The Yakima SkyRise 3 (and SkyRise 2) is a light weight, super easy to install rooftop tent. It compares favorably to other tents like the Kukenam 3 and Smittybilt Overlander. There is one really big outstanding issue: price. The Smittybilt Overlander is much cheaper. That’s going to be difficult to overcome.
In this first video, you get a comparison of the Tepui Kukenam 3 with the Yakima Skyrise 3. The tents are similar in size. One big feature of the Yakima SkyRise 3 (Medium) is tool-free vehicle install. Popping it on and off the rack is super easy. This is a pain for most other tents. But the Skyrise rail system increases the gap between the tent and the rack.
Tepui vs. Yakima Tent Review – YouTube
There isn’t a video comparing the Yakima SkyRise 3 with the Smittybilt Overlander. The next best thing is Kukenam’s little brother – the Ayer 2 going against the Overlander. It’s just like the Kukenam only built for 2.
The Smittybilt Overlander pretty much beats the Ayer 2 and the other tents too, because you get so much for the price. In this competition the Tepui Ayer won in these areas: smaller footprint, lighter weight, better ladder, more air vents and the better travel cover attachment. It’s a smaller tent (sleeps 2) so that explains the smaller footprint and lighter weight. The other areas tend to be less important, except for the ladder. The ladder is the one thing that is clearly inferior with the Smittybilt. Smittybilt won or tied everything else. At the end of the day Smittybilt Overlander just has too much going for it versus the Tepui Ayer and by extension the Kukenam 3.
Update on 27-May-2020: The Smittybilt Gen2 Overlander is here for $1,150. See the video:
The Gen2 model solved the crappy ladder problem, but then gave us a nice price increase from $930 to $1,150.
The Yakima SkyRise 3 is pretty comparable to the Kukenam 3. It just depends on what you like. I really like the light weight and ease of installation for the Skyrise 3. Is it worth the extra price as compared to the Smittybilt Overlander?
What if we could make the Smittybilt Overlander easier to install? Using the ramp system might take the sting out of the installation process. Build a super simple ramp that makes it a piece of cake to load and unload by yourself.
Here are some specs on all four tents:
|Spec||SkyRise 3||Kukenam 3||Overlander||Ayer 2|
|Sleep Footprint||56 x 96in||56 x 96in||56 x 95in||48 x 84in|
|Fabric||210-denier nylon||600-denier poly/cot||600-denier poly/cot||600-denier poly/cot|
Below is a video that shows us how to install a rack on a RAV4, then how easy it is to put a SkyRise on top. The SkyRise tent already has the rails installed. You can see how a full installation goes here.
Outfitting A Toyota Rav4 Yakima Skyrise Roof Top Tent + HD Cross Bars. – YouTube
In terms of accessories for a Yakima Skyrise, you’ll want to consider the annex. Why would you need an annex? Because it gives you a place to dress underneath the tent. Watch the video here. Check out the full accessories collection here.
An Awning for the Yakima Skyrise Rooftop Tent
Yakima SlimShady Awning Product Tour – YouTube
I like the Yakima Skyrise 3 but I’m not sure I’d choose it over the Smittybilt Overlander. It’s a 3-season tent. I don’t really plan to camp out in the winter, so a 3-season seems fine to me. The real question is, how often would I be popping the tent on and off?