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cbaird 10-27-2010 10:36 AM

More roof rack & kayak help please!!
I just bought a 2010 4dr Wrangler unlimited with freedom top. I would like to learn to do a little recreational kayaking and have bought a 10' used kayak from a friend to get started. I did NOT realize it would be such a big deal to figure out how to load and haul it. I am short, have some neck and back issues and will always be loading it by myself. I think I have some options figured out for loading it on my own BUT everything involves a rack as I do not have the room or money to deal with a trailer. I cannot see any options other than drilling into my new hardtop - am I missing something? I see some very expensive cargo racks that bolt to the bumper/windshield area but it seems to me that it would make it hard to take the top(s) off with it on? And I see some really expensive ones that tilt down but again they look difficult to manage on your own. Sheesh maybe I should not even attempt this but I own a little kayak now and I want to use it!! Suggestions??

WranglerLou 10-27-2010 03:16 PM i hope this helps you. it will make it alot easier.

jk'n 10-27-2010 03:26 PM

^^Hang on to your wallet on that solution! A friend of mine has the hullavator...a totally awesome product. Prepare to drill into your top though or buy a rack system.

bobjenkins 10-27-2010 03:30 PM

How much does the usual kayak actually weigh?

jk'n 10-27-2010 03:37 PM

^^ plastic ones (most kayaks) weigh in at about 50 lbs.

bobjenkins 10-27-2010 05:12 PM


Originally Posted by jk'n (Post 844694)
^^ plastic ones (most kayaks) weigh in at about 50 lbs.

Im thinking of getting a kayak one of the main reasons I might buy the congo cage. Any buying tips? Im most likely going to be using it for trips down the river (very calm) and adventures on some of the smaller lakes up north that dont allow motorized boats.

jeffk42 10-28-2010 05:55 AM


Originally Posted by bobjenkins (Post 844865)
Im thinking of getting a kayak one of the main reasons I might buy the congo cage. Any buying tips? Im most likely going to be using it for trips down the river (very calm) and adventures on some of the smaller lakes up north that dont allow motorized boats.

Get a longer kayak, they're better suited to calm waters. I have a 17' and I bought my girlfriend a 14'. Hers is a little wider, so it's more roll-stable, but my narrower and longer boat is faster and plows through light chop easier. Its length also gives it a straighter track.

Actually, since this is off topic, feel free to send me a PM. I can try to help. :)

Tiki Tim 10-28-2010 07:19 AM

I have a 13' and haul it on the Gobi rack. The rack was not cheap, but it is built to last!

LC Yakr 10-28-2010 07:44 AM

I don't have any racks attached to my 2007 JK 4dr as I use a Malone Trailer to haul my 2 Native Manta Rays and my 1 Hurricane Phoenix 140. All three kayaks are SOTs and are at least 14'.

I have debated whether i would buy a rack but i am curious about the wind noise? Can anyone provide some insight on that concern.

(Tiki Tim) Also curious what is the "Gobi" priced at?

jeffk42 10-28-2010 08:18 AM


Originally Posted by jeffk42 (Post 845845)
Get a longer kayak, they're better suited to calm waters. I have a 17' and I bought my girlfriend a 14'. Hers is a little wider, so it's more roll-stable, but my narrower and longer boat is faster and plows through light chop easier. Its length also gives it a straighter track.

Actually, since this is off topic, feel free to send me a PM. I can try to help. :)

Sorry, before 7am my brain is still off. Mine is a 14' and hers is a 12'. :doh:

GallowHill 10-28-2010 08:21 AM

What ever you do, don't get the safari type that bolts onto the exterior of the tub. I saw one in person the other day, and the sheet metal where it was attached was buckling. Looked like crap.

TDCoffee 10-28-2010 08:21 AM

I have a trailer that I plan to use mainly because the days that are great for kayaking are also usually built for having the top down. I'm not wild about the idea of being dripped on all the way home

LC Yakr 10-28-2010 08:30 AM

That is exactly why i have a trailer as I don't like the saltwater dripping on the jeep...

cbaird 10-28-2010 08:36 AM

Well it appears that whether I want to spend money on the automated lift system or just some rollers I still have to drill into the hardtop correct? And the only other options are something like the Gobi or Congo cage, or a trailer which is even more trouble for me to deal with on my own, unhook, store when it won't fit into my backyard etc...I was just hoping there was an alternative to getting a rack system other than the drilling.

So for those of you with the Gobi/Congo type racks, then what do you do when you want to take your top off, either the front dual panels or the whole back? You have to take the cage off or it looks like it tilts back? How manageable is that going to be for a small lady to accomplish either, maybe just as hard or harder than trying to lift it onto rollers?

Is there a short lady out there who is doing this by herself in a new Jeep - would love to hear from you!!

LC Yakr 10-28-2010 08:42 AM

I would recommend that you take a quick look at the Malone or Yakima trailers as they do break down and can be easily stored in the garage. I chose the Malone as I found it on Ebay for $305 (brand new) and it typically runs in excess of $1300. I would have chosen the Yakima Rack and Roll as it is aluminum and the wheels fold inward with the use of a couple of pins. It also uses shocks on the back which is nice. Take a look at Yakima's website and there is a short video of how the trailer breaks down. The only downfall is the price tag!

jk'n 10-28-2010 01:57 PM

I have the sports rig micro trailer and it is the bomb. I got the super deluxe with all the accessories and the extended tongue for my 16 foot long ocean touring kayak. But....hang onto your wallet! I find it nice to use around town when going out for a short jaunt. When I go camping for weeks at a time, I put the kayaks on the congo cage and pull a utility trailer with all my camping and fun gear in the trailer. Jeep occupants sit in comfort because the inside is not jammed up with stuff.

My other three kayaks are two twelve foot and one ten foot flat water kayaks made by old town. They have fairly open cockpits and are wide as far as kayaks go. My son had one of the twelve footers out with me on my touring kayak on Mooshead Lake in Maine in a 30 knot blow digging through white caps for about an hour and a half. Both of us with spray skirts on. The old town was not the desired kayak for that situation but did admirably. So, even though it is a flat water kayak, with a skirt can be used in roughed up flat water.

Regarding the congo cage rack, I bolted it onto a stock jeep. Its supports are firmly anchored. The rear held onto the bumper mounting bolt point by use of extended bolts and a bracket supplied with the rack. The front is mounted to the windshield bolts by use of hardware supplied. It is rock solid. It will handle anything I'll probably throw at it and I tend to be a heavy traveler if you get my meaning. Translate: I usually bring the kitchen sink AND the bathroom sink. The jeep is my fun toy and that is why I have so many accessories for it, and I have plans for more more more. It just takes time to collect the stuff. Next summer I plan on being on the road a lot to various places in the north east. Whatever you get, that is half the fun: outfitting; the other half is the getting out into the great outdoors.

Tiki Tim 10-29-2010 10:41 AM

I have the Gobi Stealth, and with my Trektop it is a breeze to take off the top. For the hard top the rack tilts back rather easily. I can't recommend the Gobi enough, it is solid and built to last...

denis4x4 10-29-2010 05:27 PM

Take a second look at the Harbor Freight trailer kits for $300. Easy to store and practical for picking up lumber, etc. My wife was power shopping and there was no room for the stuff, so I bought the HF trailer and towed it from San Diego to Durango without any problems.

nvkid 01-12-2011 08:48 PM

I`m in the process of putting a rack together. No kayak yet, but i`m hoping to get a hobie. First i added a light bar that wraps around the windshield. The mounts for the lights i can use to mount mabey a saddle. Next i put a slip hitch on the front and got an ajustable "T" bar to match the height of the light bar. I also have a "T" bar for the back hitch. hope you get the idea.

cbaird 01-13-2011 08:17 AM

Hi NV Kid, still working on the rack idea, is there a possability you could post a video or some pics of your solution after you complete it?

NHrubicon 01-13-2011 08:48 AM

If anyone is looking for kayak racks (the clamp on type) I have several pairs to get rid of. One set of the 'fold down' Thule brand, never used (bought the wrong ones) and several pairs of the Thule J style. (I've used these several times). I had been using a stakeside trailer I converted for hauling kayaks, boy scout troop borrowed it and loaded 7-8 by stacking them on the ones in the J hooks. But now I pull a camper so if we use the kayaks they have to go up on top on my Garvin rack. Talk about a solid rack! So I only need 2 pairs. Haven't kayaked in 2 years, medical this year, if we don't go, I'm selling my yaks off also. But really hoping to get back on the water!
So again, if anyone wants some of the clamp on racks (fit both round, square, and oval racks, multi-use clamp system) let me know!
I'm in New Hampshire...and maybe if someone around here wants to talk me into kayaking this summer that would be great!

Vince1 01-13-2011 09:05 AM


Originally Posted by Tiki Tim (Post 848178)
I have the Gobi Stealth, and with my Trektop it is a breeze to take off the top. For the hard top the rack tilts back rather easily. I can't recommend the Gobi enough, it is solid and built to last...

X2 on the Gobi. That's what I ended up going with. Well worth the money IMHO as it is a very versatile and well designed rack.

nvkid 01-13-2011 09:18 AM

Hey cbaird, Will try and get some pictures in the next few days. It`ll be a first for me so hold on to ur kayak.

nickandsusan 01-13-2011 11:38 PM

I'm a 5'3" woman and had a 99 wrangler with a 4"lift, 33s, and a garvin wilderness rack. I used Yakima Hully Rollers and Maco saddles to load my 12' kayak with no issues alone.

I just bought a 2 door rubicon and will be going with this same set up.

nvkid has a great plan, kind of this set up
Thule Canoe Racks - 2010 Thule 997 GoalPost Hitch Mounted Kayak / Canoe Racks for 2 inch Hitches

nickandsusan 01-13-2011 11:54 PM

3 Attachment(s)
We also had a trailer for our boats because it was just plain easy to load/unload. Storing the trailer was a bit of a pain though.

Here are a few shots of our old set ups. Sorry, I couldn't find any shots of the kayaks up on the jeep.

cbaird 01-14-2011 08:58 AM

Jeep Off-Road Series Expedition Racks - JK Wrangler, CJ-7, Unlimited, Soft Top, Hard Top, Cargo Storage for Jeeps

Hi Susan, is this the rack you had/are getting again? It says for a 4 dr Wrangler is requires 2 people to tilt it back, so I don't think that will work for me, do you find this is the case?

nickandsusan 01-14-2011 10:00 AM

yes, since you have the 4 door your rack will be much larger and heavier. I didn't think about that.

check out the goal post and light bar combo nvkid is putting together. may be the cheapest and easiest way for you to go. And would make taking the freedom or entire top off a breeze. The only issue with the light bar/goal post is you would need to have quite a long kayak to reach the light bar from the back of the boat.

before I invested in my rack I had my local jeep fabricator shop drill in to my hard top so I could put up some Yakima rails. it worked out well, he used silicon to seal the holes and I never had any issues. I wanted to haul heavier stuff so I got the garvin rack.

you could possibly go with a goal post attached to the hitch and have your jeep or rack store add a crossbar to your roof close to the set of second doors.

you could also just get one crossbar with feet that hook on to the gutter system since you will just be carrying a kayak. some guys here don't recommend that, but others have had no issues with the setup.

another easy way would be get the crossbar/hitch combo and go to rei and get a set of foam kayak pads. place them on the top of the jeep and when u roll the kayak up on to the crossbar the boat should land/rest on the blocks. you can strap the front of the boat down thru the back windows. we used that system in Hawaii.

good luck! lots of options out there and i know it's crazy trying to find the right set up!

jk8man 03-21-2011 06:29 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Hey All - this is my first post ever but I've largely been hung up on the same issue. I actively row (27' long shell, but it's only ~33 pounds) so I've been trying to find a way to make this work with a 2011 unlimited with the hard top without putting on some huge rack system.

I ran across something on the website... Has anybody else seen this? Is it a fake?

MattBlackJK 04-14-2011 09:25 AM

Kayak + Jeep = Money
I have a 12 foot Old Town Dirigo XT Rec Kayak and a 15 foot Composite Necky Manitou Sea Kayak that both weigh about 40 +/- pounds each. I am still in the process of trying to get the right system down to transport them with my 4 door hard top.

The cheapest way to move it around is to buy a set of Yakima Foam blocks (available at Academy, REI, Backcounty, ect.) that set directly on your top and basically just strap them down somehow. It shouldn't be more than $50 to have that option in play. But I like to have a more secure system to move around a $2500 Kayak and furthermore, it just looks a little wimpy.

Before I continue, one thing I found out during this endeavor is that nothing is cheap in either roof racks or kayaks, so there are very few deals to be found.. blemished kayaks are about the only price break you can find, my wife's kayak, the old town, is a blemished model (which I cannot figure out where the blemish is).

Nevertheless, I first shopped for a roof rack that I could put on my Jeep and concluded that a Gobi rack was the one for me. But once I saw the price tag, the shock sent out to find a less expensive option. I then tried to examine the Yakima rack options. Our hard tops have rain gutters but they recommend to not use them for anything. Well, I have the assumption that such recommendations were to just alleviate JEEP from responsibility of the unlikely. So I bought a set of 4 Yakima Raingutter Towers and the crossbars and a fairing all for about $325, this does not include saddles. It looks sweet but frankly scares me to death and sounds like an absolute freight train going down the road, at a maximum of 50 mph by the way.

Another option from Yakima that I considered is to install the tracks on my top, then fitting the tracks with adequate towers and crossbars. (This, or something similar) is what I believe that the Jeep Ad had.) I dismissed going this route because I was hesitant about the drilling on the roof and the price tag was elevated to about $500 if not more with this option. In the end, I believe that this would be a more effective option. With both Kayaks strapped onto the raingutter system, I truly feel as though it is putting far to much stress on the freedom top. In addition to the fears of strength, The two kayaks barely fit and to effectively load them you must be at least 6 foot and able to hold the kayak over your head. And be able to physically prevent your Kayak while over your head from damaging your Jeep in the process.

Now I am literally back where I started, a couple of weeks ago I ordered a Gobi Stealth Rack. If my hard top would ever be damaged, replacing it would put me even with the cost of a Gobi. Therefore, in my seemingly "Washington Like" spending habits, I would recommend biting the bullet and going for a Gobi. The price increase does not outweigh what I consider to be the quality, use and looks. Furthermore, I have not seen a used one sell for less than $1000. Normally, they will sell USED in the range of $1100 to 1200!!!! That's if you can find them for sale. I offered some guy $1400 for his and he wouldn't sell it. They cost 1450 new???? I say that because, if I ever needed to unload the rack for whatever reason, it doesn't seem to be like other items of similar nature, it has quite a resale value.

Did I mention that beyond the rack system, you will need to spend at least $100-200 more dollars per Kayak to buy the saddles/rollers etc to set the boat on. Ebay is a great place to buy some used rack accessories, but there is a good deal of competition out there to buy them.

The whole Kayaking scene is expensive, but fun. Throw trying to haul it with a Jeep in the mix, and money can only get you there. But if you can get there, you have the best looking set up on the road.

theagency 04-14-2011 12:58 PM

I used to transport my 2 10' on a tundra using a back rack and thule goalpost setup. I recently got a new 4 door, and found the goalpost hitch connection does not clear the spare. My goal is to extend the goalpost with a hitch extension, and then measure the distance from the goalpost to a window bar (yet to purchase). This will allow transport with hard, soft, or no top. The estimated investment would be:

thule goalpost $125 (used)
hitch extension $25
foam blocks/straps $50 (used)
front light bar/window bar (haven't bought yet)

I'll let you know how this setup works. It will be tight for a 10', but I know you would be able to transport 12' and above with enough length.

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