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If you own a Jeep Wrangler and you're looking to upgrade it with an aftermarket roof rack, you've come to the right place. However, first things first: what roof rack do you need? The question we'd answer with is: what Jeep Wrangler do you have?
To clarify and make sure you get the right roof rack for your Jeep Wrangler, we must make sure you're 100% sure that you know what model you own. There are many differences in the features of one model or another, Jeep changed and improved things between the JL and the JK, just as they did with previous models. Then, you have the Rubicon, the Unlimited, the Sahara, 2-door and 4-door options. It's a lot. of information, and so we are condensing it below in the most simple way possible.
Then there are different Wrangler trims to choose from:
Finally, you can get the Jeep Wrangler in either a 2-door or a 4-door version, and either with a soft top or a hard top.
Although we didn't go into that much detail for each specific Jeep Wrangler model, trim or size, we did explain the different types, so we hope you now know what year, model and trim you own, as that is key to knowing which roof rack will fit your Jeep Wrangler. The following collection will show you in detail the best roof racks for your Wrangler, and you will be able to find the correct rack system for the model and year you need.
In this collection you will find not only the best Jeep Wrangler roof racks available, but we will divide them into specific models, for either Wrangler JL or Wrangler JK. The idea is for you to be able to find the correct roof rack for the Jeep Wrangler model that you own.
At Off Road Tents we offer a wide variety of brands and styles of racks, you will be able to find full platform racks, crossbars, half racks, gutter mounted racks, to other systems that drill onto the hard top, or even those that are bolted to the chassis of your Wrangler.
At the end of the day the best Jeep Wrangler roof rack is the one that fits all your needs, so considering the budget, as well as the weight capacity are two of the most important factors. If you then want a particular roof rack style that enables you to open the freedom panels, or one that allows you to carry weight and items even if you have a soft top, then you will find it. We pride on offering as many styles as we can to fit as many needs possible.
As said before, one that fits your needs, so here are the most important factors to consider:
If you are on a very tight budget, you already know there are certain types you won't be able to afford. Then, when it comes to the weight capacity, if you plan on carrying roof top tents or heavy gear, then get a roof rack that can handle at least 500 lbs of static weight capacity (when the vehicle is parked), and at least 165 lbs when. the vehicle is in motion. If you'll just carry lighter items, crossbars or less strong rack systems are enough.
Finally, the style of the rack wll depend on either you having a hard top or a soft top. Not all racks will fit both types of tops. If you want to open the freedom panels you might want a half rack, or a roof rack that does not hold onto the gutter all the length of your Wrangler.
Then you might want to decide if you prefer a rack bolting onto the chassis, or drilled onto the hard top, or simply mounted over the gutter. All these factors are different from one person to another, and hopefully in this explanation you will be able to better understand what you need, and which is the best Jeep Wrangler roof rack for you.
There are many reasons why you want to take.a good hard look at this roof rack for your Jeep Wrangler. The Front Runner Extreme Roof Rack Kit comes in two versions: for the 2-door Wrangler JL as well as for the 4-Door Wrangler JL. The picture shown is for the 4 door, and this rack itself is not to be confused with the Slimline II as they are different rack systems. The Slimline can also be found for the Wrangler but it mounts over the gutter.
What makes the Extreme roof rack so special? First of all the platform or tray is 56" x 93", ideal to carry pretty much anything, from kayaks, to boards, lumber, canoes and even mount a roof top tent.
Thanks to its nearly indestructible mounting system, this Jeep Wrangler roof rack really has a reliable load rating of 660 lbs. Basically the Front Runner JL Extreme rack bolts onto the existing mounting points on the body and factory roll bar of your Jeep. This allows you to remove the freedom panels and use the rack even without them, lowering the windscreen without interference, as well as seeing all the cargo weight that goes over the rack be distributed evenly across the roll bars and body of the Jeep. There is no weight placed over the hard top, making it really, really safe.
Basically, it's so strong, stable and mounted over strong points of your Jeep, that this rack's weight capacity when the Jeep is static or parked, is of more than 660 lbs easily, giving you the peace of mind that no matter what you carry and which trail you explore, it'll be reliable.
Just in case, it's important to know that this roof rack cannot be used together with the soft top roof or Sky One-Touch Power top. Snorkels are not compatible with the Front Bar Roof Rack Mount in this kit, and it is not suitable for 4xe models. However, Front Runner does make other roof racks that fit different trims of the Wrangler.
No weight placed over the hard top
Snorkels are not compatible
660 lbs static load rating
Installation can take some time
Freedom panels can be removed
The Rhino-Rack Backbone Pioneer Platform Roof Rack System with RCL Legs is one of the most solid roof rack options for your Jeep Wrangler, whether that’s a JK or a JL. The mounting system remains pretty much the same: it’s composed of 6 RCL lockable legs that mount onto the 3 Rhino-Rack Backbone mounting system points.
To mount these backbone mounting points, you will need to drill onto the hard top. However, that is not dangerous, but we do recommend to only do it if you’re handy with power tools. Rhino-Rack will provide all the needed instructions for you to understand where and how to drill, and once you do, fitting the backbone parts is simple, easy and leak proof. The holes will be perfectly covered by the rack parts and mounting systems, therefore no water, dust, or even air will be going through them.
Thanks to the such a strong and reliable mounting system, the dynamic weight rating of this Jeep Wrangler roof rack by Rhino-Rack exceeds the 250 lbs, ensuring you that any cargo you are thinking on carrying, will be safely carried over your Jeep.
Add to that the fact you can fully open the freedom panels, and actually do it effortlessly, and you know you have an easy-to-use rack. Be aware that this roof rack will only work with hard tops, and that drilling is required. Nonetheless, it’s one of the most reliable and stable Wrangler roof racks in the market.
Backbone mounting system allows a much higher weight capacity
Drilling is required
Lower profile roof rack
Gobi roof racks are known to be perhaps the strongest ones in the whole American market. All of these racks are made in USA, and usually with a long lead time as most are made on order. One of the biggest selling points is the load rating of 800 lbs. This is the static weight capacity, which means the roof rack can support at least 800 lbs when the Jeep is parked or not moving.
The dynamic weight capacity, which means when the Jeep is in motion, is of 300 lbs. This is clearly one of the strongest and more capable Jeep Wrangler roof racks. It’s hard to find another rack system that can carry so much weight. Roof top tents, recovery tracks or heavy gear won’t make a difference, the Gobi Sky One rack will handle it.
This Jeep Wrangler roof rack by Gobi includes a rear ladder to allow you to climb onto the rack easily, or to quickly help yourself reach cargo or accessories you may be carrying on the rack. It comes with a wind deflector to reduce noise as well as wind resistance, and it gives you the option to remove two crossbars depending on what you need from your rack.
Finally, this roof rack requires no drilling over your Wrangler. It bolts into the existing vehicle’s mounting points at the front and back. As a matter of fact, the rack itself supports from mounting points of the Wrangler’s body, not the roof. Therefore, the weight is much better distributed around the “skeleton” of the vehicle, thus making it much safer. Please be aware this particular rack is for a Jeep Wrangler JL 4-Door.
No drilling required
Long lead times for production
Static load rating of over 800 lbs
Can be used with a Jeep soft top
Some of the racks that we mentioned above are also available for the Jeep Wrangler JK. It's as simple as running a search on our website, or browsing through this collection, and you will find that the brands we have as some of the best for a Wrangler JL, also make almost the same roof rack, but for the Jeep Wrangler JK. That's also one of the main reasons for you to carefully take a look at the name of each rack and for which model they are made. We want to make sure you are getting the correct Jeep Wrangler roof rack.
One of the best possible options for a Jeep Wrangler JL roof rack is the Eezi-Awn K9. Eezi-Awn is another South African brand that manufactures and thoroughly tests their products under tough weather conditions and harsh off road trails. The K9 is a smart rack system that will be easily mounted or installed on the Wrangler’s rain gutters.
The rack itself comes in different sizes, a platform that ranges from 55” to 87” long, meaning it can either be a half rack or a full rack. Depending on the length of the platform, it’ll be supported by either three of up to 5 feet on each side.
The weight capacity of this Jeep Wrangler JK roof rack is of over 750 lbs. Carrying kayaks, canoes, boards or even a roof top tent is possible. Another great feature from the K9 roof rack is the compatibility with Yakima and Thule sports bar accessories, adding versatility to it, and allowing you to mix and match accessories from the different brands.
With a fully welded platform made of lightweight aluminum, you know you are getting a fairly silent roof rack for your Wrangler JK. Less noise, less weight, and not as much wind resistance. The K9 is drill-free, easy to install, and very reliable, a top choice as a rack system.
As we mentioned before, there are different roof rack types for the different versions of the Jeep Wrangler JK. In this case, Front Runner made a particular version for the 4-Door, which we are reviewing here. On top of that, this is a half rack, which means it only takes half of the roof for your JK Wrangler.
Now, you can also find this exact same half roof rack, for the 2-door Wrangler JK version. Basically, Front Runner makes full roof racks and half racks for both the 2 door and 4 door Jeep Wrangler JK.
This Jeep Wrangler roof rack has the great advantage of not requiring any drilling. It mounts by bolting to the roll bar with middle and rear brackets. It allows you to remove the freedom panels, as well as working with no roof hard top at all. A great thing about the Front Runner rack is that the weight is evenly distributed across the roll bars and the body of your Jeep, not placing any weight whatsoever over the hard top. This will reduce any safety concerns or hazards on the hard top, as well as having a great load rating of 660 lbs, allowing you to carry pretty heavy gear.
Finally, even though you can also choose a full platform rack for your Wrangler JK, the advantage of a half rack is the space it leaves for you at the front. The 4-Door version is big enough to even fit a smaller sized roof top tent, or to carry certain other large items, but it’s not too large as to be bulky, heavy and noisy. The fact it doesn’t interfere with the whole roof, helps keep your Jeep free enough o enjoy it without the freedom panels.
Easy to remove freedom panels
Doesn’t put any weight on the hard top
Takes only half of the roof
Smittybilt is one of the best known brands in America when it comes to everything Jeep. The SRC Jeep Wrangler JK roof rack is no exception. Priced incredibly well, this rack is built from steel tubes, all evenly powder coated, capable of holding 300 lbs of dynamic weight capacity )when the car is in motion).
It’s specifically designed for the 4 door models, and it will not require you to put any weight on the hard top. As a matter of fact, the SRC rack works by attaching to the factory bumper of your Wrangler, as well as for the SRC Smittybilt bumpers. Keep in mind it won’t work with other bumpers, especially the wrap around rear corner style bumpers.
It mounts on 4 points, two on the rear bumper, and tow more over the front of the vehicle. This will help you use the rack with either the had top or soft top. Thanks to the ability of removing two of the crossbars from the rack itself, you can even then remove the tops of the Wrangler without having to remove the rack.
Another great feature is the fact that this rack will work with many aftermarket accessories from Thule or Yakima, such as bike racks, roof top tents, and board carriers.
It might not be a platform rack, it might not be the most attractive design, but it certainly gets the job done for a great price, and a smart design.
Works with hard and soft top
Works only with Smittybilt or factory rear bumpers
Works with aftermarket accessories from other rack brands
300 lbs DWC weight capacity
Crossbars are a slightly different type of rack than platform racks. They tebd to be more affordable, weigh much less, are much easier to install and are less noisy. However, they offer other uses, as they don’t usually have weight ratings as high as those of platform racks, nor are they ideal for certain larger objects.
The good thing about them, is that given how easy they are to install and uninstall, as well as their smaller dimensions, they come in handy in different ways. We will present to you a couple of options, the traditional Rhino-Rack crossbars, as well as the Exposed Racks crossbars which can even work under the soft top.
The Rhino-Rack Vortex RL110 crossbars are a simple, easy and great solution for any Jeep Wrangler JL owner. There are also very similar crossbar systems for the JK, in case you are wondering.
These Jeep Wrangler crossbars are perfect because they can very easily be mounted to the gutters of the vehicle. This means, that the installation of the crossbars takes literally just minutes. The load rating is of 88 lbs when the vehicle is in motion. That means that the static load rating is of over 250 lbs, enough to carry any type of board, lumber, kayaks or canoes. It might not be the greatest load rating in the market, but enough for those looking to transport or carry lighter items and cargo.
Rhino-Rack also offers their famous backbone solution for crossbars, but they require drilling. Hence why we are mentioning the Vortex RL110, as they are easier to mount, install and take down. They are easier for anyone to get on their Wrangler.
The 3 cross bars don’t need to be used, you can choose to take one down and use only two depending on the item you want to carry. We recommend installing and using all 3 of them at any given time for safety purposes, as to make sure that if you are carrying longer items or heavier cargo, the 3 bars help with the carrying capacity and ability of your Wrangler.
Easy and quick to install
Not the greatest weight capacity
Ideal to carry longer items, from boards to kayaks
Exposed Racks makes some of the best Jeep Wrangler crossbars in the market. This particular crossbar system is for the 4-door Wrangler JL, but they also have options for 2 door Jeeps and other Wranglers.
The roof rack system itself comes with three crossbars as well as the brackets and mounting hardware. They are made exclusively for the hard top, and no drilling is required, making installation much easier. Just like other crossbar systems, theses racks from EXR will distribute the weight you put over them onto the side gutter rails for your Jeep, as well as through the top thanks to two welded square feet and two adjustable weight distribution feet that are patent pending. This special mechanism allows you to carry larger weights and items such as roof top tents, surfboards and even lumber or ladders.
The quality and craftmanship is completely out of question. These crossbars are made in USA from heavy duty carbon steel and come with a 3-year warranty. One of our favorite things about this Jeep Wrangler roof rack system, is the low profile of all the crossbars. Other cross-bar systems tend to either sit higher, or are designed in such a way that there can be a whistling noise due to wind resistance. However, these are lower profile and tend to have less wind resistance.
Work only for hard top Jeep Wrangler
Patent pending weight distribution feet
Can handle larger weights
As mentioned above, we were planning on giving you a crossbar option to use under the soft top, in case you have a Wrangler with it. These are the Exposed Racks EXR Under Soft Top Click-In roof racks for a Jeep Wrangler JL. The particular model we are reviewing is for the 4-door JLU, however, EXR also makes other crossbar systems for the 2-door and other Wrangler versions. If you have any question just let us know and we will find it for you or point you in the right direction.
This crossbar system comes with two crossbars, each with special holes for click-on accessories, the needed brackets to mount them, as well as all the hardware. These crossbars are installed UNDERNEATH the OEM soft top, and then when you close it, the bars will still fit perfectly and even allow you to carry items, accessories and cargo over the soft top. Basically, they are a camouflaged rack system.
If you then want to use them over the hard top, you can, but all you need to do is purchase an additional set of brackets to mount the crossbars over the hard top.
The crossbars themselves are made of heavy-duty carbon steel, and are designed to last for years and years. Quality and durability are completely out of question. They are made in USA and come with a 3 year warranty that proves how good they are.
Do keep in mind, that they are not designed to carry or take as much weight or abuse. These are very specific crossbars to use under the soft top, which you don’t want to damage either with heavy weight, or to be used without any top to carry surf boards, kayaks or canoes. The weight rating is yet to be specified, but it must be clear they are not ideal for heavy weight, but they are very low profile, won’t change at all your Jeep’s look, and they are incredibly handy for summer adventures.
Can be used under the soft top, and stay hidden if you want.
Not ideal for heavy items
Really easy installation. With additional accessories can be used with a hard top.
It must be very clear from the very beginning that this particular rack accessory will only work with the Front Runner roof racks. It will not work with any other brand.
That said, it is our preferred Jeep Wrangler roof rack accessory for kayaks, as it will very easily mount on top of your existing Front Runner roof rack, and safely help you carry a kayak, canoe or even any SUP or board.
This roof rack kayak carrier takes only 5 minutes to install over the Front Runner rack system on your Jeep Wrangler. The design is of angled rubber lined “V” braces, with adjustable brackets that can fit smaller or bigger kayaks. It will actually fit most of the brands in the market. It also includes adjustable Stratchits (straps), that help tie the kayak or board down, to keep it safe and in place. These straps are actually rated to hold up 300 lbs of weight. On top of that, the kayak carrier itself is made of stainless steel, and powder coated to make sure it matches the roof rack, but it also protects the steel from the elements.
All in all, this is not exactly a Jeep Wrangler roof rack for kayak, but an accessory for an existing roof rack. The Front Runner rack is also one of the best for carrying larger loads and items such as kayaks, as it can hold over 660 lbs of weight, and it’s a long and well-built platform, that puts no stress over your hard top. However, if the kayak you are carrying is not as heavy, even crossbar systems suggested above, could work. Still, if you have any questions, you can call us, and we will help you out!
It depends on your rack system and where it's attaching to. But the quick answer is over 150 lbs wen the vehicle is in motion.
You're welcome to read the section about this topic above. It depends on your needs when it comes to weight capacity, and if you're handy with power tools.
Yes, a few models allow this!
Depends on the rack and weight capacity, but from kayaks, to skis, luggage, and roof top tents.
Crossbars are great for boards or kayaks, full platform racks for larger and heavy items, and half racks allow you to easily remove the freedom panels.
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