I have the urge to paddle in new places other than my usual lake spot. However I do not know how to trasport my kayak. I have a 97 Jeep Wrangler and I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions of a rack for my wrangler (which still gives me freedom to take the top up/down) or a sturdy but reasonable sized trailer I can used to transport my kayak over longer distances. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
I am assuming you have a soft top?
My 95 is a hardtop and I put a set of factory roof rack rails on it from a salvage yard(ford aerostar). My Brother did the same on his 2000. Looks good and both have hauled Kayaks and Canoes thousands of miles. We both also built racks on small utility trailers which carry up to four boats and gear. If you have a soft top check out the trailer option or the rack system that mounts above the roof and attaches to the windshield bolts and rear bumper. Not sure who makes them but try “4wd Hardware” or do a google search. Good luck.
Kargo Master http://www.kargomaster.com/item.asp?id=7 is the only Wrangler rack that truly allows raising/lowering of softtop with rack installed. All other racks advertise that the top can be raised/lowered, but to do so you have to disconnect the front or side of the rack and lift it up first. The Kargo Master is also hinged to allow for installing the hardtop without having to remove the rack (many other racks have this feature as well). The Kargo Master has the highest load capacity (500lbs). I’ve used them on both my CJ and TJ, and will use one on my new JK.
All of the Pnet sponsored trailer company products are viable alternatives.
Jeep Wrangler rack
I have a Lange rack. It allows me to carry a canoe with a hard top, soft top, or no top… The rack also doubles as a bike rack. I looked at the other racks and for $450 with an easy install, Lange was the best solution for me.
soft top racks
I too have a hard top with a thule rack. Many places won’t install racks on hardtops because they won’t guarantee non leakage but mine has never leaked. Last summer I saw a couple of soft tops around with racks so I know it’s possible. Maybe the jeep website has ideas?
same rack. really convenient - haven’t had a problem
Front bumper rack
I would suggest making a rack that’s attached to your front bumper and one that’s attached to the rear bumpers/body. Since the racks are farther apart, it will give you a much more stable system to support your kayak. You could also have one attached to the windshild hinges.
I also fly hang gliders and the standard for hang gliding is a three point rack system that includes the usual roof rack (two cross supports) and one mounted to the front bumper. I made one for my Grand Cherokee that’s detachable and it works great for both my hang glider and my kayak. If you go to this link, you can see a picture of what I’m talking about.
Copy and paste the entire link, not just the highlited and underlined part.
here’s what i use on my wrangler
I used to trailer with my ‘00 Wrangler
I considered the rooftopping options and didn’t like any of them, so I just kept using the trailer to carry the kayaks.
It’s a Triton Blizzard one-snowmobile trailer, about 4.5’ x 9.5’ flatbed surface with a long tongue. We had the tongue extended (easy mod) to accommodate the sea kayaks’ length and leave plenty of jackknifing clearance. With homemade crossbars, it weighs maybe 400 lbs (unloaded) and can be pulled either off a bumper-mounted ball or from a hitch. I used a Class I hitch with the Wrangler, plus a 2" ball.
The Wrangler pulled the trailer without any trouble. At first, I was concerned that it might be a case of the tail wagging the dog due to the Jeep’s very short wheelbase, but it worked out fine.