Getting the right balance of going head-to-head with the elements and optimising your ride’s performance is no mean feat. What I mean is, if your aim is off-road adventures, then you don’t want your vehicle to be so cushy that you might as well be driving on the highway.
This might not make that much sense to city drivers, where driving is essentially a means to an end, but most off-roaders will get what I’m on about. Driving becomes a sport, and it’s no fun if it’s too easy. You don’t want the machine doing all the work for you, but you still need it to pull its weight. Like I said, it’s all about balance.
Personally, I’m less interested in mechanical performance enhancements than I am in the external hardware, such as aluminium ute canopies. Near Melbourne, most 4WDers see that stuff as secondary, whereas for me it’s half the fun. Besides, it does feed into the performance side of things, because factors like choice of tray and canopy can affect weight distribution across the whole vehicle. When you’re scaling sand dunes or negotiating water crossing, every detail of how your rig is put together makes a difference, and that’s where things get really interesting for me.
When it comes to buying 4×4 aluminium canopies, my best tip is to get something custom made. Once you get into the realm of tricked-out recreation vehicles, no two trucks end up the same, since everyone has slightly different priorities and a general interest in modifications. So, to get the weight distribution absolutely right, you’ll generally want a canopy that’s not available to buy off the shelf.
Honestly, getting custom accessories made might just be the funnest part of the whole business. There’s no feeling like driving away from an aluminium fabricator with a one-of-a-kind ute fitout. It’s almost as godlike a feeling as cruising down a dirt road, with just yourself and some random country radio station compilation for company.