Like trucks, tarp systems come in all shapes, sizes and configurations. Regardless of the job, there is likely a perfect tarp system to ensure road safety.
But choosing the right tarp system for your needs comes with its own learning curve, as Waste 360 points out. Too many drivers find out the hard way that the system they chose isn’t the ideal system for their haul.
In this article, find out the important things you need to know about tarp systems before selecting your tarp system.
- Not using a tarp system could cost you more than just wasted time.
In many areas, failure to secure a load with an adequate tarp system can incur citations, fines and even loss of work.
Missing or inadequate tarps can also cause vehicle and road damage, injuries and legal action. Every state has its own laws and regulations regarding the use of tarp systems for trucks.
It is important to familiarize yourself with these laws and ensure the tarp system you are using meets the requirements for the route you are taking.
- Tarp systems are divided into four basic materials categories.
There are four basic types of tarp systems: canvas, vinyl, poly and mesh. Each material has different properties and benefits.
Generally speaking, most vinyl and poly tarps are waterproof. Canvas and poly tarps tend to be cheaper. Vinyl is the go-to for heavy duty payloads. Mesh is the go-to for breathability and air circulation.
- Tarp systems are designed for different uses and purposes.
Tarp systems can be designed to protect the payload from damage due to weather and the elements. Other tarp systems are designed to protect the road, other drivers and vehicles from the payload.
The best tarp systems are designed to do both – protect the haul from damage and protect structures and people from the haul.
- You can choose between manual and automatic tarp systems.
For securing small loads of predictable dimensions in temperate weather, manual tarp systems will generally suffice. As a perk, manual tarp systems are also simpler to install and use.
But in extreme weather, with difficult or heavy loads or for larger vehicles, automatic tarp systems can make short work of what is otherwise a very challenging job.
- There are six different basic tarp designs.
While the names can vary, in general there are six basic types of tarp systems designs: accordion (cable), flip (arm or mouse trap), roll-off (auto), waste transfer (transfer), side roll (side dump) and pull.
Within each of these systems, you can specify the type of material you need (waterproof, non-waterproof, durable or lightweight, etc) and the type of installation (automatic/electric or manual).
- Consider more than just the baseline cost of the tarp system when choosing your system.
As Waste Advantage magazine explains, the initial investment cost in the tarp system itself should not be your own consideration when selecting your tarp system.
For example, a system that operates manually may take more time to install and be less reliable, resulting in more down time between hauls and more loss in transit.
As well, a more durable and strong tarp system can reduce worker injury and transit liability issues even if it costs more initially.
Choosing to haul without a tarp system is perhaps the most costly choice because it opens you up to all kinds of damage, injury and legal liability.
Be sure to research how long the tarp system typically lasts given your typical use patterns, the type of load you are hauling, local weather conditions, truck type and size and expertise required to use it.