If you own a Ute, you need to consider having a canopy or a tray that can add some weight to the back. You will be able to increase the storage capacity of the ute with a canopy but you need to have a professional install it to make sure that the additional weight can be borne by the vehicle without any problems.
The additional weight can affect steering, brakes and the suspension of a vehicle when it is not properly fitted or the right weight canopy is used. If you go camping frequently, you will need to think about how easily you can access the gear in the back. You can find flat trays that are made of aluminium that come with sides that fold down and can be removed. There are many fabrication companies that will be able to provide you with the right size tray that will fit your requirements perfectly. A tray is lightweight and you will be able to load items onto it easily as there are no sides. But there is a concern about security. You may need to add a lockable tray if security is one of the main concerns. There is no protection from the elements and you will not be able to load anything that is not contained such as sand, gravel etc. onto the tray as it can be dislodged easily. The alternative is using a tray with sides that will allow you to load loose items. These also don’t have a great degree of security from theft and weather.
You can also use a hard fibreglass 4×4 canopy that will have a smooth finish and look more aesthetically pleasing as you can match the colour to that of the vehicle. These can be secured well and will give you sufficient protection from the weather. But you will be restricted when it comes to the height of items that can be placed in the tub. These canopies are hard to remove and you will not be able to leave it open when you are driving. There are vinyl covers that offer a lightweight option and they can be removed and stored away for later use. However, you will not be able to lock this cover and there will some issues when it comes to dust and water leakage. Over time, the canopy can deteriorate. There can be water pooled in the middle of the cover if you don’t have a spreader bar in the middle.
There are aluminium lockable covers that can be rolled. The cover simply retracts into a housing that is in the front of the tub. You can also find electric models that can open automatically when you push a button. There is a higher level of security with this and it is still lightweight enough that it doesn’t add excessive weight. You will be able to find an aftermarket model that will fit your vehicle. If you are travelling in dusty conditions, there is better protection provided by this when compared to a vinyl cover. You can also leave it open when you are driving. But they can be quite expensive.