Gear Talk: Home Is Where You Park It

This is the ideal solution for the “Glamper” in all of us without having to blow your retirement on a tricked-out van.

This week, I put Yakima’s new SkyRise Small Rooftop Tent to the test. I’ve been using this tent for the past couple weeks during bike trips, volcano ski trips, and your typical weekend camp excursions, and I could not be more impressed. 

It’s the ultimate base camp for the weekend warrior or adventurist that knows the mission will go from car to car. Just pull up to the trailhead, remove the fully-waterproof, vinyl cover, roll up and strap it away, pull out the ladder, then pop open the tent. Easy peasy.

Yakima tapped into their years of expertise in hauling outdoor gear to engineer this game-changer. Their emphasis is on practical functionality and the body is made from 210D nylon, which is the same breathable and lightweight materials in your top-of-the-line backcountry tents. All the windows can lock down for gnarly weather or cold nights on the road but can also open for stargazing or extra airflow while still keeping the bugs at bay on calm, clear nights. The best part of this tent is the included 2.5” foam mattress— which has a removable cover for the inevitable liquid-induced accident or muddy boot stains. I quickly forgot I was sleeping on top of my car. 

The SkyRise Rooftop Tent Small retails for $1,099

I was fortunate enough to have the team at Rack Solid, here in Berkeley, CA, bust out the installation for me, but all you need for set-up are some crossbars installed on your roof and two able-bodied humans. It takes about 20 minutes to build the tent base IKEA style with the included parts, then it mounts to your roof in minutes. If I had to give some criticism, I'd say that although it's only 12 inches tall, when fully packed away and strapped down, my topper raises up 6 inches above the cab of my truck, which creates quite the wind sail when cruising on the highway and an obvious drop in MPG. But, the benefits of the SkyRise far outweigh the few extra dollars spent when filling up the tank.

This is the ideal solution for the “Glamper” in all of us without having to blow your retirement on a tricked-out van. The Skyrise Small Rooftop Tent gives you most of the perks that “Van-life” has to offer without having to actually live out of your van. Enough said. 


Nat Houston is an outdoor loving, maple syrup slurping, East Coast native who grew up skiing at Bromley Mountain just outside his hometown of Landgrove, Vermont. After graduating from the University of Colorado in 2014, he stuck around Boulder for business and pleasure, working for companies like Freeskier Magazine and Dynafit, but mostly skiing and climbing in the vast mountains of the American West. Today, he lives in Berkeley, CA so he can explore the mountains of California and the Pacific Northwest, sample the local taco offerings, and write gear reviews for Warren Miller Entertainment.