Every trucker is responsible for protecting his/her load from the moment he/she hooks the trailer at the shipping yard to the moment it is unhooked at the receiving yard. Among all truck drivers, flatbed truckers have the most challenging job inasmuch as their cargo is exposed to the elements, road debris, and a long list of potential dangers. Tarps are the flatbed trucker’s best protection. Truckers can choose from a variety of materials including vinyl and canvas.
Canvas tarps are more expensive than their vinyl counterparts are, so they are chosen and used very carefully by cost-conscious truckers. When is it appropriate to use canvas? When the trucker needs the extra protection and breathability of the material due to the nature of the load or the environmental conditions he/she may encounter along the way.
Consider the following scenarios:
- Expensive Machinery – A trucker may be contracted to haul expensive machinery to an oil exploration site. That machinery needs to be protected from the elements, but it cannot be exposed to any moisture that might become trapped under a vinyl tarp. Canvas is the best solution.
- Fragile Loads – Transporting something fragile enough to be cosmetically damaged by vinyl calls for a canvas solution. For example, transporting a load of classic cars for a collector calls for canvas because the material is softer and less likely to scratch.
- Extreme Weather – Extreme weather conditions can do a number on vinyl tarps. As strong and durable as vinyl is, it can wither under the hot sun of the Arizona desert or become brittle and break in the cold temperatures of the Colorado Rockies. Canvas is a material that does equally well in all kinds of weather extremes.
Canvas is the material of choice for all sorts of things from boat covers to sail-making. If it is good enough for so many other applications, it is also an excellent choice as a material for truck tarps.
Important Properties of Canvas
It might be easier to understand when a canvas tarp is the best choice if you are familiar with some of its most important properties. To start with, canvas is a heavy-duty fabric usually made from either cotton or wool. Its strength comes from a plain weave that holds individual threads together as tightly as possible. This weave results in a much stronger material than other products created with a twill weave.
Next, a tightly woven canvas fabric is naturally water resistant. The weave is so tight that it repels water on contact rather than absorbing it. Tarp manufacturers give their canvas products greater water resistance by waxing the fabric at the time of manufacture. As long as water is not allowed to pool on top of a tarp, the wax coating should provide a lifetime of water resistance. Re-waxing may be necessary in some cases.
Third, canvas is a very breathable material because it is made from a natural fiber. As we mentioned earlier, breathability is vital for applications in which no moisture can be tolerated. Breathability is what makes canvas tarps the best solution for covering a boat, by the way.
Lastly, canvas is by far and away the strongest material used to make commercial truck tarps. It is thicker than vinyl, as well as being more dense and extremely resistant to rips and tears. A canvas tarp that is properly cared for could easily last an entire trucking career. It is hard to imagine vinyl doing the same.
Mytee Products is proud to carry a full range of canvas tarps to complement their inventory of vinyl products. The company believes every flatbed trucker should have at least one canvas tarp in his/her toolbox. Better to have one on hand than to take a risk with vinyl when canvas is a more appropriate choice.