Ute toolboxes and canopies come in all shapes and sizes, extend the usable storage space of the vehicle, and provide additional benefits such as protection and durability. Mounted onto the chassis, tray or tub, a canopy is often bigger in every dimension, taking up all the available space, and often built to a better standard than a toolbox.
There’s ample use of thicker metals, mostly aluminium, reinforced frames, and sturdier floors, roofs, and side walls as well as more consideration in terms of usability. You’ll find more in the way of internal storage allowing for better organisation of your gear and easier access. Bigger and more doors also help here. The whole package can be further utilised with a range of additions both inside and out.
One ute accessory that doesn’t get enough praise is the canopy rack. This can extend the length of the canopy roof, and also use the reality in different cab designs. For anyone needing all the space inside the canopy for essential gear, a bespoke canopy roof rack, tailored to the dimensions that you need provides the required versatility (and safety) when carrying especially long and bulky items.
Why Have a Ute Canopy Roof Rack?
Doubling the area you have at your disposal is the main purpose of canopy racks. They’re meant for transporting a range of different loads, from building materials, or gear that you’d need off-road. One considerable advantage that they have is their weight capacity, with some racks rated for over 500 kilos, and making the best use of a reinforced metal canopy roof.
The racks themselves can be mounted in different ways and can be permanent fixtures that are welded, or temporary solutions bolted onto the canopy roof. What to consider when buying is the mounting provisions in your canopy. While racks mounted on aluminium or steel canopies are undeniably more robust and practical, anyone with fibreglass or ABS plastic canopy can fit a dedicated rack using canopy and roof tracks, or install artificial rain gutters and use crossbars for racks with lower, but still usable, loading capacity.
Versatility is key here. You’ll want something that can handle items with some heft and size, without touching the inside of the canopy or having to resort to separate trailers in getting your gear and equipment to where it’s needed. A custom canopy roof rack saves time and money and is one ute accessory more than worth the asking price.
What to Look for in Canopy Racks?
As with other roof racks, when choosing your next canopy rack, sizes, materials, workmanship and any added features determine practicality, usability and longevity.
Lengths and Widths
Standardised sizes in aluminium racks are limited by canopy width, and up to 1400mm, while lengths will vary depending on the overall length of the canopy and your ute’s cab style. Single cabs with bigger chassis mount canopies can have racks as long as 3 metres, and can extend above the cab roof. Of course, there are shorter variants coming in at 1.8, 2.5 and 2.7 metres to fit just about any canopy and cab combo. If you can’t find a rack for your canopy, then get a custom build to your specified dimensions.
Materials, Build and Features
Lightweight yet sturdy aluminium, featuring hollow 25mm thick rails ensures that your rack is up to the job of carrying heavy gear. The design is further reinforced with multiple cross bars and versatility is increased with raised rails to secure gear and equipment stays in place. The rack extends beyond general usage, meaning you can have a roof-top tent or awning fitting atop the rack without major hassle.
Aluminium can be untreated for a natural (or polished) look, while black anti-corrosion coatings keep appearances as new for longer. If you’re after outright strength and durability, get a rack made of stainless steel. This will bump up the weight and price but will give peace of mind in terms of functionality and how long it lasts. Look for quality and seamless welds in adjoining parts. Many ute canopy roof rack builders also offer extended warranties for their products, and this is a good way to ensure that the required time and effort are used in their production.
Racks can feature separate tie-down points when securing things like spare tyres or smaller items such as jerry cans or gas bottles. Additionally, you’ll find wind deflectors fitted up front, to steer oncoming air away from what you’ve got loaded, and save some fuel in the process by preventing excess drag.
Additional Ute Canopy Accessories
Canopies can be big and bulky and accessing any items on the rack is a challenge with safety risks. To load heavier and bigger items (even a spare tyre is a testing task), you’ll want a welded canopy ladder to get things on and off the rack safer and faster. These are usually mounted at the back, come in the same thick aluminium build and are lightweight options that won’t have a drastic impact on your ute’s weight loading.
Other canopy accessories to consider are metal mudguards to protect tyres and keep canopies clear of mud and water, spare wheel carriers in different configurations and fitting up to two wheels at a time, and a range of external and internal additions to make better use of the space. All items, including canopy racks, can be made to fit your canopy and needs.