Three Good Reasons for a Tractor Canopy
I started writing this piece in early summer in Missouri where we’ve had unseasonably warm weather. If you’ve spent any time out brush hogging with a 100 degree heat index, you’re sweating.
If, like me, you can’t afford a cab tractor, then you’re stuck out there in the sunshine. I’ve always wanted a tractor canopy to keep the sun off, but never had one. Now that I’m sitting here in the cool house with an iced drink in my hand, I’d like to talk a little bit about canopies – the advantages and the disadvantages.
A Canopy Cuts the Heat
When you’re out brush hogging in the summer sunshine without a canopy, it’s probably 20 or 30 degrees hotter than it would be if you had one. A canopy definitely makes a summer day on the tractor more comfortable.
And a lot of us have spent our summers out in the open sunshine, so we can’t avoid thinking about the risks of developing skin cancer. A canopy gives you protection from that, too.
Plus, a canopy is really useful in bad weather. It can keep snow snow from getting in your eyes during a snowstorm, and in a rainstorm, you’ll stay pretty dry. I was brush hogging some property I own last summer, and a cloud came out of nowhere and just dumped rain on me. If I’d had a canopy, I’d at least have had something to keep me from getting totally drenched. I could have headed for a home on the tractor and probably got there. As it was, I was stuck out in the middle of nowhere. It was raining so hard I couldn’t see to drive, so I just sat there and got wetter and wetter.
But – There Are Downsides to Most Canopies, Too
There’s lots of canopies on the market these days. About every equipment dealer offers one. Over the years I would look at all the different options, but realized there were several reasons not to have a canopy.
Picture this: You’re towing your tractor on a trailer down an open road with all that wind coming at it at 60 or 70 miles an hour. That’s really hard on a canopy. It takes a pretty stout canopy to survive that.
Now, some people back their tractors onto the trailers, and there’s a chance of getting into dangerous problems with tongue weight. So if you transport your tractor to other places, that’s another reason not to have a canopy.
And the main reason you’ve never seen me with a canopy until now is that trees and canopies do not get along. I wanted a canopy all my years growing up on the farm, but we had an apple orchard and the low limbs would have just destroyed a canopy.
Now I live in an area where a good part of it is timber, and I take a tractor back there often. Truth is, I would still just totally destroy a canopy in the timber. So I went without.
Until this spring.
One day, I got a call from a man who makes canopies and he said, “I’d like you to evaluate my canopy.”
I said, ” Well. everybody builds canopies, and I’m not all that interested.”
Then he said, “Oh, but this one you can take off the tractor.”
He sure got my attention!
A Canopy That Finally Solved My Problems
Turns out, this is a Rhino hide canopy. I like it so much that I have it for sale here on my website. It’s heavy plastic, made of the material you see on top of big trash cans, but it’s even heavier than that. It’s the same stuff that covers these big, big trash dumpsters that get beaten up by trash trucks and survive.
This material can be bent around and it can be mashed, but it pops back into shape. And the best thing is how light it is. Plus, it’s held in place by only two bolts, and on most tractors you can simply loosen them and the canopy just comes right off.
One thing to know, though: If you’ve got a roll bar, you may have to take the canopy bolts off completely. Then you just get under the canopy and try to lift as level as possible, and it will come right off.
Now, I’ll be 60 years old in October, so if I can do this, you probably can, too! Just keep it level when you want to reattach it, slide it on the upright support bars, and reattach the bolts.
On the widest roll bars, you may have to drill a couple holes to properly mount the canopy, but it takes less than an hour to get it where you want it to sit.
Keeping the Tractor Outdoors
The other thing I’ve found out is that if you keep the tractor outside, the ribs on the top might pool a little bit of water. So you might want to take the canopy off and dump that water out before you drive it.
I have to say, I love it! I do take it off when I go into the woods or when I haul the tractor. But now when I’m brush hogging, I’m cool and happy under my canopy. And you can be, too! And don’t forget to pick up a Tractor Caddy to hold all your small tools and items while you work.