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Lift Off vs. Fixed Ute Canopies: Which One Provides Greater Flexibility

Driving around town and driving on unknown and unpaved terrain is not the same. Whether you want to be able to do both or not, as an Aussie, getting a ute means that you’re a hard worker who appreciates a vehicle that can do it all. A ute is exactly that, a vehicle that offers the functionality of a 4×4 and the convenience of a sedan. You can use them both for work and leisure travel, as long as you can maintain a good work-life balance. A ute gives you the possibilities, and you just have to decide how and when you make the most of them.

It is well known that almost every tradie has a ute and that every ute has a tray or a canopy. Well, what if I told you that a canopy can be as versatile as your ute? No matter if you’re going to pack off-road necessities or work tools, a canopy gives you safe storage. Usually, canopies are meant to provide you with extra storage with one downside being that they are stuck on the bed of your ute forever. Well, that doesn’t have to be the case with your vehicle as long as you get a lift off canopy.

Lift off vs Fixed

picture of black lift off canopy on a parking

To make it clear why some people prefer lift off canopies and others don’t, I will compare them to their “set and forget” counterparts. The most notable difference on a common lift off canopy is that it can come with a lot more than just a space for your tools. Since you’re able to remove it easily from the bed of your ute, you can use it for anything you want. You can put a small fridge in there by hooking it up to the power source in your ute. There’s no beating a lift off canopy when it comes to versatility.

Unlike a jack off canopy as some people call it, fixed ones don’t give you the option to just take them off of your ute. You can actually take them off, but you’ll spend a lot more time doing so and you’ll probably need someone to help you in the process or bring it to someone who knows a thing or two about ute trays. If you’re someone who wants to drive their ute in town the same way they do when they go to work without worrying about all the tools and equipment you have in the back then go with a lift off ute canopy.

Removing Your Lift off Canopy

picture of lift off canopy on a parking lot
  1. To remove a jack off canopy from your ute, you should use an impact driver and some elbow grease. Start off by placing the legs of the canopy by sliding the two rods into each slot on the canopy.
  2. Once you’ve done that, remove the bolts holding the canopy down, as well as the electrical connectors that power its various features. Then, take your impact driver and the attachments that enable you to work with the bit on the legs and drive it so it extends the legs to the ground.
  3. When all four legs are firmly on the ground start slowly winding each bit on each leg to lift the canopy up. The canopy will move a bit when you successfully lift it off from the truck. Then, get in your ute and drive away slowly and you’re done. Make sure to leave enough space between the canopy and your ute so that any bumps on the surface don’t cause the ute to jump up and damage the canopy.

Ute Canopy Materials

picture of blue steel lift off canopy


Obviously, the two options you have at hand are metal. Aluminium is the less affordable option, but it’s lighter and close to being as sturdy and as strong as steel. Aluminium gets its price tag from its naturally anti-corrosive properties. Keep in mind that aluminium bends more easily, but it’s also easier to put back into shape.


Steel ute canopies of any kind are far more affordable and stronger than aluminium ones. However, they do not come with naturally anti-corrosive properties. Instead, they’re coated with coatings that enable them to last longer even when under duress from the elements. Steel canopies are quite heavier, meaning they can affect fuel economy, especially if you’re going to be packing it full of gear and equipment.

How Much Does a Aluminum Canopy Weight?

picture of silver aluminum lift off tray and canopy

While not every canopy is made the same, the most common gross weight of a canopy sits at around 243kg. Remember this is the weight of the canopy when it’s empty. When searching for a canopy, make sure you check its maximum carrying capacity. If the maximum carrying capacity and gross weight of a canopy exceed the maximum carrying capacity of your ute it will make it extremely inefficient and underpowered.