Design Considerations & Features

The "Full-time Tourer "

The KAPPA canopy is not like any other 4WD vehicle canopy on the Australian market.  

Most 4WD canopies are "Jack Off" or "Slide Off" units.  Kappa canopies are full-time tourers, permanently fixed to the 4WD.  What this offers is greater weight savings, improved weight distribution, space utilisation and deluxe comfort when remote camping.

Our Primary Goal

Our goal is to provide a well crafted and built glamping solution, designed for Australian conditions and is:-

The Design Concept - Anytime Anywhere

Simple and quick - it takes only a couple of minutes to be set for the night, which can be a real blessing after a long day on the track or for a quick getaway in the morning.  

The design and layout takes into account our Australia conditions. Days are mostly warm and pleasant, while nights can be cold.  So outside dinning with build-in heating to fend off those chilly nights and mornings inside.

Access to a bed to either chill out during the day or to sleep is a safe three steps to access the canopy.  No wobbly rooftop long ladder climb.

With the optional awning and shelter, even the most Inclement weather condition can be escaped with minimal effort.

Materials Used

The canopy is fabricated using various materials, whereby the material properties are best utilised. The sub structure that attaches the canopy to the vehicle, uses galvanised and zinc plated steel components for strength, durability and corrosion resistance. 

Aluminium is used throughout the upper monocoque shell structure for its strength to weight ratio, corrosion resistance and ease of fabrication. Fibreglass provide a strong yet flexible poptop roof that insulates and locks into place,

Lightweight plywood shelving and decorative timber finishes on drawer fronts.


The canopy is predominately assembled using screws and rivet type fasteners. This provides flexibility to match that of the vehicle over undulating tracks and to remove structural crack.  Fastener's are selected to meet or exceed the expected dynamic loads and to minimise galvanic corrosion.

The sub structure is welded and bolted for maximum strength, rigidity and to reduce joint fatigue over time.

Space and Weight 

The monocoque design eliminates the need for a heavy and rigid skeletal frame. This delivers almost 100% space utilisation, significant weight reduction, improved joint flexibility, lowering stress and cracking potential.  

Good weight distribution reduces structural stress and improves ride quality over rough and demanding tracks.  Water and waste water tanks are located under the deck level and well forward of the rear axial, along with other heavier items like the battery, fridge and spare wheels etc.  

Reducing weight is key.  While a drop-down fridge side would be great, saving a massive 40kg of unwanted weight is better.   Even the use of tie down straps to secure the spare wheels provide a weight saving over alternative fixing methods. The standard vehicle tray has been replaced with a fully integrated sub structure and deck, saving around 80kg. Internal compartments are arranged in such a way that strengthens the overall canopy unit without the need to use a heavy internal frame.

Under deck storage lockers provide additional space for other heavier items such as recovery gear, air compressor, water pump, hot water heater etc.  Located low and along the extremities of the canopy base, provides improved vehicle stability and reduces vehicle roll.

The driver's side of the canopy is what we call the workshop. The lift-up side door provides shelter while accessing the tool drawer, spare wheels, and other supplies including upwards of 5 Jerry cans of extra fuel / water, fire wood, additional food and personal items.

Lighter items such as camping chairs, table and other gear are located offside on the multipurpose storage shelf.

Insulation and Dust Exclusion

To reduce heat building up inside the canopy, the poptop, deck and doors are insulated. All doors and under deck storage lockers are fitted with dust seals.  While on the move, the inside of the canopy maintains a small positive air pressure to reduces dust ingress.  

A fan circulates fresh air around the fridge compartment and food storage pantry to extend food freshness and to reduce power consumption in hot weather.


No LPG bottles means safer travels and reduced weight. The heater unit (water / space) and cook top are powered using diesel fuel, that have fully enclosed burn chambers, making them safe to use even during fire ban days.  Fuel is stored in a lightweight plastic tank located in under deck storage locker.

If you are like many 4WD explorers, being able to access a hot shower and toilet while visiting remote locations, must be simple, convenient and quick. 

The KAPPA canopies have been designed to be fully self-contained and inline with the new national park's SCV requirements where visitors leave no impact on the environment.  

The built-in flush toilet captures its waste within an odour free removable cassette. Waste water from the sink, hand basin and shower pan are collected in a waste water tank.

Kitchen Area

The pullout sink / work bench unit is fully plumbed to hot / cold water and waste and provides an ideal food prep and wash up area at any time.

The pantry drawer with its open sides make for easy access and the internal dividers to minimise movement of items while on the move.

Kitchen drawers are readily accessible and use magnetic locking to secure while on the move.

The diesel cook top is fast and simple to use with pots and pans storage cleverly using a corner void. 

Canopy Access & Poptop

Canopy access is from the rear using a slide out three step self-supporting ladder, avoiding the need to adjust for uneven and unstable ground levels.  A fold out handle provides additional support when entering and exiting the canopy.

The top section of the canopy incorporates a unique double lift insulated poptop that provides greater overall headroom on entry, while showering and when sitting up in bed.  

The lifting of the lightweight poptop design uses four gas struts and supporting frames that firmly locks the poptop in position to not collapse during windy conditions or from falling tree branches.  The canvas walls have large all round zip up mesh openings for improved cross ventilation.  The rear canvas wall expands outwards to form a storage ledge and greater internal space.

During cold nights and mornings, the diesel space will quickly warm up the inside of the canopy.  

The poptop also incorporates a low profile internal shower rail, fan and lights. A solar panel is mounted on top, with a external brush bar to protect against low hanging tree branches.

The hand basin outlet and mixer doubles up as a trigger shower rose.  The canopy floor also doubles up as a water capture shower pan with built-in floor drain.

Ergonomics By Design

Overall ergonomic design has been applied throughout the layout.  For example, 


Built-in power protection prevents startup and operation of water pump, heater, stove, radio and lights etc when the canopy is closed up.  The same system, provides an in vehicle warning alarm if any part of the canopy is not secured while the vehicle is on the move.

Power has been balance to provides extended stays between recharging from the vehicle or an external power source.  A Redarc BCDC unit manages the charging of the canopy LiFePO4 battery from the vehicle and solar panel. A basic battery and water tank level monitoring system provides easy to read information on the current status of resources.

Electrical, fuel and plumbing services have used a simple design approach to improve reliability and to make fault-finding fast and simple while en-route.

The design and functionality will change over time to incorporate improvements and owner's suggestions.