Ute Canopy Storage Ideas; how to organise it all

There’s some pretty incredible 4WD Canopies out there today, and its great to see people pushing the boundaries and coming up with better Ute Canopy Storage Ideas. In this post, we cover a heap of amazing ways you can keep your gear stored well.

To start off with though, a lot of this depends on the type of Ute Canopy that you end with, and we highly recommend you get that right before spending a huge amount of time and effort setting a canopy up that you ultimately won’t be happy with.

If you don’t know what I mean, have a read of Buying a 4WD Ute Canopy; the ultimate guide.

Canopy storage ideas
There’s some amazing Ute Canopy Storage Ideas if you look around!

A couple of good tactics

Keep the weight down, and forward

Weight builds up far faster than you might realise, and if you are lazy with keeping the weight away you will end up with an overweight Ute that needs a GVM upgrade, and potentially chassis bracing and so forth. 

Use light weight gear, and mount anything heavy as far forward in the canopy (or even behind the rear seats). You should not have any heavy items behind the rear axle, or you’ll have issues with rear axle weight and possibly a bent chassis.

150aH AGM Battery
Heavy items like batteries should be right against the front of the canopy

Leave it somewhat modular

Over the years, I’ve realised that the less you make permanent, the better. 4WD Drawer systems are fantastic, but when you want to move something larger, or change things around a bit having to unbolt everything from your canopy is a nightmare. 

Fortunately a lot of manufacturers are clueing onto the fact that you can make items modular very easily, and that makes life a lot easier when you do want to change something up.

Don’t be afraid to modify it slowly

When you get a new 4WD (or new to you), I always suggest that you use it for a while first, and work out what you like and don’t, and then modify it from that.

Before we built out fridge arrangement, I had a battery and fridge just ratchet strapped into the canopy, and we used it for a while to work out if we actually wanted that setup. 

Don’t rush into doing every single storage mod in the world, as you’ll quickly realise some of them are not for you, and you can waste a lot of time and money early on.

Make it maintenance friendly

When you install items in your canopy, think about how you are going to access them in the future. Everything has a life span, and when your Projecta DCDC fails, or you decide to swap the AGM out for a lithium battery only to realise you can’t actually get it out, things can get frustrating real fast!

Renogy fuse
Make sure you’ve got access to fuses and other maintenance items!

What’s some great canopy storage ideas?

Quick access table

There are few things more valuable in a Ute Canopy than a good, sturdy table that you can setup in a couple of seconds. If you are building a drawer system incorporate one under the fridge slide, or under a draw, on on top of a draw.

They are an absolute must, and you’ll kick yourself for not having a decent bench to prepare food, sit your drink or just stand around.

Our old fridge
A quick access table is one of the best mods you can do

Water tanks

Another luxury of travelling with a 4WD is to have access to running water. It doesn’t have to be extreme quantities, but you need to be able to get a drink when necessary, wash your hands and maybe spray the kids down if they are filthy. 

The ultimate solution is a gravity fed, under tray water tank as it uses dead space, keeps the weight low and out of the way. However, I’ve seen people put them under false floors, or in the headboard; whatever you can do to get some running water (without hugely affecting weight distribution) is a good idea.

4WD water tank
We’ve got a 50L gravity fed 4WD water tank under the tray as far forward as it can go

Upright Fridge

A lot of people are making the move to an upright fridge. We’d never really considered one, but when you actually look into the pro’s and con’s there’s a pretty good argument to be had.

We’ve now been running one for about a year, and asides from a frosting issue which seems to be related to the particular fridge that we purchased, we would never go back.

Sour cream spread in our fridge
Upright Fridges are amazing if you pack them properly (we didn’t!)

Pantry Setup

If you are cooking out of the back of your 4WD, nothing beats a good pantry that is easy to use. I’ve seen some pretty impressive pull out pantry’s which have everything from your day to day food to spices, herbs, cutlery and everything else you need to live life on the road easily.

The more efficient, and easy to use that your kitchen setup is in the canopy, the more you’ll enjoy using it, and want to head away, and at the end of the day that’s what its all about. If your setup is difficult to use, frustrating and cumbersome you might just decide to stay home and veg out on the couch!

Drop down fridge slides

There’s nothing worse than a nice fridge that you can’t see into. Yes, you can get a step to see in, which works fine, but get something heavy duty that isn’t going to break on you, and cause injury.

You laugh, but I have a mate who had a cheap step break (actually the same as what we had in the past) and he ended up with insane bruises on his chest from falling over.

Drop down, or tilting fridge slides are a great option for those who aren’t able to see into their fridge, but watch the weight, and make sure you are happy with the product.

Modular storage boxes

There’s something nice about being able to empty your canopy in a couple of minutes, and we’ve found using modular boxes works very well. We have a couple of plastic boxes that our Elockers came in which have been brilliant for storing oils, nuts and bolts and other heavy items up against the headboard.

I’ll be getting another space box to put recovery gear in and try and tidy our canopy up a bit, as we always end up with things stacked on top of each other, and it gets frustrating really quickly.

Space case and recovery gear
Space cases keep things easy to access, and well organised

In built cookers

With a lot of people making the move to induction cooktops, its made it possible to install cookers in a permanent fashion. You can do this with gas too, but it needs to be disconnected when travelling to meet legal requirements. 

Having an in built cooker is just another way to make getting food ready on the road faster and easier. We’ve stuck with a portable unit that we just pull out if needed, but there is always something nice about a permanent setup.

Amazing drawer systems

If you are handy on the tools (or can pay someone who is) you can end up with a truly insane drawer system, and having access to what you need quickly and easily is hugely appreciated. 

I’m not sure I’d build a drawer system with actual runners again, unless it was aluminium and extremely light weight. You can use Teflon slides that are much lighter, just as strong and easy enough to build yourself. 

Adjustable tie down points

There’s some pretty nifty adjustable tie down points that you can buy today, which make tying anything down so much easier.

Anchor tracking is one design, which has two strips of aluminium that get bolted down, and you can slide the tie down points up and down just by pushing down and moving them. 

If you are changing what goes in the back of your canopy often, these are an awesome option.

Canvas bags

Organisation in the back of a canopy is awesome, and you can get some really impressive Canvas bags today that make life so much easier.

They are still portable, can be thrown around and easily used, but they keep your recovery gear, medicine, tools and anything else you need in easy to reach access, instead of being strewn throughout your canopy!

Storage slings

You can never have enough pockets for storing things. You can get a number of storage slings today that are perfect for putting cutlery, bottles of sauce, sunscreen, glasses and whatever else you have laying around.

I’ve seen people mount these to the front of fridges, or off a pantry; wherever you can get them running that is easy to access and not in the way is a winner.

What other Ute Canopy Storage Ideas do you use?

I always love seeing how others have set their Ute Canopies up, and am always picking up new, and better ways of doing things. What do you have in the back of your Ute Canopy? Are you happy with it?

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  1. Hey Graham,

    Modular is certainly good, but not always practical either. In the end you have to find what works for you, and that’s going to depend on how your weight is distributed overall, how often you’d want to pull everything out and so forth. Maybe you could compromise with lighter weight, custom built drawers (or just one cheap Kings one? – obviously the quality is reflected by the price!).

    In regards to the power box, there are a huge number of these on the market today, and they certainly solve some interesting problems, but you pay a lot for them. Do you need the inverter option? How will you charge it up?

    512 watt hours is pretty small (40Ah). On their site it says it will run their 75L fridge for 8 hours, which in real life is not even a days consumption, so not that helpful in my opinion.

    You could literally buy a $200 100 amp hour deep cycle battery that would do the same job (in terms of stored energy). Obviously its lead acid and not lithium, and doesn’t come with the inverter, charger, outlets and easy portability.

    What fridge are you running? I’d aim to have 2 – 3 days of power to run that, and go from there.

    All the best


    Hi Aaron, thanks so much for this article.
    I like the idea of keeping it modular to empty out the tub quickly if need to put large object in.
    I was thinking of drawers, but they need to be bolted in and as you say the weight needs to be considered and drawers unless they are the expensive MSA brand only pull out 2/3rds of the length of draw.

    Mostly we tour with caravan and have extra fridge in tub with a fibreglass canopy. I haven’t ordered the ute with tub liner as thought i would put in drawers. Now I’m not sure.
    Would you just go with floor mat and space boxes?
    Also, instead of a wired in second battery, what do you think of this option https://www.kickassproducts.com.au/buy/kickass-compact-600-lithium-power-station-lifepo4/KACOMP600-LI