Without a doubt, the 79 Series LandCruiser and canopy combo is one of the most desirable tough touring setups. The Norweld canopy has a reputation as one of the best, let’s take a look.
At first glance, Norweld’s trays and canopies seem desirably overengineered. Manufacturing with aluminium allows Norweld to build a robust canopy but without excessive weight.
One of the biggest complaints we hear from 79 Series LandCruiser owners is the impact on driveability and reliability (tyres and suspension) caused by an excess of weight behind the rear axle.
The reality is that the wheelbase is simply too short for the desired setup. For most of us, it’s easy to see that the stance of vehicles set up like this just doesn’t quite look right.
With a standard length tray adding, by adding around 300mm to the chassis seems to be an effective solution, and it’s a popular option for those choosing a Norweld canopy in the full-length size.
The Norweld Canopy Compact Series 79 LandCruiser offers another option to this issue – the canopy is 240mm shorter than the tray. Combined with carefully packing heavier items forward, the result is effectively similar to adding length to the chassis but at a fraction of the cost. Yes, a little space is lost. But still, even after a small investment in space-saving gear like more compact chairs, compressible down sleeping bags and the like – for many it’s a great option.
Many travellers choose Norweld’s tray plus canopy options; during the lifetime of their vehicle, there will often be periods where a tray only setup is beneficial. While Norweld’s canopies aren’t quick release (they don’t trust the security), with an impact driver, they are easy to unbolt.
The canopies have a pressurising vent and high-quality rubber seals that keep water and fine dust out. The seals are mounted on the canopy doors away from harm’s way as gear is packed in the canopy; it’s simple, intelligent design.
To allow for R&D to prove design, consistent build quality, and some of the fastest turnaround times in the industry, Norweld offers a range of factory options rather than fully custom internal builds.
One side of this canopy has a securely mounted 110-litre Dometic fridge. Beside this are an easy out, robust table and drawer combo. Above this is shelving that could be used for anything, but seems to suit packing cells, with another high shelf that could accommodate compact chairs.
The driver’s side is fitted with a massive full-length drawer. Above this is free storage that can comfortably accommodate several large tubs or duffle bags.
The rear drawer is long and deep enough to store items like a Hi-Lift or hydraulic jack, MAXTRAX and recovery, or other, gear.
Norweld offer modern electrical systems with smart battery chargers, inverters and lithium batteries from Enerdrive or REDARC. These are mounted in the voids at the front of the canopy to maximise internal space.
Canopies and trays are also available to suit the width and compatibility of the JMACX track correcting axles and coil suspension and even Marks 4WD Adapters Portal Axles. This one was running a full coil rear!
Underbody water tanks are available, and this 79 Series was fitted with a 40-litre tank.
The sturdy Norweld roof rack can comfortably accommodate solar panels, awnings, jerry cans and MAXTRAX.
The tray securely bolts to the chassis with heavy-duty brackets. The toolbox positions are easily adjusted to suit larger diameter tyres. The toolboxes are a handy size; big enough to house items like an ARB twin compressor, but without hanging low enough to be easily damaged offroad.
The rear wheel carrier is designed to allow the weight of the wheels to sit on the protruding tray. It has slotted adjustment to allow this to work with a range of popular tyre sizes.
Details like the canopy and ladders latch also demonstrate sturdy design principles; everything was easy to operate even covered in dirt. Even the fuel fill point is relocated for easy access.
Co-owner of Norweld, Isaac Edmiston, told us that with the Compact Series they wanted the 79 Series to feel nimble like a wagon to drive. After watching Isaac twist through some tight turns and spending a few hours of the trip at the wheel myself, I can’t disagree; it handles superbly!
With intelligent design throughout, this Norweld Canopy is one of the best we’ve seen for the 79 Series LandCruiser.