Most Jeep owners with hard tops prefer to go without it in the summer. They actually have three choices and each choice has several pros and cons going for it.
1. Remove hardtop and place nothing on top of your Jeep – let us start with the pros. First, you do not spend on anything. You will likely enjoy the open-air feeling when driving your Jeep. You do not worry about fiddling with anything or setting up anything since you do not have a top. People will likely smile at you as you drive by because they are probably jealous. Such open-air truck is a certified person or chick magnet. Of course, there will always be cons to it and here are some. You get wet when it rains and you probably need to stop somewhere under the shade to wait for the rain to stop. You have to bundle up if the cold air comes up. When it is cold, you would wish that you do not have to bundle up too much and just have a Jeep top. People will have the tendency to laugh at you mercilessly seeing you soaked as you drive by. They are probably glad it is you and not they. Other Jeep owners with tops would see you and empathize with you.
2. Have your hard top removed and replace it with affordable Jeep soft tops – Well, with a soft top, you still get the open air feeling just by removing your rear and side windows or have a topless experience by just folding it to the back. When it rains, gets cold or black flies and mosquitoes attack, you can easily fold it back up again, put back the windows and you will again be fully enclosed and protected from getting wet, cold or attacked by flies. The cons are that, installing a Jeep soft top might be quite expensive, depending on the model/year of Jeep you have. You need to be quite a pro at folding your top and zipping its windows in order to get the entire process down to 10 – 15 minutes only. It is quite impossible to do this process alone also if you are quite short. You need to climb all the way up the top of the Jeep or have to beg someone to help you. You also need to make sure that your windows are stored somewhere safe in a dirt-free area. If you fail to do these, your windows will soon be rendered useless – you will not be able to see through them because of the scratches. Also, if it would be the first time that you buy a Jeep soft top, remember to choose one that has all the hardware – make sure it has its bows which act as the moving frame or skeleton that will hold the fabric on. However, if you are not a first timer and already have the frame, then you can buy the replacement fabric.
3. There is a thing called Jeep summer top that you can replace with your hard top – tops for summer time are simply sheets or a tarp that connects the frame of your Jeep and covers that area above your head, leaving your sides completely open. It does not offer much protection aside from light rain or hot sun but it shades your head and eyes quite thoroughly. You can choose between two styles of Jeep tops for summer. One style is the material that is sized just enough to cover the two front seats of the Jeep. Bestop has such style of top the call the Bikini Top while for Rampage Products, they call such California Top or Brief. Brief Top is also its name for Vertically Driven Products. If it is not only you who will be riding the Jeep and you are expecting passengers and want to be considerate of them, then you can have the style that also covers not just the front seats but also those in the back seat. Since this is a larger sized top, Bestop call it the Safari Tops, Rampage Products calls theirs as Island Topper or Combo Brief and Vertically Driven Product has named them Full Brief. Every manufacturer has a different name for such product but the similar features of this are the coverage for both front and back seats.
If you install a summer Jeep soft top, you need to attach it from the top of your Jeep windshield unlike the attachment points of your hard top or ordinary soft top. You must buy an additional hardware – the Jeep Windshield Channel and install it on your vehicle. This hardware is but a long piece of metal that can be screwed on or clamped into the windshield and provides a channel for the top to slide into.
What are the pros and cons, you may ask? Well, as for pros, you will enjoy the true feel of open air and still avoid sunburn and getting soaked by rain. Many of such tops are usually out when folks are aware that they will be out driving under the sun all day and want ample protection. Of course, you can only be safe from light rains and not from sudden rage of stormy rain. You also need to be bundled up if you run into cold weather and attacked by mosquitoes. Upon removing the top to replace it with a soft or hard top, you also need to remove the windshield channel since such is useless when using the latters.