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How to Mount Kayak on Jeep Wrangler Top, Hitch, & Trailer Mount

Jeeps are great for thrilling adventure experiences because of their nature to navigate rough terrains. Most outdoor people like the kayak. They love to own a Jeep Wrangler because of its ability not only to take them for a beast ride but also it helps in carrying a kayak to their destination. 

While it’s exciting to know your Jeep will take you and all the items you need without much struggle. One major question every adventurous person asks what is the best way to mount a kayak on your Jeep Wrangler top and hitch. 

If you have been struggling with this type of question, we got you covered as we have explored options on how to mount a kayak. Let’s dive in. 

What Is the Best Way to Mount Kayak on Jeep Wrangler? 

When seeking to mount your kayak on a Jeep Wrangler, you need first to understand the different ways kayaks are mounted before you settle for what suits you best.

Another question you should consider is the size of your Kayak.  A big kayak is mounted differently from a small kayak due to size and weight. 

Luckily there are two main options of mounting a Kayak on a Jeep; on the top of your Jeep or using an attached hitch. 

What’s the Best Between Top Mounted or Hitch Kayak Rack? 

Once you have determined what kind of kayak you will be carrying, are you carrying one or two kayaks, and the distance you will be going for. You might be asking what’s the best kayak rack between the top-mounted and hitch-mounted kayak rack. 

Both top-mounted and hitch-mounted kayak racks work perfectly well. To determine what’s best from the other will depend on the kayak you intend to carry. To have a deeper understanding, let’s look at the two types of kayak racks in detail. 

Top Mounted Kayak Racks 

mount kayak on jeep wrangler

The top or roof-mounted kayak rack is usually mounted on top of your Jeep Wrangler when you need to carry your kayak for an adventure. They usually come in two types soft roof-mounted and hard roof-mounted kayak racks.  

The soft mounted kayak rack is mostly used on Jeep with a soft roof. They are safe and capable of a mid-size kayak. A hard roof-mounted kayak rack is being used on a Jeep Wrangler that has a factory rooftop. Both soft and hard kayak racks are easy to install, takes few minutes to install and uninstall. 

A roof-mounted kayak is best suited to carrying shorter kayaks that fit well without hanging over from front to the end of the vehicle that may affect your visibility while driving.

The top-mounted carrier is strong to carry two kayaks without compromising on space or carrying one kayak and other gadgets.

Best Top mount kayak & Canoe carriers for Jeep Wrangler

Rhino Rack Kayak & Canoe Carrier

  • J-style folding and easy installation process.
  • Universal mounting bracket for all types of vehicles.
  • If you don’t have a roof crossbar to mount, then you must check this Rhino Rack Aero bar. It fits Jeep Wrangler JK, JL, & JT Gladiator.
  • If you are planning to expand for carrying more Kayak & Canoe you can use Rhino Rack Extention.

Thule HullaPort Pro Rooftop Kayak Carrier

  • J-style system with easy loading and unloading of Kayaks.
  • PFD lever (Pull, Fold, Done) for quick folding & more top clearance.
  • In case you don’t have a crossbar to mount then you can check Thule’s roof rack system. It is a combination of Thule 300R Rapid Gutter & Thule WingBar Evo Load Bars. Both the listed items fit Jeep Wrangler. Crosscheck on Thule’s website for confirmation.

Here are some alternative top mount Kayak Carriers from Thule:

Rear/Hitch Mounted Kayak Carrier

Hitch kayak carriers are T-shaped and offer extra contact points where your kayak can rest. A hitch kayak carrier can be mounted on the back of your Jeep according to your preference. If you have a long kayak, then hitch mounted kayak rack is the best choice. 

It can carry two long kayaks without struggling to put them well. You also add a puddle board and any gear you may want. Loading a kayak on hitch mounted kayak rack is easy, as well as offloading it. It’s also very easy to install and uninstall the hitch kayak rack from your Jeep Wrangler. 

A hitch rack is more stable when compared to a roof rack. It offers balance on your kayak while driving off-road. When you attach a hitch kayak at the back of your car, the longer side of your kayak will be at the back, offering a clear view on the windscreen, unlike when using a top rack kayak. 

Best Rear & Hitch Mount Kayak & Canoe Carriers For Jeep Wrangler

Rhino-Rack Nautic 571 Rear Kayak/Canoe Carrier

  • Fits the roof brand suitable for Jeep.
  • Spring-loaded cradles at the rear end make it easy for rear mounting.
  • The loading and Unloading process is simple.
  • The material used is high-quality stainless steel making it waterproof, mold, & corrosion resistant.

Here are some alternative rear & hitch mount Kayak Carriers:

Kayak Trailer Packages

A Kayak trailer lets you haul your kayak or any other watercraft. It can be a very option if you are going for a weekend trip with family for kayaking, as the Kayak trailer will immensely help you in the loading and unloading of your Kayak.


  • It has better aerodynamics compared to the roof rack.
  • Can be easily attached and detached in seconds.
  • Trailers give you the option to carry more weight with enough kayaks.


  • If you are using Trailers, tow hooks are to be bought separately as they are not fitted as standard on vehicles.
  • Also, driving with a Trailer is not an easy task, you need to show extra caution while cornering fast, braking and reversing.
  • When it comes to cost, Kayak trailers tends to be expensive and also you need to incur an extra cost to maintain the service of your Kayak trailer.

Best Kayak & Canoe trailer package For Jeep Wrangler

Malone MicroSport Sports Trailer for Kayaks, Canoes and Bikes

  • Fits 4 kayaks up to 20-inches long.
  • Hold up to 800 lbs capacity.
  • 60-inch aluminum cross rail for good spacing between the vehicle and trailer.
  • Easy installation with a guide.

Malone MicroSport Trailer Two Kayak Transport Package

  • Fits 2 kayaks up to 18-inches long.
  • Easy loading and unloading of kayaks.
  • 2 sets of SeaWing kayak carriers included.
  • 60-inch aluminum cross rail for good spacing between the vehicle and trailer.
  • Easy installation with a guide.

Here are some alternative Kayak Trailer package:

What to Consider when Buying Mount Kayak Rack for a Jeep Wrangler 

mount kayak on jeep wrangler

When seeking to buy a kayak rack, there are some considerations to look out for before settling for one. Here are tips that will help you best kayak rack for your Jeep Wrangler.


For your kayak’s protection, the point of contact between your kayak and the mounted kayak rack is crucial. You probably will be driving in different conditions and the support of your kayak matter.

With various lengths and shapes of a kayak, the design of the saddle and the distance between them are crucial n how your kayaking will hold on when driving offload. 

Straps for Loading 

When loading your kayak, you need to ensure it’s well-secured and that’s road starts are for. Most of the kayak racks come with built-in straps, while some give you a choice to choose the traps you want. The goal is to check how well and fast you can secure your kayak without them moving an inch. 


Padding is important when transporting a kayak and the protects your kayak from getting damaged. The rack has padding on the bottom where the kayak lays to protect it from the cradle or saddle.

The thicker the padding is, the better for your kayak as it offers more protection. But you need to note that it may be hard to store the cardle with addended padding when you are not using it. 

Roof Rails 

Roof-mounted kayak racks should be compatible while with the roof rails of your Jeep. When you have a hard roof, you use a hard roof-mounted rack, and for a soft roof, you use set mounted roof rack.

The mounting accessories that come along for mounting the kayak racks will determine the compatibility of the roof and the rack. A compatible roof rail and mounted roof rack determine how stable your kayak will be.

Number of Kayaks 

The number of kayaks you intend to carry will also determine the type of kayak rack you can buy. If you are looking to carry more than two kayaks, you need to look for a kayak rack that perfectly fits both of them.

Moving Equipments

When it comes to moving around Kayak, the first thing you need is a trolley to carry your kayak on the sand. If not get a shoulder strap, so that you can carry your kayak on your shoulders, the lateral is the best option if you are willing to save some money. Check out the links below for both the options.

How to Mount Kayak Rack on the Jeep Wrangler?

mount kayak on jeep wrangler

kayak rack in an adjustable attachment to your Jeep to help transport your belongings. It’s easy to mount on your Jeep and simple when removing it. When you are configuring a hitch kayak rack, it does not require any modification on your Jeep.  

All you need is a pin in the hitch mount, a cam strap that goes through your spare tire, and another cam straps to the bumper of your Jeep. Also, keep in mind that the Hitch kayak rack comes with five abilities of different tire sizes.  

Installing both top/roof and hitch-mounted kayak racks is simple and does not require any special skills. When you purchase a kayak rack for your jeep wrangler, it comes with a set of instructions on how you should mount it on your Jeep.

Below are instructions to mount Kayak rack on your Jeep Wrangler:

  • When installing a roof-mounted kayak rack, you first need to check the roof of your Jeep has raised tracks. If the roof is bare, you will need to get crossbars, a few of them, a foot pack, and a fit kit that will help in installing.  
  • Another thing that you need to do is to find the right roof kayak rack that fits your roof perfectly. So, you needed to get a Jeep Wrangler roof rack. Also, remember that the type of roof kayak track you get will largely affect the installing and overall carrying of your Kayak.
  • Start by assembling the base of your top rack system. Using the screws, attach the crossbar. Before you put your rack on the rooftop, measure the distance between the rail and the back. Then ensure you align the rack with the center of the roof. 
  • If your Jeep already has crossbars, you need to drill holes because the holes may not always be available. If you are installing a new crossbar, you need to drills holes on the crossbars, fit in the screws and tighten the roof kayak rack correctly and everything is done. 

Materials Used in Making Mount Kayak Rack 

There are various materials used in making Kayak racks. You get to choose the material for a kayak. You can kayak racks made of stainless steel, and they very durable and can carry several tracks are made up of aluminum, steel, PVC pipes, and PSV pipes. Because of the materials used, they are long-lasting.  

What is the Maximum Kayak Weight can a Jeep Wrangler Carry? 

Before mounting a kayak on your Jeep Wrangler, you need first to understand the weight limitations of your vehicle.  Each vehicle has a stated weight that its roof can carry safely. Then you also need to look at what kind of kayak rack you are using. 

Both soft and hard kayak roof racks have the maximum weight they can handle. A hard rooftop rack can support a maximum of 150 pounds (70 kgs), and a soft rooftop kayak rack can carry a maximum of 140 pounds (65 kgs). 

What is the cost of Mount Kayak Racks for a Jeep Wrangler? 

When shopping for a kayak rack for your Jeep Wrangler, you need to know the average price of kayak racks in the market. Kayak racks vary in prices according to materials used, the safety they provide, and various designs. 

A good and sturdy kayak rack for a Jeep Wrangler costs between $150 to $650, depending on the type of kayak you want. Some kayak racks are sturdier than others, but that depends on the kayaks you intend to carry and the weather conditions of where you will be driving through. 

Depending on your needs, you can buy a kayak rack for a lower price or the highest price. What matters is ensuring the kayak rack you intend to buy meets all your needs, fast to put on and remove from the Jeep, and easy to load and offload your kayak. You also need to ensure you buy a durable kayak rack. 

What is Best Between Kayak Rack and Kayak Trailer? 

mount kayak on jeep wrangler

Probably you are looking to get transporting gear for our kayak, and you are torn between getting a kayak or a trailer. Anyone who has ever used a trailer may tell you it’s the best, but on the other hand, someone who uses a kayak rack will assure you it’s the best mode to transport your kayak. 

You are torn between the two. Well, here are some of the things you need to know before making a decision. Kayak racks are much more affordable than trailers when you are not using the rack, it’s easier to store it in the garage, and it’s easier to find parking when carrying your kayak on the roof than having a trailer. 

Trailers offer more space, and you can carry several kayaks at once compared to kayak racks, where you will mostly get to carry only two.

It’s easier to launch your kayak into the water. The trailer may not handle tough terrain that Jeep Wrangler can with your kayak on top. 

Can you Put Thule Kayak Rack on a Jeep Wrangler? 

Thule kayak racks are among the best in the market. They are versatile and gives you an option to carry two kayaks on your Jeeps’ roof.

A kayak roof like the Thule-Hull-a-port XT kayak rack is perfect for Jeep Wrangler. They are firm and sturdy and offer and easy to store in your garage. 

Can Roof Rack Damage Your Jeep Wrangler?

A roof rack may damage your Jeep if you are not stalling properly. However, it doesn’t often happen when you follow the instructions that come with the rack. 

Can Roof Rack be Fixed Permanently? 

Roof racks are manufactured as a carriage and can be removed whenever you want. Some Jeep owners prefer to keep the racks on their Jeep instead of removing and mounting them when they need to transport their kayak. 


It’s time to go for that river or lake adventure you have been dreaming of because you don’t know how to carry your kayak. You now understand the best way to mount a kayak rack on your Jeep Wrangler, whether it’s top roof rack or hitch kayak rack. 

You don’t need to be a professional to install a rack. By following the outlined steps, you can now mount a kayak rack on your Jeep. It will only take few minutes, and you will be on your way to a thrilling adventure.