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Tips for Taking your Jeep Topless

It's spring in Minnesota and that means warmer weather ahead. This is the time of year when I get really excited.

A. I absolutely love summer, the hotter the better.

B. The soft top is going on the Jeep.

Having a Jeep Wrangler isn't just throwing off the top, jumping in, and taking off. There is some prepping to get going:

If you have a hardtop and are switching out the tops for the season as we do, you will either need two people or some sort of a pulley system. The hardtops are very heavy and one person cannot physically remove them by themself.

Follow the instructions for the installation of the soft top. We have a Bestop® brand soft top. There are a lot of choices but that is what we picked. Every piece of the top is there for a reason. If the top is not installed properly, it will fall down inside and can flap. Give yourself ample time. Installation can vary depending on the experience level of the Jeep owner. We used power tools instead of hand tools, which saved time.

With the soft top, it's much easier to go "topless" and "naked". The Bestop® easily folds back or can go on and off with one person.

When taking off the doors, be careful. Fold in the mirrors and hold on when you take out the screws. Use the back hardware storage area so you don't lose anything. When the bracket comes off, the door will want to swing open, this will cause damage to the outer panel of your Jeep if you are not holding on. One person can do this, but it's easier with two people. Store the doors standing up on end, do not lay them flat. There are storage systems you can buy for this or someone could make one. They will not fit inside the Wranger to bring with you in case you change your mind. Once they are off, you are committed.

Make sure your phone is secure. Last summer I got the Bulletproof® system and we loved it so much, my husband got one for the truck.

If you are bringing your dog with you, you will want them tethered into the middle of the back seat. There are different kinds of straps and harnesses. Research what works best for you. We have a harness and a seatbelt. Also, plan ahead, the animal can't stay in the Jeep alone if you stop and run in somewhere. There is no way to actually lock them inside.

Closed-toe shoes are a comfort factor if it's not really warm yet.

Your shirt tends to blow up on the side that faces the open door. It helps to tuck it into your pants or lock it under the seatbelt.

Check the weather. Dress for the weather and plan ahead. Long pants aren't fun when it's warm but driving in the wind can get chilly. On a trip up north to see friends, we left Minneapolis at 80 degrees and hit rain and hail and the temperature dropped down to 56 degrees. It was cold!

Bungie straps and carabiners are your friends. Use them to hold in your purse, backpacks, bags, etc. Using the back seatbelt to hold bags work great too. Pull the belt all the way out as if you're locking in a child's car seat. Things will blow or roll out if they are not strapped in. This also applies to any trash or anything light like hair ties. Even on the blinker's arm, they blow out.

Bring water or drink containers that have tops.

Careful where you park, you don't want bird poop on your seats.

Have a towel in a bag in case of rain or a blanket in case it's getting cold.

If you get rained on. Check your gear when you reach your destination.

Clean out the glove box and middle compartment so when you stop, you can store things in there. Just lock the boxes with the key so no one can access them.

Jeep hair don't care - and - it's not easy to see safely when your hair is blowing all over. Baseball hats did not work. Ponytails and headbands didn't far well either. If I had taken the time to fix my hair for a meeting or a date night, I didn't want it to blow all over.

What I found that worked amazingly well was a scarf that went over all my hair. It also covered my ears and forehead to protect against sunburn. And, my hair came out perfect when I arrived at my destination.

Speaking of sunburn, your arms and legs are exposed. Wear sunscreen.

Have fun!!

Enjoy the ride!!

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