More from: parachute fabric

Used Parachutes or New Parachute Fabric Tarps?

Not long ago we ran across a post asking opinions about purchasing old parachutes from an army surplus store and converting them into truck tarps. The poster wanted to know if it was a good idea and, if so, what drawbacks there might be.

So, is it okay to convert used parachutes into truck tarps, or should you buy new parachute fabric tarps from a company like Mytee? Sure, it’s okay. But there are some definite benefits to going new instead of trying to cobble together a few old parachutes just to save some money.

Fabric Weight

As far as the weight of the parachute fabric is concerned, it is a wash whether you utilize used parachutes or buy new tarps. Parachute fabric is generally ripstop nylon of very low weight. That’s what you want for your truck tarps anyway. A 1-ounce parachute fabric is the same weight whether it is found in a used parachute or a new truck tarp.

Water Resistance

Depending on how the parachute was used during its normal life, the fabric may or may not have been treated for water resistance. This matters to truckers for the simple fact that standing water will almost always leak through parachute fabric at some point. That is why even new parachute fabric tarps purchased from Mytee are constructed only with parachute fabric on the sides, back, and front. Manufacturers use a standard vinyl material on the top to keep water out.

Even if you were to construct a few truck tarps out of used parachutes, you would have to do something about the top. So that means purchasing vinyl tarp material or utilizing discarded tarps with enough usable fabric. Is it worth the trouble?

Durability

Another thing to consider is durability. You can bet that the seams on both your used parachutes and new tarps are going to be pretty strong. But if you’re making your own tarps, you will be sewing multiple pieces of fabric together. Can you make the seams strong enough to withstand the punishment of the open road?

If you own a commercial sewing machine that is up to the task, you have nothing to worry about. But we suspect most truck drivers are not equipped with that kind of machinery. As such, constructing your own tarps is risky business. You’re probably better off buying new parachute tarps instead.

Usable Life

One last consideration is the usable life of homemade tarps. Unless you find used parachutes in excellent condition and you have the right equipment to construct your tarps, they are probably not going to last as long as professionally made tarps. So while you may save money in the short term, you’ll probably spend more over the long term simply because you have to replace your tarps more often.

New is a Better Choice

We understand the trucker’s desire to save money wherever possible. These days, margins are tight for both carriers and independent contractors alike. Unfortunately, attempting to save money by skimping on tarps is one of the worst decisions a trucker can make.

It is our belief that going new is the better choice. Brand-new tarps are constructed by industry professionals who know what they are doing. The products they make are intended to last, offering years of reliable service under all kinds of driving and weather conditions. Should you opt to make your own tarps of used parachutes instead, you’re probably not going to get the same kind of quality.


A Basic Guide to Parachute Fabric

Mytee Products recently introduced a line of truck tarps made of parachute fabric. Our parachute/airbag tarps are a great alternative to both canvas and vinyl thanks to their lower weight and greater strength. We would be happy to answer any questions you have about these tarps prior to purchase.

In the meantime, we thought a basic introduction to parachute fabric was in order. This guide should help you to better understand the fundamentals of parachute fabric and why it is such a great option for truck tarps. Feel free to browse our complete inventory of parachute/airbag tarps if you are ready to buy.

Multiple Textile Options

Contrary to common perceptions, parachute fabric is not a specific type of textile. Manufacturers can choose any number of textiles to make parachute fabric. Most frequently used textiles include canvas, Kevlar, nylon, Dacron, and silk. Our parachute fabric truck tarps are made with ripstop nylon.

This material is ideal for truck tarps for multiple reasons:

• It is lightweight but strong
• Ripstop nylon is interwoven with reinforcing threads for additional strength
• It is woven with strong warp and filling yarns to reduce tearing
• Ripstop nylon is water resistant, fire resistant, and tear resistant
• It offers an attractive strength-to-weight ratio compared to other materials.

The strength-to-weight ratio is very important to truck drivers tasked with covering their own loads. As you already know, tarping a load is a lot of work – even under ideal weather conditions. Throw in a little wind and rain and tarping can become a nightmare.

A lighter tarp is easier to handle and deploy under such conditions. Still, the driver does not have to compromise on strength with a ripstop nylon parachute tarp.

Characteristics of Good Parachute Tarp

All the parachute/airbag tarps we carry are of the highest quality and craftsmanship. You can depend on them just as you do any other product purchased from us. Should you decide to shop elsewhere, be very careful about what you buy. A good parachute fabric is identified by the following characteristics:

Strength – The strength of any material determines its usefulness as a truck tarp. Our tarps are made using ripstop nylon because it is one of the strongest options. It offers a rather high breaking strength that holds up well at highway speeds.

Tear Resistance – If there is one thing that truck drivers cannot afford during transit is a tarp that tears away. A good parachute fabric is extremely tear resistant. Even where a small tear already exists, it will not easily spread except under extreme conditions.

• Elasticity – The elasticity of parachute fabric influences how easily it unfolds. This is key when a truck driver is attempting to get a load tarped as quickly as possible. With a flip of the wrist and a quick swing of the arms, a good parachute tarp will generally unfold without issue.

• Low Permeability – Permeability is the characteristic of allowing liquids and gases to pass through a substance. Parachute fabric has low permeability, which is good for truck drivers. Tarps are intended to keep moisture and debris away. Parachute tarps do an excellent job.

We are thrilled to have been able to add parachute/airbag tarps to our inventory. Doing so was yet another way for us to serve our customers with the latest and greatest products in the industry. We invite you to take a serious look at parachute tarps as you prepare to restock your truck this winter. Give them a try. Who knows, you may decide to never go back to vinyl or canvas after using a parachute tarp just once.