When it comes to setting up a canopy on your ute, there’s a load of information available out there on the internet. Just about every 4WD or camping website or blog has written a guide to setting up the ultimate touring canopy… but there’s a huge shortage of information when it comes to setting up your canopy as a tradie!
The thing is, having a functional canopy setup as a tradesperson is a must. Your ute is essentially your office, which makes your canopy your workplace, and equipping it with the gear you need to get the job done is essential. So we’ve decided to put together this ultimate guide to setting up your ute’s canopy for work. Read on for all the best ideas to take your tradie office to the next level!
Function, not Form
The first element to consider is what gear you’ll be housing in your canopy, which will determine how you set it up. For example, if you’re a chippy, the tools you need are going to be very different compared to those carried by a landscaper.
Unlike a touring canopy, designing your tradie canopy will come down to function, rather than form. Where a touring canopy is set up to look good, and provide easy access to things like a fridge or kitchen gear, a good tradie canopy needs to focus less on the looks and more on the functionality. For example, installing drawers that only become accessible once certain tools have been removed is not going to make your life easy!
When planning out your tradie canopy, make sure you list down all the gear your canopy will be housing. Consider housing tools and gear that you use regularly in an area where you can easily access them with minimal effort. On the flip side, it becomes less of a chore to move a few things to access a specific tool if it’s something you only use on occasion.
Power isn’t a “want” – it’s a “need”!
It used to be that having a power setup in your canopy was desirable, but not essential. If you ask us, those days are long gone. With petrol and wired tools becoming more obsolete every day, keeping your battery gear charged and ready to use at a drop of a hat is important. The last thing you want is for a couple of dead batteries to bring work to a standstill.
Setting up your canopy with a top-notch power setup will make sure the batteries for your tools are always charged, but there are additional benefits. You can install lighting in your canopy to make it easier to see on those early morning starts. You could install a fridge to ensure your lunch and energy drinks stay cool throughout the hot summer days.
The reasons why a decent power setup will benefit you as a tradie are practically endless. Let’s take a look at some of the power options you should consider for setting up your canopy.
Power Distribution Hub
Being able to control and monitor your power usage is essential when it comes to setting up a tradie canopy, as there is a wide range of power-hungry items that will draw from your setup. That’s where a 12V power management system like Ark’s SEMA award-winning XO Tech Power Distribution Hub is so essential.
The Power Distribution Hub is an all-in-one power management system, unlike any other 12V control box on the market. Firstly – and this is a key consideration when space is at a premium in your tradie canopy – it’s compact. It’s been specifically designed to fit just about anywhere, and because it’s Bluetooth features, you don’t need to access it to monitor your power usage – you can do that, straight from your smartphone.
Secondly, it has outputs galore! With four 10A controllable relays, a 50A Anderson connector, a 10A cig. socket, a 10A engel socket, a 15A merit socket, and dual 2.1A USB sockets, your power options are plenty. Plus, all outputs are protected with internal self-resetting fuses and an electronic controlled main relay for peace of mind.
Lastly, the Power Distribution Hub allows you to monitor a HUGE amount of information. Monitor in real-time battery voltage, current, power, time to discharge, total consumption, maximum current, total watt-hours, and used battery capacity. It even has the ability to monitor a water tank level! How smart is that!
Battery Box… or better!
Okay, so a battery box is good… but an ArkPak is better!
The ArkPak is essentially the ultimate battery box and the only one on the market that has a built-in AC-DC and DC-DC charger. It also features a 1000-watt pure sine wave inverter which means you can plug in your corded power tools directly. Other features include:
- 4 X 2.1A USB socket
- 1 X USB Type C
- Two 12V accessory sockets
- 50A Anderson socket
- Low voltage cut-out
- Manual isolator Relay
- Time tracker technology
- Battery management system
- 20 Amp smart charge system
The ArkPak is the ultimate power source for your tradie canopy, without the need for an extensive dual battery system!
Harness the Power of the Sun
Sometimes when you’re on-site, accessing power can be difficult, especially if you often work in remote locations.
That’s why having a solar power option is a smart idea. Tradies can often be deterred from setting up solar panels due to the space they take up – we’ve already spoken about how important functionality is for a tradie’s canopy. Let’s face it, the last thing you want is to install delicate solar panels on the roof of your canopy and lose the ability to carry a ladder or other long gear.
There is a solution, however. Ark’s Amorphous Foldable Solar Panels allow you to charge your batteries on the go without taking up the space of rigid panels. Available in both 30W and 60W versions, they provide up to 4.2A per hour of charge, and work in low light and partial shade. Plus, because they fold up as small as 40cmx15cmx3cm (30W version), they don’t take up much space at all!
Additional Build Considerations
In addition to power, there are a few other considerations you should make when setting up your tradie canopy. Let’s take a look at four elements that are key to having the ultimate tradie canopy.
Drawers are a no-brainer when it comes to setting up your canopy for trades purposes. There are also a number of options available. If you’re looking for a quick and relatively inexpensive option, then many off-road and camping retailers sell single and double drawers which can be adapted to your specific needs. Of course, because tradies needs are very different to those of campers, having custom drawers set up to suit your specific needs is an even better option.
Installing 12V LED strip lighting in your canopy will ensure you have plenty of light available to find what you need in your ute – regardless of how early you start, or how late you finish. LED strip lighting is an inexpensive way to provide lighting and draws very little power ensuring you have power on hand for what you need most.
A 12V fridge/freezer isn’t just a great option for campers. Let’s face it, as a tradie burning a lot of calories every day and needing to remain hydrated in hot weather, chances are you’ll be bringing a lot of food and drink to site each day. A 12V fridge is the best way to store your food and drinks, and while it may take up a fair bit of space, we definitely put it on the “must have” list rather than the “like to have” list.
It’s a simple fact of being a tradie – you’re beholden to the weather. Whether it’s heavy rain or scorching sun, you’ll be glad to have a place where you can get out of the weather and take a breather while you’re on site. Installing an awning or two on the side of your canopy is a smart and relatively inexpensive way to provide you with a little bit of shelter should you need it.
Ark Understands the Needs of Tradies
100% Aussie-owned and independent, ARK have been the leaders in trailer parts, towing gear, and 4WD accessories for over 40 years.
Whether it’s 12V power systems and battery packs to power your worksite or towing gear to ensure your trailer can get to any site, the team at ARK have you covered. Get in touch with us today to learn how our expertise can help you set up your rig to suit your needs!