January brought about the start of our first major project- building the new canopy. We needed more storage in the back of the Rodeo before we head off in June.
We bought the vehicle with an ARB Fibreglass canopy which we thought was very tidy and practical but after so long on the road travelling, it really made us realise just how much wasted space and how impractical they are for a family who has LOT’s of stuff. With our new baby now here, we are going to need more room than ever to store our gear and the usual baby items like pram, nappies etc and our new investment of a portable washing machine which is quite bulky. The other thing we needed to consider was access to certain items, not having to dig around and fumble with finding an item that with the old canopy would usually be right at the bottom!
The structural frame was made up using 25mm x 25mm galvanised tubing, the mounting brackets measured and fitted, self-adhesive foam rubber was added for dust-proofing and the toolboxes fixed into place.
The wiring has been done and the 10A smart charger and solar regulator have been attached. We have also installed some very bright and efficient LED lighting to each box which hav very little current draw and are super bright.
We had some aluminium checker plate cut to size and folded into panels so all we had to do was attach them to the boxes to form an enclosed canopy. A simple splash of silicon along the joins will ensure it is water and dust proof.
Just below the PVC tube is a 50A Anderson plug for our solar panels to plug in to charge the AUX battery via the 20A solar regulator.
In the tub of the rodeo, we splashed a coat of rust guard gloss white as the tub was looking a bit scratched up and a bit worse for wear! We have mounted our 105ah All-Rounder Calcium AUX battery. This battery is connected to the cars alternator via a smart isolator which controls the charging of the AUX and Main batteries. The AUX battery runs the LED lighting in the boxes but is mainly istalled to run the compressor fridge we are still yet to purchase.
We built and painted a plywood shelf to allow our 160w solar panels to be stored underneath and be protected from damage whilst allowing other items to be stored on top such as the fridge! A 50A Anderson plug is also installed to the rear of the tub for handy access when we need to run our air compressor, laptop charger, inverter etc! You can never have too many power outlets!
We finally got our door made for the rear of the canopy. We used some square tubing and attached some 3mm checker plater for security. We added a bolt lock and some rubber seal around the frame.
Our Jerry can holders are also now in place.
This has given us so much more practical space for storage but best of all it gives us convenient access to our tools etc!
Glad its finished and quite proud of it actually- its not pretty, but its pretty practical!