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.
Easy to install, security locks, quality craftmanship, quick to convert...Lots of positives surrounding the SkyRise from Yakima.
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 rainfly removed you will truly have an unobstructed view in every direction.
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 for stargazing, but they let extra light into the tent on an otherwise gloomy day.
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 is one of the easiest tents to convert from travel mode to camping. 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 Skyrise to and from camping mode is a cinch.
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 of the assembly of the mounting system.
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 Velcro. All of these different moving parts make the cover less convenient than others tested, but not necessarily a deal-breaker.
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 frustration out of installation.
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.
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.