Looking at tarp systems for your truck, and can’t decide on which system? If so, then it’s time to consider the benefits of going electronic or manual.

When choosing the right tarp system for your needs, it’s important to understand the differences between manual and electronic options. A manual tarp system requires physical effort to operate. You have to manually unroll and secure the tarp onto your tipper truck, which can be time-consuming and physically demanding.

But with an electronic tarp system, it is automated and can be operated with a push of a button. It saves you valuable time and energy by effortlessly covering your truck in seconds. Not only are electronic tarp systems more convenient, but they also provide better protection for your cargo and safety for yourself.

The automated mechanism ensures that the tarps are properly secured, preventing any loose ends or gaps that could result in debris flying out during transportation. When considering whether to choose a manual or electronic tarp system, it’s clear that an electronic option offers numerous advantages.

With its ease of use and improved cargo protection capabilities, an electronic system is undoubtedly the superior choice. So why continue struggling with a manual system when you can upgrade to an efficient and hassle-free solution?

Tipper Truck Tarp Systems: Manual vs. Electronic

Let’s start by discussing the pros and cons of manual systems.

Manual systems have the advantage of being more cost-effective initially, as they don’t require any electronic components. However, they also require more physical effort to operate and may be less efficient in terms of time and convenience.

Pros and Cons of Manual Systems

One major drawback of manual systems is the physical strain they put on workers, causing fatigue and potentially leading to injuries. With manual systems, workers have to manually operate the tarping system by using a hand crank or pull cables, which can be physically demanding and time-consuming. This not only slows down the process but also puts unnecessary stress on the worker’s body.

However, manual systems do have their advantages. They’re generally more affordable compared to electronic systems and require less maintenance. Additionally, manual tarps tend to be more durable and able to withstand harsh weather conditions better due to not having electronic components. Moreover, since manual systems don’t rely on electricity or other power sources, they can be a lifesaver as the only thing to worry about breaking down is you!

Pros and Cons of Electronic Systems

When considering the pros and cons of electronic systems, you’ll find that they offer increased efficiency and convenience, but they also come with a higher upfront cost.

One of the main advantages of an electronic tarp system is its automatic functionality. With just the push of a button, the tarp can be easily opened or closed, saving valuable time and effort, and well… it’s just cool. This feature also ensures that the tarp is securely fastened to protect the load during transportation.

Another benefit of an electronic system is that it is specifically designed for tipper trucks. The tarp is built to fit perfectly, ensuring complete coverage from front to back. This not only keeps your cargo safe from external elements like rain or wind but also prevents any spillage while driving.

However, it’s important to note that electronic systems do come with a higher upfront cost compared to manual ones. The initial investment may deter some buyers who are looking for a more budget-friendly option. Additionally, if any technical issues arise with the system, repairs may require specialized knowledge or professional assistance.

Electronic tarp systems offer increased efficiency and convenience along with quality construction suited specifically for tipper trucks. While they do have a higher upfront cost compared to manual systems, when looked after, their long lifespan and reliable performance make them worth considering when trying to find the right solution for your needs.


What type of tarp material should I get?

When considering the types of tarp materials for your truck, you have several options to choose from. We’ll cover the more common ones:

Mesh tarps are a popular choice due to their lightweight and breathable nature, making them ideal for transporting bulk materials such as sand or gravel.

Polyethylene tarps are known for their flexibility and lightweight along with resistance to UV rays, making them suitable for long-term use in various weather conditions.

Vinyl tarps offer excellent waterproofing capabilities, ensuring that your cargo remains protected from rain or other moisture.

Lastly, canvas tarps provide a more traditional option with their heavy-duty construction and ability to withstand rough handling.


Imagine yourself driving down a dusty road with the wind blowing through your hair, as the heavy-duty black mesh tarp effortlessly secures your load, keeping it safe and protected.

Man enjoying his hair in the wind

Nick, gets it laughing

Well, with the breathability a mesh option provides, this is how your load will feel too!

Mesh tarps are an excellent choice when considering an electronic dump truck tarp system. The durability of a heavy-duty mesh combined with the reliability of a flip tarp system makes for a winning combination. The tightly woven mesh material allows air to flow through while keeping debris and loose materials securely contained. But this can be a double-edged blade, as extra airflow means the possibility of dust material coming off your loads, so be sure to factor that into your decision.

Another factor is that mesh tarps allow for visibility of the load, which is important for loads that need to be monitored or inspected. This is especially important for loads that are hazardous or valuable.

Now as we delve into the next section about polyethylene, let’s explore another option that may suit your needs even better.


Polyethylene offers a reliable solution for securing your load while providing protection. This type of tarp is made from high-density polyethylene fibers that are woven together to create a variety of weights and thicknesses. Thicker tarps are more durable and can withstand heavier loads, while thinner tarps are lighter and more flexible.

Polyethylene tarps are lightweight yet sturdy, making them easy to handle and install. They can be a good option if you choose to go with a manual system for covering your load due to the lightweight and flexibility of choosing the thickness that can help when rolling out your tarp with the crankshaft.

If you are looking for a durable and long-lasting tipper truck tarp, vinyl is a better choice. But if you are looking for a lightweight and inexpensive tarp, polyethylene is a good option. Speaking of, let’s check out vinyl next…


Vinyl tarps offer a durable and versatile solution for securing your load while providing maximum protection.

A popular material of choice, vinyl is waterproof, durable, abrasion-resistant, UV-resistant, mildew-resistant, and inexpensive to maintain… that was a lot –takes a breath.

The mildew and rot resistance in particular is a major advantage for the use of vinyl tarps on tipper trucks. Often, haul loads are wet or damp and may also have been exposed to humid weather conditions. This can create an ideal environment for mildew and rot growth. However, vinyl tarps can help to prevent mildew and rot growth, which can help to protect the load and the tarp itself!

Mildew and rot are caused by fungi, which need moisture and organic material to grow. Vinyl is a non-porous material, so it does not absorb moisture, and it does not contain any organic material. This makes it very difficult for fungi to grow on vinyl tarps.

Overall, vinyl tarps are a versatile and durable material that is well-suited for use on tipper trucks. They offer excellent protection from the elements and from damage, and they are relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain.

Now that we’ve covered vinyl, let’s transition into discussing another popular option: canvas…


Canvas tarps are a natural fiber option that offers a rustic and classic look while still providing reliable protection for your load. Canvas is a durable material that can withstand harsh weather conditions and heavy use. It is also more breathable than some of the other materials, reducing the risk of moisture buildup and potential damage to your cargo.

However, canvas tarps are not as UV-resistant as other materials, so they may need to be replaced more frequently if they are used in harsh environments.

When it comes down to it, canvas offers compatibility with both manual and electric options. This means you have the flexibility to choose the type of system that best suits your needs. Whether you prefer the simplicity of manually operating your tarp or the convenience of an electric system, canvas tarps can accommodate both choices.

Now let’s explore the applications of these systems, including their benefits and uses in various industries.

Which Tipper Truck Tarp System is best for me?

When it comes to choosing the right system for your truck, you might be wondering which option is best suited for your specific application.

Manual tarp system for tipper trucks

Manual tarp systems are the most basic and affordable type of tarp system for tipper trucks. They are typically operated by a crank or lever, and they require the driver to get out of the truck to secure the tarp and then remove the tarp for every load.

This fact can make them less attractive to tipper drivers who deal with a high volume of trips per day, as they are usually trying to make as many loads as fast as possible. Another factor not often thought of is dealing with high winds and manually covering your load, which can prove to be quite difficult.

That being said, they are a good option for businesses that do not tarp their loads very often and just need it for those occasions when it becomes necessary.

Electric tarp system for tipper trucks

Electric tarp systems are more expensive than manual tarp systems, but they offer a number of advantages, including:

  • Ease of use: Electric tarp systems can be tarped and un-tarped with the push of a button. This saves the driver time and effort, and it can also help to reduce fatigue.
  • Speed: Electric tarp systems can tarp and un-tarp a load much faster than manual tarp systems. This can be especially beneficial for businesses that tarp their loads frequently.
  • Accuracy: Electric tarp systems can be tarped and un-tarped more accurately than manual tarp systems. This helps to ensure that the load is protected from the elements and from damage.

Electric tarp systems are a good option for businesses that need a tarp system that is easy to use, fast, and accurate. The automated operation reduces the risk of accidents that may occur when manually securing a load with ropes or straps. It also ensures that the load remains securely covered throughout transportation, preventing any material from falling out onto the road.

Overall, an electric tarp system provides numerous benefits for tipper truck operators in various industries. Its convenience, safety features, and efficiency make it a top choice for those looking to upgrade to an automatic system.

Moving on to safety and efficiency…

How do they match in safety?

When it comes to choosing a system, safety features should be at the top of your priority list. Look for systems that have features such as automatic tension control and secure fastening mechanisms to ensure that your load stays in place during transportation.

It is safe to say (I know, I know, bad pun) that electronic systems offer more safety features than manual systems, mainly just by the nature of it being remote you take out a lot of risk of injury. Which can be a substantial difference when you add up all your loads.

But let’s go through a few of the common features to look for…

Safety Features

With safety in mind, not all electronic systems are created equal, and there are a lot of different features on offer to the safety-conscious.

Automatic Tarping Systems

Some of the most common safety features for tarp systems on tipper trucks include:

  • Overload sensors: Overload sensors can detect if the load is too heavy for the tarp system to support. If the load is overloaded, the tarp system will automatically shut down to prevent damage.
  • Wind sensors: Wind sensors can detect if the wind is too strong for the tarp system to operate safely. If the wind is too strong, the tarp system will automatically shut down to prevent the tarp from blowing away.
  • Brake interlock system: A brake interlock system prevents the tarp system from being operated unless the truck brakes are engaged. This helps to prevent accidents if the driver accidentally operates the tarp system while the truck is moving.
  • Safety chains: Safety chains are used to secure the tarp to the truck bed. This helps to prevent the tarp from blowing away or falling off the truck.
Manual Tarping Sytems

With rolling out your tarp manually there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to your safety. One of the biggest factors is being able to comfortably cover your load without ever having to leave stable ground. Having to deal with winds, or a stubborn tarp whilst precariously hanging on to your truck can be a recipe for disaster.

It is always good practice to try out a manual system before you buy so that you can see how safe it will be to use in the future. Along with how tiring, complex, and time-consuming it may be.

One of the best ways to avoid injury is to follow the systems safety procedures that should be provided for you to follow. It is when people deviate from these procedures and cut corners that create bad habits and increase risk.

By prioritizing safety features in your choice, you can ensure the protection of yourself and others on the job site.

Maintaining your Tipper Tarp

When it comes to the maintenance of your dump truck tarp system, there are a few key points to keep in mind.

To ensure your dump truck tarp system remains in optimal condition, regular check-ups and cleaning are essential. Whether you have an electronic or manual tarp system, maintenance tips apply to both.

It seems somehow counterintuitive, but a manual tarp system is actually higher on maintenance than an electric one. This is because there are more moving parts and the system is more likely to be damaged by improper use.

Here are some tips for maintaining your tipper truck tarp system:

  • Inspect your tarp system regularly. This should be done at least once a week for trucks that are used frequently. Look for any signs of wear or damage, such as rips, tears, loose bolts, or frayed ropes.
  • Clean and lubricate your tarp system regularly. This will help to prevent rust and corrosion and keep the system moving smoothly. Use a mild soap and water solution to clean the tarp and all of the moving parts. Then, apply a light coat of lubricant to all of the moving parts.
  • Check the tarp tension. The tarp should be taut but not too tight. If the tarp is too tight, it can stress the system and lead to damage. If the tarp is too loose, it may not cover the load properly or may be susceptible to wind damage.
  • Replace any worn or damaged parts immediately. Don’t wait until a part breaks completely before replacing it. This could lead to further damage to the system or even an accident.

Lastly, a wind deflector can be a good investment for the longevity of your tarp. One of the worst things for your tarp is to have it flapping in the wind, which is something we see all too frequently while driving on the highway.

If you are unsure about how to maintain your tarp system, then be sure to check out the manufacturer’s website and documentation for procedures they have already tried and tested as a good starting place.


When choosing what system is best for your dump truck it comes down to your specific needs and daily usage of your truck.

Here are some takeaway points:

Manual Tarp Systems
Electric Tarp Systems
SafetyCan be less safe if not used properly (e.g., if the tarp is not properly secured, it could come loose and fly off the truck)Generally safer, as the tarp is deployed and retracted using a control system.
MaintenanceRequires more maintenance, as there are more moving parts and the system is more likely to be damaged by improper useRequires less maintenance, as there are fewer moving parts, and the system is less likely to be damaged by improper use.
CostLess expensive to purchaseMore expensive to purchase.
EfficiencyCan be less efficient, as the tarp must be deployed and retracted manually
DurabilityGenerally more durable, as they have fewer moving parts and are less likely to be damaged by exposure to the elementsGenerally less duraCan be more efficient, as the tarp can be deployed and retracted with the push of a button.ble, as they have more moving parts and are more likely to be damaged by exposure to the elements.

The best type of tarp system for your tipper truck will depend on your specific needs and budget. If you are looking for a system that is easy to use and requires minimal maintenance, then an electric tarp system is a good option. However, if you are on a tight budget, then a manual tarp system may be a better choice.

We hope this may have helped in making your decision easier. If you have a tarp system and swear by it, feel free to leave a comment and give some feedback on your system so others may benefit from your experience.

Signing out – MMR Haulage Pty Ltd

MMR Haulage is a wet hire tipper truck service based in the Moreton Bay area. Servicing areas from Brisbane to the top of the Sunshine Coast and all areas in between. Check out our interactive service area map on our home page to confirm your location in our service area, or give us a call for a chat – 0477 677 408