Thule Tepui Explorer Ayer 2 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Light, affordable, breathable
Cons: Questionable durability, bulky for a two-person model
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Thule Tepui Explorer Ayer 2
|Price||$1,199 at Amazon|
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$1,519 at Backcountry
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|Pros||Light, affordable, breathable||Durable canopy, telescoping ladder, versatility, quick conversion||Rectangular design allows for more room on the rack, quick installation, durable canopy||Tool-free mounting system, locks to rack, light||Wide and sturdy ladder, boot bag, LED light strip, spacious|
|Cons||Questionable durability, bulky for a two-person model||No entrance awning, no added extras||Thin mattress, longer conversion time, Cordura cover may be less durable||Mounting system limited, large gap between tent and rack||Ladder may require drilling, Velcro cover not the most efficient cover system, heavy|
|Bottom Line||A decent two-person rooftop tent with a breathable canopy great for warmer nights||Our top recommendation for most people provides excellent quality and comfort across all four seasons||A rooftop tent that leaves lots of room on the rack for extra toys||A quailty rooftop tent that doesn't require a handyman to install||With a durable design and many handy features, this model competes with the top models while costing significantly less|
|Rating Categories||Thule Tepui Explore...||Thule Tepui Kukenam 3||Thule Tepui Foothill||Yakima SkyRise Medium||Smittybilt Overlander|
|Space and Comfort (30%)|
|Ease of Conversion (20%)|
|Ease of Assembly and Installation (15%)|
|Cover Convenience (10%)|
|Specs||Thule Tepui Explore...||Thule Tepui Kukenam 3||Thule Tepui Foothill||Yakima SkyRise Medium||Smittybilt Overlander|
|Weight (in lbs)||106 lbs||130 lbs||122 lbs||115 lbs||144 lbs|
|Max Inside Height||38 in||52 in||38 in||48 in||51 in|
|Windows||3 side, 2 roof||3 side, 2 roof||3 side, 2 roof||3 side, 2 roof||3 side, 2 roof|
|Floor Dimension||84 in x 48 in||56 in x 96 in||87 in x 40 in||56 in x 96 in||56 in x 96 in|
|Floor Area||28 sq ft||38 sq ft||24 sq ft||38 sq ft||38 sq ft|
|Packed Size||11 in x 42 in x 48 in||12 in x 48 in x 56 in||9.5 in x 24 in x 83 in||12 in x 48 in x 56 in||12 in x 48 in x 56 in|
|Floor Materials||Aluminum||Aluminum||Welded aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum|
|Main Tent Materials||260g polyester cotton||420 D||600 D||210 D nylon||420 D|
|Rainfly Materials||600 D||600 D||600 D||600 D||600 D|
|Number of Poles||8||8||6||8||8|
|Pole Material||Aluminum/spring steel||Aluminum/spring steel||Aluminum/spring steel||Aluminum/spring steel||Aluminum/spring steel|
|Pole Diameter||1/4 in||1/4 in||1/4 in||1/4 in||1/4 in|
|Extras||n/a||n/a||Double level pockets, loop inside for hanging lights and gear||Locks, quick release, clear sky windows in rain fly||Interior LED, extension cords, boot bag|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Not everyone is interested in braving the elements during their camping adventures. If you know you’re going to be camping somewhere warm and dry, the Thule Tepui Explorer Ayer 2 is a great choice. It’s made for two people, so it’s also smaller and lighter than many other rooftop tents. It has a durable rubber travel cover, is relatively easy to set up, and has an extremely comfortable memory foam mattress.
Space and Comfort
Designed for two people, the Thule Tepui Explorer Ayer 2 is not as spacious as its larger relatives. That said, we feel as though the maximum inside height of 38 inches is plenty high enough to comfortably set up bedding or change clothes.
The memory foam mattress included with the Explorer Ayer 2 offers the utmost comfort. In fact, during our assessment, our testers often woke up thinking they were in their own bed.
Although we do consider the Explorer Ayer 2 to be fairly durable, if you’re looking for a bomb-proof rooftop tent, this is not the one.
This model easily passed our wear and tear tests, but the canopy fabric is made of a polyester-cotton blend rather than the ripstop material we’ve seen used on other models. That said, if you plan on using your tent in the warmer months or hotter climates, you may enjoy the extra breathability.
Ease of Conversion
Converting the Explorer Ayer 2 from travel to camping mode is about as easy as it gets. All you have to do is undo the straps, unzip the cover zipper, remove the cover, extend the ladder, and unfold the tent. At that point, it’s ready to sleep in.
If you choose to erect the awnings, it adds about two minutes to the process to hook the aluminum-steel spring poles in their eye holes and insert the other end into the tent floor. Converting from camping back to travel mode takes slightly longer because you have to ensure that the canopy folds properly to fit back in the cover, but the tear-down process for the Explorer Ayer 2 is no more difficult than any other rooftop tent that we’ve assessed.
Ease of Assembly and Installation
The Explorer Ayer 2 is about middle-of-the-road when it comes to assembly. It comes without the mounting rails installed, so a bit of creativity is required to get the nuts and bolts in place. We found the easiest way to handle this is to use two sets of hands while the tent is on its side and partially unfolded.
The ladder needs to be installed as well. It’s only a couple of nuts and bolts but it does add a few minutes to the assembly process. We gave the Explorer Ayer 2 an extra point for this metric for installation because of its light weight — lifting these things onto a rack is no easy task so every pound makes a difference. Once it’s in place, it's a simple matter of tightening down some nuts and bolts with the included ratcheting wrench.
The rubber cover on the Thule Tepui Explorer Ayer 2 is very similar to most other rooftop tent covers in our review. It is made of a thick rubber that isn’t exactly easy to stretch over the tent once it’s folded up, but also is not too difficult. This model comes with straps to roll the cover up while the tent is in use so that the cover isn’t dangling in your way or blocking a vehicle door.
Considering the price and overall performance of the Explorer Ayer 2, we think that this model is a pretty good value for anyone searching for a two-person tent for warmer climates. It's a great tent, though it doesn't have many noticeable advantages over other models we tested.
The Thule Tepui Explorer Ayer 2 is lighter, more breathable, and easy to use rooftop tent. The canopy may not be as durable as some of the burlier models, but many people don’t want or need a thick canvas canopy. We’d recommend this model to be considered by couples who know they’re only going to be camping in fair weather.
— Ross Patton
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