Topside creepers can make a huge difference to the ease with which you can access certain places while minimizing strain on your body. However, they can be difficult to store when not in use.
In this article, we describe topside creepers in detail and outline multiple ways you can store them, depending on the characteristics of your particular situation.
What Is A Topside Creeper?
A top-side creeper is a special piece of garage equipment that can help you get access to hard-to-reach places when working with vehicles.
It has a rectangular base with wheels, and a ladder built onto the frame, which has adjustable angles meaning you can create a C shape and use that to climb up to a certain height and then lay down and reach out safely.
They are designed for working on vehicles and make it much easier to reach far corners of the engine bay or areas that are typically hard to reach.
Given the C shape nature of the tool, you can slide it under the vehicle and then adjust the ladder so it helps you reach the back of the engine bay, if you are doing mechanical work, or helps you conveniently get access to the top of the vehicle in cases of panel beating and painting the roof of the car or truck.
They provide an ergonomic, safe, and effective way to access these places making the life of a mechanic or painter much easier. They not only make it easier, but they prevent many back injuries, keep you from damaging the vehicle (by leaning on top), and keep your clothing much cleaner.
Different Types of Topside Creeper
Topside creepers vary in a variety of different ways, explained below.
Some topside creeper bases are rectangular in shape, whereas other topside creepers utilize a t-shape. Though the rectangular shape might be considered slightly more stable, the t-shape is very effective and can be used to slide the creeper under more difficult places to reach as it does not require full frame-width access.
Different models have differing height possibilities so it is important to know what sort of vertical reach you require and get one that can reach as high as you need. If you are just needing a topside creeper to reach the back of an engine bay then you will have different height requirements to a painter wanting access to a vehicle roof, or someone working on wings of small airplanes.
Some topside creepers are designed to be rested on, at the top height, and others can facilitate a full-length human body laying down on the horizontal support.
Topside Creepers vary in the amount of adjustability they have in their ladder angle. Some have a preset number of potential angles they can be fixed at, whereas others provide more flexibility.
While all topside creepers fold down to an extent, some can be flatter than others. So depending on how much space you have in your garage or workshop, consider how you would store the creeper you were looking at, prior to purchase.
How Big Is A Topside Creeper?
Though individual models vary, many topside creepers tend to be around 50 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 7-10 inches high when folded down.
When talking about weight, you will see two different measurements. One measurement will be the actual weight of the topside creeper itself, and the other measure will be the weight capacity of the topside creeper (how much weight it can hold).
In general, an average topside creeper will weigh around 70 pounds.
Storage Options For a Topside Creeper
There are many different ways you can store your topside creeper. We definitely recommend you store it in a weather-protected area with overhead and side covers at least. If you have to store it outside, you will eventually see corrosion appear on the frame (even though painted) and deterioration of the upholstery.
Depending on the nature of shelving you have in your shed or garage, how it is situated, its size, and its weight capacity you could potentially store your topside creeper on a shelf.
Given topside creepers do weigh a significant amount (70 pounds), you could cause yourself a significant injury by regularly lifting it up onto a high shelf, but if there is a shelf low to the ground, it could be a suitable location to store your topside creeper.
Alternatively, if the bottom shelf is slightly raised off of the ground, you might be able to slide the topside creeper underneath the bottom shelf.
Topside creepers are not small, but if you have a large cupboard or storage unit inside your shed or garage then you could store it inside that. Even if the cupboard is not deep enough to have the topside creeper on the floor, you could potentially roll the end of the creeper in, and then lift up the other end, and store it inside the cupboard vertically.
To do this you would need access to the cupboard of about 25-30 inches in width, and 10 inches in depth.
Garden Shed/Small Shed
Similar to a cupboard, if your garage has no space then a garden shed or small shed close to your garage would be a great place to store your topside creeper. Given the bases are on wheels you could easily roll it out to the shed, then into the shed, and have it either sitting on the floor of the shed or lift one end up and rest it vertically against one of the shed walls.
Hang It On The Wall
If one of the walls of your garage is clear, hanging your topside creeper on the wall, or at least leaning it against the wall, is probably the easiest way to store your topside creeper.
You can easily roll your creeper to the place on the wall it will hang, fold it down and then lift up one end of the topside creeper to rest on the wall. If you can place a hook, or hooks, slightly higher than the height it would organically sit, you could then lift it onto the hooks.
Keep in mind that they are reasonably heavy so you would need either good physical health or someone who can help you.
Hang it From The Roof
The final storage method you could consider for a topside creeper is to hang it from your ceiling, or a rafter, when not in use.
It would require a specific setup to enable this though. You would need some form of rope/cable that you used to hook the creeper to and then hoisted it up.
A simple design would be a pulley hung from the ceiling with a rope threaded through. Then a hook on one end of the rope and the other end of the rope would be used to pull, which would hoist the topside creeper into the air. Then you would tie off the rope, attaching it to a tie point of some sort to hold it in the air.
For this method to be suitable, you would need a high ceiling, otherwise the creeper would be hanging at head height and be a hazard.
But if you do have the ceiling height, and the know-how to create a simple pulley system, it can be an effective method, requiring no lifting capacity by yourself.
There are a variety of ways you can store a topside creeper. The best solution for you will depend on the nature of your shed/garage, how much space you have, the ceiling height, and your lifting ability. The above suggestions can be used as described, or to inspire you to find a unique solution, taking some different ideas from multiple different approaches.