The modern bakkie is a remarkably versatile vehicle. Boasting all the comfort and technology of a passenger car, plus all the benefits of a capable workhorse, its ability to perform both duties makes it great value for money.
The locally-built Ford Ranger is one of the best-selling vehicles in South Africa. It is both stylish and rugged, and really comes into its own when you need to move large or heavy items, without the hassle of towing a trailer.
The area at the back of a bakkie is called a load box, also known as a load bed or load bin. Packing the load box properly improves safety for you and your passengers, as well as other road users. A load is only secure when items can’t slide, fall onto the road, or become airborne.
Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa offers these five tips for maximising the awesome load box feature of your bakkie.
- Don’t overload
The combined weight of the driver, passengers, and cargo should never exceed your bakkie’s payload capacity, however tempting it may be to add more when you see empty space. An overloaded load box may make it harder to stay in control, and you’re at a higher risk of roll-over. Your owner’s manual will have everything you need to know about your bakkie’s payload.
- Invest in a proper cover
Some load box covers come with elastic straps that secure them, while others can be anchored with ratchet straps. This helps protect items being carried, and keeps them in place. To better secure the cover and protect your load box from damage, use only the recommended attachment points – don’t cut into the load box to make your own. The Ranger comes standard with three sets of secure anchorage points in the load box. Always use the points at the front (closest to the cabin), plus at least the centre or rear points.
- Use the vehicle’s in-built tech
Modern bakkies are equipped with lots of high-end tech that can help you see better and drive more confidently – a reverse camera, for instance, can be super helpful when your cargo is stacked high. Also, get to know all the other semi-autonomous technologies under the hood. For example, high-spec Ford Ranger models come with Adaptive Cruise Control, Adaptive Load Control, and Hill Descent Control.
- Use ratchet straps and netting to secure items
When hauling large furniture or large household appliances, use ratchet straps made of strong synthetic fibre. Secure the straps to the item itself, or criss-cross on top of the item to prevent movement in all directions. Secure lighter items such as luggage with custom-fitted nylon or polyester fibre cargo nets.
- Distribute weight evenly
Construction materials such as gravel or sand often allow for more even weight distribution. Keep the heaviest loads as far forward and as low as possible. Keeping your payload forward (closest to the cab of the vehicle) will help prevent the front of your bakkie from becoming light, and help you stay in control, especially in wet road conditions.