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Raingler Web Nets
Side Nets and a Mini Net Tested

By Shawn Pagan

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RainglerHave you ever had one of those days when nothing seems to go right? Well this tech article and write-up is one of "those days"... doubled!

I was out wheeling in one of our spots where most of the trails are really tight and tree lined, when I jumped out of my skin because my daughter let out a blood-curdling yelp from the back seat. I stopped the Jeep and turned around to see her holding her cheek where she has a big red mark from a tree branch or a limb that popped off the roll bar and smacked her. She wasn't hurt and was more mad than anything, but like any good father I decided it wouldn't happen to my baby again - or I hoped so, at least.

I knew that for me the answer was not to wheel with the top on. Here in Texas and the surrounding states there are just too many beautiful days to run around enclosed inside a Jeep - heck that's almost as bad as your cubicle at work! Plus, in my mind, my soft top was too expensive to take a chance at ripping it. I can do body work but the thought of crushing or cracking the fiberglass hardtop was not appealing, either.

Having all those limitations, I decided to start looking around on the web. I came across a number of sites that had web bed material and thought seriously about buying some material and making some nets for protecting the back seat passengers. Then I came across a website for Raingler and I liked what I saw; 10 year UV resistance (black nets only), saltwater grade material, including the stitching, and military grade hardware (which should mean no rust).

I emailed Eddie Cline at Raingler and after verifying some of the information and deciding on what it was I was looking for, I ordered a set of Raingler Side Nets. Eddie also talked to me about a new item they have called the Mini Net, which has many universal uses so I thought I would check that out, as well.

The thing I noticed when I got the nets was the quality with which they were made and the obvious attention to detail. The seams are high quality and everything is double-sewn with the right kinds of material and thread. The rings are heavy-guage metal and the clasps are also metal (as opposed to plastic that so many are using these days) and very easy to use. I couldn't wait to put them on and try them out. The only problem was that I was at least a couple of weeks from going on any runs - especially anything I could do to take my daughter with me.

Raingler
Raingler
Well-stitched seams
Metal clasps and rings

The first chance I had to get out with the nets came during the Jeeps Of North Texas Lone Star Trail Fest event, which Raingler happened to be a sponsor of. The timing couldn't be better. I installed the Side Nets and I really liked the protection they afforded both my daughter and Kanga, our trail mutt. I was, however, in quandary as to how to use the Mini Net so I shot and email off to Eddie, who replied;

"I honestly like seeing what people come up with sometimes. The nets we keep remodeling over time to fill customer requests. We find that some things we make could meet their request with a slight revision... and so on. I had a customer with an old military '47 using the side nets as a safari door type device. The Mini's I have seen as a small over front area, over rear passenger area for carrying bags, soft windows in bags or even in blankets rolled up. I used mine the other day to carry some 35" tires from the tire store. The front partition actually led us to make another variation lately; the Wrangler Barrier Net. It is the same as yours but adds another cross row to block the area where the console lid is for smaller dogs. Hmmnnn, what else? How about a soft tire hold-down for folks with interior tire carries. (Steel U bolts and backing plates/hardware store 3$?) A tailgate net for Jeeps? By the way, these are about 10X stronger than the pickup truck tailgate nets I have seen here. Use it with a hardtop to carry stuff up inside for winter (tow strap, blanket, rain jacket, etc.)"

Once I unpacked everything I headed out to the garage and began to put the Side Nets on. Since the nets are shaped to fit the opening next to the rear seat on a Jeep TJ and they have a logo on them it's pretty easy to see how they are supposed to mount. I found that just starting the upper straps and then tightening the bottom ones and then going back to the top ones worked best to get that uniform "NASCAR" safety net look to them.

Raingler
Raingler
Raingler
Raingler

So I went ahead and installed the net behind the rear seat as (perhaps) added protection from branches and leave on the back plus it would probably keep the spare tie rod and collapsible chairs together and from falling thru on the dog or daughter in case something went dreadfully wrong. When installing the net on the rear I used the same approach as the side; start at the top, connecting it loosely and then tightening the bottom first. It made for a great fit.

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In fact, with the two extra tie downs that come with the Mini Net I was actually able to tie the chairs in place so they didn't move around at all.

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Now before all you nay-sayers make comments about the opening in the nets not really providing any protection let me assure you that both the dog and the daughter can stick their hands, paws and arms out the net's openings, however ,when combined with a properly working restraint (seatbelts for the daughter and a doggy tie down for Kanga) they work quite well. In fact, the only negative to the nets was that to get in the back seat one had to actually fold the front seat and climb in as opposed to just climbing over the side.

Raingler
Raingler
Raingler
Raingler

ON TO MORE TESTING ==>

 

 
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