Nets for your TJ…..do you need them? Sure you do for a couple of reasons. First reason, they look good. I’ve not met all that many Jeepers who don’t take seriously the look of their rigs. And the truth be told, I like the look myself.
Another reason….keeping your gear in place. They really do a good job of helping to ensure your gear, pieces, and parts don’t go here and there when you least expect it.
Here are a few times where cage nets can help ensure your stuff stays put! After all, do we really plan on these things happening? (ok, so some of us do….)
I’ll admit, I had several minutes advance notice before I headed up this waterfall, however, I didn’t realize I was going to be standing my TJ nearly vertical while getting to the top. (Did I mention this was the 1st run for my then new beadlocks?)
Or how about that unexpected flop on the trail (I’m on the strap pulling for all I’m worth)….out goes the cooler or the picnic basket or the camp stove. It can happen when you least expect it. This becomes even more of a concern when the folks who enjoy going topless strip down for the summer season. (did that come out right?)
Safaristraps.com offers a number of net configurations for both the TJ and JK’s roll cages. They have a 4 piece cage set that provides TJs and JKs with full coverage over the back half of the vehicle. It consists of a net for the roll cage, a pair of side window nets, and a divider that fits directly behind the front seats to keep “things” out of your lap as you are driving…..and that could be anything from the 75 pound family lap dog to the bags of groceries you just picked up for that weekend camping trip.
It was a nice sunny afternoon near the end of January when the new nets were to be installed. (For the benefit of those freezing their backends off in the middle of winter, I thought I would casually mention how nice it was here in Arizona.) I unzipped the two side windows and the rear window from my Viking Fast Back soft top and set them aside. Oops….a 15 minute delay came up next as I took the opportunity to clean things up a bit for the ensuing photos. It had been a while since the housekeeper had cleaned out the back of the TJ.
With the windows removed and the cleanup complete, I loosened the tie downs holding the bikini top in place and folded the top back on itself towards the front of the TJ. I needed access to the top of the roll cage in order to secure the forward most straps for the cage net.
A note about the cage net…..proper orientation of the net is such that you can read the Safari Straps product label while standing behind the vehicle.
With the net laid across the roll cage area, loop the straps at the front corners around the front of the roll bar and up to the buckle. Leave the buckles loose for now as they will be tightened later when everything is in place.
Loop the next set of straps (moving towards the rear) around the roll bars on either side. As before, leave these buckles loose too to allow easy position of the nets as the installation progresses.
I noticed that the hardware (buckles and rings) are powder coated. I personally like this better than some of the “shiny” hardware I’ve seen on other products. I put a magnet to the rings and it stuck….I was good with that….steel and not aluminum or some other non-ferrous material.
Up next was the side windows. OK, I’ll admit I put them in wrong the first time…..yes, there is a left and a right window. But I didn’t see anything in the directions about it so I’m using that as my excuse. <grin>
Just so no one else gets confused, the Safari Straps product label will be closer to the front of the vehicle as viewed from outside the vehicle and looking at the side window. (see next photo)
Here is the driver’s side rear window net installed (for the 2nd time). Safari Straps did a good job in sizing the window to accommodate the opening, in my opinion.
While attaching the window nets, I noticed that the strap that ran around the outer edge of the window net was actually two straps sewn together. This sandwiches the other straps as they are attached. In fact, any strap with a ring attached to it is constructed in this double layer method. While I am not a “strap guru” by any stretch, this sure seems like a good idea to me…..and everyone likes heavy duty on their Jeep, right?
Since we are on the topic of good ideas, I was happily surprised to see a bag of strap retaining clips included with the nets. Let me show you what I am talking about.
The retaining clips, (Safari Straps refers to them as Slip Keepers) which can be easily attached to a strap in almost any location, will hold the “loose end” of the strap after it has passed through the buckle. This means you won’t have a TJ (or JK) full of flapping straps ends waving at everyone as you drive down the highway….but if you like that idea, then leave the clips off and let your ends fly freely! Seriously, having loose strap ends has always been one of the few things I found annoying with any net installation. Congrats to Safari Straps for providing an easy way to accommodate those of us that may be more anal retentive than others. It eliminates the need to use those little black zip ties that keep things looking smart but are a hassle none the less.
With both window nets in place (but not yet snugged into position), I turned my attention once again to the roll cage net. I snugged the two most forward straps (at the front corners) quite a bit more than was shown in the previous photo. This pulled the net a little more forward. The next pair of straps on the cage net were tightened down to properly center the net between the roll cage bars from side to side and put a little more tension on the net.
The remaining rings along the sides on the roll cage net are secured to the roll cage by the rear straps that hold the window nets in place. Simply catch the ring in the strap as you loop it around the roll cage and back to the buckle. By using the window straps to secure this portion of the roll cage net, you have less straps and buckles to deal with…..another good idea, in my opinion.
Next up was the divider net. It attaches to the roll cage uprights adjacent to the front seats. The same quality is seen in this net as well which has double straps and powder coated hardware. As seen in the above photo, Safari Straps has left an adequately sized spot for you to easily reach through to extract items that you may frequently need. It is simpler than going to the rear of the vehicle to gain access. At the same time, with the seat in its usual position, the “hole” won’t let anything get into the forward area of the cab. Another opening exists on the driver’s side too.
Speaking of things getting into the forward portion of the vehicle’s cab, Syra was really happy when I told her I needed her to give me her best “pitman” pose….so she gave me her infamous “Go ahead, make my day!” look. (pitman = half pitbull terrier, half red doberman pincher) She got pretty stoked when I told her it was time to go for a ride in the TJ. She said to tell you that there are plenty more photos of her sitting in the back of the TJ surrounded by the nets…..and that autographed copies (well, paw printed if you must know) are available upon request…..shipping and handling charges apply. Syra was also very happy when she discovered that all I had to do to allow her free roaming up front was to unbuckle the two lowest straps (on the divider) and she could sneak to the front by going right over the center console. Did I mention she enjoys sitting in the front seat while the TJ is parked at the mall parking lot? With the half doors on, she lays down in the seat with her chin on the door and watches the folks go by. To date, no one has been stupid enough to attempt to remove anything from the Jeep. <grin> Trivia fact…..the folks that own Safari Straps also have a doberman?
This isn’t part of the roll cage net set but I thought I would toss it into the review anyway. The nets will do a good job of confining your belongings to the back of the TJ or JK. However, you still don’t want your “stuff” bouncing around and worse, maybe getting damaged. So Safari Straps offers a “bag-o-straps” to help keep things in their place. The drawstring closure bag contains a dozen straps ranging from 4 ft. to 10 ft. in length. (2-10′, 2-8′, 4-6′, and 4-4′) Just like the hardware on the nets, the buckles on the straps are also powder coated. The bag is big enough for you to toss some other odds and ends in too…..I found a good place for my bungee cords to reside!
The best part installing the passenger side window was knowing it was right on account of the practice I had installing the previous one. Same as the other side….no loose strap ends to flap in the breeze.
Each strap intersection is sewn in a boxed X pattern to ensure the straps won’t be separating when the going gets tough.
So what prompts a company to produce a good quality product? I had to ask so I fired off an e-mail and played twenty questions with the person responding….Are you a Jeeper? What kind of rig to you have? Where do you wheel? Does your dog ride in back too?
I found a very friendly lady managing the e-mail in basket. Yes, her and her husband do wheel their 4 door JK which is setup with 5.13 gears, 37″ rubber, full skids, a Rockhard roll cage, sPOD to manage the electrics….well, you get the idea. The Johnson Valley and the Dusy-Ershim provide interesting trails to run and the Rubicon Trail is on the agenda for this year. And they have a nice big male Dobie that is pretty good looking….at least the photo I showed Syra got her pretty excited. <grin>
Anything you take on the trail is bound to get dirty/dusty/muddy. The nets are all machine washable but one is advised to not use the dryer after they come out of the washer. Instead, you can either put the nets back on the Jeep (slightly damp) or toss them over the clothesline for a few hours and then reinstall them. Given this info, those of you that are inclined to simply drive your Jeep to the car wash and spray it down, inside and out…..don’t worry about taking the nets off…..just go for it.
I was happy to find that none of the buckles up top caused an issue after I placed my Viking top back into position. I had some initial concerns about the hardware being underneath the top where it wraps tightly against the roll cage. Not a problem.
So there you have it…..everything back in place except for the Viking’s side and rear windows. Given the awesome weather we’ve been having, I ran around town over the weekend setup as shown above. I even managed to look up a couple of friends to let them see it.
In summary, I do believe that Safari Straps has a very good product available to offer their fellow Jeepers. The fit and details are second to none and go a long way in demonstrating the quality of the product. If you are in the market for a good set of nets, I don’t see how you can go wrong with Safari Straps.
Its been about 4 months since I put the new nets on the TJ. ZERO complaints. The straps have remained tight, the buckles have not slipped, and all is good. As I said before, I don’t see how you can go wrong with Safari Straps. By the way, they have some other cool stuff on their web site. I’ve added a couple of things on another page so check it out!
I was recently participating in an on-line forum where the topic was Safari Straps nets. A person in the discussion was concerned about the gap at the tail gate and if his dog could slip through it. I dropped Safari Straps an e-mail to inquire and received the following info:
About a month ago we added a new Extended Version for the JK’s, which goes all the way to the tailgate. You can see pics on our website. A couple of days ago we designed the same for the TJ, it�s not on our site, but the concept is the same as the JK’s., it covers the area between the roll cage and the tailgate using the rear tailgate bar. It works with the soft top on or off. When you put the soft top on, and the windows on, you just unhook the hooks from the tailgate bar, and leave your nets on. There�s no drilling. For the JK we offer it in all the styles, for the TJ we recommend only the long cage and cage, not window set.
I’ve stated in other reviews of other products that just because a company, in this case Safari Straps, brings a good product to market, that doesn’t mean they can sit back on their laurels. They need to continue to refine their product offerings in response to their customer’s needs. The above is a perfect example of how Safari Straps is doing this very thing. Way to go!
So….maybe you aren’t in the market for a roll cage net or window nets? OK….I understand that not everyone needs those items in their Jeep (but they are pretty darn cool!). There are a couple of must have items that every Jeep needs. I had a chance to check out several of them and was quite impressed with what I saw. Here are a couple that I just couldn’t do without!
Just two words describe these grab handles…..heavy duty and comfortable. Sometimes those two words don’t go well together but in this case, they do. Available in black or black (that’s a joke!), they will go well with any TJ color scheme.
I put the grab handles on the roll cage bars to assist me getting into the TJ. They can be place just about anywhere you have roll bars. Getting into the rear of a lifted TJ is a lot easier with a couple of these on the rear roll bars.
Cell Phone Holder
I’ve never lost my cell phone on the trail….but I found someone’s cell phone on a trail one time. I’m thinking the owner should have had one of these. Self adjusting to accommodate most any cell phone, this is the perfect place to put it so I won’t find your phone on the trail. I like it because it locates the phone up higher in the vehicle which gives you a little edge on signal strength and it keeps it close to my head making it easier to hear it ring.
Fire Extinguisher Holder
I won’t show you what I using to keep this fire extinguisher in place before I switched to the holder from Safari Straps. This holder rocks! The lower strap has a “bottom” strap sewn to it to keep the extinguisher from sliding down and out of the holder. As with the others items, full width Velcro is used to secure the retaining straps in position. This extinguisher is really in there. However, peeling back the two straps easily releases it if you should need it (and hopefully you never will).
Looking for something to stash that 20 oz. drink in? This will keep it for you. Comes with a carabineer detachable Velcro strap to keep it from bouncing out of the Jeep. A zippered pouch on the front keeps all that other “stuff” that you need on the trail….well, maybe not the 30′ recovery strap, but most of the other stuff will fit. <grin>