When you’re tight on space, a tent that takes up all your rooftop real estate isn’t a great solution. Thing is, nearly all rooftop tents sprawl across the entirety of your vehicle’s roof. That means your ability to bring along a roof box, bike, kayak, or any other bulky gear while car camping diminishes greatly—unless you’ve got the Thule Tepui Foothill.
What It Is
The Thule Tepui Foothill is roughly half the width of most rooftop tents, sporting a long, narrow profile. When folded and packed for travel, it’s 61cm wide and 24cm high, leaving space for other gear on your roof. And it’s symmetrical, so you can mount it on either side and the relatively compact package catches less wind when driving. That’s not to say it compromises your sleeping space, though. When the tent is flipped open, it’s spacious enough for two, and extra-long, which was particularly appreciated by tall testers.
Why We Like It
Assembly was pleasantly simple. The Thule Tepui Foothill has telescoping poles inside the body of the tent, so you can set it up from inside, clicking the poles into a fully extended position to expand the roof. Springy metal stakes hook into awning grommets on all sides before sliding into receptors on the tent frame. With gear on the vehicle roof, you can leave the tent awning on one side closed. That won’t impact the tent’s airflow. Oversized windows, a large entryway, and dual skylights provide superb ventilation.
Thule also introduced a stronger tent base that happens to be lighter yet more stable. The mounting rails come pre-installed. To secure this tent to your vehicle, just fasten the bottom brackets onto your roof rack bars.
The inside of the tent is spacious and pleasant, with 38 inches to the peak of the roof. One 6-foot-plus tester said it was the roomiest rooftop tent he’s slept in. The mattress footprint, which is 84″ x 47″, is bigger than a queen-size bed, which is 80” x 60”. With two people inside, it doesn’t feel crowded, but there isn’t a lot of extra space on the sides.
With the windows open, or with the screens zipped into place, sleeping in this tent feels like you’re more connected to nature—and cooler than sleeping on the ground. And thanks to the tent’s built-in mattress, it’s also super comfortable. Side storage pockets organize gear. And the tent has plenty of room at the feet for a duffel. The fabrics feel durable. They dry quickly after a storm, and are a perfect weight. Sleeping in the tent, you feel protected from the elements and animals without feeling hot or claustrophobic. The awnings shade the windows from sun and keep out light rain. If serious weather blows in when you’re in the tent, you can zip the windows and entryway shut, and close the skylights without sealing off all airflow.
Setting up the tent gets easier the more you do it. But getting the cover back onto the tent takes some practice. With the tent packed, the tent ladder stores inside your vehicle instead of zipping under the tent cover. If you typically get up at night to pee, have your camp shoes positioned for a trip down the ladder. Also, expect any rooftop tent to impact your gas mileage. This one dropped ours about 15 percent.
At 110 pounds, the tent isn’t light, but it’s a superb solution for campers who want to use their rack for gear and sleeping. If you’re a camper who loves sleeping on the roof, but also needs to carry other gear, this tent can’t be beat.[$2,000; thule.com]
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