Canopy onto trayback, Alloy or F/lass

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 23, 2005 at 21:23
ThreadID: 20716 Views:16172 Replies:9 FollowUps:4
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I am researching to put a canopy onto traytop. I like the clean style/design of no dropsides and good access as in style of product, ($4k with 3 locked doors, ouch). Has anyone had something similar in alloy or f/glass?
The cage and canvas or hardtop and canvas are options also. What are prices for these possibilities or who makes them?

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Reply By: motherhen - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 01:15

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 01:15
We have a canvas cover made quite some years ago (quite a cheap option), to fit over a frame which we had purchased at a clearing sale and modified by stripping off the metal covering and adjusting to fit our tray size, on the Landcruiser. 4 pins went through holes in the "roof" of the canvas and a roof rack sat on top for extra cargo. It had zip back and clear plastic rear window. It was the very best camping on the back of the ute. The only mistake we made with the design was having it go behind the frame at the rear of the cab, which meant when it rained, water ran down the front and onto the tray. It should have gone over the frame too, and a little below the tray level to keep everything dry. Also perhaps side windows would have helped - when backing out of a shoppig centre car park, there was insufficient vision in all directions. My solution was "lets go 4 wheel driving" and cross a curb so i could drive straight out!
AnswerID: 99847

Follow Up By: Wisey (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 18:54

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 18:54

Great latteral thinking, I see where your coming from with the head board on the tray, they should remain and be incorporated into the canopy setup. Thankyou
I hear you about the shopping and parking and take the reverse in option wherever pos', everywhere, !!!!,large reversing light, hazard lights and beeper are still not acknowledged by so many,,,,, until threatned ;)

FollowupID: 358185

Reply By: kesh - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 08:10

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 08:10
Not replying on price, mainly on practicality. For my trayback I built a frame from (about?) 30x30 rhs bolted to the floor. The original intention was a sheet alloy roof, canvas side cutains. Among a raft of other "things" the dog lives quite a lot in the back and a mate asked me how hot I thought it might get under an alloy roof? So thinking about poor fido (and the fridge-cold beer) that idea was quickly abandoned in favour of all over canvas. I made it with lift up sides, a removable front -(quick clip on in rain) allows good airflow, keeps dust out of the back, and a roll up back flap which can be dropped for mainly privacy. For better security, if you dont need access from the sides would be light weldmesh under the canvas. My info. is that both alloy and fibreglass will eventually crack in use where prolonged ie. long term, corrugations are travelled. The only drawback is pooling of water on the roof after rain, but a quick take off fixes that! Mine has been on since '97 with no deterioration evident. (120z? canvas)
the kesh
AnswerID: 99866

Reply By: Member - Grazierbill - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 17:38

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 17:38
We had a Weldmesh frame made up for $1,000 with wings on either side (gas struts) back entrance. The frame is lockable. Just sits on the tray and held by two bolts to the tailgate and tray frame. We then had a canvas canopy made to fit over the frame... $600. We didn't want dust coming in the back and thats why the tray can only be opned from both sides.. The front of the canopy has two air vents to pressure the canopy when driving. We didn't bother with a window at the back...two reasons, security and can't see passed the van when travelling anyway. This system works well for us and when we come back from holidays just store it in the shed...easy to lift off by myself...less than one hour to pack away. The Ute is then ready for normal farm duties.
Everyone has different ideas but this what I wanted.
Good luck
AnswerID: 99951

Follow Up By: Wisey (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 19:18

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 19:18
Hi Grazierbill

Looks like a great setup and good pricing. Are the sides of the tray able to be dropped or is it not really required for you? I am thinking of a sliding out kitchen/fridge/everything, so working height is what I'm getting at.
Sliding draw under rear tray might raise height of tray a little.

Does the sides match your cabin profile and do you think it matters much to have a squared off (side) profile and slightly higher than cabin roof.

FollowupID: 358189

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 17:51

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 17:51

I'm currently getting an aluminium canopy custom-made by a local Bodybuilder in Adelaide, which will slide-on and slide off the tray. 1750 x 2260 x 1000 high. Will be finished in 2-pack to match the vehicle paint and will cost the best part of $6000.

Other options I looked at were the fibreglass ones from AWLC
and the aluminium ones from ROSCOS
and Gitshams

The company making mine are called GSV, and their unit has featured in 4wdMonthly lately.

I chose aluminium because I want the light weight, and I believe in a few years time, it will look a lot better than fibreglass. I can also drill and screw in the extras or get an aluminium welder to add stuff.

The conventional fibreglass ute canopy have poor access, and I wouldn't consider those. I'd like to get a full 6 foot of side access each side.

AnswerID: 99955

Follow Up By: Wisey (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 19:26

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 19:26
Hi Phil

thanks for your feedback and links, much appreciated.
FollowupID: 358190

Reply By: Member - Grazierbill - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 19:56

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 19:56
The sides of the tray can still be lowered if required...although we don't bother.
I've built a small table out of 25mm box tubing and slides into two 30mm sections of box tubing welding beneath the tray. The table top is wood covered in a thick coating of liquid glass. Proven to be very handy with a couple of chairs and the table beside the vehicle.
The overall canopy has been made to match the Ute's profile. The height is just above the cabin...approx 100 mm. We don't need it any higher. It wouldn't be hard to design the canopy with say the front section of the canopy acting as a small wind deflector. ie. sloping up to the height you required. We have slept in ours twice...not a lot of room but better than sleeping in a wet swag.
We have a dual battery set up in a dog box beneath the tray. We have a good light inside the roof.
For well under $2,000 you can design and build your self a decent set-up. It's really a case of your imagination and what you think you will need.
Only too happy to assist if you have any further queries.
Good luck
AnswerID: 99970

Follow Up By: Wisey (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 21:03

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 21:03
Hi Bill,

SM&CPWES, great logic by you.

Great table idea, without really setting up. :)
Are your hinges piano type or single and does much water get inside with door raised? Obviously heavy rain will cause prob's but on the whole??
I see your side door does not go the full length - to the rear, but does it go all the way to the head board at the front or is it same finish/length as rear and what zippers do you use plastic or other?
Do you have "airvents" at the front to "pressurise"? If vents are within cabin profile, how well do they work?

Sorry to bombard you but your ideas have much merit in my eyes.

Success is a mind game.
FollowupID: 358202

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 22:14

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 22:14
There are some great ideas out there. Great thing about Traytops is that theres a million options and its up to the individual, which way they want to go about it, and setting it up. Downside is that it will all cost extra money.

I considered making my own out of steel. Probably would have spent about $1500, plus time. I would have made something very strong, about 330kgs, and would have looked reasonably good except for rivets. But looking at some home made steel sheet canopies after a few years and many of them look a bit average.

I liked the look and practicality of canvas, but was worried about security. I wanted to leave the fridge, 3rd battery, and some of the camping gear in there most of the time. I considered the mesh frame lockup, but thought it was getting a bit complicated for me.

So I've gone with aluminium,by a body builder with an excellent reputation around town for quality gear, and paid the extra dollars. It will weigh about 180kgs, and be nicely finished. I anticipate that should I need to sell it, a tradesman or camper would like to snap it up, and it has a brand name, so it has resale value. Also, being a basic slide-on box, it can be moved to another vehicle, should I wish to sell the current Cruiser.

I'll be adding a mesh roofrack spaced about 25mm off the roof for extra tyre/tent/firewood. I'll still be able to get into my work carpark.

The rest of the fitout will evolve, but present ideas are to add two 65litre water tanks under the tray; maybe a 3rd 90 litre fuel tank, and extra storage lockers under the tray. We'll see how we go, as these are all just ideas at present. But I think it will be a lot of fun getting it all done, and going away and trying it out.

My advice is to take your time, think thru the options and what suits you personally, and go with it.

AnswerID: 100002

Reply By: ianmc - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 23:25

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 23:25
I ditched my fglass canopy because of severe condensation(big droplets) on inside of roof and lack of side access on 7ft tub back and made a frame cheaply to match the contour of front bar/roof & had a canopy with windows & zips made for $420 approx 3 years ago (cheap price).
Security is an issue but happy with result, quick to remove, and slept without leaks in mother of all thunderstorms.
AnswerID: 100026

Reply By: Member - Grazierbill - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 20:55

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 20:55
This maybe of help to answer a few of your questions.
1. Used two piano style (heavy duty) hinges on each Wing Door.
2. One heavy Gas Strut was enough on each Wing Door.
3. Wing Doors start approx 150mm from the front and back. This was done to allow for the two locks on each Wing Door...allow for the gas strut...and I didn't want the zippers on the canopy opening too close to the back.
It's been my experience that dust at the rear will effect zippers if not properly maintained.
4. Air Vents are a "mushroom style" with the air coming from the bottom...this way they are open all the time and not effected by rain. They work effectively and we have had no problems with dust todate. It may be different if following another vehicle closely in dusty coditions.
5. We had a zipper sewn along the top left side of the canvas canopy and can extend a "Leanto" out from the Ute if we if need to.
6.When we stop say for lunch...unzipp the canvas canopy...pull up the Wing Door...slide the table in...grab chairs and we have a bit of shelter from the sun.
We only lock the Ute Canopy if we leave the vehicle for any length of time.
Hope all that makes sense any may help you in your decision making.
Only get on the computer in the evenings...still got to works for a living.
Good Luck
AnswerID: 100181

Reply By: Wisey (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 26, 2005 at 01:21

Saturday, Feb 26, 2005 at 01:21
Thanks to all of you, Phil, Ian and Grazierbill
AnswerID: 100212

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