Thule Tepui Foothill Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Rectangular design allows for more room on the rack, quick installation, durable canopy
Cons: Thin mattress, longer conversion time, Cordura cover may be less durable
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Thule Tepui Foothill
|Price||$1,800 at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$2,300 at REI|
Compare at 3 sellers
|Check Price at REI|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$1,799 at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$1,190 at Amazon|
|Pros||Rectangular design allows for more room on the rack, quick installation, durable canopy||Very comfortable, durable, has entrance awning, weather protection, included annex||Durable canopy, telescoping ladder, versatility, quick conversion||Tool-free mounting system, locks to rack, light||Wide/Sturdy ladder, boot bag, LED light strip, spacious|
|Cons||Thin mattress, longer conversion time, Cordura cover may be less durable||Longest conversion time (though not by much), side window awnings don't roll up, price||No entrance awning, no added extras||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 rooftop tent that leaves lots of room on the rack for extra toys||A versatile rooftop tent that offers maximum comfort no matter what Mother Nature decides to do||Our top recommendation for most people provides excellent quality and comfort across all four seasons||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 Foothill||Thule Tepui Autana 3||Thule Tepui Kukenam 3||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 Foothill||Thule Tepui Autana 3||Thule Tepui Kukenam 3||Yakima SkyRise Medium||Smittybilt Overlander|
|Weight (in lbs)||122 lbs||130 lbs||130 lbs||115 lbs||144 lbs|
|Max Inside Height||38 in||52 in||52 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||87 in x 40 in||56 in x 96 in||56 in x 96 in||56 in x 96 in||56 in x 96 in|
|Floor Area||24 sq ft||38 sq ft||38 sq ft||38 sq ft||38 sq ft|
|Vestibule Area||n/a||26 in x 56 in||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Packed Size||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||12 in x 48 in x 56 in||12 in x 48 in x 56 in|
|Floor Materials||Welded aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum|
|Main Tent Materials||600 D||420 D||420 D||210 D nylon||420 D|
|Rainfly Materials||600 D||600 D||600 D||600 D||600 D|
|Number of Poles||6||6||8||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||Double level pockets, loop inside for hanging lights and gear||Awning over ladder||n/a||Locks, quick release, clear sky windows in rain fly||Interior LED, extension cords, boot bag|
Our Analysis and Test Results
For those that want the luxury and comfort of sleeping in a rooftop tent but don’t want to sacrifice the entire space on their rack, the Thule Tepui Foothill is the best option. While most rooftop tents take up the entire horizontal length of your crossbars, this model is longer and skinnier, offering a full-length mattress while leaving plenty of room next to the tent for additional gear.
Space and Comfort
Despite its slim construction, the Foothill has an A-frame shape that has a maximum inner height of 38 inches so you won’t exactly be rolling around trying to change clothes or crawl in and out of your sleeping bag. Our team found there to be plenty of room for two people to comfortably move around. However, with the door on the side rather than the end of the tent, it’s going to either squish or be squished if the person furthest from the door wants to exit the tent first. Although the mattress isn’t quite as thick as some of the other models, we found it to be much more comfortable than any camping mattress or backpacking sleeping pad that we’ve reviewed.
The Foothill offers phenomenal views. The two roof panels open lengthwise so there is no obstruction other than the center support so you’ll have a great chance of catching the whole show during those meteor showers. In addition to the main door, the windows on the other three walls completely open so you’ll have a great panoramic view of the surrounding landscape, provided that your bikes, kayaks, cargo boxes, or other toys aren’t in the way. We awarded the Foothill extra points for space because, although the interior isn’t exactly the roomiest, it frees up a ton of space on your rack for extra toys which can often be more important than sleeping space.
If you’re looking for a tent with a durable canopy, look no further than the Thule Tepui Foothill. The canopy on this model is made out of the same material that many tents use for their rain fly — 600D ripstop fabric with water ventilate coating. In many climates, this may completely eliminate the need for the added rainfly in most storms. The zippers all performed perfectly even after dozens of borderline violent pulls as part of our testing.
The only reason why we didn’t give the Foothill a higher score for this metric is because the travel cover is made out of a Cordura fabric rather than the thicker rubber-like material that we’ve seen out of most of the other models that we’ve put through the wringer. Even after nearly two years of use and thousands of highway miles on one particular model, we haven’t seen any signs of damage on the rubber versions. Fabric, however, tends to flap in the wind and may eventually weather and tear over time — especially if you’re doing a lot of high-speed interstate miles.
Ease of Conversion
The Thule Tepui Foothill is not the easiest tent to convert from travel to camping mode and back. There are a couple of key steps that make it take a few minutes longer than most of the other tents. To maintain its slim profile while in travel mode, the three inner poles are telescoping on both ends and must be extended and collapsed during every conversion. This only adds maybe a minute to the process but it is an extra step that many of the other tents in our review do not require.
The slim design does not allow for the standard Tepui ladder to be permanently fixed in place. In travel mode, the ladder sits on top of the tent lengthwise. When it’s time to set the tent up, you have to attach it to the tent body using a couple of quick release pins and then remove it when it’s time to put the cover back on. This realistically only adds a minute or two to the setup time.
Ease of Assembly and Installation
Unlike the other rooftop tents in our review, the Thule Tepui Foothill comes ready to slap on your rack right out of the box. While the other models require you to attach the mounting hardware underneath the mattress, which can often be complicated and require two people, the mounting rails come installed by the factory when you purchase the Foothill.
Simply pull it out of the box, grab a buddy to help you lift it onto your rack, then use the included ratcheting wrench to crank down a few nuts and you’re on your way to adventuring. While you’re at it, you can install a bike rack, kayak rack, or a skinny cargo box and get it all done at once. The only reason why we didn’t give the Foothill a higher score for this metric is because there are models that do not require tools once it’s time to remove the tent for the off-season or to reinstall your tent once it’s time to camp again.
It’s very easy to get the Thule Tepui Foothill cover off as well as to put it back on. The tents that are more square-shaped require you to basically do a few laps around your vehicle to deal with the cover whereas the Foothill can entirely be dealt with from one side.
Recognizing that sometimes you end up climbing all over your vehicle like a monkey to get the rubber square covers to squeeze everything in before they can be zipped up, we see this as a huge bonus.
Considering the versatility that the Thule Tepui Foothill offers, we consider it to offer a great value. There is no other model on the market that allows you the comfort and convenience of a rooftop tent but still leaves room on your rack for your other toys.
We absolutely love the Foothill. It is innovative, it is ready to install right out of the box, and one person can deal with removing or installing the cover with ease. If you want a rooftop tent but don’t want to give up all of your roof rack space, this is the one.
— Ross Patton