Trans­form you 4x4 into an in­stant cam­per.

YAKIMA IS WELL KNOWN FOR its line of rooftop and bumper-mount prod­ucts such as bike, ski, kayak racks, stor­age pods, and more. But for such an out­doorsy com­pany it hadn’t re­ally ven­tured into the camp­ing genre. Un­til just re­cently, that is.

Last spring the com­pany un­veiled pro­to­types of a new rooftop tent sys­tem, dubbed the SkyRise. We got our hands on one of the first pre­pro­duc­tion units built for me­dia eval­u­a­tion and for the past 11 months have been putting it through its paces. Avail­able in two- or three-per­son con­fig­u­ra­tions, our test model was a small-sized SkyRise 2, which turned out to have the per­fect di­men­sions for your av­er­age small SUV or pickup. We mounted it in our 2001 Toy­ota Ta­coma us­ing the com­pany’s BedRock sys­tem and spent at least one night in it ev­ery few weeks, even if it was only in the drive­way. And any time it rained even a lit­tle we ran out­side to put the tent up be­cause…So­Cal.

So what’s the fi­nal word? We were able to take the SkyRise 2 on and off our Ta­coma sin­gle­hand­edly. Adding it to the roof of a taller SUV would no doubt take two peo­ple. It of­fers plenty of ven­ti­la­tion for warm-weather use, the 21⁄2-inch foam mat­tress pad was comfy un­der the au­thor’s 175-pound frame without any ad­di­tional pad­ding, and it was quick and easy to set up and fold away. When stored, the vinyl cover cinches to the frame with Vel­cro around the en­tire perime­ter, keep­ing the tent nice and dry in­side when you’re driv­ing through pour­ing rain.

How­ever, we weren’t without gripes. The lad­der sys­tem gave us fits. We didn’t like how it ad­justed. The Vel­cro re­tain­ing strap wasn’t strong enough to hold it to­gether when we were un­fold­ing the tent dur­ing setup, which al­lowed the lad­der to ex­tend down to the ground, im­ped­ing tent de­ploy­ment. Also, in stronger rains we found that wa­ter could en­ter the tent sys­tem. It didn’t hap­pen in lighter rains, and you didn’t wake up with a con­stant faucet trip on your fore­head, but there were wet spots on the foam mat­tress and sleep­ing bags. The rain­fly could stand to be thicker and bet­ter sealed at the seams.

Over­all, if you’re not in­clined to go camp­ing in very in­clement weather and are look­ing for a light­weight above-ve­hi­cle sleep­ing sys­tem with a lot of fac­tory mount­ing op­tions, the small SkyRise 2 or medium SkyRise 3 are worth con­sid­er­ing.

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