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Bakkie canopies and covers explored

12 October 2016

What type of canopy or cover is right for your bakkie? There are different types of canopies and covers available, some are lockable and some are water and dust tight. We take a look at some of the available options.


Plain fibreglass Canopy
Plain canopies are exactly as the name suggests, plain. They come standard with side sliding windows and a lockable lift up rear door.

Sporty fibreglass canopy
Sporty canopies typically have a third brake light, interior lights, curved sporty windows and roof rails. They have more features than plain canopies. Standard features include side sliding windows and a lockable rear door.


Fibreglass products are usually available immediately and there no waiting period upon purchase. However, all fibreglass canopies come in white. If your vehicle is any other colour, the canopy will have to be colour coded to match your bakkie.

The quality of fibreglass products will differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. It is important to check the finishing of any canopy product and make sure the quality and workmanship is good. Warranties on canopies could range anywhere from 1-3 years and the guarantee will only cover certain aspects of the product such as a structural defect.

Aluminium Canopy
There are two types of aluminium canopies, those that have been coated (pictured below) and those left with the raw aluminium finish. Both types have solid side opening doors offering easy accessibility from all around.


This type is well suited fort for the outdoors and camping. Some aluminium products can take a weight of up to 350 kilograms, which makes them a good choice as a platform for roof top tenting.

Always remember to check the canopy specs with the manufacturer prior to purchase.
Most aluminium canopies come standard with roof rails that act as mounting points for extras such as racks, awnings and tents.

Production time: approximately 14 working days.

Steel Canopy
Steel canopies are used by many small businesses such as plumbers, electricians, mining companies and they are also used on police vehicles.


Steel canopies are designed for strength and durability and can be manufactured in various ways. Designs can exclude windows and can include side opening doors, extra locking mechanisms and steel mesh.

Production time: approximately 10 working days.

Lockable Aluminium Sliding Door
Aluminium sliding doors or roller covers are retractable sliding doors that sit flush with the top of your bakkie’s loadbin area. These roller doors are fully lockable ensuring that your goods remain safe.


Some systems are spring loaded, meaning that the system has a strong spring and may not user friendly for everyone.

Automated systems are available that allow you to open and close the door with a remote control, however this comes at a premium price.

Once the cover is open, it only takes up 30cm, therefore you don’t lose much loading capacity.

Not all roller covers are waterproof. Most types are sold as 90% waterproof. So be prepared for a little water creeping in.

Tonneau Cover
There are various types of tonneau covers available. The most common ones are the clip-on and elasticated rope tonneau covers. Soft tonneau covers are made from vinyl, coated fabric or plastic. The covers are designed to be water and dust resistant.


The clip-on cover is built on an aluminum frame around the bakkie’s loadbin and is clamped into place – no drilling is required. The cover then clips onto the frame for easy access all around.

For the elasticated rope tonneau cover to be secured, it is necessary for drilling and the installing of pegs into the side of the vehicle’s loadbin. An elasticized bungee cord is used to keep the cover in place by snapping the cord onto the pegs.

Tonneau Covers are not lockable but are normally much cheaper than other alternatives. A decent tonneau cover should at least last you about 2-3 years if properly taken care of.

Buying a canopy or bakkie cover can be a costly. It’s recommended that you do thorough research before buying any product.

Source: Midrand Canopy Centre

  • What about an article that compares above mentioned canopies with canvas canopies? I must choose between the two options for my Ranger D/C.