29th January 2012
Many of us are awaiting with great anticipation for the launch of the new Ford Ranger.
Unfortunately for Ford, they had planned to launch in September/October last year but due to
unforeseen circumstances, like floods in Thailand, supplies of certain items that were required to
complete production were delayed.
The new launch date is at the beginning of February. There have been many articles written on the
Ranger, but something I would like to look at, are what accessories are available for the new
Something that everybody seems to go for is what used to be called the "roll bar", on some vehicles
especially those used in rallies, a roll bar plays an important part in safety, however the roll
bars you see on many bakkies, are simply cosmetic.
Ford has many accessories that enhance the look of a vehicle. The subject I want to look at, is
what do you do with the pickup bed, i.e. or the back of the bakkie?
Perhaps for example a farmer might not really be concerned with the protection of the bed or
security, but for most people the question is asked what should I purchase? Do I purchase a canopy,
a tonneau cover, an armadillo style product or just stick with the soft top tonneau cover?
The other question is what about the pick up bed? Does one just leave it as is or should you go for
some sort of lining and if so what?
Let us first have a look at some of the covers that are available.
The first one which, has proven very popular over the years is the canopy. The reason being is
whatever is in the back is fairly secure, easy to transport people, and waterproof. I say fairly
secure, but the problem is everybody else can also see what you have, and this can be a real
temptation for someone. So at the back of your mind you are asking the question, when I go
shopping, will my shopping be safe? Cost wise, depending on the quality of the product this will be
the deciding factor of the cost. As the old adage goes you get what you pay for.
The second option is the Armadillo style, which is lockable, but not waterproof. So you can lock up
your shopping but if there is a downpour while the shopping is secure in the back, it's going to
get wet. The other problem is if dust and dirt gets into the working parts of the mechanism, it
could jam. The other disadvantage with the armadillo is the housing is stored at the front of the
bin, and you will immediately lose valuable space, especially if you purchase a double cab.
A product that has recently come onto the South African market is the Roll-n-Lock, similar idea to
the Armadillo but the housing is installed behind the cab, on top of the bin, thus saving space.
This is an American product that has been approved by the German TUV standards. Being a German
standard, one knows it's a good product.
The third option is the tonneau cover. One is fairly limited, there is the fibre glass cover, and
the manufacturer claims it is strong, but what one must consider that most of them are colour
coded, and one then needs to be careful that it is not scratched as you will end up with an ugly
Another product that is now available, and although fairly costly, is well designed and well built.
This is the Mountain Top Aluminium Tonneau Cover, which is sometimes known as the hard top.
Manufactured in Europe , it carries the German TUV and ABE standard, and has proven to be very
popular in Europe. The Mountain Top Tonneau Cover boasts a thick aluminium plate with etchings on
the top. This type of finish is hardier and stylish. It is lockable to give you good security and
it's waterproof! For people who carry valuable equipment around the Mountain Top Tonneau Cover is
What I like about the Mountain Top Tonneau Cover it is easy to install and once installed, it can
be removed very quickly and attached just as quick. The only requirement to remove and install, is
you need two people.
The Mountain Top Tonneau Cover requires no drilling, the vehicle bed cover can be accessed from all
three sides. You can load a safe 100kgs on top of the aluminium cover, this makes it ideal for
farmers, hunters , in fact it's ideal for anyone who needs to carry anything of value and you don't
have to be concerned that it will get wet.
As the Mountain Top Tonneau Cover has proven to be popular in Europe and England, so it will be
The last option is the vinyl tonneau cover. Inexpensive, it will protect your goods in the back,
but as it is soft, there is very little security.
Protecting the Bin Floor.
So you have decided what tonneau cover you want, now you need to look at protecting the pickup bed.
You may feel that it's not important to have anything on the floor, but unless you are someone who
will never carry anything in the back, it will end up scratched and dented. As you have invested a
huge amount of money in your bakkie, this is not a wise decision.
The most popular product in South Africa, is the Rhino Lining. It is applied to the pickup bed and
it's similar to emery paper, strong, but course. Once again if the bed is scratched there is a good
chance your bed may begin to rust. It is also not very people friendly - kind of rough to sit
A cheap solution are the mats made from old tyres, it works, but does not look very pretty.
There are plastic bed liners coming onto the market. Most of them are from the Far East, how
effective and durable they are I cannot comment.
Another new product, although they used to be around is the BedRug, which is manufactured in
The BedRug is made of marine grade polymer and is resistant to oil and chemical, and yet feels just
like a carpet. The BedRug has a flat non skid surface protecting both vehicle body and cargo
carried in the vehicle bed. The BedRug surface is easy to clean with water. Water is not absorbed
by the closed-cell foam.
The BedRug is so rugged that even if you spill battery acid on it, it will not damage the product
and can be easily removed with a high pressure cleaner.
The BedRug is very easy to install, with an exact fit and fills in the ribs of the vehicle bed for
a smooth knee friendly surface.
The BedRug becomes a comfortable platform for your canopy. It will turn your bakkie bed into a
These products are available from 4x4 Bakkie Accessories.