When it comes to owning a pickup/bakkie, a canopy is pretty much the most important modification you could make to your vehicle. They are also one of the most expensive modifications you could make to your vehicle. Chosing the wrong one can lead to a massive waste of money, all your cargo being caked in dust or even worse, leaking and causing water damage. So it’s something worthy of investing a bit of money into.
I have had my canopy now for over a year and a half. It’s not a cheap investment, but when i considered all the options, and weighed up the pro’s and con’s; one stood out from the crowd. Considering I am a photographer and carry expensive camera equipment around in my vehicle all the time, it was vital for me to get a strong and secure canopy that wouldnt leak water or dust. I did a lot of research and I figured Bushtech would be the answer for me.
The quality of their canopies is something to be reckoned with.. They are rated to take an enormous amount of weight on the frame, they went as far as parking a Toyota Landcruiser on the roof to prove its strength, that is insanely strong! All the doors have continuous hinges, which help in keeping the water and dust away from your cargo area when you open the doors in incliment weather. Every door has tight rubber seals which work incredibly well to keep everything out, I have driven hundreds of kilometers on dust roads at a time and opened up the back to be astonished by how clean everything is. Its literally better sealed than the cab of my vehicle! Its withstood storms and hail, mud and sand all without a problem.
The inside of the canopy is practically layed out, with rails on the roof where you can attach lashing points, you can even easily attach a variety of accessories that Bushtech have on offer too, which I will cover a bit later on. One recommendation if you want to have the best results for keeping the dust out, is to get the dust sealing kit for your tailgate, the canopy can only do so much if there are gaping holes at your tailgate! The team at Bushtech take this very seriously and will stop at nothing to make sure you are adequately happy with the performance of your canopy. They hose it down and make sure that there isn’t any water leaking through, and if there does happen to be a drop or two, they are quick to find the source of the problem and remedy it. It’s this kind of service that makes a lasting impact.
Lets talk about the accessories that Bushtech offer.. They have a whole bunch of cool things, like cupboards that instert in a pinch in the side access doors, rifle boxes that go across the back of the cargo area, roof mounted table’s, lighting kits, dust sealing kits and an outside mounting table that latches onto the canopy giving you a surface to cook on outside, not to mention a multitude of other things. Im going to cover the extra’s that I have on my canopy and have experience using.
I have a couple of extra’s on my canopy, the first and most amazing one… The roofmounted table! What a pleasure. Easy access to a well sized table, without having to move one thing in the back. Its like they really thought this one through, the stainless steel table, comes with gas shock legs which gently pop open with just a suggestion of needing the legs opened. The legs of the table also come with minor height adjustable feet, ensuring you have a stable work surface, in a pinch. Next up, I have the lighting kit installed, which puts a dual coloured LED (White/Amber) at each door, which makes lighting up camp at night an absolute ease, I actually barely use my lantern anymore because of this kit. It also gives me a great light in the back when sitting in the back and working on my laptop or just having a read. The third extra, that I highly recommend for anyone to add to their canopy, is the insulation. Its not the prettiest and it scars easily, although its essential its one of my least favourite things about the canopy, and I think if there was a way to make it slightly prettier and a bit more durable, (Maybe a laminate coating) I would pay the extra to have it. The insulation just makes it that much more bareable in the back, even if unlike me you dont sleep in the back of your bakkie or if you have the doublecab, its worth getting the insulation to just cut your fridge a bit of slack on the 40ºC plus days in the African sun. Speaking of cutting your fridge some slack, the next and most recent accessory, the rear cab slider, allows you to crack open a window, to get some fresh air into the canopy, allowing your fridge to breathe some fresh air. Due to its locaiton between the cab and the canopy, it wont pull in as much dust as having a window in one of the side doors, which also means you get the convenience without people being able to look in or break the window to get in the back of your canopy. Regarding safety, I decided to also get a tinted reinforced window on the tailgate door of the canopy. I definitely feel confident keeping my camera equipment in the back, once I’ve locked the doors it would be pretty much near impossible to get in there.
It can’t all be that perfect can it? Well its pretty damn close. I find the locks on the doors to be a pain, they always need to be checked and wear very easily, this isnt a Bushtech specific problem, its all canopies in general. I just wish someone would come up with a better and more reliable system to lock and secure the canopy. The black locks also bake in the sun and become pretty uncomfortable to open and close sometimes, im not sure if taking the chrome option would help or not. One weird other thing, if its been raining the roof creates a pool, and if you open the back and sit on the tailgate or drop the rear of the vehicle at all, the water will find its way to you. I think if there was a way to allow the water to drain off easier towards the cab side, it would help. The Amarok already has a higher rear end than most bakkies, and my suspension in the back is a lot stiffer than most double cabs, so im sure other people will experience this problem too. Its funny because the only things I can nit pick about arent Bushtech specific. It may not be the prettiest canopy at times on some vehicles but, generally its a good looking canopy (I would have prefered colour coding the frame and having black doors, I feel that makes the canopy blend in abit more and the over all shape doesnt stick out as much), but it does what it says on the box. Every bit of their outstanding reputation can be felt throughout the design of all their products.
The only thing better than their canopies, is their service. The team at Bushtech really have looked after me so well and always with a smile on their faces. I took the canopy in at one year for a complementary service, where they put in some new locks and double checked the seals. Even more recently I had to have the whole canopy removed to install the rear cab slider, they also replaced a cracked hinge which from spending a year and a half in the hot baking sun every day had started to perish a bit (I insisted they leave it as it wasnt that bad, but they refused, told me not to worry and replaced it.)They reseated and resealed the canopy again, so its all fresh and good as new now. Its these little things that they do where they aren’t counting the extra’s and adding it to the bill after, they are proud of their product and want to make sure that you are getting what they promised, and if not they will make it so.
I’m pretty impressed… And im excited to see what else they have up their sleeve, I feel like they dont bring something to the table unless its been rigorously tested and proven to withstand tens of thousands of harsh overlanding kilometers.