Offroading ute: service body, or tub and canopy?
Utes are now just as popular for offroad touring as wagons, but how best to set one up?
OVER THE LAST ten years the ute has come a long way with massively improved safety, on and offroad performance as well as convenience features. Many 4WD shops now work on more utes than wagons, and a few years ago I too made the switch from a Land Rover Discovery 3 to a Ford Ranger PX.
There’s a lot of setup choice for wagons, but even more for utes. Most people run with a canopy over the standard tub, then add drawers and a fridge slide, and that’s a time-proven setup. Or you could run a flat tray and lash gear to it.
One interesting alternative is the service body, where you entirely replace the tub with a combined tray/canopy setup. And I’m giving it a shot.
This Trigpoint body has internal dimensions of 1700mm length and 1800mm width, and there’s two toolboxes either side for things like recovery gear. There’s also a 70L water tank under the body. Some setups run a drawer toolbox under the body, but I prefer using the space for water.
The main reasons for the change; poor dust sealing on the canopy, and difficulty of using the space effectively. The overall volume of space is about the same, but it’s much easier to access with the service body and is a much more usable shape – no wheel arches in the way, lower load height and no tailgate to lean over either. There’s also a huge second roof rack for even more storage space.
We’ll have a full story on the pros and cons of wagon vs ute, and canopy/tub vs service body later once it’s all set up – bit more work to do yet – and has been on a trip or two.
But while we’re working away on that, have you switched from wagon to ute, or from ute to wagon? Or from service body to tub or back?