Updated: Jan 10, 2022
Many jurisdictions require drivers to cover the things they haul, regardless whether they're hauling it with a pickup or a flatbed. It's safe to assume that a tarp is a good choice for covering your load, but what kind of tarp should you use?
There are a wide variety of tarps that are used for hauling, so how do you decide which kind to use? It's best to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each.
One solid option is a mesh tarp. If you are not concerned with keeping your load dry, and especially if your load needs a breathable cover, a mesh tarp could be just the thing to secure whatever you're hauling. Because air passes through this style of tarp readily, it will not be subjected to wind whipping--which can destroy a tarp--regardless of vehicle speed.
Canvas is a great compromise between breathability and keeping your load dry. Water will bead up and roll off of treated canvas tarps, keeping adverse weather away from whatever you're hauling. Make note that they are not fully waterproof: standing water will eventually seep through. Be sure to securely fasten your canvas tarp in place, as wind whipping will destroy it.
If fully waterproof is a must, a poly truck tarp is the most economical option. Be sure to securely fasten your poly tarp in place, as wind whipping will destroy it.
The most durable waterproof option is a heavy vinyl tarp. They are an investment, but they can be made to order, and they are quite durable and long-lasting.