If you’re a tradie, your ute is probably one of your most important possessions that enables you to get your bread. Utes are multi-purposeful, tough workhorses that can be used in a thousand different ways. Ute accessories can even further their use and versatility, and one of those accessories that thousands of tradies around the country can’t do without are ute tray boxes.
Ute tray boxes come in a wide range of shapes and forms, such as under tray boxes, that utilise the otherwise unusable space behind or in front of the rear wheels, depending on the type of ute you have. Under tray boxes are also available in a range of shapes and sizes, and come with a variety of functions. All of this makes them quite popular today amongst tradies.
You won’t notice these types of boxes mounted to dual cab utes, though, as they’re only suited for trays and chassis-mounted canopies. So, when are under tray tool boxes the best choice?
Best Uses for Undertray Boxes and Things to Consider
These toolboxes are best suited for lightweight gear that is used on a frequent basis, as well as dirty gear like rubbish and wet clothes. Some tradies use them to mount water pumps or air compressors, and they can also be used for storage. However, they aren’t suitable for some applications, so you should think carefully what you need them for before you buy them.
For instance, if you’re frequently driving over obstacles, know that your departure angle will be worse off if you have an undertray box installed. They hang low fairly, and at the back of your ute. The spare wheel and tow bar will be still lower, but the toolbox will get hit if you aren’t careful. Undertray boxes can bend easily, and damage your canopy and tray. Think about what would happen if the back of your ute drops in a hole – the toolbox will end up stuck under all the weight of your vehicle rather than the tow bar.
Furthermore, undertray toolboxes can add a fair amount of weight in a bad spot. Luckily, though, there are aluminium undertray boxes that don’t weigh more than several kilogrammes. As long as you’re careful and don’t add too much extra heavy equipment and tools in them, you’ll be fine. If you aren’t careful, though, you risk bending your chassis, or the mounting brackets to fatigue and eventually fail.
On the downside, aluminium tool boxes can be on the more expensive side. But that’s a price most tradies are willing to pay. While steel toolboxes are more affordable, they’re heavier, and oftentimes not as strong as aluminium, especially if they’re made of mild steel.
Do You Really Need an Undertray Toolbox?
Only you can answer that question. An undertray toolbox can be extremely useful to you, if the aforementioned issues aren’t a problem. So, if you keep to the pavement and don’t need to pack heavy tools and equipment in them, they might suit you just fine. If you venture off the beaten trail, though, and need as good of a departure angle as you can get, they might not be the best choice. So what should you get if undertray toolboxes aren’t suitable for you? Luckily, there are quite a few alternatives.
Alternative Ute Storage Solutions
Canopies are the go-to solution for ute owners, regardless of what type of base their ute has. That being said, canopies are separated into three basic categories – well-body or tub canopies, tray canopies and chassis-mounted canopies.
The majority of utes come with a well-body or tub arrangement. These are the panel-style tubs that go with the ute panels. You can attach a wide range of canopies onto them to store equipment and tools. The tubs aren’t that expensive, and you can get a second-hand one for cheap. The reason for that is that many owners fit steel or aluminium trays in their stead.
Tray arrangements are another popular factory setup for utes, and most have fold-down sides. They’re typically made of aluminium, but there are also steel options. Canopies that attach to trays need the fold-down sides removed, and they’re typically bolted through the tray. These canopies are easy to set up and remove.
Lastly, chassis-mounted canopies, as their name implies, are bolted onto the chassis rather than go over the tray. As a result, these canopies are super strong and permanent additions. That being said, they’re a great solution for tradies looking for extra stability and heavy-duty storage solutions.
Decked Drawer System
These storage units are heavy-duty, weighing about 100kg. They’re waterproof and highly customisable, so you can get one that fits the space available on your ute. They allow you to move panels around in order to organise equipment and tools in a way that provides the most efficiency for you. The drawers are lockable, giving you peace of mind knowing your tools and equipment are safe and sound at all times.