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 SkyRise Medium Review
Cons: Mounting system is limited, large gap between tent and rack
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Yakima SkyRise Medium
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|$1,875 at REI|
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$1,193 at Amazon
|Pros||Tool-free mounting system, locks to rack, decently light||Very comfortable, durable, has entrance awning, great weather protection, included annex||Durable canopy, telescoping ladder, versatile, quick conversion||Light, more affordable, breathable||Wide and sturdy ladder, boot bag, LED light strip, spacious|
|Cons||Mounting system is limited, large gap between tent and rack||Longest conversion time (though not by much), side window awnings don't roll up, pricey||No entrance awning, no added extras||Questionable durability, bulky for a two-person model||Ladder 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 install||A versatile rooftop tent that offers maximum comfort no matter what Mother Nature decides to do||Our top soft-top recommendation for most people provides excellent quality and comfort across all four seasons||A decent two-person rooftop tent with a breathable canopy great for warmer nights||With 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%)|
|Ease of Conversion (20%)|
|Ease of Assembly and Installation (15%)|
|Cover Convenience (10%)|
|Specs||Yakima SkyRise Medium||Thule Tepui Autana 3||Thule Tepui Kukenam 3||Thule Tepui Explore...||Smittybilt Overlander|
|Weight||115 lbs||130 lbs||130 lbs||106 lbs||144 lbs|
|Max Inside Height||48 in||52 in||52 in||38 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 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|
|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|
|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|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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