More from: flatbed trucker

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.


5 Things to Know about Canvas Tarps

Mytee Products is proud to carry a selection of canvas tarps alongside our much larger selection of vinyl products. Though vinyl is the clear choice for truck tarps,canvas is a more appropriate material in some circumstances. It is a good idea for flatbed truckers to carry at least a couple of canvas tarps on board just in case shippers or receivers require them.

It could be that you do not know much about canvas because you have no need to know. Well, we want to help you expand your knowledge. There are five things to know about canvas tarps that may influence your decision to use them for cargo control.

1. Canvas Tarps Are Breathable

Canvas is a very breathable material even after being treated for water resistance. By ‘breathable’, we mean it allows air to flow between the individual fibers. Why is this important? Because some flatbed loads are moisture-sensitive. For example, a farmer shipping fresh fruits and vegetables may require the truck driver to use canvas tarps in order to prevent sweating that could cause premature spoilage.

Canvas is also an excellent choice on loads where rust is a concern. Once again, the breathability of canvas prevents moisture from building up underneath. Breathability reduces the risk of rust on loads that will be covered for a considerable length of time.

2. Canvas Tarps Are Environmentally Friendly

Most truck tarps are made of vinyl, polypropylene, or polyethylene. While all three materials are rather strong and able to withstand the punishment of flatbed trucking, neither is necessarily environmentally friendly. Canvas is. Canvas is made from cotton or linen duck fibers. As such, it will not harm the environment even after a tarp wears out and has to be disposed of. Given enough time, a discarded canvas tarp would completely decompose.

3. Canvas Tarps Are Extremely Versatile

We sell canvas tarps primarily to flatbed truckers to help them meet their cargo control needs. Yet canvas is an extremely versatile material that can be used in other ways. Canvas tarps are good for agricultural applications like storing hay or protecting equipment. They are appropriate to the construction industry for transporting and storing lumber, gravel, and other materials. The possible uses of canvas tarps beyond flatbed trucking are extensive, to say the least.

4. Canvas Tarps Can Be Treated or Untreated

Tarp manufacturers sell both treated and untreated products. A treated canvas tarp will be resistant to water, mold and mildew, UV exposure, and more. An untreated product will simply be straight up canvas. Untreated canvas is not 100% waterproof, so truckers need to keep that in mind. It is water resistant thanks to the exceptionally tight weave used in creating canvas tarps.

5. Canvas Tarps Are Easy to Handle

Canvas is known for a number of inherent properties that make the material easy to handle. We have already mentioned the tight weave; this property makes canvas tarps easier to fold than their vinyl counterparts. Canvas is also more slip resistant as well, making it a great material for flatbed trucking at times when snow and ice are a concern. Lastly, because canvas is heavier than vinyl or poly, it also does not blow in the wind as easily. A canvas tarp can be a lot easier to secure under windy conditions than a poly tarp.

Canvas tarps are not the right solution for every cargo control need. But canvas does have a place in the flatbed trucker’s toolbox. If you are in need of a couple of canvas tarps, Mytee Products has just what you’re looking for.


How to Easily Enhance a Headache Rack

If you are a flatbed trucker working without a headache rack, you really need to rethink your strategy. You are but one accident away from a load coming through your cab in a hard-braking scenario that exceeds the tensile strength of your straps or chains. Having said that, truckers with headache racks can enhance those racks with a quick and dirty trick that is easy and inexpensive.

Get more out of your headache rack by securing stacked railroad ties at the front of your trailer with 5/16 chain and a break-over binder. Railroad ties are pretty easy to come by, and in some cases, you can get them for free if you know where to look. You can use 4 x 4 timbers if you don’t have access to railroad ties.

Truckers who haul freshly harvested timber use this trick all the time. Why? Because logs are among the most unruly pieces of cargo you can put on the back of a flatbed trailer. Being careful to stack timbers securely helps to some degree, but you never know when a log is going to shift forward. Adding the bulkhead just makes a driver safer.

How and Why It Works

At first glance, it might seem like building a bulkhead to enhance a headache rack is a waste of time and effort. After all, the whole point of the headache rack is to provide a tough barrier between tractor and load. But here’s the problem: cargo shifting forward on a trailer has to cross that open space between trailer and cab in order to do damage. Any cargo that does manage to traverse that empty space unimpeded has momentum behind it. Momentum is the killer.

A log with enough momentum can severely damage a headache rack to the point of requiring replacement. In a worst-case scenario, a log can send pieces of the rack through the cab. Building a bulkhead on the front of the trailer prevents deadly momentum.

The laws of physics dictate that stacking a load flush with a wooden bulkhead greatly reduces the risk of cargo striking the back of a tractor because the bulkhead provides a surface area capable of absorbing and dispersing the energy of moving cargo. Thus, a bulkhead prevents cargo from getting the momentum it needs to do damage to the tractor.

Easy to Remove

The suggestion to use railroad ties and chain to build a bulkhead is not coincidental. The design is intended to create a bulkhead that is easily removable when it is not needed or it might be in the way. It’s a lot easier to remove chains and railroad ties than to break the welds of a permanently affixed bulkhead system.

If you know you have a month’s worth of loads that do not involve any timber, you can quickly remove your bulkhead and go on your way. The same goes if you have to take an oversized load that needs a few extra inches off the trailer. It only takes a few minutes to reinstall the bulkhead when you need it again.

Here at Mytee Products, we sell a variety of headache racks in different sizes and configurations. Headache racks are great tools for protecting your truck and providing a bit of extra storage at the same time. For those loads when your headache rack may not be enough to protect you, consider building a quick and dirty bulkhead using railroad ties and chains. This simple but effective fix could make a difference in protecting both you and your truck.


Top 5 Bungee Strap Hacks for Truckers

You just ordered two packs of bungee straps from Mytee Products. You will eventually go through all of them, but you suddenly realize that having 100 straps on board your truck is a bit of overkill. No worries. Bungee straps are not just for tying down tarps. As a flatbed trucker, you can do a lot of amazing things with those little black wonders.

Below are some of the more creative bungee strap hacks we have come across online. If you have additional hacks not listed here, we would love to hear your ideas. The incredibly versatile bungee strap is to the flatbed trucker what duct tape is to the DIY homeowner. There seems to be no end to how bungees can be used.

1. Hang Your Tarps

Neatly folding your tarps and storing them in the toolbox is the normal thing to do. But you might find yourself dropping one load only to drive just across town to pick up the next one. A quick and dirty way to save time is to fold your tarps into rolls and hang them from the headache rack with half a dozen bungee straps. It is fast, easy, and you are not risking any damage to the tarps.

2. Hang a Quick Clothesline

You may spend your life on the road, but you still need to do your laundry. Save a little money at the laundromat by not using the dryer. Instead, stretch some bungee straps across the inside of your sleeper cab and then hang your laundry. Let it dry as you drive. You can take everything down when you stop for the night.

3. Replace a Broken Curtain Rod

Your sleeper cab hopefully affords you a measure of privacy with the strategic use of curtains. Those curtains are hung on either plastic rods or cords. If one of them breaks, a couple bungee straps works as a good substitute until you can purchase a proper replacement. And if your sleeper cab does not come equipped with curtains, you can make your own with an old blanket or set of bedsheets and a few bungee straps.

4. Secure Things in the Cab

What kinds of things do you carry in your sleeper cab? We have known truckers to bring along things like microwave ovens, crock pots, and trash cans. You can secure any and all of those extra items with bungee straps. And before you say it’s not necessary, just remember that you never know when a sudden stop or start will knock something off a shelf. Even simple road vibration can cause something like a hotplate or coffeemaker to travel across a shelf and fall off.

5. Secure Toolbox Doors

Toolbox doors are going to remain tightly closed when they are brand-new. But time wears on toolboxes just as it does the rest of your rig. Once those toolbox doors start to loosen, just a single bungee strap across the top will keep them place even at highway speeds. You will not have to worry about the door suddenly flying open as you’re cruising down the interstate at 65 mph.

Every flatbed truck driver knows bungee straps are great tools for securing tarps. But the versatility of the trusted bungee strap goes well beyond that individual use. Bungee straps are perfect for a lengthy list of needs inside and outside the truck.

Mytee Products carries a full selection of bungee straps with crimped hooks. We also carry bungee rope cord, replacement S hooks, and rubber rope hooks. We offer great prices on each of our products – especially when you buy in bulk.


10 Things (Other Than Tools) to Keep in Your Toolbox

Aluminum toolboxes are part and parcel to working in the trucking industry. They are especially important to flatbed truckers who are ultimately responsible for maintaining their trailers and protecting cargo. That’s why you see flatbed truckers having multiple toolboxes mounted on their tractors, headache racks, and even their trailers.

So what do they keep in those toolboxes? If you’re a veteran truck drive, you already know the contents of those boxes. However, If you are new to the industry, it may take you a while to assemble everything you want to have with you on board. In this post, we’ve put together a list of things to help get you started. Each of these items might miss your checklist until you actually need them.

1. Spare Headlamps

It is illegal for you to run your truck in the dark without both headlamps functioning properly. Driving down the road as a ‘one-eyed bandit’ is a good way to get yourself pulled over and subjected to a roadside inspection. You can minimize such risks by carrying one or two spare headlamps at all times. It only takes a few minutes to change one.

2. Assorted Bulbs

Along with your headlamps, you should have an adequate selection of miscellaneous bulbs on hand. That way you always have a replacement when any of your lights go out. Have whatever sizes you need to accommodate taillights, running lights, trailer lights, etc.

3. Spare Parts

Owner-operators tend to carry a larger selection spare parts to keep themselves rolling. Examples include a spare alternator, pulleys and belts, air boots, filters, and the like. Any parts that tend to have a need for frequent replacement and can be handled on the road would be candidates for your toolbox.

4. Extra Fluids

It goes without saying that the trucker should have extra fluids in his or her toolboxes. This includes motor oil, coolant, and hydraulic fluid.

5. Fuses and Circuit Breakers

Your truck’s electrical system is not going to function properly if there’s a failure in one of the fuses or circuit breakers. Not only should you carry an ample supply in your toolbox but you should learn how to quickly identify which fuses and circuit breakers match the various electrical systems on your rig. The faster you can change them, the faster you can get back on the road.

6. Flares or Emergency Flasher

Breaking down on the side of the road at night can be a dangerous situation. To increase your safety, carry flares or an electric flasher or to save up on space a flare and flashlight combo in your toolbox.

7. An Assortment of Fasteners

You know that old coffee can full of nuts and bolts your grandfather used to keep on his tool bench? You should keep a similar can in your toolbox. An assortment of fasteners – including zip ties – will prove to be a lifesaver many times over the course of your career.

8. Extra Bungee Cords

Every flatbed trucker uses bungee cords to tie down tarps. Most of the time, those cords are kept in a single location so they can be found easily. Keep a spare pack of 50 in the bottom of your toolbox to guarantee you will never run out. There’s nothing worse than falling a couple of bungee cords short of a load.

9. Heavy-Duty Flashlight

A flexible, plastic flashlight is good for most emergencies. Still, keep a heavy-duty flashlight in your toolbox just in case your cheap plastic model fails.

10. Tire Thumper

Last but not least is the trusty tire thumper. The tire thumper represents a quick and easy way to check tire inflation on the go.