Jeep Wrangler Door Type GuideLast Updated June 12, 2023 | C.J. Tragakis
With door swaps being one of the more popular aftermarket upgrades for Jeep Wrangler enthusiasts, it can be daunting to try to figure out the best door set-up for your 4x4. Different people will prefer different styles for their rig, and the climate of your area can be a huge determining factor in what works best for you. While you might dream of enjoying an open-air door set-up, it might not be worth the trouble if you live in a place where three of the seasons seem to be winter and summer only lasts a few weeks.
This revolutionary new style of door offered by Bestop has been the talk of the town since appearing at SEMA in 2018. They’re finally hitting the market, offering enthusiasts an unparalleled ability to have traditional hard doors when they want them, and a true open-air experience when they don’t. When it’s time to enjoy the great outdoors, the inner core panel removes easily, leaving just the outer perimeter in place. You’ll be able to enjoy the sun and wind that much better, not to mention that trail obstacles will be much easier to see.
When it’s time to hit the asphalt or if the weather turns poor, simply re-attach the center panel. Once “closed”, the gasket-sealed hard panel offers superior protection and comfort compared to tube doors with soft sunshades. You don’t need any tools, and the doors come with locking latches, another benefit compared to some traditional trail doors. They’re available for order on the JK Wrangler, with JL (and Gladiator) options expected later down the road.
Tube doors are a popular option for Wrangler owners that like to spend time off-roading or at the beach. Defined by their outer tube frame, there are a variety of designs that can be implemented in the middle section. Many minimalist options feature just a single tube running across the length of the door. Others feature mesh netting, covers, or soft pack storage bags (which can also be added as accessories).
And some do include partial hard paneling or more-involved metalwork across the face of the doors. As you add more material to the design, you’ll find people referring to them as trail doors and safari doors as well (see below). With a wide variety to choose from and many ways to customize them with accessories, tube doors are an extremely popular option in the aftermarket for Wrangler enthusiasts.
Trail doors are essentially a subset of tube doors but can have either a tubular or a squared-off outer frame. The two names are used interchangeably by many manufacturers and enthusiasts. In general, however, trail doors will often have a more substantial design when contrasted with the bare-bones look of tube doors. Some trail doors are even completely covered, with no openings whatsoever.
Safari doors are very similar to trail doors (and tube doors). In fact, the terms are often used interchangeably, used together, or considered virtually identical. Like trail doors, the defining factor for a safari door is that it generally offers a little bit more coverage than a more skeletal tube door. Unlike trail doors, safari doors are more likely to feature either some additional metal paneling (often a grid design) or a soft mesh netting. Maybe that will provide a little more protection on your next safari, but we certainly wouldn’t want to bet our lives on it if there are lions involved!
Fabric Doors/Soft Doors
On JK and JL Wranglers, fully fabric doors are a less common option these days (though fabric upper halves remain quite popular, as we’ll see below). Bestop does offer a fully-fabric door option, but it comes in two separate pieces, not as one seamless unit. This makes more sense because a fully-fabric door wouldn’t offer as much practicality, just a unique style. Fabric upper door halves can be a great choice for many Wrangler owners when paired with hard lower door halves.
Upper and Lower Door Halves
You don’t have to purchase your Wrangler doors all in one go; you can order separate parts that can be used by themselves or in conjunction. Hard lower doors can often easily be paired with either hard or soft upper doors, allowing for additional flexibility depending on the weather and where you’re driving. Most tube doors, trail doors, and safari doors come only as a lower half and come in various compatibilities with upper door halves. Bestop’s core doors are designed to be used specifically with their upper doors.
And of course, there is Jeep’s signature configuration of simply removing the doors completely. This is great fun for outdoor adventures but can be less safe than even bare-bones doors for on-road driving. Plus, it may not be legal in all locales (either due to door requirements or side mirrors requirements). For these reasons, many Jeep owners see aftermarket doors as a more than amenable solution that will still help them enjoy the open-air driving experience.
No matter what type of door is going to work best for your Wrangler in terms of both practicality and style, CJ’s is here to help you find the perfect set. Browse our wide selection of Wrangler doors and accessories today to outfit your 4x4 just the way you want it.
Image Credit: Jeep | Bestop | Fishbone | Rampage | Rugged Ridge