Selecting the right ute canopy

Dunn & Watson supply a large range of high quality aluminium ute canopies for a variety of trades people, from plumbers, electricians and pool cleaners to builders, landscapers and painters. Every single ute canopy is built to strict quality standards, able to withstand the harsh Australian environment and the unrelenting work load of busy trades people. Aluminium canopies are lightweight, strong, corrosion resistant and durable, so they don’t need reinforcement and provide maximum use of the space on the back of your ute. We provide both off-the-shelf ute canopies and a customisation service, so that your ute canopy can be tailored to your specific needs. Our canopies are weatherproof, tough and secure – exactly what every tradies needs!

What is a ute canopy?

Also called a service body, a ute canopy is an enclosure installed on the back of your ute tray. It can cover only part of the tray or the entire tray and provides a secure and weatherproof area where you can store your tools, equipment and materials. Canopies can be designed to specifically suit each type of trade, so that all your tools and materials can be stored securely, and are easy to access and won’t fall off the back of your ute. We provide ute canopies for a variety of popular vehicles, including the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Landcruiser 70, Holden Colorado, Isuzu DMax, Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara and the Volkswagen Amarok. We can also design a ute canopy for any other type of ute, so if your vehicle isn’t on this list – just give us a call and we can easily fix your problem!

What are the benefits of a ute canopy?

When you install a canopy or service body on your vehicle, you know that your tools are safe, secure and protected from the weather. If you select a partial canopy or tools module, you can also have a clean and dry work area in the back of your ute, depending on your needs. With the high cost of tools and equipment (not forgetting their replacement value), keeping them safe from thieves is just about essential, and a lockable ute canopy provides this security. A canopy also prevents your tools and materials from falling off the tray when you are in transit and can help you to maximise the use of space in your tray, providing a place for everything, and everything in its place. Without a modular system to keep all your tools in place, you will most probably end up throwing them in the back of the tray or into a box. This not only takes you more time to find the right tools when you need them, but also increases their wear and tear over time, resulting in their replacement, sooner rather than later. You can also use the sides of your canopy to advertise your business, which will be seen by thousands of people as you drive between customers on a daily basis.

How to select the ideal ute canopy

Once you have decided that you need a canopy to keep your tools safe, secure and organised, you need to decide which type of canopy suits your needs best. This includes the type of accessories you will need and whether you also require a suspension upgrade to deal with the additional weight of a fully loaded ute.

What type of ute canopy do you need?

There are many different configurations for canopies, but in general there are three major types: a full or partial canopy and a tool module.

  • Full canopies: As their name suggests, a full canopy covers the entire are of your ute’s tray with left and right sides doors and a rear opening door. These are best when you don’t need to transport any other tools or materials to the worksite, other than what’s already stored neatly inside the canopy. These canopies are fully sealed against the weather and provide a secure location to store your tools.
  • Partial canopies: A partial ute canopy provides a safe and secure internal environment for your tools and equipment (just as with a full canopy), but also offers an open tray where you can store bulky items. These bulky items can include generators, fuel cans, bags of concrete, air compressors, etc.
  • Tool modules: These offer a safe and secure area to store and transport long tools and materials in the centre of the tray, and can be combined with a rear tray modular section to safely store your tools.

What type of external accessories do you need?

Not all of your tools and materials can be easily stored inside a full or partial ute canopy. To overcome this problem, there are external accessories that are designed to maximise the use of the external space, whilst providing additional storage for your tools and equipment. External accessories can include ladder slides, under tray storage boxes or roller drawers, roof racks, commercial roof bars, tow bars and gas bottle restraints. It’s best to include all the external accessories you know you will need, as this will make your working day run much more smoothly.

What type of internal accessories do you need?

Our range of off-the-shelf and customised internal accessories allows you to create a working environment that is suited to your exact needs – rather than struggling to work around someone else’s design. Internal accessories for your ute canopy can help you to save time searching for tools in the back of your ute and make your day much more productive. Internal accessories include rubber matting to protect the tray from dents and scratches and prevent anything rolling around the back of your ute. They can also include mesh dividers to keep everything in its place, shelving and drawer kits, vice kits, track kits, storage bins for parts, and fire extinguishers.

What type of electrical accessories do you need?

Not every tradie will need electrical accessories, but if you do need them, they can take all the frustration out of your day! These electrical accessories will be designed and installed by a qualified auto electrician, so you don’t need to worry about any safety factors. Electrical accessories for your ute canopy include emergency or work lights, door ajar alarms, dual battery systems, reversing cameras, power points, and 12 to 240V inverters.

Do you need your suspension upgraded?

Despite our canopies being made of lightweight aluminium, your ute may still need its suspension upgraded, mainly due to the weight of your tools and materials that is added to the weight of the ute canopy. The biggest reason to upgrade your suspension is because the weight of your ute canopy and fully laden work vehicle is greater than its GVM (gross vehicle mass), depending on the payload of course! Even if your fully loaded ute is just within its maximum limits, towing a trailer can take it over this maximum limit very quickly – and many tradies pull an additional trailer every day. Everything on or in your vehicle contributes to its overall GVM, including a bull bar, tow bar, ute canopy, and all your tools, equipment and materials. Exceeding your vehicle’s GVM can put yourself and other road users at risk, as well as cost you money in fines, even voiding your insurance in the case of an accident. Another reason to upgrade your suspension is because your job takes you off-road frequently (off-road means anything that’s not bitumen) and you are carrying a payload that is close to your GVM – then an upgraded suspension system might help to save on fuel, wear and tear. There are different types of suspension systems on the market, but often a constant load suspension unit is the best one for tradies with a 4WD. These systems are ideal for carrying constant heavy loads at a specific height off the ground. This is because, factory stock springs will often sag when heavy loads are carried, resulting in additional weight being carried on the suspension bump stops; upgrading your suspension, based on the additional weight carried or being towed by your ute is a sensible option for many tradies.

Checklist for selecting an aluminium ute canopy

Below is a quick checklist of questions that will help you to select the best ute canopy for your needs.

  1.    Do you want a full canopy, partial canopy of tools module?
  2.    What type of external accessories do you need for your job?
  3.    What type of internal accessories will make your day run smoothly?
  4.    What type of electrical accessories does your work require?
  5.    With all of the additional weight of a fully loaded ute canopy – do you need to upgrade your ute’s suspension?

For more information on our aluminium ute canopies or for help designing a customised ute canopy tailored to your needs, call us on 1300 210 549 or shoot us an email today.

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