Yakima Skyrise HD 3 Rooftop Tent Review 5th Gen 4Runner

Yakima Skyrise (Heavy-Duty, 4-Season) HD 3 Rooftop Tent Product Overview + Trail-Tested Review For the 5th Gen 4Runner

Yakima Skyrise (Heavy-Duty, 4-Season) HD 3 Rooftop Tent Product Overview + Trail-Tested Review For the 5th Gen 4Runner

Back in March, we reported on a new Yakima roof rack that launched last year at SEMA. In that article, we discussed how Yakima has been offering universal gear and accessories for many years.

In 2016, Toyota and Yakima engaged in a national partnership which included some Toyota models having Yakima racks and mounting gear, collaborative marketing campaigns, and various sponsorships. That was just the beginning.

Now more than ever, we’re starting to see Yakima design and market products specifically targeted to the off-road/overland community with features that make sense (i.e., mounts for Rotopax, Maxtrax, Hi-Lifts, etc.).

Debuting The SkyRise Tent Through REI

Yakima Skyrise (Heavy-Duty, 4-Season) HD 3 Rooftop Tent Product Overview + Trail-Tested Review For the 5th Gen 4Runner

Just a few years ago, Yakima entered the rooftop tent market debuting their SkyRise tent exclusively through REI. This was a new space for the company as they traditionally focused on universal rack systems for bicycles, skis, snowboards, etc.

While this review is specific to their latest version of the tent, the HD (heavy-duty 4-season), we were fortunate enough to have that first iteration and used it quite often. As you read further, we’ll weave in and out the differences between the two and why we’re fans of their latest version.

Price + Product

Yakima Skyrise (Heavy-Duty, 4-Season) HD 3 Rooftop Tent Product Overview + Trail-Tested Review For the 5th Gen 4Runner

If you’re in the market for a rooftop tent, you’ll see that there are quite a few to choose from.

What you should take into consideration is how often you’ll use the tent, weight, static weight limit, sleep capacity, aerodynamics, style, what seasons you plan on using it, and of course, the price.

Upgrading to the Yakima SkyRise HD (Heavy-Duty Tent)

Yakima Skyrise (Heavy-Duty, 4-Season) HD 3 Rooftop Tent Product Overview + Trail-Tested Review For the 5th Gen 4Runner

Yakima sells a few different versions of their SkyRise tent.

So, if you’re set on Yakima, figure out which one makes sense to you. We started off with the SkyRise Medium tent and then recently, upgraded to the SkyRise HD Medium to take advantage of camping throughout the winter months.

Regardless, if you’re outside camping in the snow, you still might want to grab a heater!

Mountable Accessories Available

Yakima Skyrise (Heavy-Duty, 4-Season) HD 3 Rooftop Tent Product Overview + Trail-Tested Review For the 5th Gen 4Runner

All of the different tent models include a ladder, access doors, SKS mounting point security locks, a sleeping pad, and a protective cover. On the 5th Gen 4Runner, the tent can be mounted to the crossbars but for a more secure mount, you may want to flip the tent mounts to the side rails.

We’ve used the tent mounted both ways and have had no issues to date… besides a run-in with a low branch that broke one of our crossbars… not the tent’s fault!

Tent

SkyRise (Small)

SkyRise HD (Small)

SkyRise (Med)

SkyRise HD (Med)

Price:$1,099$1,749$1,599$2,199
Sleep Capacity:2 people2 people3 people3 people
Static Weight Limit:400 lbs400 lbs600 lbs600 lbs
Weight:95 lbs95 lbs115 lbs115 lbs
Sleep Dimensions:48” W x 84” L48” W x 84” L56” W x 96” L56” W x 96” L
Opened Dimensions:42” H42” H48” H48” H
Closed Dimensions:16.5” H16.5” H16.5” H16.5” H
Best Seasons:Fall, Spring, SummerAll SeasonsFall, Spring, SummerAll Seasons
Style:Red Tent + Gray RainflyDark Tan Tent + Light Tan Rainfly & Orange AccentsRed Tent + Gray Rainfly; or Green Tent + Gray RainflyDark Tan Tent + Light Tan Rainfly & Orange Accents
Security:2 Mounting Lock2 Mounting Lock2 Mounting Lock2 Mounting Lock
Ladder Included:YesYesYesYes
Windows:YesYesYesYes
Sleeping Pad:YesYesYesYes
Access Doors:2222

Yakima has started to offer a few different accessories that can be used with and of their SkyRise tents.

Some accessory options include: 

#1. SunBelt

  • 32” USB-powered light strip that can hook to the inside or outside of the tent.

#2. SkyHooks

  • Hanging storage hooks that slide into the SkyRise exterior SideTracks.

#3. SkyLoft

  • Hanging storage net for the interior of the SkyRise.

#4. SideKick

  • Hanging storage bag that slides into the SkyRise exterior SideTracks.

#5. SkyRise Annex

  • Annex that hangs below your Small SkyRise rooftop tent to provide additional living space at your base camp. This is good for getting changed outside of the tent.

#6. SkyRise Bedsheets

  • Sheet set specifically tailored to fit the Medium SkyRise rooftop tent mattress. While we didn’t opt for the bedsheets, they appear to nicely fit the tent pad. We laid down a fancy Pendleton Yakima camp blanket and tossed pillows and a sleeping bag on top (ironically, a different Yakima!).

First Impressions Review

Yakima Skyrise (Heavy-Duty, 4-Season) HD 3 Rooftop Tent Product Overview + Trail-Tested Review For the 5th Gen 4Runner

Now, the final verdict.

As we had mentioned previously, there are lots of tents on the market and you need to choose the one that makes the most sense for you. Since we are now on our second SkyRise tent, we’ll provide a non-biased pros and cons list:

Pros:

  • The sleeping pad is quite comfortable. Although it’s nothing like your bed at home, the pad made sleeping in the tent much better than sleeping on the ground. It likely provides a nice level of insulation since you’re ~6.5 ft. above ground, if you’re using it on a 4Runner
  • The tent itself is spacious. We’ve only ever used Yakima’s medium-sized tents, but it comfortably fits two grown adults. If we had to add a third person (like a small child) or even a dog, it still wouldn’t be too cramped. If we had to add a third person (like an adult), things might start to get tight. We’ve been able to sit straight up in the tent and comfortably play drinking games inside.
  • The HD version is made well. That’s not to say the non-HD versions don’t come with the same quality, but we noticed some significant differences between their original version and this one. That could also be because we’re comparing their first version to their latest version of the tent. Yakima could have changed suppliers and learned from early-on quality feedback. From the quality of the zippers and zipper tabs, the aluminum poles and pole connection brackets, to the material used on the walls and even the (now matte-finished) cover when closed, it just feels all around well-made.
  • Easy set-up. Granted, it’s not a push-button 10-second set-up, and it’s not a hard-shell tent. However, for a manual set-up and break-down tent, we didn’t find the process too strenuous. Most times, we had the tent completely set up within 6 minutes. The ladder folds over, helps bust open the tent, and easily locks into the desired height. We generally use the rainfly, but if we removed it, the set-up would take a lot less time.
  • Lots of windows. Plain and simple, the tent has lots of mesh and clear vinyl windows with two skylights that you can open and use as desired. Again, we generally use the rain fly but with it removed, the skylights can be opened/closed and the tent gets lots of natural air with the mesh windows opened.

Cons: 

  • It’s heavy! While it’s not heavier than most rooftop tents on the market, it’s not a one-person job to mount the tent. We’ve left ours on at this point for the summer just because installation and removal can be a bear. The SkyRise HD Medium tent is roughly 115lbs.
  • The tent sits higher than we’d like. Since we have ours mounted to the 4Runner OEM roof rack cross bars, it not only sits high when it’s closed but the bottom probably a good 8” above the roof of the car. This also leads to catching a lot of bugs on the highway since it’s not very aerodynamic. But again, that’s most non-hard-shell rooftop tents. Maybe we haven’t looked hard enough, but we’d love to see some sort of wind fairing in the future specific to the Yakima SkyRise tents… maybe one built into the tent cover.
  • The rainfly poles are nice, but I worry I’ll impale myself in the future. The rainfly is a nice addition to the tent, but we’d love to see a future version of the tent where the rainfly poles are built-in. The tent comes with a bag of poles that you push into the provided slots and using the P-hook on the end, loop it through the O-rings on the rainfly.

Final Thoughts

Yakima Skyrise (Heavy-Duty, 4-Season) HD 3 Rooftop Tent Product Overview + Trail-Tested Review For the 5th Gen 4Runner

All-in-all, we love our SkyRise tent, which is why we’re on our second one.

The price is reasonable compared to other tents on the market, it’s well-made, and we’ve used and plan to continue to use the hell out of it. If you’re an REI member and haven’t used your 20% off coupon yet, consider holding onto it for a SkyRise rooftop tent!

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Steve
Steve
1 year ago

Good article. Thanks for writing it. Not enough reviews have been made on this tent.

I have this tent on top of a snugtop hi rise camper shell with outdoorsman package ie 1″ thick fiberglass and 500 static weight on yakima track system. I recently confirmed via test fiting that the Tepui (Thule) insulator package for their 3 person tents fits this tent perfectly. Due to the lighter weight of the Yakima package which is why I bought it to fit on top of my camper, I believe that this tent with the insulator will perform superior to the Thule model in cold inclement weather due to it all poly construction and heavier fabric 600 denier vs 280 for tepui and similar brands. The reason is that if you leave the top windows open like you would on a double wall tent and the rainfly on you leave a space for condensation to escape through the insulator which is air permeable but with the insulator you don’t let all of the heat escape. This solves the biggest problem with this tent which is that if you have it all closed in cold weather it will condensate like any single wall tent or you let the heat escape and suffer freeze out especially in windy conditions. I know this because I watched the water vapor in my breath condensate on the roof last December in a 28F windy night. When I opened the roof vent above my head it exited through there. This is why most roof top tents are made of poly cotton, its breathable. The problem with them is in prolonged rain and snow they will eventually wet out. That is why Tepui made the waterproof weather hood. The only problem with it is that you have just converted your breathable tent to a single wall sil nylon or polyester which is not breathable. Tepui could mitigate this by adding better venting to the weather hood like good 4 season mountaineering tents do.

I think the products in this area are still relatively new and evolving in concepts and functionality. We will probably eventually see insulators for the annex’s as well and possibly better insulation in the floor of the tent.

YAKIMA SHOULD ADD AND INSULATOR PACKAGE CUSTOM FIT TO THIS MODEL SO WE DON’T HAVE TO BUY THEIR MAIN COMPETITORS. THEY ALSO NEED TO BEEF UP THE FLOOR INSULATION FOR TRUE 4 SEASON USE.

HOWEVER FOR USE ON TOP OF A CAMPER SHELL WITH THE INSULATOR PACKAGE I BELIEVE, THIS IS THE BEST ROOF TOP TENT OUT THEIR RIGHT NOW DUE TO LIGHTER WEIGHT AND WEATHER RESISTANCE. .

Colin
Colin
1 year ago

Any thoughts on removing all the mounting hardware and the aluminum bars on the bottom of the tent and bolting it directly to the 80×20 bars on an aftermarket rack such as a prinsu?

Ryan Gibbons
Ryan Gibbons
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

To be honest, that’s not a bad idea at all and I’m considering doing that very same thing once I get a Prinsu. All RTT’s are heavy, so putting that as a “con” kind of carries little weight. It truly is a great tent and we just used it on a cross-country trip. Couldn’t be happier with it. But if I could “lower” it somehow, what you proposed is a very doable option. I’m guessing the Prinsu uses those T-bolt/T-slots, so in theory, your bolts would go through the bottom of the tent. The padding is thick, but if I were to do what you proposed, I’d use a nylon nut and cut off any excess. I doubt you’d ever feel it laying in the tent, but you just wouldn’t want a 3am bolt poke in the hip! 🙂

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