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Yakima SkyRise Medium Review

A quailty rooftop tent that doesn't require a handyman to install
Yakima SkyRise Medium
Photo: REI
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $1,599 List
Pros:  Tool-free mounting system, locks to rack, light
Cons:  Mounting system limited, large gap between tent and rack
Manufacturer:   Yakima
By Ross Patton ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 3, 2019
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 5
  • Space and Comfort - 30% 7
  • Durability - 25% 6
  • Ease of Conversion - 20% 7
  • Ease of Assembly and Installation - 15% 9
  • Cover Convenience - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Yakima Skyrise Medium is one of our favorite tents. One of the best things about the Skyrise is the tool-free mounting system which makes installing the tent on your vehicle effortless, and taking it off when camping season is over even easier. Unlike any other tent that we tested, it comes with included rack locks to add an extra element of security. Once up, it's a great tent as well. But, its the ease of installation that makes this model a Top Pick and a fantastic choice for anyone who will install and remove their rooftop tent frequently. And when no foul weather is ahead, none of the poles are required without the rainfly attached, so conversion from travel to camping mode only takes seconds.

The tool-free mounting system is limited with how wide it can go compared to the floor of the tent, though. This is not a problem for most racks or vehicles, but if you have a rack system that is not adjustable and has a long distance between the crossbars we recommend going with a tent with track style mounting system that allows you to spread your mounts out to the edge of the tent floor.

Yakima no longer offers the SkyRise in red like the model we tested. Despite changing over to a forest green color shown above, there are no apparent performance differences between the red and green colors.

October 2020

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Yakima SkyRise Medium
Awards Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  
Price $1,599 ListCheck Price at REI
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Pros Tool-free mounting system, locks to rack, lightVery comfortable, durable, has entrance awning, weather protection, included annexDurable canopy, telescoping ladder, versatility, quick conversionWide/Sturdy ladder, boot bag, LED light strip, spaciousLightweight
Cons Mounting system limited, large gap between tent and rackLongest conversion time (though not by much), side window awnings don't roll up, priceNo entrance awning, no added extrasLadder may require drilling, Velcro cover not the most efficient cover system, heavyMay require drill to adjust ladder, thin mattress, only two pockets, poor durability
Bottom Line A quailty rooftop tent that doesn't require a handyman to installA versatile rooftop tent that offers maximum comfort no matter what Mother Nature decides to doOur top recommendation provides excellent quality and comfort across all four seasonsWith a durable design and many handy features, this model competes with the top models while costing significantly lessIf weight is the absolute deciding factor for which tent you want, this is the one for you
Rating Categories Yakima SkyRise Medium Tepui Autana 3 Tepui Kukenam 3 Smittybilt Overlander Front Runner Roof T...
Space And Comfort (30%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Durability (25%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
3.0
Ease Of Conversion (20%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
4.0
Ease Of Assembly And Installation (15%)
9.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
4.0
Cover Convenience (10%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Yakima SkyRise Medium Tepui Autana 3 Tepui Kukenam 3 Smittybilt Overlander Front Runner Roof T...
Seasons 3 4 4 3 3
Weight (in lbs) 115 lbs 130 lbs 130 lbs 144 lbs 93 lbs
Windows 2 side, 2 roof 2 side, 2 roof 2 side, 2 roof 2 side, 2 roof 2 side, 1 roof
Pockets 4 4 4 5 2
Number of Doors 2 2 2 2 2
Max Inside Height 48in 52in 52in 51in 55in
Floor Dimension 56in x 96in 56in x 96in 56in x 96in 56in x 96in 52in x 98in
Floor Area 38 sq ft 38 sq ft 38 sq ft 38 sq ft 35 sq ft
Room Divider No No No No No
Vestibules No Yes No No No
Vestibule Area n/a 26in x 56in n/a n/a n/a
Packed Size 12in x 48in x 56in 12in x 48in x 56in 12in x 48in x 56in 12in x 48in x 56in 12in x 48in x 53in
Floor Materials Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum
Main Tent Materials 210 D nylon 600 D ripstop 600 D ripstop 600 D poly 400 D PVC
Rainfly Materials 210 D 420 D 420 D 420 D 200 D
Number of Poles 8 6 8 8 6
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
Design type Fold-out Fold-out Fold-out Fold-out Fold-out
Extras Locks, quick release, clear sky windows in rain fly Awning over ladder n/a Interior LED, extension cords, boot bag Velcro loops on roof for hanging gear

Our Analysis and Test Results

When it comes to great outdoor gear, Yakima has always been a force to be reckoned with. With decades of experience designing racks for a multitude of toys, cargo boxes, and gear baskets, it only makes sense that they'd jump into the rooftop tent game. Their first tent, the Skyrise Medium, is awesome. It's convenient, it's comfortable, and the Yakima design team has thought of small details that make car camping easier than ever.

Performance Comparison


Easy to install, security locks, quality craftmanship, quick to...
Easy to install, security locks, quality craftmanship, quick to convert...Lots of positives surrounding the SkyRise from Yakima.
Photo: Ross Patton

Space and Comfort


The Skyrise is fairly comfortable and spacious. One thing that we loved about the Skyrise is that if you aren't using the rainfly, there are unobstructed views out of every window. Some tents have the window awnings attached to the canopy, but the Skyrise awning is completely removable. With the rainfly removed the tent is nearly completely open air, and it barely feels like you're in a tent at all. Another very cool feature is that the rainfly has clear windows so that you can have a view of the sky even in a storm.


If headroom is a big deal for you, the Skyrise might not be the best choice. At only 48", it has the smallest maximum inside height of any tent in our review. Yakima does separately sell an annex for the SkyRise, but it doesn't cover the ladder. So, if you're camping in a storm, your ladder will be wet and slippery.

The Skyrise side window awnings are on the rainfly, so with the...
The Skyrise side window awnings are on the rainfly, so with the rainfly removed you will truly have an unobstructed view in every direction.
Photo: Ross Patton

Durability


Durability is not the strongest category for the Skyrise. The 210 D nylon that the canopy is made out of is far from being the toughest material that we've seen. This canopy is great for warmer temps and intermittent use, but if you're the type of person that puts a beating on your gear, then you might want to go with something stronger. The rainfly is also only 210 D Nylon, most of the other flys in this review are made from 420 D.


While not the most durable, this tent's quality design and workmanship are apparent and will undoubtedly help to extend the life of this model. It is not cheaply made at all. Other models just have more beefy canopies and flys.

The windows on top of the rainfly aren't quite transparent enough...
The windows on top of the rainfly aren't quite transparent enough for stargazing, but they let extra light into the tent on an otherwise gloomy day.
Photo: Ross Patton

Ease of Conversion


One of the best parts of owning a rooftop tent is that it takes a matter of a few minutes to set your camp up. The Skyrise Medium swaps easily from travel mode to camp mode. You just undo a few clips, unzip some zippers, and then tear the Velcro cover off. It has a telescoping ladder that easily adjusts to the proper height, and without the rainfly, there are no poles to attach.


With a telescoping ladder and no poles to attach, converting the...
With a telescoping ladder and no poles to attach, converting the Skyrise to and from camping mode is a cinch.
Photo: Ross Patton

Ease of Assembly and Installation


The Skyrise is one of the easiest to assemble, and once assembled, it is the most painless to install. Unlike the other tents that come with metric wrenches, the Yakima comes with easy to use Allen wrenches which make tightening bolts in confined areas simple. One of the best features that the Skyrise offers is that the mounting is a tool-free, quick release system. If you don't own tools or if you're going to be taking your tent off of your vehicle on a regular basis, then this is the tent for you. Also, this is the only tent that we tested that comes with the option to mount your tent so that it unfolds "out the back." All of the other tents require custom modification of the mounting tracks.


The quick release system does have some limitations. The tracks don't reach as far as the end of the tent floor like other models we tested. We ended up having to move our crossbars closer together than other models to mount this tent. This isn't a big deal, but if you have a wider, longer rack that isn't adjustable, this tent might not work for you.

The Skyrise uses Allen wrenches rather than metric wrenches for most...
The Skyrise uses Allen wrenches rather than metric wrenches for most of the assembly of the mounting system.
Photo: Ross Patton

Cover Convenience


The cover on the Skyrise is straightforward to take off. After a few zippers and clips, you can tear the Velcro closures apart and it's ready to roll up. Yakima also thought to include straps to keep it rolled up and out of the way so that you can still access your car doors or truck bed. However, it's not the easiest cover to put back on. The three sides of Velcro are a bit hard to align properly and can get a bit frustrating. Having to attach Velcro, zip four zippers, and clip four clips is not the easiest system.


If you want to be able to get back on the road in the least amount of time possible, the Tepui covers are the fastest to convert from camping to travel mode. With a beefy zipper around three sides and cover straps that only take a few seconds to attach, these are the most efficient covers.

The Skyrise cover has a unique system of zippers, plastic clips, and...
The Skyrise cover has a unique system of zippers, plastic clips, and Velcro. All of these different moving parts make the cover less convenient than others tested, but not necessarily a deal-breaker.
Photo: Ross Patton

Best Applications


The Skyrise is for somebody that wants the process of the assembly and installation or removal from their vehicle to be simple. If you don't own tools and don't care to, the tool-free mounting system makes life easy. The Skyrise is also secure. If you live in a heavily populated area or know that you're going to be leaving your vehicle at the trailhead, it's nice to know that your tent is locked to your rack.

The tool-free mounting clamps that come with the Skyrise take the...
The tool-free mounting clamps that come with the Skyrise take the frustration out of installation.
Photo: Ross Patton

Value


The Yakima Skyrise is one of the more valuable tents that we tested. These tents appear very similar on paper, but the Skyrise comes with some great included features like the tool-free mounting system, the locks, and the rainfly windows.

Conclusion


The Skyrise by Yakima is an outstanding rooftop tent. It's comfortable, it's affordable, and Yakima is a name that you know you can trust. If you want a tent that's easy to install or take off of your vehicle, this is the obvious choice.

Ross Patton