Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need a tarp?
Mostly because, in most states, it's a law that if you're carrying something in the back of a
truck—whether it's a pick-up or a semi—the load has to be covered. But there are plenty of other
good reasons. A tarp will:
- keep your load intact until it gets where it's going.
- prevent damage or injury to others due to something falling or blowing out of your truck.
(Truck accidents are one of lawyers' most lucrative claims.)
- eliminates the risk of heavy fines or penalties for creating a road hazard.
- prevent damage to your load from sun, rain, wind, and other adverse weather conditions.
- improve your gas mileage and fuel efficiency.
- allow you to focus on driving and not worry about what's in the back of the truck.
Even if your state doesn't require the use of a tarp, we recommend them simply because of
contribution toward protection and efficiency.
How do I find my state's hauling regulations?
We've listed most U.S. state hauling regulations here for your convenience, though you may want to periodically check with the Department of Transportation for updates.
Will a tarp improve my gas mileage?
Absolutely! Covering your load improves the aerodynamic performance of your vehicle and
reduces drag and wind resistance. According to some research studies, using a tarp can improve
gas mileage by as much as 10%. That's a significant savings at today's fuel prices!
How can I make my tarp last longer?
Make sure your tarp properly fits your truck or your load. It should fit tightly without stretching.
Loose tarps that flap and flutter don't protect your load properly and are subject to extra wear
and tear. Storing your tarp properly, when it's not in use, will also help extend its life. Keep it
away from sun and rain so it's not subject to unnecessary heat or dampness.
What's the best type of material to use for an asphalt tarp?
Industrial fabrics expert Juli Case says it's a matter of preference. "Vinyl materials offer better
environmental protection, but the asphalt can stick to it." Fabrics specifically designed for high
heat situations, such as Lumite or Hot Top, work well because they're lightweight, won't stick
to the asphalt, and won't melt. They aren't 100% waterproof, though, and some D.O.T. officials
take issue with that. We recommend you try several different fabrics and see which one you like
What does "cut size" mean?
Cut size is the tarp industry term for a general standard measurement. Actual size for a 10' x
20' "cut size" tarp might be anywhere from 9'8" x 19'10.5" to 10'1 ¾" x 20'2". It's better to
err on the side of safety and allow a little bit more, rather than less, so always round up your
measurements to the next whole number.
What is a mil?
A mil is a unit of measurement equal to 0.001 of an inch (0.0254 mm). Mil is used to determine
the thickness of a tarp. Generally speaking, the greater the mil, the better the tarp quality.
What is the difference between interstate commerce and intrastate commerce?
Interstate commerce is trade, traffic, or transportation involving the crossing of a state boundary.
Either the vehicle, its passengers, or cargo must cross a state boundary, or there must be the
intent to cross a state boundary to be considered an interstate carrier. Intrastate commerce is
trade, traffic, or transportation within a single state.
If your operations include interstate commerce, you must comply with the applicable Federal
safety regulations and Operating Authority rules, in addition to state and local requirements.
You must notify the state in which you plan to register your vehicle(s) of your intentions to
operate in interstate commerce to ensure that the vehicle is properly registered for purposes of
the International Registration Plan (IRP), and International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA). The
base state will help you by collecting the appropriate fees and distributing a portion of those fees
to the other states in which you operate commercial motor vehicles.
If you operate exclusively in intrastate commerce, you must comply with applicable state and
local regulations. The only Federal regulations that are applicable to intrastate operations are
the commercial driver's license (CDL) requirement for drivers operating commercial motor
vehicles, controlled substances and alcohol testing for all persons required to possess a CDL, and
minimum levels of financial responsibility for the intrastate transportation of certain quantities of
hazardous materials and substances.
What is a cubic yard?
A cubic yard is a three-dimensional unit of measure that determines the volume of a cube whose
edge is a specific amount. L x W x D divided by 27. There are 27 cubic feet, or 21 bushels, or 9
wheelbarrow loads in each cubic yard.
How much does a cubic yard of product weigh?
Sandy Loam Topsoil - approximately 2400 lbs.
Sand - approximately 2600 lbs.
Gravel - approximately 2750 lbs.
How much area does one cubic yard cover?
At a depth of three inches, one cubic yard covers approximately 100 square feet.
At a depth of two inches, one cubic yard covers approximately 200 square feet.
At a depth of one inch, one cubic yard covers approximately 300 square feet.
How much does a ton cover?
Spread or leveled, a depth of one inch will cover approximately 250 square feet.
Spread or leveled, a depth of two inches will cover approximately 125 square feet.
Spread or leveled, a depth of three inches will cover approximately 75 square feet.
What is the capacity of standard truck beds?
Full-size pickup truck capacity is generally 2 cubic yards, with a heaping load running about 3
cubic yards, and because of the weight, a heavy load (stone, topsoil, etc.) will only be about 1
cubic yard. Maximum load on a small pickup is about 1 1/2 cubic yards. A small, single-axle
dump truck load can carry about 5 cubic yards, while a big, commercial-grade dump truck can hold from 10-15 cubic yards.
What size tarp should I order?
Generally speaking, you want a tarp that is the exact width or a little less of your truck bed, and
at least two feet longer. If your bed is 85" wide and 12' long, a 7' x 14' should work well for