Rooftop tents offer some of the simplicity of an RV (just park, fold down a ladder, and sleep) for a fraction of the cost. Here we quickly review a newly installed Kukenam Sky model from Tepui roof top tents.
Tepui makes some tough, well-designed rooftop tents. We’ve examined a couple in person, and will be putting one through some serious testing this summer on a two-month road trip to Alaska.
The Kukenam Sky is a 3-person model designed with large areas of mesh to enhance outdoor viewing and ventilation. The tent is modestly sized and should fit on pretty much any car or truck. For our first look, we installed it on an E-150 Ford conversion van.
Tepui Roof Top Tents, Kukenam Sky Model ($1,350)
First Impressions: The rooftop tent is an awesome concept, and these things are really well constructed with heavy materials; it is heavy, tipping the scales at 110 pounds. Thank goodness your car carries it! The bed, from a brief nap, seems really comfortable.
It’s worth noting you need a quality rooftop rack to carry these. If your car isn’t equipped with one, plan to add a few hundred dollars to the price of the setup.
Where To Test It: Anywhere you can drive to and park your car or truck! Alaska, the jungles of Central America, the American western desert such as Moab, or the Southeast.
Who It Is For: Those who want the convenience of an RV, but without the size, hassle, and expense. It’s a perfect fit for adventure touring rigs, bike racers, and family campers.
Installation: It takes a few people to install this bad boy initially and to remove it from the roof. Experienced installers took about 30 minutes to get mine in place. Plan an hour or so for your first install (it’ll go faster with practice). But once in position on the roof, one person can set up “camp” in just a few minutes. I’d guess it’s about a 10-minute process from parking the car until your head hits the pillow.
Tepui Kukenam Sky Tent Specs
- A-frame design; room to sit up or even stand up without the fly on.
- 600D rip-stop ventilate coated poly-cotton
- No-see-um mosquito netting in all windows and doors
- 4 large internal pockets
- 2.5” high-density foam mattress
- Includes 8’6″ telescoping ladder
- Includes universal mounting brackets for pretty much any rack
- Made In: Asia
Killer! The views from the top are awesome. It’s amazing how just getting a few feet off the ground opens up the vista.
Flaw: This is definitely a big item to have bolted to your racks, and does take a little bit of time to unfold and get set up properly with the fly arms and everything tightened up for a storm.
Who Should Buy It: People with pickup trucks or other overland vehicles that you cannot sleep in. The comfortable bed will be a bonus for those who have a hard time sleeping on the ground, but still want to get the camping experience. This also makes a solid basecamp for folks who want to road trip for climbing, cycling, competing in events like ultra-marathons — the list is pretty long. This setup competes with an RV for convenience and comfort, and opens up space inside a van otherwise used for sleeping for tasks like cooking.
Contact Brand/More Beta: Tepui Tents
Aaron H. Bible is an outdoor industry journalist based in Nederland, Colorado, specializing in cycling and snowsports, with a multi-sport background more than 15 years deep. He’s a former editor of Paddler magazine, Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine, Kickstand magazine, and Sporting Goods Business magazine; and he’s currently a contributing editor for Elevation Outdoors magazine in Boulder, Colorado. Follow his adventures on Instagram at @ahbible.