ert01: OK, I am not an Albertan. Heck, I am not even Canadian. So I know this post is nonresponsive. But here goes anway.
You got some snow up dere, eh?* ***
Well, we got some snow down here too. In fact the primary use of my van is in snow country. So, I went with the Smortsmobile fiberglass fixed Voyager top** and here's why:
1. Even though the Penthouse top can be insulated, it still has to be raised.
And there are times when the doors
on my van have to be fiddled with to get them to open without pulling the door handles off because they have frozen shut. I didn't want to fight that arriving at a ski resort at 11:00 at night and wanting just to go to sleep so my wife and I can get the value out of our expensive lift ticket the next morning.
2. Even though the Penthouse top can be insulated, it still has to be lowered.
So to close it properly will mean at least a broom and a ladder brushing out the 2"- 4" of powder snow caked up against the canvas before you can lower it after a night's storm. And my guess (and it is only a guess from years in snow country) that warmth in the van interior will melt the new powder against the canvas and on the surfaces which must mate for the top to properly close for driving. And I can't image what it would take to clear that ice out. (Heck, I always carry an adjustable bic lighter to heat my door key to get the door lock cylinders to turn. And for the cylinders in Masterlock padlocks to turn, etc.)
3. I am a minimalist as far as cabnetry
is concerned. I have a passenger van because I like windows unobscured by cabnetry. My main downstairs "cabinet" is a metal frame version of what Crobins937 recently posted:
Of course there is also additional storage below the downstairs bench seat and rear bed bench extension for stuff less often used.
IMHO a Penthouse top requires cabnetry downstairs to put stuff in because it doesn't have the upstairs storage a fixed top has. A fixed top comes with huge storage space above the cab and above the back and along the siderails (they leave about 6" of space between the outside gutters and the interior when they do the roof cut out - that is where my microwave is bolted down and the coffee maker sits when not in use, and alot of other stuff.)
4. Kayak racks
. Maximum solar panels, etc.
5. I am stupid.
And I need to keep every brain cell I have, so I don't want to wonder everytime when I stand up whether or not the top is up.
Hope it helps.
I like your country. But I am still pissed off about the 2010 Olympics... "The final score was a 3–2 win for Team Canada. Sidney Crosby scored the game-winning goal off a pass from Jarome Iginla, seven minutes and forty seconds into overtime for Canada, gaining victory over the United States." However, who cannot like Sidney Crosby? My wife and I had the unfortunate experience of watching the games from the Clock Tower in Whistler where my cheers and groans were out of sync with the rest of the Village and I got no sympathy from the locals...
And Happy New Year!
* You have some big balls to park that heavy thing on a lake.
** If you went with the Sportsmobile Cruiser Top, you could easily sleep upstairs because it is 5" taller in the interior.
*** Language assistance provided by Instructables:
http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to- ... -Canadian/