Tarp Practices

Topic 26937 | Page 1

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Spaceman Spiff's Comment
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For any of you thinking of flatbed upon entry into trucking, I'm adding one tidbit that I've picked up recently.

When tarps are required by a shipper , you'll expect to spend some extra time lifting, unrolling, shifting, folding and tightening down the tarps on your cargo, as well as some extra calories (yay). Typically, you'll be outfitted with bungee hook rubber straps to hook to the sewn on rings and pull tight to keep the elements out. The idea is also to avoid leaving the tarp loose, allowing the air flow to move the tarps constantly as you drive. This causes rubbing and will tear your tarps and can damage cargo.

If you're going a company sponsored route, worry about learning to achieve your CDL first. Pay attention to the strapping and tarping, but certainly focus most of your energy on the skills and pre trip stuff. During any ride along phases, you'll get enough chances to see it done and start working the angles in your head.

I recently picked up some battle cord in 100 foot lengths to work on keeping my tarps even tighter. I had used this "sewing" style with bungee rope, but it had always had a little bit of stretching movement no matter how hard I pulled the slack out. The cord is strong, at 2,650 lb test, but nimble and stows away in a tiny space. Also, this particular cord helps match my truck and tarps to a proper Seahawks theme.

Attached are photos of what the finished product looks like. The hooks at the rub rail are independent S hooks i keep in a bucket on my hip as I work down the side. At the front D ring, I tie a bowline knot with an overhand safety knot, and at the rear, I tie a bight and slip a bungee strap hook to it. Once that is strapped, I can work the slack out down the line from the front, and either stretch out the bungee more or tie another bight in if the first one slacks out beneath the rub rail.

My tarps haven't moved an inch. I check the cord when I check the straps and there's no room for the slack to return so once it's taught , it's taught. This generally follows some lessons on rope work that I haven't done much research in, but seeing the benefits to keeping the equipment from blowing around a bit like my bungee rope allowed.

Take this as food for thought. I am no expert flatbedder. To the expert flatbedders in here, what dangers or issues am I not seeing in doing this?

Also a congrats to Turtle, I didn't know wal Mart is getting a flatbed division!



Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.


The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.


Operating While Intoxicated


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

David's Comment
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Cord works great.. Doesnt break near as much as rubber bungees do. I had a good 300ft on the truck at one point, and then switching of companies i left it at home and haven't brought it back out yet.

Rob D.'s Comment
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I had this exact same I idea about using rope to really cinch down the tarps and avoid the occasional bungee hook in the face.

I also have this bizarre idea about hooking rope at the "four corners" of the tarp and then another rope that rolls up in the tarp. The idea being that you pull the long rope that is rolled up in the tarp from the ground and then use the "four corners" rope to adjust the tarp from the ground. With the ropes at the "four corners" you could hook them to the rub rail to hold the tarp in place, especially in high winds, and then adjust the rest of the tarp one section at a time. Also, I had the idea of cutting some straps to connect to the rope so you could use the winch to adjust the tarp on the load if you are dealing with a stubborn tarp.

Of course, I haven't even touched a tarp. But I find it interesting that you are using the same system I had thought about.


C T.'s Comment
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I'm no expert but I do have 2.5 years of experience. Only issue I could think of is the hassle of undoing all that rope when its time to unload. Maybe I'm not seeing it right. Is it all one piece of rope on each side?

Turtle's Comment
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There's nothing really wrong with your rope system. I've never tried it, so I can't really compare it to the bungees. I guess I just never saw a good enough reason to look for an alternate method.

Multi-stop loads might be a tad slower due to having to loosen / retighten the whole load vs a small section.

Heaven forbid your rope ever gets cut or untied. Not only will you have a whole sides worth of tarp flapping in the breeze, but you'll have the potential for your S hooks bouncing into someone's windshield. Admittedly though, that's extreme and not likely to happen with good rope.

I'll keep trying to come up with a way to pick it apart. In the meantime, Whatever tightens yer tarp, bruh!


...and thanks pal.


Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

RealDiehl's Comment
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Lord knows I'm clueless about tarping practices, Spaceman, but it sure is very pleasing to the eye. It makes a person's OCD gene happy to look at something like that...despite the colors.


Spaceman Spiff's Comment
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Thanks Turtle, I agree about the multi stops. What a pain it would be. Ill keep an eye sharp for abrasions and cuts.

Interesting idea Rob, I may sketch that in my head for a bit and get back to you on feasibility from my limited experience. Be like a circus coming to town

CT, yes one section of line on each side. I'll add pics at the 90 when I'm tearing it down.

RD, These are fantastic colors, is your phone in Black or white or something?rofl-3.gif

Old School's Comment
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Spaceman, that system you're using is actually sort of an old school method. It works well, but can be a little slower than using bungees. It's a great method, and some folks prefer it. You just may be one of them.

I've seen flatbedders pulling huge tangled up pikes of bungees from their truck's storage bins. When you factor in the time and frustration of detangling all those bungees, a length of rope may actually go a little faster.

I remember picking up some aluminum coils at a place that didn't allow us to use bungees. They required rope for securing our tarps. They didn't want the steel "S" hooks to damage their aluminum coils.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Spaceman Spiff's Comment
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Yeah I did some stand ups recently from Kentucky that didn't want bungees either. I guess all in all I'm glad to have both options. I'll show the breakdown tomorrow in a couple pics when I get to Houston.

I've seen those guys too, looks real stressful but allot of their gear looks similar. Oh well. Thanks!


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
C T.'s Comment
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Yea some aluminum plants don't want bungees on the coils but one or two strategically placed ones never hurt. Lord help you if you end up at Alcoa in TN. In my opinion bungees are just faster and more efficient. Thats just me. I kept mine in bundles of 20 and a few fives for tidy ups. As long as the stuff is dry and still on the trailer when you deliver then any method you choose will be fine.


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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