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What would be the ultimate mounting solution for a safari rack

mousehunter

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 19, 2022
Messages
116
Location
Texas
Just trying to mentally picture my dream jeep. I am pretty sure it would end up including a marine aluminum rack, capable of supporting multiple people on top. It could carry canoes or kayak's with ease, have a ladder to make climbing up easy, and could be used as a tall fishing platform (a type of fishing I like is greatly enhanced by being able to keep the line out of the shore break). In honesty, I have already talked to 2 fabricators that make custom racks such as this. The problem is, they make them for trucks. Most are bolted/clamped to the bed rails - some probably are fastened to the bed's themselves (plus the companies make them for various other beach vehicles).

Now most of the racks I see for Jeeps are either body mount, or body and frame mount. I question if body mount would be strong enough. Body and frame mounting would force the whole rack to flex - which can not be a good thing. I had considered mounting it to the bumper and frame mounted sliders - but there is very little love for frame mounted sliders. In theory I could do a through roof mount - but that is a whole other can of worms. Well technically jeeps have bed rails, but if I were to do that - then the whole roof becomes a mess. Pretty sure I don't want to fab a new roof to fit as well (abet perhaps through body mounts that allow to connect to the bed rails is an option). (FWIW would be for an LJ).

Just curious about insight and opinions of people who use their jeeps more than I have done to date.
 

lBasket

Branch Manager
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2020
Messages
1,350
Location
Aurora, CO
Have you looked at Gobi racks? They're crazy expensive but if you're already gonna have something custom made it might be in the budget, seems like people like them
 
OP
M

mousehunter

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 19, 2022
Messages
116
Location
Texas
Bolting to the roll bars is an option. Have looked at Gobi, but not really sure if they would fit what I want to do. Last night saw some threads about the Highlander Hard Top - a reinforced hard top might also be a viable option. I don't own the jeep I want to do this with yet - If I can find a cheaper soft top, that could compensate for the $$$ of the BullDawg hardtop.

Pre-aluminum shortages, the custom racks were starting around $3500. Until I get the Jeep and a design on paper, hard to tell what the actual cost of the custom would be. FWIW, the custom rack is known as a shark rack or shark tower. As such, they have handrails (usually folding), to keep fishermen from flying off. I have a DIY one now for my truck, but it is prohibitively difficult to take on and off, and because it is a work truck I pretty much have to do that for any trips I make. Net effect, I don't fish much...
 
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jscherb

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 13, 2020
Messages
621
Location
Elmira, NY

I use the rack on my LJ for all kinds of heavy loads, including a roof top tent. I've got an XJ Cherokee rack on the roof, supported to the roll bars with custom brackets so no load is on the fiberglass roof. For the RTT and other large loads I mount a Garvin rack basket to the XJ roof rails using Surco J100 rack adapters. And when I need more space than the Garvin basket provides, I have a custom add-on front rack section that bolts to the Garvin and is supported in the front with drip rail brackets.

rttstowed-jpg.jpg


RTTAnnex1.jpg


RackView.jpg


The base XJ rack without the Garvin and other stuff:

LJ-8Final7_zpsf8be8ede.jpg


For me, the minimalist XJ rack mounted through to the roll bars is a great way to go. When I don't need to carry anything up top, the XJ rack looks right at home and when I need to carry various loads it's easy to accessorize the XJ rack because there's a lot of aftermarket support for it.
 

mrblaine

Crew Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2015
Messages
22,991
Location
Quail Valley, CA
Just trying to mentally picture my dream jeep. I am pretty sure it would end up including a marine aluminum rack, capable of supporting multiple people on top. It could carry canoes or kayak's with ease, have a ladder to make climbing up easy, and could be used as a tall fishing platform (a type of fishing I like is greatly enhanced by being able to keep the line out of the shore break). In honesty, I have already talked to 2 fabricators that make custom racks such as this. The problem is, they make them for trucks. Most are bolted/clamped to the bed rails - some probably are fastened to the bed's themselves (plus the companies make them for various other beach vehicles).

Now most of the racks I see for Jeeps are either body mount, or body and frame mount. I question if body mount would be strong enough. Body and frame mounting would force the whole rack to flex - which can not be a good thing. I had considered mounting it to the bumper and frame mounted sliders - but there is very little love for frame mounted sliders. In theory I could do a through roof mount - but that is a whole other can of worms. Well technically jeeps have bed rails, but if I were to do that - then the whole roof becomes a mess. Pretty sure I don't want to fab a new roof to fit as well (abet perhaps through body mounts that allow to connect to the bed rails is an option). (FWIW would be for an LJ).

Just curious about insight and opinions of people who use their jeeps more than I have done to date.
You are taking a few nuggets of sound information and using them to completely fuck up another reason for doing things a certain way.

There is little love for frame mounted sliders when you need a slider to work as intended. That does not hold true for some scaffolding bolted to a rig that needs to be removed from time to time.

Certainly nothing wrong with building attachment points at the front and rear crossmember where the bumpers sit and then picking up a vertical on each side like a camper tie down that extends out from the frame. Just keep the socket close to the frame so it doesn't stick out when the scaffolding is removed.
 

GPK03X

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2021
Messages
287
Location
Kentucky
Bolting to the roll bars is an option. Have looked at Gobi, but not really sure if they would fit what I want to do. Last night saw some threads about the Highlander Hard Top - a reinforced hard top might also be a viable option. I don't own the jeep I want to do this with yet - If I can find a cheaper soft top, that could compensate for the $$$ of the BullDawg hardtop.

Pre-aluminum shortages, the custom racks were starting around $3500. Until I get the Jeep and a design on paper, hard to tell what the actual cost of the custom would be. FWIW, the custom rack is known as a shark rack or shark tower. As such, they have handrails (usually folding), to keep fishermen from flying off. I have a DIY one now for my truck, but it is prohibitively difficult to take on and off, and because it is a work truck I pretty much have to do that for any trips I make. Net effect, I don't fish much...
Why not get a ford ranger or such. Seems like that would suit your needs better.
 
OP
M

mousehunter

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 19, 2022
Messages
116
Location
Texas
This quest started out as the ultimate kayaking vehicle. I used to kayak a lot, competed regionally, and some nationally (I was not all that good, but everything is relative - I was on a team that had several Olympic level athletes). One guy who I did a white water trip with had, in his opinion, the ultimate kayaking rig. A Ford truck that towed a same year model Ford Bronco. The 2 had 90% the same parts, and both were rigged so that they could flat tow each other. It worked great for him, but then again he was a professional mechanic. I don't recall a major trip where one vehicle was not cannibalized for parts to keep the other running. But being able to flat tow a second vehicle is second to none for self portaging. You don't need a second driver.

I have a work Tacoma now that could do most of what I want - but it does not flat tow easily. Trailer towing is generally not an option, because river access parking is generally very limited.

So with the quest to be my ultimate recreational vehicle, I am trying to imagine something that will work for virtually all my sports. The LJ is just long enough to sleep inside. It can flat tow. If I put a good rack on it, I should be able to shark fish and carry canoes/kayaks. The other option is to get a 1/2 ton Ford pickup. I could easily get the rack made for it, pop on a truck cap for camping. But Jeeps just seem like a more fun option. Plus if I get the second pickup, my wife will take possession of it to tow her horse trailer, and that is just depressing because she already has her Jeep that she does not share well. Plus, in all honestly, I like the slightly lighter and smaller LJ option.