Jeep Wrangler Soft Top Roof Rack

Need to carry more gear or people in your Jeep Wrangler soft top?  A roof rack is a great solution because you can add quite a bit of gear from inside of the Wrangler to the roof to make more room inside.  The options for the soft top wrangler are a little more limited because they do not have rain gutters like the hardtops do.

The only options for roof racks on the soft top are steel roof racks that attach to your frame in the front and back bumper. Because they are attached to your frame you can carry a lot more gear or luggage than the roof racks for the hardtop Wranglers.

There are many options out there and they range from carrying different loads or connecting to the Wrangler in different ways. This article has already sifted through the information on the web, specifications, and manufacturer websites to give you some great options to save you time.

Currently, this article is set up for the Wrangler JK and there is a TJ option as well, but we hope to add JL soft top roof racks soon.

If you don’t have time to read the entire article here are our top choices.  For the JK 2 door, our recommendation is the Rugged Ridge Sherpa roof rack.  It has a capacity of 300 lbs but can easily be installed without any major tools or drilling into your Wrangler’s body. 

For the JKU/4 door, the top recommendation is the Smittybilt SRC roof rack.  It has a total capacity of 700 lbs, is plug and play with the stock bumper, and is a great option for any rooftop tent. 

Read on to get more info and specifications that we have researched from the product websites, specifications, and more!

Jeep Wrangler Soft Top Roof Rack Reviews

Rugged Ridge 11703.01 Sherpa Roof Rack JK

This rack is an easy bolt on solution for your Wrangler JK 2 door (2007-2018) that still allows access to your soft top.  It bolts on easily to your windshield brackets and rear bumper and it comes with a light bar so you can add additional lights for your night rides on the trail!

Here are some features:

  • Tubular steel that is black powder coated for the elements
  • Fits with the stock bumper
  • The rack tilts toward the back to allow for the removal of your soft top
  • Comes with an integrated light bar that you can install lights onto
  • Has a limited 5-year warranty
  • Static capacity of 300 lbs

Cons:

  • The manufacturer does not recommend using a rooftop tent with this rack
  • The company recommends getting the rugged ridge bumper or keeping the original bumper for ensuring connection in the rear.  Otherwise, other more difficult modifications may need to be made with other aftermarket bumpers.  

Smittybilt 76717 SRC roof rack

This roof rack by Smittybilt is a great option for your JKU/4 door.  It is black powder coated alloy tube steel that has a total of 5 crossbars to allow for many different attachment arrangements.

It has great reviews that compliment the look, the strength, and the ease of installation.

Here are some other great aspects of the rack:

  • It can carry a max load of 700 lbs while the vehicle is not moving and if properly distributed and 300lbs when on the road.  This is a perfect rack for rooftop tents!
  • The forward mounting bar can accept lights to brighten up the trail.
  • The crossbars are great for all of the big name aftermarket accessories to attach all your gear for each season.
  • Fits with the stock bumper, no need for drilling into the body.
  • The crossbars are removable to assist in the soft top removal.

Cons:

  • You will have to drill into the rear of your Wrangler body unless you have an aftermarket bumper that will work with the rack.
  • May not work with rear corner style bumpers.  Be sure to do your due diligence if you have an aftermarket bumper.

Smittybilt 76713 SRC Roof Rack

This roof rack is for the Wrangler TJ (1997 – 2006).  This is constructed from high quality steel tubing and powder coated for protection.  The crossbars are removable so that you can access and remove your Wrangler’s soft top.  Here are some other great features:

  • Holds up to 300 lbs.
  • Great for most aftermarket products that can attach to roof racks
  • There are some great user reviews that mention it is a lightweight system but that it is also sturdy for their needs.

Cons:

  • Some reviewers complained about some small sounds coming from the roof rack when traveling at high speeds
  • If re-using the factory rear bumper you may need to open up the slots on the rear lower uprights.  So, we wouldn’t call this an easy install if that is the case.  If you have an aftermarket bumper it may be a little easier.

Trail FX J029T Roof Rack

This roof rack by Trail FX fits the 2007 – 2018 Wrangler JK 4 door.  It is constructed from 2 inch tubing and ¼ inch brackets that provide a strong connection.  Of course, it comes with powder coated and is even e-coated for even more protection.

Here are some highlights about this rack:

  • Recommended load rate from Trail FXs installation guide states 350 lb.  There are many different recommendations in the comments, but I would follow what the guide says.
  • From the reviews, the installation is very easy if you do not have to drill through the body of the Wrangler.

Cons:

  • If you have an aftermarket bumper that wraps around the corners or a factory bumper you will need to drill into the side of the body.  Or choose an aftermarket bumper that will allow you to connect to the bumpers frame.

Trail FX J021T Roof Rack

This is the other roof rack by Trail FX that will fit your JK 2 door (2007-2018).  It has the same build and features as the other trail fx bumper.

  • Recommended load rate from Trail FXs installation guide states 350 lb.  There are many different recommendations in the comments but I would follow what the guide says.
  • From the reviews, the installation is very easy if you do not have to drill through the body of the Wrangler.

Cons:

  • If you have an aftermarket bumper that wraps around the corners or a factory bumper you will need to drill into the side of the body.  Or choose an aftermarket bumper that will allow you to connect to the bumpers frame.

Jeep Wrangler Soft Top Roof Rack Comparison Table

 Generation Of JeepStatic Capacity (lbs)Product Weight (lbs)Fit With Stock BumperLink to Product on Amazon
Rugged Ridge 11703.01 Sherpa Roof RackJK 2(2007 - 2018)30078YesCheck Amazon
Smittybilt 76717 SRCJKU 4 Door, 2007-2018)700200YesCheck Amazon
Smittbilt 76713 SRCTJ (1997 – 2006)300Not provided but less than the smittybilt 76717 SRCYes, but modifications may be neededCheck Amazon
Trail FX J029TJK 4 door (2007 - 2018)350Not provided but will be more than the Trail FX J021TYes, but only by drilling into the side of the Wrangler’s bodyCheck Amazon
Trail FX J021TJK 2 Door (2007-2018350130Yes, but only by drilling into the side of the Wrangler’s bodyCheck Amazon

What to look for when purchasing a Roof Rack ?

How Do Roof Racks Connect to the Jeep Wrangler?

Most of the racks are connecting in the front to the windshield brackets and or the door hinges.  These are great locations because they connect directly into the frame of the Wrangler. 

In the rear of the vehicle, it connects to either the bumper or the body seam. 

Many people do not enjoy the thought of connecting the rear portions of the rack to the body of the Wrangler so they opt for an aftermarket bumper.  The aftermarket bumper will allow space for connection to the bumper location. 

If you are going to purchase an aftermarket bumper you need to ensure that it does not wrap around the corners of the jeep so that many of these racks can connect to the bumper connection points with ease.

What is the Capacity of the Roof Rack? 

The weight capacity of the roof rack is very important to understand so you know which rack is going to fit your needs. 

If you are only going to carry gear then most likely the 300 – 350 lb racks are going to suit you fine.  Don’t forget that typically you need other equipment like cargo carriers to sit on the racks as well so that will reduce the amount of gear or luggage you can put on the roof. 

In some cases, the manufacturers recommended to not install a rooftop tent even if they are rated at around 300 lbs.  It could be due to point loading and adding the rooftop tent plus the weight of the person could cause an issue.  That is only speculation but it is advised to follow the recommendations. 

Conclusion

The roof rack for your Jeep Wrangler soft top is one of the best ways to get more out of your Wrangler.  It will allow you to store more gear inside the Wrangler or allows you to invite more friends for your adventures. 

The best part of the roof racks provided above is that they allow your Wrangler’s top to be accessible and still get that great Wrangler outside feeling on the trail. 

One of the biggest reasons for choosing our top choices was for easy install connection.  If you aren’t a big mechanical guy then the Rugged Ridge Sherpa for the JK 2 door is the top option.  Click the link below to check it out on Amazon.

If you need the roof rack for your 4 door JK then the Smittybilt SRC roof rack is going to be your go to option.   With the Smittybilt roof rack, you can also put your rooftop tent and gear on top because of its 700 lb capacity. Check out the link below to check the price on Amazon!

Looking for a rooftop tent to go with your roof rack on your Wrangler? Check out the post below where we provide the best rooftop tents available!

If you need a roof rack for your hard top check out our post here: Roof Rack for Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

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