Barn Door for JK factory hardtops

jscherb

Expedition Leader
There are so many stories online about "stealerships" that it makes me want to post about my good experiences with the local dealer. They have always gone out of their way to help me and I've always had great experiences with them.

Today I walked into the showroom carrying a camera and a roll bar bag. Immediately one of the sales people asked if I was there to measure something (I impose on them a lot to measure things in Jeep models I don't have at home). I said no measurements today but asked if I could borrow the key to one of the Gladiators on the lot because I needed to photograph the bag I was carrying in a Gladiator. Not only did they say yes, but one of the other sales folks immediately went out to the lot and brought a Gladiator up to the front door for me. Then they helped me prepare everything for the photos, repositioned the Jeep so other vehicles weren't in the the photo through the windows, and when I was done they handed me the keys and said "Why don't you try it?" He was so nice and helpful I felt like I had to drive it so off I went (alone).

BTW at 6'6", I find both the JL and JT have less room in them than both my LJs and my JKU. My knees hit the dash even with the seat all the way back. I reported this to him when I got back but thanked him profusely for both the help with the photo and the test drive.

The photos I took:



 
Last edited:

jscherb

Expedition Leader
When I sewed the canopy I added velcro along the bottom edge of 3 sides for possible future attachment of side walls. I haven't decided if I am going to to side walls, but if I do I'll use these from Walmart:



At 10' two of them is enough to cover three sides of the canopy. The pockets in them would be convenient too. All I would really need to do to use them is to sew matching velcro along the top edge, and possible some stake loops along the bottom if they don't have those already.

I used Harbor Freight generic "hook & loop" in the canopy, so I'd sew the same onto the top of the walls:

The HF hook & loop is visible in this interior photo:



 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I'm missing being at Easter Jeep Safari to see the Quadratec Anniversary "YJL" in action with the seat-back bags I designed for them. But they are posting lots of photos of the Jeep on Instagram - this one showed up today and it surprised me because in addition to the seat-back bags, they've got a pair of Saddlebags installed - they're over the inner fender between the roll bars and the seats. As far I knew the Saddlebags weren't in the original plans for the Jeep that they shared with me but I guess they liked them enough to pull a pair out of inventory and install them in the Jeep (QT sells them in addition to the seat-back bags).



I always enjoy seeing something I've designed show up "in the wild." A few weeks ago I was behind at JKU in my small upstate NY town and it had a pair of MORryde HD tailgate hinges installed. It's not so uncommon to see those in the wild since MORryde will be selling their 10,000th pair within a few months (they told me they're thinking of doing some sort of promotion or giveaway when they hit that milestone) but since I'm in a small town in the middle of nowhere it's still rare to see something I've designed on a Jeep I happen to pass.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
My next design and sewing project is a picnic lunch bag. But not just any lunch bag, it has to meet specific requirements...

Let's say you do a lot of day trails, meaning you stay in a hotel at night, say in Colorado or Utah, and you leave the hotel in the morning, do a trail all day, and come back to the hotel in the late afternoon or early evening. Maybe you don't have a fridge in the Jeep and you don't have a lot of spare room for a cooler either. Or maybe you have a fridge or cooler, but you typically park the Jeep somewhere on the trail before lunchtime, hike a few miles to a cool overlook and eat lunch there. You need a lunch bag for those activities. You're doing the trails with your significant other, so the lunch bag must have space for lunch for two. Because you're hiking (or maybe just using the bag to carry lunch in a cramped Jeep), it has to be fairly compact.

Maybe preparing a meal in the wild isn't what this trip is about, so you stop at a local place before leaving town (let's call it Subway for this example) and you buy two footlongs, some drinks, and maybe some deserts/snacks.

Or maybe your significant other decides on a salad instead of a sub, so you'll need some silverware, perhaps a plate or two, maybe some condiments and sauces, maybe some salt and pepper. Carrying all that stuff, it needs to be well organized rather than a jumble of stuff in the bottom of a bag.

And since space is at a premium in the Jeep, let's make it a Zip & Go bag (or maybe a Grab & Go bag) so it can hang out of the way (and out of harm's way) on the back of a seat.

I'll also need to be carried easily on the hike, so it needs either a shoulder strap, or backpack straps, or both.

And it should be very sturdy (military grade materials) so it lasts a long time and can take the abuse of the hike, and it should be very stylish and match the bags in the Quadratec YJL in my last post.

It should be insulated so the drinks keep cool. And while it must be as compact as possible, it should also provide for some expansion, let's say you want to bring extra drinks or snacks or something.

Some photos I'm using for inspiration on styling, utility on the seat back and internal organization:



I've got a preliminary design worked out which I'm in the process of finalizing but before I finish the design, did I miss any scenarios or requirements? The description above is very often how we do lunch on a trail day, does it sync with how you might want to do lunch?
 

Florida Native

Active member
I would want a separate dry area for napkins, some water bottle pockets/loops, and a small pocket for a few plastic grocery sacks (to put trash in for way back so it doesn’t get the insulated main compartment dirty). An additional small “miscellaneous” pocket for a folding water bowl, treats, and extra waste disposal bags for a 4-legged friend would be a nice touch as well.

-Mike
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I would want a separate dry area for napkins, some water bottle pockets/loops, and a small pocket for a few plastic grocery sacks (to put trash in for way back so it doesn’t get the insulated main compartment dirty). An additional small “miscellaneous” pocket for a folding water bowl, treats, and extra waste disposal bags for a 4-legged friend would be a nice touch as well.

-Mike
Thanks for the input! I've got most of that covered in the current state of the design - napkins yes, extra water bottle capacity yes, pocket for plastic grocery bags yes, a removable divider to keep "wet" and "dry" things separate in the main compartment yes.I haven't thought about an extra pocket for doggie supplies (I'm not a dog owner), but I'll see if I can come up with something that still allows the bag to be compact.
 

Florida Native

Active member
I figured you had it very well planned out already, but just thought I would mention it!

Thinking about it a bit more, the folding water bowl is probably better clipped to the outside so as not to get anything else wet, so just your usual assortment of outside loops would be sufficient. That also means the doggie compartment could be pretty small, basically the size of 2-3 standard size pet waste bag rolls would be sufficient to hold an extra roll and some treats. And a clip to hold a full waste bag to the outside of the pack (think upside down belt clip), but that may also be easy enough for the end user to figure something out using an existing outside loop on the bag.

-Mike
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I figured you had it very well planned out already, but just thought I would mention it!

Thinking about it a bit more, the folding water bowl is probably better clipped to the outside so as not to get anything else wet, so just your usual assortment of outside loops would be sufficient. That also means the doggie compartment could be pretty small, basically the size of 2-3 standard size pet waste bag rolls would be sufficient to hold an extra roll and some treats. And a clip to hold a full waste bag to the outside of the pack (think upside down belt clip), but that may also be easy enough for the end user to figure something out using an existing outside loop on the bag.

-Mike
Sounds good. There will be places to clip things on the outside, and there should be enough pocket room for waste bags. Thanks again for the input.
 
Last edited:

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I passed a JK 2dr with a Smittybilt Safari Hardtop on it on the road today. It was being towed by an RV:



The rear hatch glass was missing, presumably broken (it's a flat piece of glass rather than curved, so more susceptible to breakage than a factory hatch.

I've heard stories about the plastic Alpine windows in these tops developing leaks, apparently this one suffers from that. Both sides are like this:

 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
A few weeks ago I received preproduction door pocket samples and I posted these photos:





They've been in my JKU ever since and I'm finding them pretty handy. I suggested a few very minor tweaks to them and I'm told the changes have been made and they'll be sending me "production candidate" samples for review and testing next week.

They also tell me they've made the changes I suggested to the sample compressor bag and they'll be sending me two "production candidate" samples for review and testing. This is one of the early samples they sent me a few weeks ago:



And, it seems they've decided they're going to put something I posted about early in March into production: https://expeditionportal.com/forum/...factory-hardtops.127687/page-311#post-2900071. They sent me this photo of a pattern sample they sewed yesterday (a pattern sample is a first sample sewn to test the their pattern). Sounds like they'll be sending me some of these next week for review and testing as well, I think they'll be sending samples in tan and black. Their pattern sample:



This is one I sewed, it's in my JKU; I've also sewn ones for my other two Jeeps as well and they've been in use in all 3 Jeeps for about a year.



Their samples are piling up here so the other day I asked them if they would be interested in offering some of these samples to forum members. The samples that would be offered would all be 100% usable but typically would differ minor details from the final production versions; if a sample wasn't usable or acceptable in some way it wouldn't be offered. An example: when I receive the updated door pockets from them next week, I'll be removing the prior samples from my doors and installing the new ones. The removed ones have no further use for me or the company but they are perfectly usable. To be perfectly clear - if any samples are offered it would not be me that's selling them. I don't sell anything and don't ever plan to, and I'm not part of the company, so they would be selling the samples, not me. The only benefit for me is the reduction in the size of the sample pile at my house :).
 

pith helmet

Well-known member
Very nice! If offered I'd be interested in purchasing a pair of the door pocket samples and maybe the passenger grab bar bag, assuming they might all cost a bit less than the upcoming production models....I'm not trying to be cheap, I was just born this way.
 
Top