Why Roof Racks Matter For Your Jeep

I’m sure that by now you’ve probably seen a few Jeeps (or even other car/suv makes and models) with a cool looking roof rack on top of it. It might have been a camping tent roof rack, a bike rack, a roof rack with a kayak or canoe on it, or even a luggage rack.  Whichever one you might have seen, I’m sure that you made an exclamation like “wow, I’ve got to get me one of those”!

Well, I’m going to dedicate this whole page here to explaining what exactly roof racks are, what they are for and why you need one for your Jeep.

Let’s get started.  So, first things first…

What is a Jeep Roof Rack?

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Simple explained, a roof rack is a set of bars or rails that is secured to the roof of your Jeep. This roof rack can be utilized for a variety of different tasks for carrying large items like; bikes, skis, snowboards, surfboards, canoes, kayaks, luggage, mattresses, and many other things.

What they allow you to do, is to go ahead and transport larger objects on the roof of your Jeep without having to worry whether the items will fit inside of the Jeep, whether they will cramp the occupants in their seats. As I’m sure you’re aware, Jeeps aren’t always exactly known for their limitless internal cargo storage space. When space is limited, roof racks are a must. A Jeep’s roof rack can also include roof-top weatherproof containers that are designed in such a way to carry specific types of gear (like skis, surf boards, luggage, etc.)

Some of the most common components of a roof rack system specifically designed for Jeeps are: towers, fitting pieces (to piece together the towers on a specific Jeep model), rails/crossbars as well and different types of adapters and gear mounts.

Types of Roof Racks for Your Jeep

When it comes to roof racks for Jeeps, the roof racks are split into a few different types (this is all dependent on your Jeep’s roof configuration):

  1. Rain Gutter Jeep Roof Racks – the older types of roof racks were typically mounted directly to the Jeep’s gutter that surrounded the roof’s line.
  2. Bare Roof Jeep Roof Racks – nowadays, most of the modern Jeeps (that don’t have gutters) are able to have a roof rack installed directly to the top of the door frame via some attaching hooks.
  3. Fixed Point Jeep Roof Racks – other Jeeps have pre-threated holes for screws or reinforced lugs (built into the roof) that allow for a perfect connectivity with proprietary Jeep roof racks.
  4. Side Rail Jeep Roof Racks – certain Jeeps already come with factory-installed rails on the roof (either flush against the roof or raised from the roof) that run the whole span of the Jeep’s roof.
  5. Factory Bar Roof Racks for Jeeps – also, there are other Jeeps that come with a pre-installed fully complete and permanent roof rack system (this one you don’t really have to do anything to).

There is a plethora of different factors that go into properly selecting and using a Jeep’s roof rack. Some things to consider are: the roof rack’s weight, its strength, the ease of loading and offloading cargo, as well as the availability of adapters and hookups to add accessories to it.

Jeep Roof Rack Drag & Wind Resistance

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Another thing to consider when thinking about adding a roof rack to your Jeep is that roof racks tend to increase drag and air resistance. With an increase in drag/air resistance, the Jeep’s fuel consumption can increase by as much as 1%. Due to all of this added wind resistance, a Jeep’s roof rack may also add unwanted wind noise while driving at high speeds. Certain roof rack systems for Jeeps are specifically designed to lower drag and wind resistance by utilizing more aerodynamic designs, lighter construction materials as well as to add a wind deflector to the very front of the system.

When you are finished with your Jeep’s roof rack installation, it is recommended that you follow the proper loading of cargo for that specific system. Consult the owner’s manual to figure out all the nooks and crannies of that specific roof system. You don’t want to be driving down the highway one day doing 80 on the fast lane, when all of a sudden you feel and hear one of the siderails start giving way or breaking off because you overloaded the roof rack.

Roof Racks for Jeep Weight Limits

Here’s one thing to keep in mind; when taking your Jeep out for an adventure on the road, you should only load the maximum allowed weight onto the roof rack, minus the weight of the actual roof rack. So, if the roof rack allows for a combined weight of 60lbs and the roof rack itself weighs 10, you should only load up 50lbs of cargo (or less) to your Jeep’s roof rack.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, If you are planning on using your Jeep with a roof rack to go on some off-road adventuring, the total allowed weight of your roof rack system should be half of the maximum amount. So basically, if your roof rack is able to hold 60lbs of gear, only place about 30lbs of total weight (including the weight of the Jeep’s roof rack).

Jeep Gladiator Roof & Bed Racks

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And for all of those Jeep Gladiator owners out there, you should be aware that your Gladiator is actually able to have a truck bed roof rack mounted to it. This type of roof rack is a derivation of a roof rack that is specifically designed to be installed over the bed of a Jeep Gladiator pickup truck. The construction of a Gladiator bed rack consists of tall tubes/legs (these allow the racking platform to be higher than the truck bed height, which in turn allows for additional cargo storage space underneath the Jeep Gladiator’s roof rack.

In addition to having a truck bed roof rack for your Jeep Gladiator, you can actually add a roof rack to your Jeep as well. So, in all, you can have a roof rack and a truck bed rack installed all at the same time if you so choose to.

Jeep Gladiator bed and roof racks are utilized for both work as well as recreational use. They can be used to haul gear when working on construction, sporting events, for transporting recreational gear, ladders, surf boards, luggage, etc.

Check out the main (and super detailed) Roof Rack for Jeeps guide here:  All About Roof Racks for Jeeps

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