe the items listed below make up the foundation of a good cargo control inventory. Keep in mind that we carry all of them. You can purchase online or visit us in person.

Winch and Ratchet Straps

Winch and ratchet straps are straps used to secure heavy cargo to flatbed trailers. Both are made of heavy duty webbing material and come in a variety of lengths and working load limits. The only difference between the two is how they are applied.

winch-strap

A winch strap is attached on one side of the trailer and secured to the other using a winch. Ratchet straps are secured using ratchet devices. The average trucker will need an adequate supply of both due to the fact that both winch and ratchet systems are used throughout the logistics industry.

Chains and Binders

Exceptionally heavy cargo that needs to be secured with something more than winch and ratchet straps may require heavy-duty chains with higher working load limits. G70 chains are standard in the trucking industry. Truckers can use these chains to secure everything from concrete piping to steel coils.

G70

Along with chains are the binders needed to make sure they are tightened down. There are several different styles of binders to choose from, so drivers have to consider what works best for them. Once again, Mytee has a full selection of chains and binders to choose from.

Bungee Straps

Truckers typically do not use bungee straps as a means of securing cargo firmly to the trailer. Rather, bungee straps are deployed for keeping tarps in place.

bungee-straps

Having an ample supply of bungee straps is always a good idea given that you never know when one will break or be lost. And because they are inexpensive, buying them in bulk is generally not a problem.

Corner and Edge Protectors

A good cargo control inventory is not without a complete selection of corner and edge protectors. These seemingly small and inconsequential pieces can actually be critical to getting certain kinds of cargo to its destination undamaged. Corner and edge protectors keep individual pieces of cargo safe from damage that could otherwise be caused by road vibration, cargo shifting, and the application of chains and straps.

 

Corner and edge protectors come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. It is up to the trucker to determine what he or she needs for the kinds of loads typically carried. We are happy to say that corner and edge protectors are very inexpensive, like bungee straps, so buying in bulk ensures you always have enough on hand.

So there you have the basics of what a good cargo control inventory looks like. Feel free to add to your own inventory as you see fit. Whatever you do, remember this: the supplies you use to secure cargo matter. So choose wisely.


Fundamental Principles of Cargo Control

The term ‘cargo control’ is one that every truck driver should be familiar with. Experienced truckers know what it means and how it applies to their daily jobs. New truckers may understand the term, but only experience will teach them the finer points of cargo control.

Mytee Products serves the trucking industry with a complete inventory of cargo control products. Each of the products we sell is intended for a particular purpose. The benefits of these products are maximized when truck drivers understand the basic, fundamental principles of cargo control and how to apply them correctly. Those fundamental principles are explained below.

Restricting Cargo Movement

The foundation of cargo control is preventing cargo movement while a truck is en route. How cargo is secured depends on its shape, size, weight, and position on the truck carrying it. For example, large coils of steel cable need to be secured in a particular way because they are prone to rolling as well as shifting from side to side. A trucker may use a combination of chains and blocks to keep the coil rolls in place.

cargo

Movement must be restricted in all directions. It cannot shift forward or backwards when accelerating and braking, and it certainly cannot be allowed to shift from side to side. Therefore, cargo might have to be secured from multiple angles to prevent all movement.

Reducing Road Vibration Risks

The second fundamental principle of cargo control is restricting road vibration risks. Physics dictates that road vibration cannot be eliminated, so the idea is to prevent any such vibrations from causing damage to cargo. This can be accomplished in a number of ways.

Cargo can be properly spaced on a trailer so as to avoid direct contact between multiple pieces. In addition, truck drivers can use edge protectors and spacers in situations in which cargo has to be tightly packed. Even moving blankets and tarps can be used strategically to minimize the risks of road vibration.

Proper Weight Distribution

Distributing weight evenly across the back of a trailer is the third fundamental principle of cargo control. Proper weight balance accomplishes several things:

• It reduces the likelihood that a trailer will become unstable.
• It reduces the risk of cargo shifting en route.
• It makes maintaining driver control easier.
• It increases fuel efficiency and reduces wear and tear on equipment.

Proper distribution of weight is critical to the safe and efficient transport of cargo. Furthermore, drivers need to get it right the first time. If a trailer is fully loaded and found to be out of balance, it may have to be entirely unloaded and done over. This is a waste of time and money.

General Protection of Cargo

Last is the principle of protecting cargo in a general sense. Beyond movement and road vibration, certain kinds of cargo have to be protected against environmental exposure. Thus, truck drivers use things like tarps and blankets to protect against weather conditions, road debris, and animals and insects.

A typical flatbed truck driver will keep a good supply of these kinds cargo control supplies on board. He or she may have several different types of tarps for example, including lumber, steel, smoke, and general purpose tarps. He/she will also keep a selection of straps and bungee cords on board for securing those tarps in place.

Cargo control is a fundamental concept of truck driving. It is something that every truck driver has to learn, both in the classroom and through real-life experience. Those who master it are capable of moving cargo over thousands of miles with minimal risk.


How to Keep Your Carport Looking Like New

A portable, fabric carport from Mytee Products is a great tool for protecting your car or household equipment from the elements. We sell carports and storage buildings in a variety of styles and sizes that can accommodate everything from the family minivan to a full-sized RV. We encourage you to browse our inventory while you are here.

Like anything else, taking good care of your carport will keep it looking like new for years. Just a few, simple  maintenance practices will add years to the life of your carport by minimizing the damage caused by weather and time. Below are some helpful tips that we generally recommend to our customers.

storage-maintenance

Cleaning the Canopy

The fabric used for manufacturing portable carports is usually either polyethylene (PE) or polyester. We prefer PE because of its strength, durability, and weather resistance. In either case, you are going to want to keep the canopy clean if you want your carport to look like new for as long as you own it.

Routine cleaning can be accomplished with warm, soapy water and a light detergent. Good detergent choices include things like laundry and dish soap. A gentle car wash detergent will also work well. The one thing you do not want to use on your canopy is bleach. Bleach damages all sorts of canopy fabrics along with stitching material.

Also make a point to stick with nonabrasive cleaning solutions. You should reserve abrasive scrubbing for persistent stains and mold or fungus growth.

Cleaning the Frame

Our carport frames are made of heavy-duty, galvanized steel for maximum strength and weather resistance. But even galvanized steel needs to be cleaned from time to time. Thankfully, doing so is simple.

Surface dirt can be washed away with a mild detergent and some warm water. You could clean the frame the same way you wash your car: gently wipe dirt with the soapy rag then spray everything off with a garden hose. If your cleaning has to take into account more aggressive stains or things like oil and grease, you will need more than just soapy water.

You can purchase commercial steel cleaners normally used in the kitchen. These can be applied with an old rag and gently wiped away. As an alternative, you can use distilled white vinegar and boiling water. Just be sure to use protective gloves so you do not burn yourself.

When you’re done cleaning, be sure to wipe away any remaining water so as to prevent rust or water stains. A thick, dry cloth is all you need. Vinegar can be used to remove water stains should you miss any water during the drying process.

Additional Carport Maintenance

The steel frame is the skeleton of your portable carport. You should be addressing general maintenance in addition to just cleaning the frame. This includes regularly inspecting all the fasteners and joints. Make sure to tighten any loose fasteners right away. You also want to check whatever means are employed to fix the canopy to the frame. Make sure all of them are secure.

Should the fabric of your canopy tear or develop a hole, don’t panic. PE fabric can be repaired with a commercially available patch kit. Just clean the area around the hole or tear and apply the patch according to the instructions on the packaging. It is fairly simple.

You have invested a significant amount of money in your carport. Do not let that money go to waste by not taking good care of your investment. By cleaning and maintaining your carport on a regular schedule, you will keep it looking and working like new for years.