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.
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.
Leave it somewhat modular
Over the years, I’ve realised that the less you make permanent, the better. 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!
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.
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 (or tub) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?