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Old 05-06-2013, 06:25 PM   #1
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Kayak Roof Rack dilemma

So I am getting ready to pick up a roof rack for my kayaks. I have a '13 Unlimited JK, and use the hard top and soft top regularly. The main kayak I use is a 13' 7" Emotion tandem. It weighs in at 80lbs.
I am looking for a rack that:
1) Is easily removable, not permanently mounted
2) Is strong enough to hold at least two 80 lb kayaks
3) Is compatible with accessories like a basket/other attachments.

My search has led me to two options:
1) The Lange Rack with the large kayak option
2) Thule gutter foot mount with crossbars and kayak holders

My issue is: I like the Thule because of its versatility, but the gutter mount idea makes me nervous as heck. I am worried that 160lbs on top may cause those flimsy gutters to snap, and bye-bye kayaks and hard top.
I like the fact I can get a Thule or Yakima cargo basket and use that also if I need extra luggage one day.
I like the design of the Lange, because I can use my soft top or hard top with it. I already have a bike rack, so I could care less about the bike option. The Lange looks a heck of a lot sturdier, and I wouldn't be worried at all hauling my kayaks up there doing 70mph on the interstate. But, I can only haul the kayaks with the Lange, and from what I can see they offer no other baskets/rack setups for more versatility or luggage hauling.

SO...what's everyone's opinion? I am leaning toward the Lange, unless someone who has the Thule gutterfoot can convince me two 80lb kayaks are a piece of cake for it to handle...thanks in advance, guys. Need to bite the bullet on this this week for an upcoming trip...
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Old 05-06-2013, 06:39 PM   #2
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Another option and I understand we may, "have a difference of opinion".....would be to look at the rack system that has the bar up front for lights and another bar at the back, it mounts to the frame or behind taillights....a basket latter is an option, and it also has the option to add more lights up above - if you load or unload early morning/ late at night can pull right up and use the lights see what you are doing.......and a basket can be added...may be "all wet" on this as I have mainly seen them for 2dr wranglers however can not believe the market is not there for the 4dr.....also makes it possible to haul lumber....disadvantage is the "bars or tubes" are pretty much permanent....but this may be cheaper and "safer" and not matter which top you have on your Jeep...good luck!!

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Old 05-07-2013, 04:58 PM   #3
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you may want to look into the GOBI rack system -- I am a kayak instructor and have both tops also. the 2 crossbars on the rack accept Thule and Yakima accessories. I have carried canoes and kayaks. I installed the quick release up front and can be tilted back for top access- something I am looking to try, if you wanted to remove rack you could remove the "hinge" bolt from either side and raise it like you would a hardtop. all the weight is supported on the back frame and front windshield bolts(no drilling). it does limit the back bumper options
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:06 PM   #4
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That's an awesome rack, but I can't afford that price tag! I should have included that I'm trying to work with a sub 600 dollar budget. Unless someone has one for sale for 600, I'm out! Thanks for the pics though..I think I drooled all over my phone.
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:07 PM   #5
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I know it doesn't exactly answer your question but I had the same dilemma and finally picked up an old boat trailer for a few bucks. I've added racks and a truck box along the frame and plan to add a basket where the original skids were. All-in-all, I've got about $500 in it and it's making for a great kayak trailer, plus my roof is intact for topless driving. I don't have any pics (I know) but can take some this weekend if anyone's interested.
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:11 PM   #6
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I really like those Gobi racks, very sharp.

As far as Kayak racks, love the Thule Hullivator lift assist system. It's under $600 but requires the main Thule rack system.
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:12 PM   #7
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thanks, roof rack was the first thing I ordered because I spend so much time in a kayak or canoe. I put 600 -700 miles on jeep this weekend just to go kayaking
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lil Dozer View Post
thanks, roof rack was the first thing I ordered because I spend so much time in a kayak or canoe. I put 600 -700 miles on jeep this weekend just to go kayaking
I'm trying REAL hard not to do too many mods, but that rack may be one of them. It will help on our adventures to CO as well.
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:13 PM   #9
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Ace rock rails really helped too as far as tying down gear and /or boats- large enough to stand on with wet paddle gear on.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:56 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the input, guys. I decided to go with the Lange rack. Just ordered it off Quadratec with the large kayak mounts for about $570 shipped. Within my price range. I'll follow up with the final opinion on it when I get it. I would have gone with the trailer option as a last result, but we also mountain bike. I sometimes carry up to 4 MTB's on my Thule hitch rack, so that would definitely interfere with my ability to have a "dual vacation", so to speak..lol.
Dozer, I like that idea. I am definitely planning on picking up some rails one of these days.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lil Dozer View Post
Ace rock rails really helped too as far as tying down gear and /or boats- large enough to stand on with wet paddle gear on.
Sick setup! Like the above post said, I think I drooled all over my phone.

Question: how difficult is it to remove the hardtop with the rack on. Honestly, do you find yourself going topless less often? Any pics with top off and rack?

Thanks!
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:32 PM   #12
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The great thing about the Lange and the combo I have with my Trektop basic, I can roll the top open without having to move the kayaks, and I think there should even be enough clearance to remove the Freedom panels if I have the hard top on as well!
I think the Gobi tilts back?
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:02 PM   #13
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I have a Lange from my TJ, it worked great, unfortunately the JK is a bit wider and the Bolt holes are off. I could probably modify it to work but we're thinking about a small trailer. That way my wife can load hers if she goes out alone. She can lift the kayak but not high enough to get it on her car, let alone the Jeep.

I even thought about a Light bar on the front and a Bed Extender in the trailer hitch.
Not sure if the Rudge Ridge light bar would hold them high enough off the soft top.
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:29 AM   #14
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Hello Paul04TJ,

Here is some pics of my kayak Trailer... It started out as #1090 lbs harbor freight Trailer.... Then as any good jeeper would do I started modifying It.... I still need to put on the new hubs with Jeep rims and tires and fenders.... It was getting very old putting a 21 foot kayak on the roof.... I'm also been working on Chesapeake Double wood kayak and there is no way I was going to put that on my roof at 21+ feet. Its lighter, but a bit more fragile. The pics do not have the side boxes on with built in bike racks....As for off roading its okay, Just have to watch the big humps.... Almost all the lake here in Arizona have lots of trails around them, but no major off roading....

Michael....
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Old 05-09-2013, 01:20 PM   #15
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Found this on YouTube.


http://youtu.be/Va4ePxUJ9Jo

The trailer isn't that expensive..
http://www.harborfreight.com/1195-lb...els-90154.html

Plus a little how-ya-doin jeep minded modification....

I'm thinking I'll probably be going this route.

Lastly....other great ideas...
http://blog.harborfreight.com/harbor...trailers/3163/

Cheers!
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackedUpMedic View Post
Sick setup! Like the above post said, I think I drooled all over my phone.

Question: how difficult is it to remove the hardtop with the rack on. Honestly, do you find yourself going topless less often? Any pics with top off and rack?

Thanks!
Thanks, I only switch tops twice a year - unless going on long trip
soft top in spring and hard top in fall, I am a patient and short (5'4") so I don't get in a hurry. most of the time I just pull off freedom panels without tilting the rack back. I have multiple lifts in my garage/ shop so the easiest is unpin the quick release up front and unbolt 2 bolts in rear and lift rack off then remove hardtop and put on a dolly I built and roll it into a closet for protection. I put besttop quick releases on my soft top and it only takes a min to place and clip in.
no pics of top down yet, hope to do that when I put my softtop back on in a few days.
i had an idea but not sure if it would work--
step 1 take 3 bolts off ladder for rack and open rear door and window
step 2 use engine hoist with support and slide under hardtop
step 3 lift about 1 1/2" enough to clear hardtop aligment pins
step 4 roll engine hoist back and lower hardtop
step 5 clip in softtop reinstall ladder
there is about 3" of clearance between hardtop and rack
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Old 06-07-2016, 08:42 AM   #17
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Can you tell me if your Lange Rack worked for you? We just purchased for the same reasons as you, wanted access to the Freedom Panels, also want to take our bikes with us. HOWEVER, everything is installed and we bought 2 sit-on-top 10' kayaks with the vertical uprights as an option. Because of the span from front to back, the center of the kayak sits right on top of the hard top and never touches the cradles. Really disappointed right now. Are researching solutions as this was a pricey system.
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Old 06-07-2016, 08:46 AM   #18
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Can you tell me if your Lange Rack worked for you? We just purchased for the same reasons as you, wanted access to the Freedom Panels, also want to take our bikes with us. HOWEVER, everything is installed and we bought 2 sit-on-top 10' kayaks with the vertical uprights as an option. Because of the span from front to back, the center of the kayak sits right on top of the hard top and never touches the cradles. Really disappointed right now. Are researching solutions as this was a pricey system.
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Old 06-07-2016, 05:01 PM   #19
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Old 06-07-2016, 06:50 PM   #20
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Having gone through this thought argument with myself for multiple decades--I can thoroughly recommend what others have already suggested to go with a trailer. Having done various iterations of roof racks on my old Jeeps I much prefer the trailer.

You have heavy kayaks. When I had my first roof rack both of my kayaks were ~45 lbs each at 15 feet long, and was in my twenties. Getting them up on the roof all the time still got old really quick. 80 lb. kayaks are going to be a lot of work to get them up there and secured so you feel comfortable with them up there at interstate speeds. Roof racks and their contents add huge amounts of wind noise and drag to your Jeep, making travel much more unpleasant.

When i eventually got a m416 style trailer it was a revelation. I use it for the following:

- Carry 2 kayaks (45 lb each) and 1 17' aluminum canoe (80-90 lbs) all at once
- Carry 4-5 kayaks all at once
- Carry 2 kayaks, 2 other bikes down the middle of the top rack, and more bikes on a Yakima hitch carrier on the rear of the trailer. And more kids bikes stuffed inside the trailer.
- Carry canoe plus 2-3 bikes
- Carry about as many paddleboards as you can stack
- Loads of camping gear

I spec'd the trailer with a extendable tongue which is removable from the tongue receiver, so you can slide it in and out depending on the length of your boats.

Trailers are quiet, with less drag. They can be more expensive, and it's harder to find parking. But you can take a trailer with you to the next Jeep (or to another vehicle), so they can be a better value proposition than a roof rack over time.

The mpg loss between a loaded trailer and a loaded roof rack is going to be about the same. Figure on losing 1-2 mpg. The trailer will be more pleasant to pull on the highways as there is no extra wind noise. Your breaking distance will increase with both a rack or a trailer, but probably be a bit worse with the trailer (depending on the weight of the trailer).

Most importantly, you don't lose ANY functionality of your Jeep's top with a trailer. I take my soft top on and off all the time while I am pulling the trailer.

I also routinely use mine as a utility trailer for hauling stuff, and in that regard, the trailer has more than paid for itself before I even get to the recreational uses.

A tongue receiver also allows you to swap out the ball hitch for a Max Coupler or pintle and lunette so you can take it off road with you.

They're like having a truck bed for your Jeep, as opposed to the roof rack which will be much more limited in use.
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