More from: bungee straps

How to Fit Truck Tarps Perfectly

You see a lot of interesting things traveling down the interstate. For example, flatbed trailers carrying all kinds of loads are commonplace. Some of those trailers looked to be carrying pretty impressive cargo, though you might never know what it is hidden under all those tarps. That leads to the following question: how do truck drivers get those tarps fitted so tight?

Covering a load with truck tarps is not as easy as it sounds. Anyone can throw a couple of tarps over the top of a load and secure them with bungee straps, but that does not mean the cargo underneath is safe from all that could potentially harm it. That’s why truck drivers go to such great lengths to guarantee their tarps are tightly secured. They do not want their tarps flapping in the breeze at 60 mph.

So, how do they do it? It is a combination of a number of things.

1. Years of Experience

First and foremost, there is no substitute for experience. Every truck driver learns on the job regardless of how much training he or she received in CDL school. Simply put, learning the best ways to deploy truck tarps for any given load is a matter of book knowledge, time, and plenty of time actually doing it.

Imagine hauling an oddly shaped load consisting of industrial machinery and supplies. You might get it wrong the first time out, failing to get your tarps tight and secure. Rest assured you would hear about it on delivery. Whatever mistakes you made that first time are unlikely to be repeated the next time. You will find a better way to do it on the next run. Load after load, you’ll get better at tarping.

2. Daily Observations

The laws of physics are a wonderful thing in that they can be learned through simple observation. A truck driver may not have taken high school or college physics prior to beginning his or her career but watching how loads and tarps respond during travel can make any truck driver a physics expert in no time at all.

Truck drivers with the best tarping skills are the same drivers who pay attention to the smallest of details. They pay close attention to how each load is tarped and then, during transport, how the load and its tarps respond. They pay attention to tarp movement at highway speeds; they pay attention to how tarps handle bad weather; they pay attention to how temperature extremes affect their tarps.

3. Advice from Others

Finally, the smart truck driver doesn’t turn away any advice offered by others. No trucker lives on an island, and no trucker knows everything about tarping. So receiving and offering sound advice is in the truck driver’s best interests. Drivers get advice from other truckers, from shippers, and even from police officers and DOT inspectors.

Imagine being at a roadside inspection when a state trooper notices one of your tarps isn’t as tight as it could be. If that trooper offers a word of advice based on his past observations, how would you respond? Smart truckers take the advice for what it is. If it is usable, great. If not, it is dismissed. No harm, no foul.

Next time you drive down the interstate and see a flatbed trailer with a tightly tarped load, don’t assume that the deploying of the tarps was an easy task. Truck drivers put a lot of work into securing their loads prior to departure. If you observe an exceptionally good tarping job, be confident that driver knows what he or she is doing.


Gifts to Fill the Trucker’s Tool Boxes

The average 18-wheeler is equipped with multiple aluminum tool boxes packed full of equipment and supplies. This time of year, truck drivers appreciate receiving the kinds of gifts that can fill their tool boxes for the coming year. Below are some suggestions of items you can purchase here at Mytee Products.

Bear in mind that each of the items on our list is something a flatbed trucker needs on a regular basis. Unfortunately, truckers can get so busy at times that they forget to restock their supplies. If you have a trucker in your life that you are planning to buy for this holiday season, why not get some of the items he or she needs to keep his/her tool boxes fully stocked?

Sliding Winches

Sliding winches run across rails fixed below the bed of a flatbed trailer. Truckers use them to attach the winch straps they use to tie down cargo. Sliding winches do not break all that often, which is why a lot of truckers fail to keep a couple of spares on hand. You can save your favorite trucker hours of frustration by gifting a few sliding winches.

Chain Binders

Chain binders are another specialty item truckers don’t have to replace all that frequently. Having said that, there is a varierty of chain binders for different purposes. The trucker in your life might appreciate you asking if there is a specific binder he or she needs. You could then make the purchase and surprise your loved one on Christmas morning.

Tarp Repair Kits

A trucker’s aluminum tool boxes are likely to include a selection of truck tarps for all sorts of loads. What might be missing is a tarp repair kit. This may not seem like a big deal, but having a tarp repair kit on board could mean the difference between getting a load right away and having to wait until repairs can be made. Truck tarps are an important part of the trucker’s livelihood, so a good repair kit can be invaluable.

Corner and Edge Protectors

It might be hard to imagine that something so seemingly insignificant as a plastic corner protector is like gold to a truck driver. But it is. Truckers use corner and edge protectors of all shapes and sizes to keep cargo safe during transport. Furthermore, the truck driver can never have enough of these handy little devices lying around. Consider stocking your favorite trucker’s tool boxes with a good selection of corner and edge protectors.

Reflective Tape

Reflective tape is another seemingly insignificant item that people just don’t think about. Even truckers do not give reflective tape much thought until they actually need it. You can help your favorite trucker avoid unnecessary down time by throwing a roll or two of reflective tape in his/her stocking this Christmas.

Air Brake Hose

A failing air hose can mean big problems for truckers. That’s why it’s common for them to carry extra hose on board. At the first sign of a potential air brake failure, it doesn’t take much to swap a hose. Thus, gifting air brake hoses to your favorite trucker this holiday season means one less thing he or she needs to worry about on the road.

Bungee straps

If all else fails, the tried and true bungee strap is a fail safe gift for your favorite trucker. Truckers can never have too many bungee straps in their tool boxes. Bungee straps are used every day for a long list of purposes, but they wear out and break all the time. We are positive the trucker in your life would appreciate a bag of bungee straps.


Your Choice of Bungee Straps Matter

Our regular customers know that Mytee Products carries heavy-duty bungee straps made with 100% EPDM rubber. They also know that EPDM bungee straps are ideal for flatbed trucking, where straps are expected to withstand a tremendous amount of punishment day in and day out. In light of that, we want to use this post to point out that your choice of bungee straps really does matter. As a truck driver, it would be a good idea to choose a bungee strap that is appropriate for the kind of work do.

 

There are basically three kinds of bungee straps you can buy:

• Natural rubber
• EPDM rubber
• Nylon wrapped rubber.

The first two options were detailed in a Mytee Products blog post a while back. At the time we excluded the Nylon wrapped rubber. We feel it is time to include that third option now that it is more readily available at DIY stores.

Natural vs. EPDM Rubber

When Charles Goodyear first developed vulcanized rubber in the mid-19th century, it revolutionized the way natural rubber would be used for industrial and manufacturing purposes. His vulcanization process led to the development of rubber car tires along with an extensive list of utilitarian items such as hoses, gaskets, and belts. Natural, vulcanized rubber was critical to the war effort in World War II as well.

As a material for bungee cords, natural rubber is strong and fairly resilient. It holds up well in most kinds of weather with the exception of excessive heat. High temperatures and direct sunlight can cause natural rubber to lose some of its elasticity.

EPDM rubber is a synthetic product that was created to make up for the severe shortage of rubber during World War II. It proved to be a better material for a lot of different uses, and it is the predominant form of rubber used today. Most of the bungee straps truckers use are EPDM rubber.

The strength of the EPDM is that it holds up exceptionally well in hot temperatures and under direct sunlight. But unlike natural rubber, it does not do well in extremely cold temperatures. Cold EPDM is prone to getting brittle and breaking or tearing.

Nylon Wrapped Rubber

Nylon wrapped rubber bungee cords are those cords you see being sold in different colors. Some are red, others are blue, and still others are yellow or green. The most important thing you need to know about these bungee cords is that they are not suitable for the trucking industry. They are intended primarily for light-duty use.

Campers and hikers love nylon wrapped rubber because it is very flexible and easy-to-use. It is great for securing a camping tarp or attaching a sleeping bag to a backpack. However, nylon wrapped rubber is not sufficient for holding down truck tarps at speeds approaching 60 mph.

You should also know that nylon wrapped rubber is not nearly as thick and it has a significantly lower tensile strength. Attempting to secure truck tarps with these kinds of bungee cords is asking for trouble. Do not use them for anything other than light-duty applications not involving cargo control.

We Have Bungee Straps and Rope

The good news for Mytee Products customers is that we have all the EPDM bungee straps and rope you need. You don’t have to go anywhere else to keep your truck well-stocked. You can buy bungee straps in packs of 50, with or without crimped hooks. We also carry rubber rope hooks ideal for drivers who want to construct their own bungee ropes when more length is required.


3 Things You Should Never Do with Bungee Straps

Bungee straps have been compared to duct tape in terms of their versatility. Truck drivers use them for everything from securing tarps to replacing a broken curtain rod in the sleeper cab. Their extreme flexibility, resistance to weather, and ease of use, make bungee straps one of the most important tools in the flatbed trucking industry.

Here at Mytee Products, we are thrilled to be able to offer bungee straps in various lengths along with solid core rubber bungee rope. You can purchase straps or rope in bulk to save on our already reasonable prices. And don’t forget replacement hooks; we carry those as well.

Given the popularity and necessity of bungee straps in flatbed trucking, we thought it might be helpful to address some key aspects of using these versatile tools. Below are three things you should never do with bungee straps. Avoiding them will minimize the risks associated with bungee strap use.

1. Shortening Strap by Tying Knots

There are times when the amount of distance between hook points is so short that the average bungee strap is too long. You might think about getting around this by tying a knot or two before deploying a strap. Don’t do it. Tying knots in bungee straps increases the stress on them while at the same time decreasing usable life. It is better to stretch the cord to a different anchor point on the trailer or load.

Bungee straps are designed to evenly distribute tension from end-to-end. When you tie a knot in the middle, that portion involved in the knot is only subject to minimum tension. You can tell just by observing how the strap stretches. The part tied up in the knot barely stretches at all, signifying there is very little energy or tension in the material. The free material on either end stretches more as it absorbs more of the tension and energy.

2. Hooking More Than Two Straps Together

The other side of the knot-tying coin is hooking multiple bungee straps together to create a single chain long enough to span the gap between hook points. We recommend never hooking more than two straps together. Even under tension, the hooks on the ends of bungee straps constitute their weakest link.

Remember that metal ‘S’ hooks do not stretch. To make up for this, bungee straps usually have to be stretched a little further to prevent the sag that results from hooking too many together in a single chain. This creates a safety concern as well as reducing the usable life of all the straps in the chain. If you need length, use bungee rope.

3. Cutting an End and Making a New Hole

Bungee straps wear out and break over time. Sometimes, the hole into which the metal hook is inserted breaks clear through. Do not be tempted by the idea of cutting off the end and making a new hole. Doing so compromises the strength of the strap.

If you look at the average bungee strap, you will notice that the two ends are thicker. They are reinforced with extra rubber material to absorb the additional tension placed on the material by the hook. Cutting off a broken end and making a new hole for the hook results in too much tension on the rubber at the point where the hook is inserted. This is just asking for trouble. Bungee strap altered in this way can easily break without warning.

Bungee straps are an invaluable tool for the flatbed trucker. Used correctly, they offer a tremendous amount of functionality and flexibility.


The Secret to Preventing Tarp Billowing

After spending 20 to 30 minutes tarping a load, nothing aggravates a flatbed trucker more than looking out the mirror 25 miles down the road and seeing one or more of those tarps billowing in the wind. Billowing tarps reduce fuel efficiency and risk both straps and cargo. Truckers hate billowing tarps.

The question many new truck drivers struggle with is how to prevent billowing. After all, moving down the highway at 65 mph creates a lot of air movement around a flatbed load. Any natural wind added to the equation just makes things worse.

So, what is the solution? The secret to preventing tarp billowing is in how tarps are applied at various points of a load.

In the below post, we will explain how to secure tarps that will not billow as you drive down the road. You can use ratchet straps, bungee straps, bungee rope, or even nylon rope as you see fit. A combination of bungee straps and ratchet straps is the best way to go for efficiency and speed.

Tight at the Front

Physics and common sense dictate that air flows across a load from front to back. Therefore, common sense also dictates that tarps should be getting the most attention at the front of the load. Veteran truckers who tarp well, will tell you that the front of the load is key.

The most important thing for preventing billowing is to make sure the tarp at the front is as flat and tight as possible. If you do not give air a clear path under the front of the tarp, you will reduce the likelihood of billowing across its entire surface. So think tight and flat.

One suggestion from veteran truckers is to start by securing the front corners of the tarp with bungee straps. Pull the tarp tight and secure the rear with bungee straps as well. Then go back to the front of the load and apply one ratchet strap across the top of the tarp as far forward as possible. You can then use bungee straps or bungee rope to go around the front edge of the tarp, hooking to a strap on either side, to keep the vertical surface of the tarp lying flat.

Work Your Way Back

Once the front of the tarp is flat and secure, work your way back. Use additional bungee straps at key points to secure the tarp to either your trailer or the load itself. Another ratchet strap across the middle of the tarp will keep that section flat. Finally, wrap the entire perimeter of the load using bungee rope from corner to corner. This keeps the edges of the tarp secure against the load.

The advantage of using bungee rope here is that you can apply fairly large sections of rope without creating a safety hazard or risking damage to the load.

One veteran trucker we know offers another tip that makes sense. He says that it helps to take a few extra minutes to make sure tarps are applied evenly. An uneven tarp is harder to keep flat and tight because you are working with different amounts of material at various points across the load. An even tarp gives you the same amount of material at the critical points, making it possible to apply even tension with each bungee or ratchet strap you use.

Remember, the secret to preventing tarp billowing is to concentrate on the front of the load in order to ensure the tarp is flat and tight. If you can conquer the front of the load, the rest should be fairly easy.