ute tubs or trays

There’s nothing quite as exciting as planning how you want to kit out your ute. Whether you’re a tradie needing a place to organise your tools, an adventurer wanting a setup for off-road and camping, or are using your ute for a bit of everything, there are an astounding amount of options on offer.

Ultimately, what’s on the back of your ute matters when it comes to getting organised. Sure, you could leave it with the stock standard setup, but this is rarely going to be fit for what you need it for. These days, heaps of ute owners are choosing toolboxes as a core part of their setup. More than just a handy spot to organise and store gear, they’re a better way to protect your stuff from the elements and theft.

Importantly, if you’re eyeing off ute toolboxes as a part of your setup, you’ll want to consider whether you go with a tub or tray ute body. Which style you go with will determine what setup you can create down the road, and naturally, there’s pros and cons to each. With so many toolbox options available including underbody, half-lid, full-lid, canopies, and drawers, let’s take a look at which is the right choice for you if you’ve got ute toolboxes in your plans.



Ute with tub

Many popular utes these days come standard with a tub. A ‘tub’ is basically a sidewall about ¾ height of the ute body, which is an extension of the front chassis. These all come with a rear tailgate for cargo loading, and can also come with additional hardcovers, softcovers, or a built-in canopy (not to be confused with a canopy toolbox).

Tub utes are best for people who want to fit as much volume as possible. The extra sidewall height can be handy for taller items or stacking goods that require more vertical space. Avid campers usually pick tub utes for their ability to fit bulky swags and equipment like chairs, winches and compressors. Meanwhile families will opt for these for the sheer amount of space on offer.

While these may be a great solution for high-volume storage, they are a little less flexible when it comes to installing ute tub toolboxes. The height of the tub sidewall and tailgate can be considerably taller than that of the cab chassis fold down rails. It can be hard to reach into and too high to suit even the half-lid toolboxes. The rear wheel housing takes up floor space for loading palletised goods, these are also another reason why fitting tool boxes is not suitable. You also won’t be able to install underbody due to the body restrictions.

Pros: Great for high-volume storage needs like camping or for families, a better option for carrying loose or tall items (e.g bikes).

Cons: Limited ute toolbox options, less tie-down points for transporting goods, harder to load and not ideal for pallet loads.



Ute with tray

When you think of a true ‘tradie’ style ute, you’re probably thinking of one with a tray or flatbed. Trays are a more versatile option that allow you ultimate flexibility when it comes to installing a wide combination of ute toolboxes and other options. Unlike the chassis body of a tub, these trays are typically made of general purpose alloy, with lockable and removable gates on each side that afford you the most flexibility when it comes to loading up whatever you need.

Trays really allow you to be the ‘architect’ of your own ute setup, and are pretty much open slather when it comes to toolboxes. All of the ute toolboxes Global stock can be installed on tray and flatbed bodies. Another big upside here is that you can modify the tray sides with new locks so that you can access full lid tool boxes without having to drop down the tray sides each time.

Trays also have a lot more tie-down points, meaning you’ll be able to secure just about anything to them. The downside? From a looks standpoint, utes with tubs are more pleasing to the eye as they are an extension of the ute body. But does that really matter when you’ve got a superior setup with all of your stuff tucked away in its perfect place?

Pros: Complete versatility, compatible with all ute toolboxes, easier to load cargo, easier to keep things organised.

Cons: Not as pleasing on the eye, not as suited to stacking large or bulky items.


We reckon that the best way to get organised and protect the gear in your ute is with toolboxes. They make getting on with the job (or fun) that much easier, and provide you with endless ways to store all your bits and pieces.

So based on this, we’d typically recommend a ute with a tray over a tub for flexibility’s sake. However, it all depends on the way you plan on using your ute. So choose wisely!

Browse our range of ute toolboxes, or contact a Global representative for more information about the right solution for you.