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Guide to help you find the right truck tarp.

How to Choose the Right Tarp for Your Truck: A Step-by-Step Guide

A truck tarp is an essential accessory if you own a truck for hauling cargo. Using a tarp protects your cargo from the elements and secures it in place while you're driving. However, you'll find many options of truck tarps, so choosing the right one for your needs can be challenging. This guide provides the information you need to choose the right tarp for the intended purpose.

Detailed Guide for Choosing Truck Tarps

Use this detailed guide to help you find the right tarp to secure your cargo until you’ve reached your destination.

Step 1: Determine the Size of Your Truck Bed

Before you can shop around for truck tarps, you must first determine the size of your truck bed. It is an essential step because tarps come in various sizes. You want to ensure that the size of the tarp fits your truck correctly. 

If the tarp is too small for the truck bed, it won't cover your cargo adequately and will expose it to the elements. On the other hand, if your tarp is too big, it can be challenging to handle and may flap in the wind. An oversized tarp can be hazardous to your cargo.

You must measure the length, width, and height to get the correct measurements of your truck bed. First, measure the length of the truck from the front to the back. Then, get the width by measuring the truck from one side to the other. Finally, measure the height of the truck from the floor to the top of the sides. 

The height of the truck bed is one of the most critical measurements to take. If your cargo is taller than the sides of the truck bed, you will need a tall tarp to cover the entire load.

Using the measurements, you now have the information you need to choose the right size of tarp for your truck bed. You can buy tarps based on varying dimensions. Choose the correct dimension using the measurements you took for the truck. If you find a tarp that matches the exact measurements, always go for the next larger size. It will give you extra room if there has been a margin of error in taking the measurements. 

Measuring the truck bed is tedious and time-consuming. But it is an essential step that will pay off in the long run since you can choose the right truck tarp to secure your cargo while on the road.

Step 2: Consider the Material

When most people think of tarps, they often think they’re all the same. However, the reality is that you can find various kinds of tarps, each with its benefits and drawbacks. Therefore, it pays to learn more about each material to determine the best option for your truck.

Here are the most common tarp materials you can choose from for your truck.

  1. Vinyl Tarps

Vinyl tarps are great for trucks because they are durable and heavy-duty. This material effectively protects your cargo from harsh weather conditions. It's also waterproof, so you won't have to worry about your load when it rains.

  1. Mesh Tarps

Mesh is a lightweight and breathable material. It is ideal for covering cargo that requires ventilation. However, it is not waterproof, so it is not recommended for traveling in the rain. Aside from that, mesh tarps can provide adequate protection for most types of cargo.

Mesh tarp is lightweight and breathable.
  1. Canvas Tarps

Canvas is another water-resistant and durable material. It's a great material when carrying cargo in the rain or snow. There is also the benefit of breathability, so it works well for cargo loads that must be ventilated.

Step 3: Consider the Load

The type of load you’re carrying is critical in determining the truck tarps to use. Here is an overview of the common types of cargo loads and the recommended tarp for each one.

  • Furniture – Vinyl and canvas tarps offer the best protection for furniture, especially against dust, scratches, and moisture.
  • Livestock – A mesh tarp ensures that the livestock has enough ventilation and does not overheat.
  • Construction Materials – You need a heavy-duty vinyl tarp to protect the construction materials from the elements.
  • Heavy Equipment – A vinyl tarp is the best option because it is heavy-duty, ensuring it can withstand the weight and pressure of the cargo load. Also, look for tarps with reinforced stitching, especially in the corners.
  • Agriculture – You need a tarp that offers ventilation and protection from the elements, to secure agricultural products like grains and hay. For this reason, choose mesh tarps.
  • Hazardous Materials – When transporting hazardous materials, choose truck tarps approved for this specific purpose. You might also need additional attachments, such as tie-downs and straps, to help secure the load. 
  • Odd-Shaped Cargo – A custom-made tarp is the best option when transporting odd-shaped cargo with protruding parts. It ensures that the tarp dimensions match those of the cargo to avoid damage during transport. 
Vinyl tarps are great for trucks.

    Step 4: Consider the Attachment Method

    There are various ways to attach truck tarps to the vehicle. The use of grommets is one of the most common methods. A rope or bungee cord is used to connect the tarp to the truck to secure the cargo. It is simple and inexpensive but time-consuming to set up and take down.

    Another attachment method is the use of snaps. Custom tarps can be attached with snaps to make it easy to secure the cargo with the help of snap fasteners. It is more secure than grommets but slightly more expensive.

    Finally, you can opt for tarps secured with Velcro. You can secure the cargo using Velcro strips on the tarp and hook it onto the truck bed. While they are easy to use and attach, it is less secure than the above two methods.


    A little planning goes a long way in choosing the suitable truck tarps for your needs. Use this information to decide the best type of tarp to secure and protect your cargo. In addition, it will give you peace of mind knowing that your cargo is intact once you arrive at your destination. 

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