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Best shade options for topless jeeps

dog

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Jeep 392 of the Month
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Jan 18, 2022
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Location
Manhattan Beach, CA
Current Rides
'22 392 XR ordered Jan 21 2022 -------------- Picked up Aug 22 2022!
One of my favorite (and easiest) mods to my 2dr JKR was my Spiderwebshade shade cage. The fact that I could remove the top but keep my rear completely enclosed with mesh fabric was the best. My dogs loved it. I loved it. I had the thing for like 7 years and it barely faded, and I loved being able to pop a bungee off the rear side panels to access the back seat or create a little window for the pup to stick her head out.

(pics after 7 years of use)
shade side.jpg
McAulay_Trade_2010_JK_Rubicon_062121_006.jpg


When I first went to look for one for my incoming 392XR (which of course is a 4dr), I realized there really isn't (and maybe can't be) an equivalent product for the 4dr jeeps, since there's a rear passenger door and a smaller rear triangle to cover up with a cage-like enclosure. Spiderwebshade JK 4d Shadecage here. **BUT** as per spiderwebshade: "...thank you for asking! Unfortunately, it all boils down to connection points on the 4D vehicles. The attachments just dont meet our standards, so much that we are in the process of discontinuing the JK4D cage as well. They slide, they take on too much wind and they just dont settle with our standards". Definitely nice people over there, and I love their products. I would love to stick with them. They also offer custom shade cuts/sizes, so that's a possibility if I wanna get really ambitious.

I've been checking out some competitors recently too.

Here's the closest thing I've found to a cage for the JL. Would *REALLY* hate to buy from a "knock-off" producer like this, though. Their website is... bad. (just check the "shadeidea was born" section).

So far I like what Jtops is doing with their solution. They ditched the elastic connectors (spider balls, which I didn't mind honestly), and use clips with neoprene to protect paint. They also use an aluminum rod (and magnets!) in the front to prevent sagging. They also have no gaps on top, which is awesome, though I never noticed gaps on the spiderwebshade. Finally, they don't require pulling the windshield down for install, but I don't really care about that. Neat solution though. I can really appreciate someone taking some time to engineer an "improved" solution to a commonly imitated product. Pricier though, but maybe deservedly so. But, no "cage" as of yet.

End of the day, maybe I don't need a cage anymore since it's a 4dr. I am super interested to hear if anyone else has experience with these brands, or other solutions, or if anyone can point me in a solid direction for **more** enclosure than just a flat top shade. Much appreciated!
 
This is not going to answer your question, but the spiderweb shade I think is much better than mopar version. The spiderweb shade hooks in with bungees that hook around little connectors that go on stock screw holes and can stay on with hard top or soft top on. Access to soft top lock downs is easy. I think you have to take the mopar version off to put the tops on and it hooks on with snaps.

Of course no "cage" coverage with either setup.

I have the spiderweb shade 1 piece on mine and pulling windshield forward to install hooks is no big deal. No air leaks after putting windshield back in place. You don't have to fold it all the way forward, just enough to get working room. I stuck something between a pillar and windshield to keep is slightly open. Minimal gaps with spiderweb shade. No sagging either. It fits much better than the spiderwebshade did on the my 2013 JKUR. I am happy with it.
 
This is not going to answer your question, but the spiderweb shade I think is much better than mopar version. The spiderweb shade hooks in with bungees that hook around little connectors that go on stock screw holes and can stay on with hard top or soft top on. Access to soft top lock downs is easy. I think you have to take the mopar version off to put the tops on and it hooks on with snaps.

Of course no "cage" coverage with either setup.

I have the spiderweb shade 1 piece on mine and pulling windshield forward to install hooks is no big deal. No air leaks after putting windshield back in place. You don't have to fold it all the way forward, just enough to get working room. I stuck something between a pillar and windshield to keep is slightly open. Minimal gaps with spiderweb shade. No sagging either. It fits much better than the spiderwebshade did on the my 2013 JKUR. I am happy with it.
I have the 2 piece Spiderwebshade on mine also…first mod and best $200 spent.
 
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This is not going to answer your question, but the spiderweb shade I think is much better than mopar version. The spiderweb shade hooks in with bungees that hook around little connectors that go on stock screw holes and can stay on with hard top or soft top on. Access to soft top lock downs is easy. I think you have to take the mopar version off to put the tops on and it hooks on with snaps.

Of course no "cage" coverage with either setup.

I have the spiderweb shade 1 piece on mine and pulling windshield forward to install hooks is no big deal. No air leaks after putting windshield back in place. You don't have to fold it all the way forward, just enough to get working room. I stuck something between a pillar and windshield to keep is slightly open. Minimal gaps with spiderweb shade. No sagging either. It fits much better than the spiderwebshade did on the my 2013 JKUR. I am happy with it.
Yeah, I really liked the quality on the Spiderwebshade. I looked into this windshield method and seems no big deal. I'm curious about the little connectors (because those are new to me coming from a purely bungee-ball last-gen design), but I trust it's an improvement since the points where you're stretching are fixed, it's gotta make the shade sit higher and flatter than when it was just stretched around the roll cage with bungees. Really appreciate your feedback coming from an older design like I am!

I have the 2 piece Spiderwebshade on mine also…first mod and best $200 spent.

I was torn on the 2-piece vs 1 piece, looks like good results can be had with either route, thanks for the thumbs up on this design! I agree, such a simple mod and such bang-for-buck right out the gate in terms of enjoying the jeep with the top off!
 
is the spider web shade easy to pull on/off? i wish there was an easily retractable one... most of the time I like open air above me but some hot days I'd love to pull a shade closed.
 
is the spider web shade easy to pull on/off? i wish there was an easily retractable one... most of the time I like open air above me but some hot days I'd love to pull a shade closed.
Spiderwebshade and the knock off brands use trampoline material. The new ones easily connect to the wind shield frame but you have to disconnect the windshield and have someone help hold it open slightly for a minute or 2 while you clip it. Very easy. The 2 piece makes it easier to unlatch the middle latches on the freedom top. My jk had one for 6 years and I never took it off. The hard top lowers right on it. With the top off it’s not visible unless you are looking for it.
 
I didn’t want to risk a (albeit nominal) gamble on a shade so I ordered the 2 piece Alien shade. Seems ok. Easy to install. Does what i’s designed to do. I bought the gray thinking there would be less radiant heat. Theory seems to work these last few days here in CO, with the sun and heat.
 
I have the gray Alien Shade as well. I need my soft top handy in the Florida summer for rain and I can put it up with out removing the Alien shade. The shade is necessary too, keeps me from frying on my commute home.
 
I have actually run spiderweb shade on jk and jl, alien shade on jl, and jtops on jk and jl. I am currently running the jtops shade and boot for soft top. The jtops connects to the front with magnets, so you do not have to drop the windshield to attach/detach. Nothing against the windshield connectors unless you want to attach soft top. One addition I definitely recommend is the dirty dog roll bar covers regardless of which shade you go with. Hope this helps.
Chris
 
Ended up going with the jtops, excited for it to arrive! One thing I failed to notice was their lead times were something like 10+ business days on order processing, but I'm not in a huge hurry I suppose. It's been so hot lately that I actually put the top back on so I could run AC :ROFLMAO:

I'll post some photos once I get it delivered and installed!
 
Ended up going with the jtops, excited for it to arrive! One thing I failed to notice was their lead times were something like 10+ business days on order processing, but I'm not in a huge hurry I suppose. It's been so hot lately that I actually put the top back on so I could run AC :ROFLMAO:

I'll post some photos once I get it delivered and installed!
What were your reasons for choosing JTops over the others?
 
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What were your reasons for choosing JTops over the others?
Short story:

Jtops did some really neat innovation that I appreciated from an engineering standpoint.

The JTops struck me as a product that was designed when an engineer had a bungee shade, didn't like it, and said to themselves, "I could design a better system than this!". If you watch the JTops installation video, you'll get a feeling for what I'm sayin' here. I suspect the dude doing the install and calling out all the features IS the engineer who made those improvements, and he's proud of them. I think he should be!

Long story:

A couple pitfalls of the bungee systems included the gaps along all the edges (that grew over the years due to the bungees wearing out), and the awkward front attachment. In all fairness, I think spiderwebshade has addressed the front attachment issues by creating some special hooks that go under the windshield in the front, which is great. However, it looks like they also permanently attached their bungees to the shade (no longer using the replaceable "spiderballs"). I think they needed to do this because they wanted to go over the top of the roll cage. I could be wrong about this, but it was difficult to find answers to whether the new attached bungees can be replaced, as I know from experience that the elastic eventually gets tired with time and sun. In fact, I saw one post where a guy was getting frustrated with them and replaced the built-in straps with grommets and ball-bungees.

Jtops used straps (with paint protection) instead of bungees - the straps make sure the shade pulls all the way over the edges of the roll cage. They also added a rod and magnetic strip on the forward edge of the shade, and another rod in the rear, which I thought was a really neat design. The front rod keeps the shade high, and keeps tension up front where my old shade used to sag a bit. I'm 6'1" on my shortest days, and not wanting to give up too much headroom. The magnetic front sill seemed like a great innovation for having access to the freedom top clamps when the hard top goes back on. The rear rod looks like it does an awesome job of distributing tension rather than just pulling on a few points.

Lastly, with the Jtops I don't have to remove a bunch of screws and add new hardware to the jeep, nor do I have too pull the windshield down to install. Not that I'm afraid of doing those things, but I think it's overall a more intelligent system that requires a less invasive install. I'll let y'all know what I think once I get it installed, but I'm suspecting it's gonna be awesome!
 
I myself use the Alien sunshades, through my research these were the best for me. I like the ability to keep all soft top and hard top functions accessible,
with either configuration. I ordered the Mopar sun shade kit with my Jeep but it was worthless. I live in FL and with the UV get that I may have to replace the bungees every couple of years, but it’s the only system I’ve seen that allows the top access.
 
Short story:

Jtops did some really neat innovation that I appreciated from an engineering standpoint.

The JTops struck me as a product that was designed when an engineer had a bungee shade, didn't like it, and said to themselves, "I could design a better system than this!". If you watch the JTops installation video, you'll get a feeling for what I'm sayin' here. I suspect the dude doing the install and calling out all the features IS the engineer who made those improvements, and he's proud of them. I think he should be!

Long story:

A couple pitfalls of the bungee systems included the gaps along all the edges (that grew over the years due to the bungees wearing out), and the awkward front attachment. In all fairness, I think spiderwebshade has addressed the front attachment issues by creating some special hooks that go under the windshield in the front, which is great. However, it looks like they also permanently attached their bungees to the shade (no longer using the replaceable "spiderballs"). I think they needed to do this because they wanted to go over the top of the roll cage. I could be wrong about this, but it was difficult to find answers to whether the new attached bungees can be replaced, as I know from experience that the elastic eventually gets tired with time and sun. In fact, I saw one post where a guy was getting frustrated with them and replaced the built-in straps with grommets and ball-bungees.

Jtops used straps (with paint protection) instead of bungees - the straps make sure the shade pulls all the way over the edges of the roll cage. They also added a rod and magnetic strip on the forward edge of the shade, and another rod in the rear, which I thought was a really neat design. The front rod keeps the shade high, and keeps tension up front where my old shade used to sag a bit. I'm 6'1" on my shortest days, and not wanting to give up too much headroom. The magnetic front sill seemed like a great innovation for having access to the freedom top clamps when the hard top goes back on. The rear rod looks like it does an awesome job of distributing tension rather than just pulling on a few points.

Lastly, with the Jtops I don't have to remove a bunch of screws and add new hardware to the jeep, nor do I have too pull the windshield down to install. Not that I'm afraid of doing those things, but I think it's overall a more intelligent system that requires a less invasive install. I'll let y'all know what I think once I get it installed, but I'm suspecting it's gonna be awesome!
Thank you for the detailed explanation. Can’t wait to see how you like it installed!
 
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I myself use the Alien sunshades, through my research these were the best for me. I like the ability to keep all soft top and hard top functions accessible,
with either configuration. I ordered the Mopar sun shade kit with my Jeep but it was worthless. I live in FL and with the UV get that I may have to replace the bungees every couple of years, but it’s the only system I’ve seen that allows the top access.

The JTops allows for full hardtop access - in fact, they have a much more elegant solution than both spiderwebshade or alienshade.

I have always been a fan of spiderwebshade, and they'll always have a special place in my heart.

Alienshade, on the other hand, is a brand I didn't mention because they shamelessly stole the idea from Spiderwebshade and didn't even try to improve on it. Not my cup of tea.
 
The JTops allows for full hardtop access - in fact, they have a much more elegant solution than both spiderwebshade or alienshade.

I have always been a fan of spiderwebshade, and they'll always have a special place in my heart.

Alienshade, on the other hand, is a brand I didn't mention because they shamelessly stole the idea from Spiderwebshade and didn't even try to improve on it. Not my cup of tea.
I just watched the JTops video, I may be getting one soon. They could do better to show the function of the tops with the shade in place on their site though.
 
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Alienshade, on the other hand, is a brand I didn't mention because they shamelessly stole the idea from Spiderwebshade and didn't even try to improve on it. Not my cup of tea.
They are the same but I never knew which one was first.
 
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They are the same but I never knew which one was first.
Yeah, Spiderwebshade came into the scene almost a decade before alien (circa 2005). You can read about their history on their website - but basically they're jeep people who brought the concept to the community and were active in the forums and developed a really cool product. They show up at jeep events, are active community members, and have been around forever, and they continue to refine and innovate their product based on community feedback. Plus their customer support is top-notch, and they'll develop custom shades for buggies and custom cages if you reach out to them. Super rad people.

Alien Sunshade came along and just flat-out copied Spiderwebshade's developed product and started selling it for slightly less. They don't even have a public website, just a link to their amazon store.

I suppose SWS didn't have a patent, or couldn't fight the legal battle for some other reason, so Alien garnered some momentum based on people saying "it's the same thing for less" and not knowing they were supporting a ripoff. Others in the forums over the years openly don't care that it's a ripoff and chalk it up to fair play. Disgusting.

The ASS ripoff ( :ROFLMAO:) is so blatant that it honestly makes me furious for SWS. Even the stiched branding on the thing was almost an exact copy of SWS.

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End of the day - I would encourage people who are considering that style of shade to support Spiderwebshade. They're the real deal. I will never support Alien, and if you're reading this, you shouldn't either!

All that said, I like what JTops is doing with their innovation, and it's obviously a different enough product with different/additional features, so that's why I went with JTops this time around. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for SWS and will look forward to continuing to support them (and speak out for them) whenever this topic comes up.
 
Does the sunshade help with Jeep hair as well? Asking for the wife :ROFLMAO: I'm looking for a solution cause she complains all the time about it and won't wear a hat lol
 
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