Barn Door for JK factory hardtops

jscherb

Expedition Leader
The other day I posted some photos of an aftermarket hardtop for a Thar. Here's a different one I came across today.



A barn door in the rear:



And a slide-back soft panel in the roof:



There are lots of aftermarket hardtop companies in India, I've seen 3 or 4 more different hardtops for Thars.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
The other day I got to see the first production products from the startup company. This is a pile of the first Cutlery/Tool Keepers for the Trailgater table that are going to a retailer that sells the Trailgater. The HD Molle Tailgate Panel is packaged in a similar way and those will be going to several retailers in the next few days. I've blurred the company name on these packages.



I also now have preproduction samples of three different size "Grab and Go" gear bags for the HD Molle Tailgate panel and a roll bar bag, all of which I'm supposed to review and test in the next few days to give feedback to the company so they can go into production too.

BTW I'm back from India now and I've got other projects to work on (unrelated to the startup company), more on those soon.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
To go along with the HD Molle Tailgate Panel, the "Grab and Go" bag series is moving along too. I received a few preproduction samples the other day...



The dark brown accents are real leather. The bags also have a nice lining inside and handles on the top.

There are a few detail changes that I'm going to request before these bags go into production, but they're are pretty close to final. The small bag is 6" wide and the large one is 18"; they also sent me a 12" one.

In addition to the high-end styled canvas/leather bags, I've suggested to the company that they also do a line in military-grade Cordura nylon, similar to the fabric many Molle bags are made of. They'll be the same design as the canvas bags except they'll have Molle straps on the bag instead of Grab and Go clips, they won't have leather accents, and they'll retail for less than the canvas/leather Grab and Go bags.

The HD Molle tailgate panel also works with standard Molle bags.

The first production run of the HD Molle Tailgate Panel has been completed and they're on the way to the first retailers that'll be selling them. The company's goal is to have the bags through production and ready for sale by Easter Jeep Safari. The company sent me this photo yesterday showing part of the first production run of HD Molle Tailgate Panels and Cutlery/Tool Keepers.



Unrelated project update: I had a call today with the plastics company that's going to be manufacturing the JK Style Grille for the JK. They're waiting on a few detail drawings from me so they can start the CAD work that will drive the mold creation, I should be able to get those drawings to them by Wednesday. Once those are in their hands they say about a week later I'll be able to review their CAD model and once I approve it they'll make the mold, which is driven by the CAD file. Within a few days from that they'll do the first samples for review and test-fitting.


Oh and another unrelated project update - a few weeks ago I showed a few JL prototypes I made - a Rotopax carrier and a HiLift carrier for the tailgate. A company wants to put them in production, so I've got to turn over final drawings for those in the next few days too.


I've got some personal projects I've been trying to get to as well but all of the above take priority before I can get to projects for my Jeeps :(.
 

Jurfie

Adventurer
To go along with the HD Molle Tailgate Panel, the "Grab and Go" bag series is moving along too. I received a few preproduction samples the other day...



The dark brown accents are real leather. The bags also have a nice lining inside and handles on the top.

There are a few detail changes that I'm going to request before these bags go into production, but they're are pretty close to final. The small bag is 6" wide and the large one is 18"; they also sent me a 12" one.
Those are sharp; I like them a lot.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Those are sharp; I like them a lot.
Thank you. A number of companies in the luggage biz have products that have similar styling; Filson (https://www.filson.com/luggage-bags/luggage.html) and Duluth Trading (https://www.duluthtrading.com/cargobold-briefcase-78251.html?dwvar_78251_color=DCM) are two such companies. Bags from those companies and others were part of my original inspiration for designing these Jeep products when I was asked to help the startup company come up with a unique product line. I really like the bags from those companies and it just seemed to me there should be room in the Jeep market for something nicer than cheap vinyl storage products that are out there now.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Thinking out loud about recycling an old idea...

Sixty-six years ago, in 1953, Popular Mechanics published an article entitled Car Top Sleeper. In it, they provided DIY plans for an early roof top tent:



Forty years ago, in the late 70's, a company called Ever-Wear Products came out with a Jeep CJ soft top that included a similar design roof top tent built into the top. They called it the "Jeeper Sleeper". These photos are from the December 1979 issue of Four Wheeler:



An ad for the Jeeper Sleeper in the same issue lists a retail price of $395.

What if a company provided a DIY RTT kit based on these basic designs? Bows and other hardware plus the ready-to-install canvas could be provided in the kit, along with DIY plans for a platform to mount everything on. The platform wouldn't be much more than a piece of plywood with low sides that the tent would fold into, similar to the platform in the 1953 Popular Mechanics article. The tent bows would easily mount to the platform and the tent would go over the bows and snap to the frame around the platform. The finished RTT could mount on any roof rack.

Construction would also be similar to the "covered wagon" top I made for my military replica trailer a few years ago. Bows and related hardware would be approximately like this:



And the canvas maybe something like this, although probably it would have an awning at each end like most other RTTs have.



I'll bet a kit could be offered for around $250, which means a complete RTT could be DIY-built for not much more than $300.

Dumb idea or good way to make an affordable RTT available to DIYers on a budget?
 

jgaz

Adventurer
Thinking out loud about recycling an old idea...

Sixty-six years ago, in 1953, Popular Mechanics published an article entitled Car Top Sleeper. In it, they provided DIY plans for an early roof top tent:



Forty years ago, in the late 70's, a company called Ever-Wear Products came out with a Jeep CJ soft top that included a similar design roof top tent built into the top. They called it the "Jeeper Sleeper". These photos are from the December 1979 issue of Four Wheeler:



An ad for the Jeeper Sleeper in the same issue lists a retail price of $395.

What if a company provided a DIY RTT kit based on these basic designs? Bows and other hardware plus the ready-to-install canvas could be provided in the kit, along with DIY plans for a platform to mount everything on. The platform wouldn't be much more than a piece of plywood with low sides that the tent would fold into, similar to the platform in the 1953 Popular Mechanics article. The tent bows would easily mount to the platform and the tent would go over the bows and snap to the frame around the platform. The finished RTT could mount on any roof rack.

Construction would also be similar to the "covered wagon" top I made for my military replica trailer a few years ago. Bows and related hardware would be approximately like this:



And the canvas maybe something like this, although probably it would have an awning at each end like most other RTTs have.



I'll bet a kit could be offered for around $250, which means a complete RTT could be DIY-built for not much more than $300.

Dumb idea or good way to make an affordable RTT available to DIYers on a budget?
Certainly interesting, not dumb.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Certainly interesting, not dumb.
I'm working on the design details with the idea of building a prototype. I've already got a roof top tent so I don't need it, but I think it would be a fun project to build and maybe someone will be interested in testing it when I'm done.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I've been working on a preliminary design for a prototype DIY RTT kit and working on the size of the sleeping area. The base in the 1953 article is 4x8. Eight feet is probably longer than necessary for most uses and most Jeeps, so 7' is probably better. As for width, 5' is the width of a Queen bed and is roughly the width of a Jeep roof. The sleeping area size isn't specified in the Jeeper Sleeper article or the ad in the same issue, but scaling it from the photos it appears to be about 7' long and probably the width of a full size bed (54"). It's possible to make a 7' x 54" base out of one sheet of plywood, so maybe going for a full-size bed makes sense - standard sheets, etc. would fit.

BTW here's the ad for the Jeeper Sleeper.

 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
A few weeks ago I posted about a preproduction cargo bag I was given to check and test: https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/barn-door-for-jk-factory-hardtops.127687/page-254#post-2598174.

The company doing the bag plans to offer three sizes to fit all popular tailgate-mounted over-spare racks. Not having a tailgate rack on either Jeep at the moment, I gave the sample a try on the roof rack on my LJ.



The tie-down straps need to be longer, they're long enough to reach the top rail of the rack but not the bottom rails. That's why I tested it on the roof rack, to make sure all was good. It wasn't. I've told the company and they'll lengthen the straps for production. And I may make longer straps in the meantime so I can use it on the roof rack on the LJ for my upcoming trip to Easter Jeep Safari.

I have to install the MORryde Overland Rack on my JKU this week to attend several meetings with MORryde - they've got meetings with several big retailers and they've asked me to come along to show the MORryde gear so I'll try the cargo bag in that rack in a few days.

I think the company plans to offer these bags in black and Coyote tan because those seem to be the most popular colors for fabric Jeep accessories, but I like the Desert Camo this sample is made from so maybe I'll keep using this one instead of one of the production colors.

 
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