Jeep Wrangler Kayak Rack – Reviews

You just purchased a kayak and now you need a kayak rack for your Wrangler to get it to your favorite lake or river safely!  This article discusses and provides great reviews on some of the top kayak racks for your Jeep Wrangler!

We have done all the heavy lifting for you which includes, checking product websites, reading product spec sheets, and pouring over product reviews.  All of this is done for you to determine the best kayak rack to mount to your Wrangler. 

Check out the link below with our top-rated kayak rack if you don’t have a lot of time!

The top kayak rack is the Yakima Jaylow.  It is produced by Yakima.  They are a very well-known company and build some of the best equipment carrying devices in the world.  This kayak will help get you and your kayak to your destination safely.  It fits 2 kayaks and comes with all the straps to tie it down to your Wrangler quickly.  Check out the item on Amazon at the link below.

If you have a minute, read on to get a deeper review of this rack and others!

Jeep Wrangler Kayak Rack Reviews

Yakima – Jaylow, J-style Fold Down Rooftop Kayak Carrier

Yakima is the brand of all brands for carrying your equipment to far-off destinations.  It comes with a higher price tag but understand that you will most likely have these pieces of equipment for as long as you are able to kayak.

Yakima has created this rooftop kayak carrier to fit 1 kayak in the J-cradle for up to 80 lbs or you can fit 2 kayaks in a vertically stacked position for up to 110 lbs.  If your kayaks are small enough it is great to be able to get two kayaks onto one rack.

Here are some features of interest on this Yakima Rack:

  • Can be secured with a lock but it is sold separately.  See price on amazon.com
  • This rack will fit on most crossbars
  • Can fit two kayaks if they are stood directly on their side but an extra strap will be required.
    • A reviewer mentioned adding security by adding extra straps
  • The rack folds down when not in use. 
    • Great for fitting into a smaller garage or storing it away
  • Yakima products equal quality
  • Comes with bow/stern tie downs to ensure a tight fit to the rack and vehicle

Cons

  • Some reviewers complain about a whistling noise from the racks while they are on top of the vehicle.  Their solution was to place tape over the screw hole that was causing the whistling.

If there are any fitment questions for your vehicle Yakima has a great guide to check if it is compatible with your vehicle. See this link to check your vehicle:  Yakima.com

Yakima – Showdown Rooftop Kayak and SUP Rack

Is it hard for you to get your kayak up to the roof of your vehicle? This rack offers assistance by tilting the rack down and allowing you to attach your kayak to the rack 26 inches lower than the rack height. It then takes some of the weight off as you push the rack onto the top of your Wrangler. Issue solved!

Here are some more things that are great about this Rack:

  • Can fit 1 kayak or 2 sup boards
  • The total weight supported is 80 lbs
  • Is compatible with SKS lock cores but unfortunately are sold separately. See price on amazon.com
  • Folds down flat to hopefully be able to squeeze into your garage
  • Fits most crossbar systems
  • The coolest part of this system is that it tilts down 26 inches from the roof rack height to help you get your kayak on if you are by yourself.   After an easier strap-in, it assists in lifting your kayak onto the roof by taking 30% to 45% of the weight!
    • Check out the link for photos to get a complete understanding.  This is a game changer for people that struggle to get kayaks onto their roof! 

Cons

  • Some reviewers mentioned that it was still difficult to lift the kayaks onto lifted trucks due to the height they were working with.
  • A reviewer mentioned that fishing kayaks would probably not work with this rack because of a weight issue.  Kayak weight and accessories for fishing onto it may push it over the 80 lb limit.
  • Not everyone will need the lift assist and the lift assist is what makes this roof rack one of the most expensive on this list.

If there are any fitment questions for your vehicle Yakima has a great guide to check if it is compatible with your vehicle. See this link to check your vehicle:  Yakima.com

IKURAM R Kayak/Surf/Ski Roof Carrier Rack

Made from aluminum alloys this rack by Ikuram is lightweight, durable, and can fit two kayaks!

Here are some great features about the rack:

  • Thick rubber has been provided on the saddles and uprights to protect your kayak and the rack
  • Can accommodate kayaks up to 42 inches and 72 kg/158 lbs
  • Comes with attachments for your paddles as well
  • The rack can quickly be folded down to reduce the height clearance of the rack and the vehicle

Cons

  • The instructions provided are not the best.  Please watch this video for the best installation guidance.  Ikuram youtube installation video
  • Round crossbars could be an issue with connecting to them.  One reviewer mentioned he had to make sure they were really tightened down to them to ensure they were secure.

Leader Accessories Folding Kayak Rack

Leader Accessories has created a kayak rack out of 22mm diameter and 1.5mm thick steel tubing to be able to support 150 lbs.  This product comes with 2 pairs of racks so that you could place two kayaks on the roof of your Wrangler.

Here are some features we love:

  • Steel supports are black powder coated to avoid rusting
  • They are compatible to mount on most of the crossbars on the market with the exception of any round bars
  • Racks can be folded down when not in use for easier storage
  • Could be used for other sports equipment such as paddleboards, snowboards and
  • Foam padding on the bars to protect your equipment from the rack and vice versa

Cons

  • While there are many reviews that the straps work great, some users recommend using other tie down methods for an extra layer of security.
  • It is always recommended to have someone else check your work after securing your equipment.  I did not do that one time and I ended up having snowboards fly off my roof!

HandiRack Universal Inflatable Soft Roof Rack

Handirack has made a very budget-friendly roof rack that can handle your kayak and even many more items you need to place on your roof. 

Here are things we love about the rack:

  • It inflates to create a soft surface for your kayak to sit on top of your vehicle
    • Comes with a pump to inflate
  • Can fit on many different vehicles
  • Has a 1 year warranty
  • Packs down quickly to a small bag for easy storage
  • Can secure loads up to 175 lbs
  • Can be used for other things, not just sports equipment because of its simple design
  • Weighs only 6 lbs

Cons:

  • It supports the kayak or equipment by strapping through the vehicle so you will have straps that run above or close to your head while driving.
    • If it is raining then this could cause water to come into the car because the water follows the path of the straps.
  • Could affect your side curtain airbags if your vehicle has them.  Wranglers definitely do not! But if you are thinking to use them for all of your vehicles then keep that in mind!
  • Reviewers mentioned tucking the straps away nicely or you are going to hear slapping on the roof.  There was sounds coming from the straps that were also mentioned. 

With all these cons mentioned remember that with a budget product you are going to always have some hang-ups no matter the product. 

From our point of view if you have short trips that avoid a lot of highway driving then this product could be a very great choice!

Jeep Wrangler Kayak Rack Comparison Table

 Capacity (lbs)Number of KayaksConnection TypeBow/Stern Tie DownsSecurity LocksPrice
Yakima - Jaylow80/110 depending on the position of the kayaks2Connection to crossbarsYesYes, but purchase separatelyCheck Amazon
Yakima – Show Down801Connection to crossbarsYesYes, but purchase separatelyCheck Amazon
Ikuram R Rack158
2Connection to crossbarsYesNoCheck Amazon
Leader Accessories Folding Kayak Rack150
2Connection to crossbarsNoNoCheck Amazon
Leader Accessories Folding Kayak Rack1751Connects to Car with straps that pass through the inside of the vehicleYesNoCheck Amazon

Kayak Rack Questions

How to Load a Kayak on a Wrangler?

Here is a great video to show you how to get a kayak up on your roof if you are by yourself and don’t have the Yakima Showdown roof rack that helps you lift it up and in place as mentioned in the review above. 

The only thing that concerns me is that he slides the kayak on top of the vehicle’s roof.  If you are worried about scratching your Wrangler’s top then put a towel down for protection.

How To Strap A Kayak To A Roof Rack

Here is a video that goes in depth on strapping your kayak to a roof rack.  You may have a different roof rack, but you can apply some of the same strategies.

It is a 14 min video and also includes a tie down of a stand-up paddleboard but if you increase the speed of the video it will go quicker!

Some other tips to note while strapping down your kayak:

  1. Don’t be afraid to purchase more straps or even some cheap ratchet straps like the ones found on Amazon here:  Amazon.com   
  2. After you complete connecting the kayak onto the roof rack, start driving for a couple of miles and then get out and check your work.  Check your work every time you stop until your destination.

Conclusion

These racks are all great for carrying kayaks but some more than others especially when you are going long distances and want to ensure your safety, and the safety of others while protecting your kayak as well.

Our top pick of the list is the Yakima – Jaylow because it is built by Yakima, can hold two kayaks and the rack can be locked down for security.  With something as heavy as a Kayak ensuring that it is secure is very important, especially traveling at highway speeds!

Always double check your connections and drive safely Jeepers!

If you are in need of some crossbars for your Wrangler hardtop roof we have reviewed some in this post: Best Roof Rack Jeep Wrangler

Affiliate Disclosure: Off RoaderX researches all the info on the web to find the best mods you can make to your offroad vehicle. Since we are user driven, clicking on the product links may provide a very small commission to our website, but does not increase the price of the product for you! This will help us cover the costs of the website and providing more articles!