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The best canopies for your Ford Ranger

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The best canopy for your Ranger suits your lifestyle.
The best canopy for your Ranger suits your lifestyle.

Utes have become the Swiss Army knives of the vehicle world. People love utes because they can be used for a multitude of different real-life purposes. Utes can carry people and loads and do it all safely and smoothly. And Ford Rangers are among the most popular utes around.

A Ford Ranger’s tray is a versatile load space – it can be used to stash tools (big and small), toolboxes, safety gear, your dogs, camping equipment and more. However, if it is not covered by a tonneau lid or soft cover, it is an open load space and as such is unprotected and unsecured and any gear stowed back there is exposed to the elements, and is vulnerable to damage or theft.

A lockable Ford Ranger ute canopy – and one made of a durable material, such as canvas, fibreglass, aluminium or steel – adds a much-needed layer of security and protection to your ute and the equipment or tools you carry in its tub or tray. It reduces the impact of the elements on anything carried in the back and also cuts down on the possibility of that stuff being damaged or stolen. 

There are plenty of sizes and styles of ute canopy available, whether you drive a supercab, double cab (dual cab), chassis or pick-up, there is something for everyone. Materials also vary so you can opt for a Ford Ranger canvas canopy, a Ford Ranger aluminium canopy, a steel canopy, or even a fibreglass or UV-stable ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, a thermoplastic polymer) canopy.

The Ford Ranger dual cab canopy is a popular addition to that ute and you’ll see plenty of examples of a Ford Ranger tray canopy around Australia as well.

What you go for boils down to what you actually need, what you intend to use it for (work or leisure?) and, most importantly, what you can afford.

The best canopy for your Ford Ranger is something that suits your needs, your lifestyle.

Different types of Ford Ranger canopies

As well as different types of materials used in Ford Ranger canopies, such as canvas, ABS plastic, fibreglass, aluminium and steel and, there are model-specific versions to suit the dimensions of a single cab, supercab, dual-cab, and tray or pick-up.

There’s a Ford Ranger Wildtrak canopy, PK Ranger canopy, PX Ranger canopy, and second-from-top-spec Ford Ranger XLT canopy; in fact, if you do a fair bit of research, you’ll find that there are canopies for just about every purpose for just about every ute around.

Everyone has different requirements; you know better than I do about what you need, so get to it – I’m not your life coach.

Aussie companies, such as ARB, have a wide range of Ford Ranger canopies.
Aussie companies, such as ARB, have a wide range of Ford Ranger canopies.

There are certainly basic and budget-friendly canopy versions available, however, a good quality canopy – such as one available from ARB, Ironman 4x4, NorWeld, Carryboy Australia, Flexiglass, EGR and TJM etc – can benefit from a few of these crucial elements: lockable side windows and rear-access window, canopy vent (to reduce dust ingress by positively pressurising the canopy’s interior), tinted safety glass (5.0mm tinted and tempered), central locking, push-button side opening windows and more.

But also other features – such as keyless entry, high-spec adhesive, LED interior lights, stylish interior and an anti-entrapment dial (so people can get out of the canopy if locked inside) – are all great bonus stuff and all included in renowned Australian aftermarket supplier ARB’s Ascent canopy.

What are your options?

The variety of Ford Ranger canopies available is mind-boggling, from DIY jobs, off-the-shelf specials, to custom-made and feature-packed canopies. Remember: the cheaper a canopy is, chances are the more trade-offs have been made in terms of the quality of workmanship, the materials used and how safe and secure the final product. Also, if short-cuts were taken during the testing process, then how ready is the canopy for real-world use?

Australian companies make some of the best ute canopies in the world and a great variety of them because their customers – the Aussie driving public – ask a lot of our canopies, no matter what the material, for work and pleasure.

The Aussie driving public ask a lot of their canopies.
The Aussie driving public ask a lot of their canopies.

In today’s aftermarket you’ll surely find a ute canopy to suit your lifestyle, vehicle and budget. There are variations – of different sizes and configurations – to suit any kind of ute and tub or tray, and there are some ute canopies with interior configurations designed to incorporate tool boxes, or are purpose-built, with roll-out drawers and more, for camping.

The shape – a model-specific moulding – and colour of a ute canopy can be selected so it ‘fits’ with your Ford Ranger.

The basic structure of ute canopies may not change a whole lot between examples – each one has a roof, walls, and likely a flip/lift door at the rear, a fixed-shut window at the front, and sliding or flip/lift windows on the sides – but each canopy’s capacity to be flexible, in terms of accessibility and storage, may vary widely.

In today’s aftermarket you’ll surely find a ute canopy to suit your lifestyle, vehicle and budget.
In today’s aftermarket you’ll surely find a ute canopy to suit your lifestyle, vehicle and budget.

Options for a ute canopy include extra tie-down points, central locking, climate control, in-built lighting, soft-close windows, built-in storage systems (such as roll-out drawers) and even a slide-out kitchen.

Some canopies are bolted onto a tray and can be removed without too much fuss.

What price can you expect to pay?

A Ford Ranger canopy price can range anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars for a DIY canvas-and-steel-frame job, to $1500 for an aluminium ute half canopy you will have to fit yourself, to more than $5000 (fitted) for off-the-shelf canopies or even custom, build-your-own versions.

Spend as much as you can to get a top-quality canopy.
Spend as much as you can to get a top-quality canopy.

Prices of fibreglass or ABS plastic ute canopies start from around the mid-$2000s mark (including fitment). If you’re in the market for a Ford Ranger fibreglass canopy, then expect to pay from about $4000 (fitted) for a classic-style canopy.

Warranties for a ute canopy can range from one year, three years or a lifetime, depending on the materials used and the brand/manufacturer involved.

Who are the leading brands & manufacturers? Best places to buy?

Ute canopy manufacturers and stockists are plentiful in Australia. You can go for a genuine Ford Ranger canopy. As in, Ford, for your Ford Ranger canopy options (offered in collaboration with ARB).

But there are also top-notch aftermarket options available to you, as mentioned. Leading brands and manufacturers include ARB, Ironman 4x4, NorWeld, Carryboy Australia, Flexiglass, EGR and TJM.

Most canopies have provision for roof mounted rack units.
Most canopies have provision for roof mounted rack units.

Try any of these mobs for a Ford Ranger Wildtrak canopy, PK Ranger canopy, PX Ranger canopy, Ford Ranger XLT canopy, or pretty much any Ranger-suited canopy you’re after.

Here’s a list of some of the best options if you’re after the best canopy for Ford Ranger in the country. 

ARB 

Featuring integrated central locking and push-button window switches the Ascent is ARB’s flagship canopy for the current-generation Ranger. It features a 9.0mm ABS shell, aero styling and a “robust” mounting system. Glass is 5.0mm dark grey tinted, the side lift-up windows boast a 280mm access height and the wiring harness features a plug ‘n’ play installation connector. Depending on exact spec, ‘Classic’ and ‘Classic Plus’ variations retain features like remote keyless-entry for the rear door and locking ‘D’ handles for the windows.

Cost: $5936 (includes $660 fitting)

Where to buy

Ironman 

Made from reinforced fibreglass, the Ironman Pinnacle 2 features marine carpet lining, central-locking, lockable and tinted lift-up windows and a rear window demister. Also included are a hard-wired internal light and an internal sliding front window.

Cost: From $3763 (fitting extra)

Where to buy

Norweld

Headquartered in Cairns but retailing nationally (and exporting internationally), Norweld specialises in high-end aluminium tray and canopy packages for commercial vehicles or off-road focused 4WDs. Full-Length, Compact and Half Canopy designs to suit single, extra and dual-cab utes are offered in ‘Basic’, ‘Deluxe Lite’ and ‘Deluxe’ grades. There’s even a ‘Deluxe Dog Pod’. The sky’s the limit on included features including bespoke wiring, roll-out drawers, fridges, spare wheel mounts and (a lot) more. A lifetime warranty is included.

Cost: From $11,690 (includes fitting / may vary by location)

Where to buy

Carryboy

Carryboy offers multiple fibreglass canopy styles for the current ‘Next Gen’ Ranger from the SLR Series, more premium SR5 and tradie-focused Workman, right up to a Tradesman Body Unit for cab-chassis fitment. Features like tempered window glass, lockable side and rear windows, a central locking rear door and multiple storage options feature.

Cost: From $4990 (fitting and freight extra)

Where to buy

Flexiglass

Flexiglass offers a range of multi-featured fibreglass canopies compatible with the current Ranger through FlexiSport Premium (all-around, integrated central locking), FlexiSport (rear door central locking), FlexiTrade (raised roof) and FlexiEdge (cab high aero) models. That’s across full tub and tray top styles. Finish is smooth, high-gloss and colour-coded with inclusions (varying by model) like integrated roof bars, tinted glass and gas window struts.. 

Cost: From $3999 (fitting extra)

Where to buy

EGR

Long-established 4x4 equipment specialist EGR offers a variety of GEN3 canopies for the Ranger all featuring remote locking actuated lift-up side windows and a rear door that connects with the vehicle’s central locking system. Available in over 20 Ford factory Ranger colours, the EGR canopy is designed and manufactured in Australia with moulded carpet lining, roof rails (for canopy roof racks), LED lighting and the ‘no external handles’ treatment on the windows. 

Cost: From $4449 (fitting extra)

Where to buy

TJM

TJM is synonymous with 4WD gear of all descriptions and no surprise it offers a range of canopies for the Ranger from Aeroklas as well as under its own TJM brand. The double-shell ABS canopies are claimed to be strong and light thanks to the ‘twin-skin’ design and are colour-coded to the OEM Ford palette. They also feature a central locking rear door, ‘no-drill’ installation and a patented C-clamp mounting system.

Cost: From $4399 (fitting extra)

Where to buy
    Marcus Craft
    Contributing Journalist
    Raised by dingoes and, later, nuns, Marcus (aka ‘Crafty’) had his first taste of adventure as a cheeky toddler on family 4WD trips to secret fishing spots near Bundaberg, Queensland. He has since worked as a journalist for more than 20 years in Australia, London and Cape Town and has been an automotive journalist for 18 years. This bloke has driven and camped throughout much of Australia – for work and play – and has written yarns for pretty much every mag you can think of. The former editor of 4X4 Australia magazine, Marcus is one of the country’s most respected vehicle reviewers and off-road adventure travel writers.
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