More from: parachute tarp

You’re a Good Candidate for Parachute Tarps If…

A typical week here at Mytee Products sees us answering questions about parachute tarps from at least one flatbed truck driver. Sometimes we get half-a-dozen or more inquiries. One of the things drivers ask is why they should buy parachute fabric instead of vinyl. Maybe it’s because truckers have been so used to vinyl for so long that they just have no idea there are alternatives.

There is no single thing we can point to that says parachute fabric is better than vinyl or canvas. It has been our experience that truckers prefer different kinds of tarps for different kinds of jobs. The best we can do is offer a few suggestions that might help them figure it out.

Let us try that here. You are a good candidate for parachute tarps if…

1. You’re Not As Young As You Used to Be

It has been said that truckers never die, they just downshift. Whether or not that’s true, truckers do get old like everyone else. And with age comes aches and pains. We say that you might be a good candidate for parachute tarps if you are an older driver who no longer has the strength and stamina to wrestle with vinyl.

The biggest benefit of a parachute tarp is its weight. Parachute fabric is lighter, so you have a lot less weight to throw over the top of a load with a parachute tarp.

2. You’re an Expert at Tarping

It’s not unusual to caution new truck drivers against using parachute tarps given that they don’t offer the same kind of protection against moisture. By the way, that’s why parachute tarps have vinyl tops. The vinyl will hold back standing water where parachute fabric won’t.

Be that as it may, parachute tarps might be right up your alley if you’ve been trucking long enough to be a tarping expert. You know what works and what doesn’t. You don’t have to practice tarping overkill to protect your loads.

3. You Have a Tendency to Rip Vinyl

Next, you might also be a good candidate for parachute tarps if you have a tendency to rip vinyl. This is not to say that parachute fabric never rips or tears; it does. But parachute fabric is ripstop fabric. That means it is made with a special weave pattern that prevents rips and tears from growing.

Bear in mind that using edge protectors is still a wise idea even with the tarp made of ripstop nylon. But at least a minor tear or rip will not become a major disaster before you get your load to its destination. You cannot necessarily say the same thing about vinyl.

4. You Want to Try Something New

You’ve been on the road now for decades. In all your years you have used nothing but vinyl and canvas. Now you’re looking for something new, something that will shake things up a bit. Perhaps it’s time to give parachute tarps a chance. Parachute fabric certainly does take some getting used to, and you might welcome the challenge of tarping with a lighter material that can sail away in the wind.

Please note that all of our parachute fabric tarps offer the same quality and durability as our vinyl and canvas tarps. Parachute fabric tarps come in a variety of sizes and styles designed to meet the needs of the modern trucker. If you have any questions about our parachute tarps, don’t be afraid to ask. And if you need something you don’t see in our inventory, let us know. We’ll do what we can to get it for you.


3 Reasons to Use Edge Protectors with Parachute Tarps

The ripstop nylon fabric used to make parachutes is a great material for truck tarps. It is just amazing that it took so long for tarp manufacturers to figure it out. But that’s a different topic for a different post. We want to use this post to discuss the necessity of using edge protectors with parachute fabric tarps.

Since parachute fabric is quite durable, there is a tendency to treat it differently. Smart truck drivers know their parachute fabric tarps need just as much care as their vinyl counterparts. As such, the proper care of parachute fabric includes using edge protectors whenever necessary.

Here are three reasons to use edge protectors despite the extra strength and durability of ripstop nylon fabric:

1. Ripstop Does Not Mean Rip Proof

One of the distinguishing characteristics of parachute fabric is that it is classified as ripstop fabric. Whether a parachute is made of nylon, canvas, or some other material, its ripstop designation comes from its cross-weave pattern that prevents rips and tears from growing. The last thing you would want as you are falling through the sky is to have a small rip become a huge, gaping hole.

The thing to understand here is that ripstop fabric is not rip proof. If you are not sure that this is true, get yourself a piece of scrap material, lay it on top of a cardboard box, and see if you can put your utility knife through the center of it. Trust us when we say you’ll succeed.

The point we are trying to illustrate here is that using edge protectors with parachute tarps still helps prevent rips and tears that could occur when tarp material comes in contact with sharp edges. The possibility of such rips and tears isn’t diminished simply because a tarp is made of parachute fabric.

2. Fragile Cargo is Still Fragile

Sometimes truckers are forced to use edge protectors in order to protect the cargo underneath their tarps. In other words, you do not want fragile pieces of cargo rattling around and bumping into one another. So you secure each piece as tightly as you can and then use edge protectors as an extra insurance policy.

Choosing parachute fabric tarps over regular nylon has no effect on the tendency of cargo to rattle around. So use edge protectors to keep individual pieces from damage during transit. Your customers will be happy on the other end.

3. Webbing Straps are Still Vulnerable

Another important reason for using edge protectors with standard vinyl tarps is the fact that sharp edges can wear away webbing strap material – even if said edges actually pierce the tarp material. This is an even bigger problem when you are dealing with parachute fabric, given that it is lighter and thinner than standard vinyl.

Wherever there is likely to be friction between webbing straps and cargo, you should consider using an edge protector – even if there’s tarp material between cargo and strap. An edge protector mitigates friction and reduces the likelihood of a strap being cut. As an added bonus, the edge protector will also help keep your tarp in place to some extent.

As you can see, truck tarps made of parachute fabric are not perfect or indestructible. They certainly do have some benefits over traditional vinyl tarps in terms of weight and durability, but they are prone to the same kinds of things that damage vinyl tarps. So do yourself a favor and protect your investment. Use edge protectors with parachute fabric tarps in the same way you would with canvas or vinyl.


Parachute Tarps: The Fuzzy History of Ripstop Nylon

Sometimes, knowing the history of a product helps us to utilize it to its fullest potential. As such, we tried to figure out the history of ripstop nylon as it relates to the parachute tarps we sell. Unfortunately, that history is somewhat fuzzy. What we do know tells us just what makes ripstop nylon such a great material for truck tarps.

For the record, ripstop fabric does not have to nylon. You can buy ripstop fabric as canvas, polyester, and even silk. Nylon is the preferred choice for ripstop fabric because of its unique properties relating to weatherproofing and weight. With all that said, let us talk a little bit about history.

Ripstop and WWII

As best as we can tell from our research, the idea behind ripstop fabric was first proposed during World War II. Those in charge of making combat uniforms and parachutes wanted a material that would be more resistant to rips and tears on the battlefield. They also wanted a material that was lighter.

A year before the start of the war, DuPont introduced a revolutionary synthetic thread it called nylon. This revolutionary thread turned out to be the first commercially successful synthetic thread despite its predecessor, rayon, having been pushed as a replacement for expensive silk.

DuPont’s original plan for nylon did not involve military applications. Instead, it was thought that nylon revolutionized the fashion industry. That didn’t stop the military from looking at it as an option for parachutes.

Parachutes but Not Uniforms

Nylon did end up taking off as material for parachutes during the war. Parachute designers came up with a new ripstop weave that became the precursor of modern ripstop, but nylon fabric would largely disappear from the fashion scene following World War II. It was never seriously considered as a material for uniforms.

At the same time, DuPont really wanted nylon thread to be its mainstay for women’s hosiery. That was their original plan for nylon. So they began pitching the thread, eventually deciding to license it to third-party producers in 1951. Although it enjoyed fairly good success in the hosiery market, nylon thread wasn’t seen as practical or attractive for the rest of the fashion industry.

Nylon’s use as an industrial material continued through the 1950s, 60s and 70s, until the outdoor industry brought it back to front and center as a material for all sorts of camping gear. By the late 1970s, nylon was everywhere.

Parachutes, hang glider wings, etc. were dominated by ripstop nylon. And by the 1980s, ripstop weaves had been perfected. The same weaves preventing rips and tears in parachutes were making tents, backpacks, lean-tos, and camping chairs lightweight and strong. It was only a matter of time before ripstop nylon became a favorite material for tarps.

Modern Ripstop Nylon

Fast-forward to 2019 and the modern ripstop nylon we use today is the best iteration of the product ever. Not only is ripstop nylon still the material of choice for parachutes, it is also used heavily throughout multiple industries, ranging from outdoor gear to logistics.

Ripstop nylon is changing the way we do things in the trucking industry as well. For the longest time, truck drivers have been looking for a tarp material that is lighter and easier to deploy under a variety of weather conditions. Ripstop nylon is that material. It is more durable than vinyl and significantly lighter than canvas. It offers the best of both worlds.

How fascinating that a thread originally intended for the fashion world evolved to become a fabric used in parachutes and truck tarps. And now you know.