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Yakima SkyRise Medium Review

A quality rooftop tent that doesn't require a handyman or a toolbox to install
Yakima SkyRise Medium
Yakima SkyRise Medium in 2020 green.
Credit: REI
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Price:  $1,900 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Pros:  Tool-free mounting system, locks to rack, decently light
Cons:  Mounting system is limited, large gap between tent and rack
Manufacturer:   Yakima
By Ross Patton ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 28, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Space and Comfort - 30% 7.0
  • Durability - 25% 6.0
  • Ease of Conversion - 20% 7.0
  • Ease of Assembly and Installation - 15% 9.0
  • Cover Convenience - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Yakima SkyRise Medium has a tool-free mounting system which makes installing the tent on your vehicle practically effortless and taking it off when camping season is over even easier. Unlike any other tent that we tested, the SkyRise comes with included rack locks to add an extra element of security. Once up, it's a great tent as well. But, it's the ease of installation that makes this model 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 by how wide it can go compared to the tent's floor, 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.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Yakima SkyRise Medium
Awards  Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $1,900 List
Check Price at Backcountry
$1,875 at REI
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$1,500 List
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$1,193 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Tool-free mounting system, locks to rack, decently lightVery comfortable, durable, has entrance awning, great weather protection, included annexDurable canopy, telescoping ladder, versatile, quick conversionLight, more affordable, breathableWide and sturdy ladder, boot bag, LED light strip, spacious
Cons Mounting system is limited, large gap between tent and rackLongest conversion time (though not by much), side window awnings don't roll up, priceyNo entrance awning, no added extrasQuestionable durability, bulky for a two-person modelLadder may require drilling, velcro cover not the most efficient cover system, heavy
Bottom Line A quality rooftop tent that doesn't require a handyman or a toolbox to installA versatile rooftop tent that offers maximum comfort no matter what Mother Nature decides to doOur top soft-top recommendation for most people provides excellent quality and comfort across all four seasonsA decent two-person rooftop tent with a breathable canopy great for warmer nightsWith a durable design and many handy features, this model competes with the top models while costing significantly less
Rating Categories Yakima SkyRise Medium Thule Tepui Autana 3 Thule Tepui Kukenam 3 Thule Tepui Explore... Smittybilt Overlander
Space and Comfort (30%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
Durability (25%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Ease of Conversion (20%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Ease of Assembly and Installation (15%)
9.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Cover Convenience (10%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Specs Yakima SkyRise Medium Thule Tepui Autana 3 Thule Tepui Kukenam 3 Thule Tepui Explore... Smittybilt Overlander
Seasons 3 4 4 3 3
Weight 115 lbs 130 lbs 130 lbs 106 lbs 144 lbs
Max Inside Height 48 in 52 in 52 in 38 in 51 in
Pockets 4 4 4 4 5
Windows 3 side, 2 roof 3 side, 2 roof 3 side, 2 roof 3 side, 2 roof 3 side, 2 roof
Floor Dimensions 56 in x 96 in 56 in x 96 in 56 in x 96 in 84 in x 48 in 56 in x 96 in
Floor Area 38 sq ft 38 sq ft 38 sq ft 28 sq ft 38 sq ft
Room Divider No No No No No
Vestibules No Yes No No No
Vestibule Area Dimensions n/a 26 in x 56 in n/a n/a n/a
Packed Size 12 in x 48 in x 56 in 12 in x 48 in x 56 in 12 in x 48 in x 56 in 11 in x 42 in x 48 in 12 in x 48 in x 56 in
Floor Materials Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum
Main Tent Materials 210 D nylon 420 D 420 D 260g polyester cotton 420 D
Rainfly Materials 600 D 600 D 600 D 600 D 600 D
Number of Poles 8 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
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 n/a Interior LED, extension cords, boot bag

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, 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


Yakima SkyRise Medium rooftop tent - 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.
Credit: Ross Patton

Space and Comfort


The SkyRise is fairly comfortable and spacious. One thing we love is that if you aren't using the rainfly, there are unobstructed views out of every window. Some tents have 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 view 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 inches, the maximum inside height is on the shorter side. 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.

Yakima SkyRise Medium rooftop tent - 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.
Credit: Ross Patton

Durability


To test durability, we took each tent camping a minimum of five times. While camping, we were sure to convert each tent from travel to camping mode 25 times and also open and close every zipper 25 times to uncover any design flaws or weaknesses. Durability is not the strongest element for the SkyRise.

The 210D nylon that the canopy is made of is far from being the toughest material we've seen. This canopy is great for warmer temps and intermittent use, but if you're the type of person that gives your gear a beating, you might want to go with something stronger. The rainfly is also only 210D nylon — for comparison, most of the other flies in this review are made from 420D.

While not the most durable, this tent's quality design and workmanship are apparent and will undoubtedly help to extend its life. It is not cheaply made at all; other models just have beefier components.

Yakima SkyRise Medium rooftop tent - 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.
Credit: Ross Patton

Ease of Conversion


One of the best parts of owning a rooftop tent is that it takes just 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.

Yakima SkyRise Medium rooftop tent - 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.
Credit: Ross Patton

Ease of Assembly and Installation


Of the models that require assembly, the SkyRise is one of the easiest to put together. Once this model is assembled, it's also one of the easiest to install. Unlike the other tents that come with metric wrenches, the Yakima has easy-to-use Allen wrenches, making tightening bolts in confined areas simple. One of the best features of the SkyRise 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 regularly, then this is the tent for you. Also, this is the only tent 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 or drilling 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 had 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.

Yakima SkyRise Medium rooftop tent - 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.
Credit: 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 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 be frustrating. Having to attach velcro, zip four zippers, and clip four clips is not the easiest system.

Yakima SkyRise Medium rooftop tent - 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.
Credit: Ross Patton

Value


The Yakima SkyRise is one of the more valuable tents we tested. These tents appear very similar on paper, but this one has some great features like the tool-free mounting system, the locks, and the rainfly windows. This tent is for somebody who wants the assembly and installation or removal process from their vehicle to be simple. The tool-free mounting system makes life easy if you don't own tools and don't care to. The SkyRise is also secure. If you live in a heavily populated area or know you will be leaving your vehicle at the trailhead, it's nice to know that your tent is locked to your rack.

Yakima SkyRise Medium rooftop tent - 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.
Credit: Ross Patton

Conclusion


The Yakima SkyRise is a great rooftop tent. It's comfortable, affordable, and Yakima is a name you know you can trust. This is the obvious choice if you want a tent that's easy to install or take off of your vehicle.

Ross Patton
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