How to Choose Between Using a Conestoga and a Tarp?

If you want to transport sensitive cargo but can only use a Conestoga trailer or use a tarp, how do you choose? We have summarized the advantages and disadvantages of these two methods to help you choose a better way of transportation.

Transportation with a tarp

tarp freight


  1. Cost-effective

Tarp charges usually range from $50 to $100. For shippers looking for a way to protect their cargo from the elements while staying within their budget, tarping is a viable, cost effective option. 

  1. Protection from the exterior weather

Standard tarps – made of durable materials like canvas and vinyl – are strong enough to prevent rain, snow, wind and small hail from reaching the merchandise in them. In addition, tarps can be thrown over products covered with shrink-wrapped and boxed products – creating another layer of protection from the elements. Thus, products such as structural lumber and steel can be kept dry in transit through the use of tarpaulins.

  1. Protect oversized freight

Products that do not fit within the legal size range of a standard trailer (such as large machinery, generators or agricultural equipment) still need protection during transport and often a tarp is used. It is the best option for protecting oversize cargo during road transport.


  1. Potential for damage to sensitive cargo

Wrapped shipments can be subject to severe scuffing, rubbing and irritation. Therefore wrapping products with fine paint or coatings in tarpaulins can be dangerous. Although shrink wrap and padding can be added to reduce contact points, it is not possible to completely avoid constant, pushing contact with the tarp. Therefore, if you have sensitive cargo to move and cannot be repeatedly rubbed against, you need to find other shipping solutions.

  1. A Tarp is less weather resistant than using a Conestoga

If you are transporting a long distance, the tarp is likely to unravel or move. Although good drivers will often stop to check and reposition the tarp, it is not uncommon for moisture to seep in and damage the cargo in the tarp.

Transportation of Conestoga trailers

conestoga trailer


  1. Higher safety

A tarp that rubs against freshly painted steel handrails or brand new industrial equipment for long periods of time can cause damage. This problem can be avoided with Conestoga. When properly loaded, Conestoga’s sliding canvas system allows for contactless transport of goods from A to B. Simply use a forklift or crane to load your cargo from the side, have your driver properly secure the cargo using belts or chains, slide the curtain tarp system back into place and hit the road.

  1. Excellent weather protection

Compared to tarps or other solutions, Conestogas is better at protecting cargo from inclement weather. By completely covering the cargo in transit in a 360-degree canvas box, Conestogas isolates the outside elements from the cargo.


  1. Limited cargo capacity

The products that Conestoga transports must fit within the size range of its enclosed walls, thus also severely limiting its transport capacity. In the case of transporting oversized cargo, it is more appropriate to use an open deck trailer with a tarp to transport the cargo.

  1. Using a Conestoga will be more expensive than a tarp

Conestogas are expensive to purchase because they are more complicated to make than open decks. And it can cost $15,000 or more just to replace the tarp unit, far more than the cost of using a tarp.

1 thought on “How to Choose Between Using a Conestoga and a Tarp?”

  1. Nice! You did such a great job explaining just how highly affordable and weatherproof tarps are. My uncle owns a trailer and he needs to transport some cargo to Oklahoma this weekend. Surely, he must find the right store so he can purchase suitable equipment for the vehicle.

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