One of the most ambiguous terms is the phrase truck tarp. This is because there are many different options for use with a truck. Each has pros and cons!
Things to Consider when Selecting a Truck Tarp
What type of truck you need the tarp for; is it a pickup, a flatbed, a dump truck?
What are you hauling, and does it need to be kept dry or simply prevented from flying out as you drive down the road?
What speeds will you be driving with the tarp in place?
Types of Truck Tarp
Heavy Duty Poly Tarps
This variety of truck tarp is a viable option for pickup trucks. It can keep a load dry or securely in place. It isn't intended for highway speeds, especially for extended periods. Be sure to fasten the tarp in place securely because wind-whipping will destroy the tarp.
A mesh tarp is a viable option for pickup trucks, flatbeds, and dump trucks if you need to keep your load securely in place. It is breathable but not waterproof, which may be helpful with certain loads. It can be used at highway speeds without issue.
Canvas tarps are a traditional option for truck tarps. They work well for pickups. They are water-resistant and breathable, so they can be a compromise between poly and mesh. They are not intended to be used for extended periods at highway speeds. Be sure to fasten the tarp in place securely because wind-whipping will destroy the tarp.
Vinyl Tarps / Lumber Tarps
Tarps made from vinyl are one of the most durable options. They work well for pickup trucks, flatbeds, and dump trucks. One style that is particularly popular is commonly called a lumber tarp. These come with a number of additional features, including drops, flaps, multiple rows of D-rings or grommets, and more. While some vinyl tarps and be purchased ready-made, most are custom tarps. Vinyl, especially heavier grades, are generally safe to use at highway speeds for extended periods.