Trayback fit out

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 18, 2010 at 14:58
ThreadID: 77814 Views:18087 Replies:5 FollowUps:6
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Hi
I have been searching through this site for a while and have found some useful info so far but having a bit more trouble finding some info about the way people have fitted out the inside of their canpoies for a long term trip.
Basically we are looking at purchasing a 75 tray back, fitting a canopy with a roof top tent and then fitting out the inside of the canpoy. I'd like some functional storage for the kitchen area, clothes, tools etc. Would really appreciate some pics of what people have done to help with inspiration for our design. Also feedback on what does and doesn't work.

thanks
Liz
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Reply By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Sunday, Apr 18, 2010 at 15:42

Sunday, Apr 18, 2010 at 15:42
Liz,

Check out Mick O's Blog on his new toy fitout


Cheers Kev
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AnswerID: 413429

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Sunday, Apr 18, 2010 at 16:44

Sunday, Apr 18, 2010 at 16:44
A canopy is a blank canvas - you have a heap of space and you can do whatever suits you. I have many frioends who have fitted out traytop canopys, and everyone does it a bit different. Mine has been developing over 5 years now and I still make changes.

Canopy itself - keep it light as possible - mine is aluminium on an alloy tray, but still weighs a bit. Full width doors each side gives you the best access to your stuff. They provide instant shade and shelter. Don't bother with a rear door - thats where dust gets in. Instead I have twin spares and HF aerial. The tyres are simply bolted through to a reinforcement on the inside.

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Passenger side is best for the fridge and kitchen. Drivers side for the clothes, swags, spares etc On the passengers side I have two engels simply tied down to the floor - no need for a fridge slide which adds weight and means the frisge needs to be higher. Just open space above it. Next is a carpeted plywood unit which has the chairs, foldup table, draw with cooking stuff, thermosx2 in front, small fold down table on drawer front, cellar underneath, and a pocket for coleman stove and washing up. Another drawer does the food. The undertray box is for rubbish.

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The drivers side usually faces away from the fire. Two drawers are for our clothes etc. There is space forward for up to 10 extra jerries, but one space is occupied by an AGM battery. An extra table slides into the slot. shower tents, thinderbox etc sit above. Tent and large double swag sit in the spces above the drawers. Toolboxes and jacks sit in space at back. Spare parts sit under drawers. Spare oils occupy the undertray box. High lift jack is bolted to the bullbar.

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I have two 75 litre undertray tanks for water - two taps behind kitchen side mudguard.

Recovery gear sits behind drivers seat.

Phew... theres more but this is getting a bit long!
AnswerID: 413439

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Sunday, Apr 18, 2010 at 17:02

Sunday, Apr 18, 2010 at 17:02
A couple more things: I use two 13W Narva fluoro lights under the canopy door - only need one but the other serves as a spare! They work better than any LED I've seen, but we do have a couple of LED lights if insects are a problem. I use 6mm elastic strap for holding teatowels, bath towels etc - they are left hanging to dry even when the canopy is closed, and with the elastic material, they won't blow off.

Roofrack - I welded up a 100x100 mesh platform for the roof - can attach anything anywhere - we use it for the kayak, paddles, etc extra tent, tyres and firewood, and because its mounted against a flat roof, there's no wind noise, or extra height etc

If your canopy is white, it will stay cool.

We are towing a TVan this year, so theres a heap of open spaces in our canopy now! And I can carry an extra 5 jerries and have a 3rd water tank! We can stay lost in the desert for about 2 months now!!!
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Reply By: prado4x4 - Monday, Apr 19, 2010 at 10:49

Monday, Apr 19, 2010 at 10:49
I've got an alloy canopy on my tray also (with a rooftop tent above). Phils setup was one of the many inspirations (read; people I could steal ideas from) when I was setting up as well.

I can definitely agree with Phil on many things. Two full sized doors down the side for complete access with no rear door to avoid dust ingress. I mounted two spare wheels on the rear that attach to the canopies internal frame (The canopy is slightly shorter than the tray, so the spares rest on the tray, and are bolted through to the trays frame).

Basic Setup


The passenger side has the fridge and kitchen setup. I did mount the fridge on a slide, as that allowed me to have a full deck above the kitchen that I use for the chairs, fishing rods, shower tent and other thin but annoying-to-pack items.

Passenger Side


Behind the kitchen is a 55litre water tank connected via a 12v shurflo pump. If I was to do it over again I'd use a different 'flat' water tank under the tray to have the weight lower, and better utilize the space.

I used the qubelok plastic joiners and square aluminium tube (avail from Capral Aluminium or Bunnings at a higher cost) to make a frame around a set of the common Bunnings drawer units for the kitchen itself. A drop down preparation shelf was also installed. The basic 2 burner gas cooker is on a slide out shelf/drawer.

Drop Down Table


The drivers side has a home built drawer unit. The drawers contain all the other usual gear such as tools, general camping equipment, etc. There is plenty of room on top for any required jerry cans, cartons of liquid refreshment, clothing bags, etc.

Drivers Side


I've also installed the compressor under a section at the end of the drawers, and there is LED lights on each of the doors. I cut up an old security door (to get some mesh free) to use as a barrier between the two halves of the fitout. It provides a handy place to tie-down items that are on top of the driver side drawer units also.

There was a write-up in Issue #3 of the 'Camping with your 4WD' magazine on my cruiser, but that didn't really cover the inside of the canopy, so hopefully the above info will be of help.

John
AnswerID: 413530

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2010 at 21:47

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2010 at 21:47
John,
Your setup looks very neat and professional - well done! And its good to see plenty of dirt on it :-))
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FollowupID: 683835

Follow Up By: lizard - Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 13:22

Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 13:22
Looks good alright , am looking at Bosston campers - also very interested in CM campers EZI UP ...
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FollowupID: 684360

Reply By: Liz5264 - Monday, Apr 19, 2010 at 18:45

Monday, Apr 19, 2010 at 18:45
Hi

Thanks for the replies they are really useful!

Does anyone have any contacts for making a canopy in Sydney?

Prado 4x4 - that canopy is exactly what I am after. Can you tell me who made it? And maybe how much it was??
- Love your kitchen drawers. i think even I could put them together. I am wondering though whether you have anything under the base of your drawers above the stove to prevent them dropping down when you slide them forward?
- I can see you used the same aluminium tubing and connectors to make the framework for your drawers. How did you do the slides and then the drawers? Also, has the framework survived some really rough roads (we are planning on 6 months in Africa and some of the roads are really really bad!)

Phil - what tanks did you fit underneath? Do they affect your clearance at all? Have they had any damage?
- dumb question, but how do you get your spares under those drawers? The drawers look like they are on the bottom of the canopy.
- interesting about your lights. Do LED ones not attact the mossies?
- love your towel drying idea. I was trying to work out what to do with them!

Now a dumb question to both of you.
- Is alloy aluminium or are they different? If they are different, which is heavier and which is dearer?

This is what I am pretty definite about so far in case you are interested or have some ideas about it:
- canopy will slide off the tray so we can set up camp but then go off for game drives etc.
- the spare tyres will be mounted directly behind the cab on the tray in front of the canopy (maybe in a checkerplate box which can also store recovery gear and tools as we will need when we don't have the canopy with us).
- roof top tent on top
- fridge slide out so I can use the space above it
- was thinking of of putting the water tank either underneath, OR getting a thin one that will stand up across the front end inside the canopy. Would be interested to hear your thoughts on weight distribution and stability if we were to do this.
- the rest is all a bit vague at the moment, but a kitchen area of some description. Ideally I'd like a slide out section the width of the canopy at the back that had a top to serve as a workarea and somewhere to put the stove, as well as drawers underneath for storage (or maybe just a slide out table).

thanks so much for your input
Elizabeth
AnswerID: 413571

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2010 at 21:25

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2010 at 21:25
Hi Elizabeth,
I too like to see what others do with their canopies - see some good ideas, so thankyou for starting this thread!

"what tanks did you fit underneath? Do they affect your clearance at all? Have they had any damage?"
Mine is a Goughs plastic undertray tank.. 5 years ago it was all you could get and I bought it from opposite Lock. I bought it because the plastic is really thick, so it needs no protection, and because it was only 115mm high, so I didn't have to lift my tray to get it in. Fitting it is simple - strip of angle each side of the tank and it screws to the underside of the tray. I bought a second one last year. It simply feeds by gravity to the tap, so no pumps or stuff to go wrong. I didn't use the tubing they supplied because it had a plastic taste - so all my tubing and filler pipe are 1/2 inch drinking water hose. There are other tanks now - Boab and other brands which are cheaper. To fit a tank under the tray, you may need to change the way the tray is supported and remove/reinforce some of the footings. I wouldn't use a cheap caravan tank - too thin and need to be supported and protected.

"how do you get your spares under those drawers? The drawers look like they are on the bottom of the canopy."
The base of the drawer is actually about 5cm above the lip of the canopy - the drawer front covers that up. It gives me about 120mm between drawer and floor. Under one drawer are spare shocks, filters, and containers of bits and pieces, hoses, belts etc. under the 2nd drawer are 2 spare tubes, tyre changing stuff, welding kit, jumper leads, etc. To access this stuff, I have to remove the drawer - just lift the plastic levers on the Hettich slides and pull the drawers out. These drawers have our clothes so are not very heavy. They are made of 9mm ply. I never put heavy stuff in drawers - I prefer it to sit on the floor.

"interesting about your lights. Do LED ones not attact the mossies?"
Yes, thats mostly true. Fluoros have the best light, but are warm and attract insects. LEDs are colder and don't attract as many. So any lights inside my vehicle are LED. But the outside ones are fluoros. Don't put a fluoro inside a canopy.

"love your towel drying idea. I was trying to work out what to do with them!"
Thats about my 5th attempt to find a solution! and works best for me. But when we used clothesline or rope, the towels would blow off - with elastic cord they don't.

"Is alloy aluminium or are they different?"
Same thing. Aluminium is lighter than steel, doesn't corrode; downside is that it can crack and has to be a bit thicker. Aluminium canopies are generally more expensive. Mine cost $5700 five years ago - same thing now might be $6-9,000. Steel canopy might be $2000 cheaper. Weight - difference depends on how they are made - a strong aluminium canopy might be 120kgs; vs 200kgs for a similar strength steel one. Many aluminium canopies are not painted - mine was painted in 2-pack paint to match the vehicle - this adds to the cost.

"canopy will slide off the tray so we can set up camp but then go off for game drives etc."
That was my plan too! But someone said to me that you'll never bother doing this, and they were right. When you go off for a drive, its nice to take your food, fridge, clothes, spare parts, spare tyres etc etc with you. So we decided not to sleep on the canopy and use either a swag or a tent or tow the Tvan according to where we're going. So a big decision is whether you'll want to sleep in it or not. A friend just bought a traytop camper and says its quicker and easier to fold the thing up than it is to fit the legs and remove it from the tray. So he's not going to remove it either, except when at home, where he has a farm and needs a ute.

"the spare tyres will be mounted directly behind the cab on the tray in front of the canopy"
That is a common option for those who want to remove the canopy. If you don't remove the canopy, then bolting to back is easier and more secure. Behind the cab can be difficult to secure the tyres, and to lock them.

"- roof top tent on top"
Yeah, plenty of people do this - I'm not a fan of rooftop sleeping - too far off the ground for me and you have the old problem of wet canvas on the bed when things get damp. People with rooftop tents are sometimes reluctant to go for a day drive when we base camp for a couple of nights.

"fridge slide out so I can use the space above it"
Yep, thats what most people do - have a look at John's and he has no lip on the canopy, so his fridge can still be mounted fairly low. On mine, the 2" lip would make the fridge too high, and I like to keep it all simple. Others end up with the option of the drop-down slide.

"was thinking of of putting the water tank either underneath, OR getting a thin one that will stand up across the front end inside the canopy."
I like to keep most of the weight forward of the rear axle and as low as possible, so thats where my water tank went. But a tank at the front of the canopy uses space which is not readily accessible, so its not a bad spot either. I don't think either of these options would affect stability. I like my tanks to have simple taps below the tray - can sit the billy or washing up dish on the ground and watch it fill instead of having to hold it.

"a kitchen area of some description"
Many people make a kitchen unit like John's and add a fold down laminex bench that simply holds the drawers in. Its pretty simple.

"somewhere to put the stove"
We don't use a stove much, so the Coleman stove just sits on our fold-up table whenever we use it. We use the fire where possible.

cheers
phil
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FollowupID: 683824

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2010 at 21:45

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2010 at 21:45
Liz,
Just to add about the canopy. Someone advised me against sloping sides, because they waste space. I had my sides come up straight for 400mm for a couple of reasons - it suited the shape of my engel fridges and it suited the profile of the Landcruiser. But it is nice to have the top narrower - for the overhanging trees, so I was happy to waste that space!

I also trimmed my tray - its only 1770 wide instead of the usual 1850. That was because its easier to travel narrow tracks and also rearward visability via the mirrors is better. I also have a camera on the back of the vehicle. I also use convex mirrors on both sides (some people don't like these mirrors, but I do).

Also, have a look at the Carry-me-camper- looks to me like it may suit your needs. The main downside to me were that the the side doors are not very high when open and my wife and I are tall, but they are great value for money if you just want an open canopy with a tent on top.
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FollowupID: 683832

Follow Up By: prado4x4 - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2010 at 10:21

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2010 at 10:21
Glad to help Elizabeth

> Prado 4x4 - that canopy is exactly what I am after. Can you tell me who made it? And maybe how much it was??

The canopy I used was made by a company here in WA called Bosston Canopies. It's their 'off the shelf' basic tradesman canopy, with the addition of the extra frame bracing for the rear spare wheel mounts. From memory it cost me about $5500 two years ago.


> Love your kitchen drawers. i think even I could put them together. I am wondering though whether you have anything under the base of your drawers above the stove to prevent them dropping down when you slide them forward?

I didn't put anything underneath them. As I'm sure you know, those common Bunnings drawers are a plasic 'box' with the plastic drawer itself inside. The drawer can slide open to the point where they slide right out of the box. Personally I just open the drawer, get out what I want and close it. As long as there is a few inches or so of drawer still in the box, it doesn't fall down, at least it hasn't with me. That being said, I've usually got light things in those drawers anyway. If needed, you can simply slide the drawer all the way out and put in on the table.

> I can see you used the same aluminium tubing and connectors to make the framework for your drawers. How did you do the slides and then the drawers?

Yes I did use the same tubing as the frames for the heavier drawers on the drivers side. The slides were commercial kitchen full extension slides I got for the local Hafael supplier here in Perth. The slides I used are rated at 45Kg per pair.

The drawers themselves are a basic 12mm plywood box reinforced with some alloy angle because I didn't trust my woodworking skills. I was told by a friend afterwards that the reinforcing wasn't needed as I glued and screwed the box together an that would be plenty strong enough.

Inside the of the alloy frame also has an alloy angle in place. The angle is used to reinforces the joins and to bolt the drawer slides in place.

The following 'under construction' picture will hopefully help.


PS: I did replace those small slide bolts with stronger security door bolts as they weren't strong enough.

> Also, has the framework survived some really rough roads (we are planning on 6 months in Africa and some of the roads are really really bad!)

The framework has survived trips through the Kimberley, Pilbara (Canning Stock Route), Top End of the NT, North Qld, Red Centre and Vic High Country over the last 2+ years, so yep I'm happy with them.

Some construction tips though;
- I put a rivet in though each of the joins (though the square aluminium tube and the plastic joiner. This was to ensure that the jointer didn't vibrate loose over corrugations.
- When bolting the framework down (or the wood decks to the framework), use a large steel mudguard washer (25mm dia). This spreads the load of the bolt over all edges of the hollw square tube, rather than crushing the single thin wall (hopefully this makes sence).


> This is what I am pretty definite about so far in case you are interested or have some ideas about it:

>canopy will slide off the tray so we can set up camp but then go off for game drives etc.

I thought about this, and like Phil, decided that the chances of me ever bothering to take the canopy off was next to none. As phil mentioned, I like to have the fridge and all my spares, recovery gear, etc that is inside the canopy come along with me anyway. So I decided to skip the removable canopy (which meant it was cheaper, and have mine permanently mounted on the tray)

> the spare tyres will be mounted directly behind the cab on the tray in front of the canopy (maybe in a checkerplate box which can also store recovery gear and tools as we will need when we don't have the canopy with us).

Having the spares behind the cab helps with keeping the weight between the two vehicle axles, rather than behind the rear axles as on mine.

> roof top tent on top

When choosing the rooftopper, think about which way it opens up, and how this will be affected the doors on the canopy, and storage space. Mine is one of the Maggiolina Airlander tents so goes straight up (no folding out), so no issues with the canopy doors. Others open out to the sides (full length items such as the ShipShape are usually ok as the open area of the tent has no floor to get in the way of the canopy door opening. Others like the Howling moon, etc have a solid floor when thay are unfolded that can get in the way of the canopy door. I have seen a canopy sertup (on a Trademate brand canopy) with one of the Howling Moon style tents done so that it opened out to the rear. This didn't get in the way of the doors, and only used half of the canopy roof space. The owner had used the remaining space for his second spare (with the first spare mounted in the common under-the-tray location.

The rooftop tent I use takes about 30seconds to setup, and 2-3 minutes to pack up. Being this quick means it's never an issue for me to pack it up to go on a day drive, etc. That's meant' I've never felt the need to 'leave my canopy/tent behind, so didn't need a removable canopy. Other brands of rooftop tents take a bit longer to setup and pack away though so something to think about.

> fridge slide out so I can use the space above it
That worked for me.

> was thinking of of putting the water tank either underneath, OR getting a thin one that will stand up across the front end inside the canopy. Would be interested to hear your thoughts on weight distribution and stability if we were to do this.

Underneath would be best. But I've seen a few of the Boab brand tanks mounted vertically to tray headboards, so the same tanks should mount vertically inside the canopy (assuming they fit physically).

> the rest is all a bit vague at the moment, but a kitchen area of some description. Ideally I'd like a slide out section the width of the canopy at the back that had a top to serve as a work area and somewhere to put the stove, as well as drawers underneath for storage (or maybe just a slide out table).

Be careful of doors on the back of the canopy. It has to have "really" good dust seals to keep out the dust. You've only got to look at most regular patrol/cruiser type wagons. Do a drive down some dusty roads and there is a thin film on the sides of the vehicle, but an inch thick deposit over the rear door areas caused by the vacume sucking the dust back there as you drive. Just something to think about.

Everybody has their own preferences and way of doing things. Half the fun is in the thought process, to get it just how you want it.

Anyhow, I hope the info helps.

John
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FollowupID: 683892

Reply By: Tonyfish#58 - Monday, Apr 19, 2010 at 19:01

Monday, Apr 19, 2010 at 19:01
We made 3 compartments. 1 Has the swing out kitchen with Shelves above. One at the rear has tools and gas bottles. The last is the largest, has the fridge and 6 x plastic storage boxes and a box for the camper legs.

There is always room to spare as you can not load on as much as these canopies can hold.

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Cheers Tony
AnswerID: 413572

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