Bakkie owners in South Africa love canopies (a.k.a. topper shells, camper shells, box shells, bakkie caps, or bakkie canopies) for a lot of different reasons, but the main reason to buy a canopy is to create a large bakkie storage space that’s weatherproof. While some bakkie owners want this space to be secure – or perhaps comfortable enough to camp in – most are trying to turn their bakkie bed into a very large trunk space.
In this post, we’ll break down some of the canopy manufacturers options available to new bakkie buyers, with pros and cons for each along with cost estimates.
What will you use the bakkie canopy for?
A basic canopy is even with the roofline of your truck’s cab, has a liftgate window at the rear, and a simple cam lock. It’s not going to stop a serious theft attempt, nor is it going to accommodate over-sized rear cargo. It’s also not going to be very easy to work out of, as gaining access to gear requires you to “unload” every time you need a tool or piece of gear that’s closer to the bakkie cab.
- Do you need room to stand, or at least crouch?Room for tall cargo? You want a “high rise” topper that advertises lots of headroom and/or a tall design.
- Do you want access to the entire bed?If so, you probably want a topper with side-opening windows. Most commercial toppers have this feature, only some commercial trucks are starting to use sliding bed cargo trays instead, as they’re a little more convenient than sticking your head thru the side window of a topper.
- Do you want to mount something to the roof of your topper?Some people like to mount camping gear, kayaks, mountain bikes, etc. to the roof of their toppers, while commercial users tend to mount ladders or other gear up top. Either way, you want a topper with roof rails.
- Do you need to protect expensive gear? Defeating a simple cam lock on a basic topper is easy as can be, which is why most commercial systems use heavy-duty steel or aluminum locking mechanisms. There are also locking drawers, toolboxes, etc. available.
- Do you need the inside to be lined?If you’re actually going to camp in your topper, a lined camper shell is a good idea, as it will make things warmer and quieter, not to mention nicer.
There are other questions that you can answer to help you define what you need, but suffice to say that any extra features – like a high-rise, roof-mounted rails, lined interior, etc. – increase the cost pretty substantially.
Whatever canopy you decide to buy, keep in mind that both your bakkie’s canopy AND your bakkie bed liner can be re-used or re-sold when you replace your bakkie. Most bakkie beds don’t change dimensions too often, and if you opt for a standard vehicle color (like black, white, silver, or tan), there’s a very good chance you can take your topper off your old bakkie and install it on your new truck.
For more information, please visit Andy Cabs today!