20 Kayak Rack for Jeep Wrangler |Buyers Guide

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If you are in the market for a new Kayak Rack for Jeep Wrangler, then my friend you have landed in the right place, we have been using our Jeep Wrangler for many adventurous things including transporting our Kayaks on its roof rack, we have gone kayaking on the glowing waters of Laguna Grande, and also paddled on Lake Estes in the town of Estes Park, Colorado.

Over the past years, we have had our fair share of experience transporting Kayaks in the summer and skis in the winter on our Jeep Wrangler, and this post is all about sharing our ideas, experiences, and tips to help you buy the right Kayak Rack for your Jeep Wrangler, with also a focus on the type of Kayak you have, and other considerations such as other Jeep accessories spacing requirements on your Jeep.

The most important factor to consider when purchasing a Kayak rack for your Jeep Wrangler is the mounting configurations of the Kayak rack, there are a lot of configurations you can get with a Kayak Rack for Jeep Wrangler, the combination we like and recommend is the Hybrid Jeep Kayak Rack Configurations.

The hybrid Kayak Rack for Jeep Wrangler offers an offset in the rear and a standard in the front. Jeep Wrangler Kayak racks can either be two standards, two offsets, or the Hybrid Jeep Kayak Rack configurations.

Best Kayak Rack for Jeep Wrangler

Depending on your Jeep rack style, the following Jeep Kayak racks offer options for flat crossbars, lift assist racks, folding J-racks, and traditional J-racks that you can mount on different Kayak rack configurations.

Jeep Kayak Rack configurations

The Hybrid Jeep Kayak Rack configuration is the best option if you are looking for an exposed jeep wrangler roof rack for soft top Jeeps so that you can have the rest of the roof rack for other Jeep accessories such as another kayak, bike rack, or any other Jeep Wrangler accessories, The hybrid jeep wrangler kayak rack is also the best Jeep kayak rack to get the Kayak mounted on your Jeep in case you have a lifted Jeep Wrangler.

We have explained the two standards, two offset and hybrid Jeep Kayak Rack configuration options in the infographics image below to understand the mounting option of a Kayak Rack for Jeep Wrangler.

Jeep Kayak Rack configurations infographics showing hybrid kayak rack, two standard kayak racks, and two offset kayak rack set-ups on a Jeep Wrangler

Hybrid Jeep Kayak Rack Configurations.

We recommend the hybrid Jeep Kayak rack configuration because you can get the Kayak to the furthest point of your jeep wrangler roof rack for a soft top, and leave the rest of the Jeep roof rack for other accessories. (As shown in the infographics image above).

The combination in the infographic image shows the Jeep Kayak rack with the standard on the front and offset in the rear, it’s the best combination of jeep wrangler roof rack for the soft top by allowing you to get the Kayak to the furthest end and allows you to mount multiple Kayaks or other Jeep accessories, it’s also one of the best kayak roof racks for 2 kayaks.

The hybrid Jeep Kayak rack configuration setup is best on a stock and lifted Jeep Wrangler because the crossbar will match up with the links, and getting your Kayak is easier because the Kayak is located on the outermost edge of the Jeep Wrangler.

Two standard Jeep Kayak Rack Configurations.

Two standard Jeep Kayak Rack Configurations allow you to move the Kayak at the center of the Jeep because the Jeep cross bars don’t match up with their links, the center part of the Kayak connection points with the exposed setup match up, but the outer connection point doesn’t match up because the cross bars are longer on Two standard Jeep Kayak Rack Configurations (as shown in the infographic image above)

We don’t recommend the Two standard Jeep Kayak Rack Configurations on lifted Jeeps, because the mounting point of the Kayak is in the center of the Jeep, and getting the Kayak mounted will be a difficult task because of the location of the Kayak at the center of the Jeep, however, this option offers good handling when driving, more stability and sturdy mounting point in case you are driving your Jeep through off-road terrains with the Jeep Kayak mounted on your Jeep.

In case you have a jeep wrangler roof rack for a hardtop, you can consider the two standard Jeep Kayak Rack Configurations, because of the rack style on the jeep wrangler roof rack for a hardtop that includes folding J-Racks, traditional J-Racks, flat cross bars, full roof racks, and cargo baskets racks.

Two Offset Jeep Kayak Rack Configurations.

The advantage of the two offset Jeep Kayak Rack configurations prevent roof rack noise (Humming and Whistle Sounds), which we will explain later in the roof rack noise section below, the two offset Jeep Kayak rock configurations prevent bad locations of the roof rack and the Kayak itself on the roof because the Kayak will be on the way of powerful airflow from the windshield, the Two Offset Jeep Kayak Rack Configurations allows you to move the Kayak forward or backward (as shown in the infographic image above)

The two Offset Jeep Kayak Rack Configurations are also a good option if you have a jeep wrangler roof rack for a soft top, you can be able to mount your Kayak rack on the furthest point of your Jeep giving your easier accessibility on stock and lifted Jeeps. In case you have a jeep wrangler roof rack for hardtop you can also consider a two offset Jeep Kayak rack to fit on your hard top roof rack to improve the stability and prevent noises when driving to the beach, lake, or river.

Jeep Wrangler kayak rack buying guide

Jeep Wrangler kayak rack buying guide

You should check the accessories that come with the Kayak kit, the number one accessory we look for is the rack padding that will protect your rack and kayak from scratches and also help grip down the Kayak to the Kayak rack.

We recommend exposed Jeep Wrangler Kayak racks, the benefits of the exposed Jeep rack is that they can go under the soft top and over the hard top of your Jeep Wrangler, when buying the exposed racks you must make sure the accessories are compatible with your Jeep as some are made for other SUVs, the first thing to check is the mounting bolts, there must be a minimum of four longer bolts labeled (A), with eight washers labeled (C) or wider for weight distribution.

Some Kayak racks have brackets that hold the Kayak rack on the roof of your Jeep, If you are looking for a standard configuration Kayak rack, the bracket bushing is at the center, but if you want the hybrid or the offsets configurations the bracket bushing should be on the right or left side depending on your offset configurations’ requirements. The bracket bushing determines the location of your rack either in the front or the back.

The cross bars width should be based on your Jeep Wrangler model, the standard width of a Jeep Wrangler is 6.1 feet (1.87 meters) wide, some of the features you should look out for in the roof rack and the crossbars are the click holes, this is more prone to water leaking into your Jeep when pressure washing your Jeep or when it rains, and we recommend checking for sealing rubber washer that is close to the originals.

Talking about the click holes, your Kayak rack cross bar should not only be made for transporting Kayaks, you should also check for cross bars that can be multipurpose, and the best way to know if your Kayak rack is multipurpose is the number of mounting holes on the cross bars, the more the better, especially if you are into offset and hybrid rack configurations, as this will allow you to mount other Jeep accessories you will need, including two or more kayaks.

If you just need a Kayak rack that is not multipurpose, you can choose Jeep kayak rack systems that attach to the crossbars and cradle the boat in J- or V-shaped forms which are more secure

Hybrid Jeep Kayak Rack Configurations offer the best ease of set-ups and removal since the Jeep Kayak rack and the Kayak itself are easily reachable on stock and lifted Jeeps, for example with an exposed rack you can be able to close your soft top and leave your Kayak rack in place.

You should also be able to secure and transport your Kayak on your Jeep, and some of the features you should check out are the padding, and straps, we don’t recommend using ratchet straps to secure a Kayak on a Jeep as they tend to do more harm to plastic and fiberglass.

We recommend making sure you have two locking cam straps that can only be unfastened with a key and are 12 feet or longer each, the straps should be water-resistant preferable made of nylon, and should be the non-stretch variant that will not stretch out and vibrate, you will usually need one line for the bow and one for the stern to secure your Kayak on the roof rack.

Most Jeep roof racks are made to hold 100-150 pounds and 165 lbs. at the absolute most. You should also understand that the weight of the Kayak rack itself is also included, and the thickness and materials used to make your Kayak rack matter, we recommend a Kayak rack that is lightweight, durable and has a rust resistance for carrying strength and protection during transportation of your Kayak.

This is the best video we have found showing how to strap a Kayak in a Jeep Wrangler from our friend on Jurassic Jeep DC


This concluded our article on choosing the best Kayak rack for Jeep Wrangler, we compiled this list and Kayak rack guide after extensive research and first-hand experience of using Kayak rack on our Jeep Wrangler, and we believe you will find this information useful and help you buy the best Kayak rack for your Jeep, so check out our list of the top kayak racks in the table above, and start your Kayaking adventures.

If you got a Jeep, Jeep Runner always got your back and you can read our other Jeep accessories guide for more useful tips, guides, and Jeep accessories recommendations. Happy Kayaking!

Last update on 2024-01-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

James Ndungu - Jeep Runner Writer

Author: James Ndungu

James is an Automotive Service Writer, I4WDA certified trainer, Jeep enthusiast, and shop owner specializing in Jeep parts, accessories, and Electric Vehicles Charging Station Installation services. His interest and first-hand experience in electric vehicle charging technology motivated him to achieve certification through the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP).

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