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Thule Tepui Foothill Review

A rooftop tent that leaves lots of room on the rack for extra toys
Thule Tepui Foothill
Credit: Thule
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $2,200 List | $2,199.95 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Rectangular design allows for more room on the rack, quick installation, durable canopy
Cons:  Thin mattress, longer conversion time, Cordura cover may be less durable
Manufacturer:   Thule
By Ross Patton ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 28, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 10
  • Space and Comfort - 30% 7.0
  • Durability - 25% 8.0
  • Ease of Conversion - 20% 6.0
  • Ease of Assembly and Installation - 15% 8.0
  • Cover Convenience - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Thule Tepui Foothill adds fresh innovation to the rooftop tent industry that we very much appreciate. We expect it will appeal to many looking to add a rooftop tent without sacrificing all their rooftop space. The “hot dog bun” rather than “hamburger bun” way that it folds allows for plenty of extra space on the rack for toys such as a narrow cargo box, bike, kayak, or whatever else you can think of to strap up there. It has an extra durable 600-denier primary canopy and an additional 600-denier removable rainfly for when things get extra nasty. If you’re traveling alone or with one other person and need extra room on the rack for gear, this model is the way to go.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Thule Tepui Foothill
Awards Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $2,200 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$1,875 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
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Check Price at Amazon
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$1,300 List
$1,304 at Amazon
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Pros Rectangular design allows for more room on the rack, quick installation, durable canopyVery comfortable, durable, has entrance awning, great weather protection, included annexDurable canopy, telescoping ladder, versatile, quick conversionLight, more affordable, breathableWide and sturdy ladder, boot bag, LED light strip, spacious
Cons Thin mattress, longer conversion time, Cordura cover may be less durableLongest conversion time (though not by much), side window awnings don't roll up, priceyNo entrance awning, no added extrasQuestionable durability, bulky for a two-person modelLadder may require drilling, velcro cover not the most efficient cover system, heavy
Bottom Line A rooftop tent that leaves lots of room on the rack for extra toysA versatile rooftop tent that offers maximum comfort no matter what Mother Nature decides to doOur top soft-top recommendation for most people provides excellent quality and comfort across all four seasonsA decent two-person rooftop tent with a breathable canopy great for warmer nightsWith a durable design and many handy features, this model competes with the top models while costing significantly less
Rating Categories Thule Tepui Foothill Thule Tepui Autana 3 Thule Tepui Kukenam 3 Thule Tepui Explore... Smittybilt Overlander
Space and Comfort (30%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
Durability (25%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Ease of Conversion (20%)
6.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Ease of Assembly and Installation (15%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Cover Convenience (10%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Specs Thule Tepui Foothill Thule Tepui Autana 3 Thule Tepui Kukenam 3 Thule Tepui Explore... Smittybilt Overlander
Seasons 3 4 4 3 3
Weight 122 lbs 130 lbs 130 lbs 106 lbs 144 lbs
Max Inside Height 38 in 52 in 52 in 38 in 51 in
Pockets 2 4 4 4 5
Windows 3 side, 2 roof 3 side, 2 roof 3 side, 2 roof 3 side, 2 roof 3 side, 2 roof
Floor Dimensions 87 in x 40 in 56 in x 96 in 56 in x 96 in 84 in x 48 in 56 in x 96 in
Floor Area 24 sq ft 38 sq ft 38 sq ft 28 sq ft 38 sq ft
Room Divider No No No No No
Vestibules No Yes No No No
Vestibule Area Dimensions n/a 26 in x 56 in n/a n/a n/a
Packed Size 9.5 in x 24 in x 83 in 12 in x 48 in x 56 in 12 in x 48 in x 56 in 11 in x 42 in x 48 in 12 in x 48 in x 56 in
Floor Materials Welded aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum
Main Tent Materials 600 D 420 D 420 D 260g polyester cotton 420 D
Rainfly Materials 600 D 600 D 600 D 600 D 600 D
Number of Poles 6 6 8 8 8
Pole Material Aluminum/spring steel Aluminum/spring steel Aluminum/spring steel Aluminum/spring steel Aluminum/spring steel
Pole Diameter 1/4 in 1/4 in 1/4 in 1/4 in 1/4 in
Design Type Fold-out Fold-out Fold-out Fold-out Fold-out
Extras Double level pockets, loop inside for hanging lights and gear Awning over ladder n/a n/a Interior LED, extension cords, boot bag

Our Analysis and Test Results

For those that want the luxury and comfort of sleeping in a rooftop tent but don't want to sacrifice the entire space on their rack, the Thule Tepui Foothill is the best option. While most rooftop tents take up the entire horizontal width of your crossbars, this model is longer and skinnier, offering a full-length mattress while leaving plenty of room next to the tent for additional gear.

Performance Comparison


Thule Tepui Foothill rooftop tent - the number one reason to purchase the foothill is to leave extra...
The number one reason to purchase the Foothill is to leave extra space on your rack for other toys.
Credit: Ross Patton

Space and Comfort


Despite its slim construction, the Foothill has an A-frame shape with a maximum inner height of 38 inches. Our team found there to be plenty of room for two people to move around comfortably. However, with the door on the side rather than the end of the tent, it's either squish or be squished if the person furthest from the door wants to exit the tent first. Although the mattress isn't quite as thick as some of the other models, we found it to be much more comfortable than a typical camping mattress or backpacking sleeping pad.


The Foothill offers phenomenal views. The two roof panels open lengthwise, so there is no obstruction other than the center support — giving you a great chance of catching the whole show during those meteor showers. In addition to the main door, the windows on the other three walls open completely, so you'll also have a great panoramic view of the surrounding landscape, provided that your bikes, kayaks, cargo boxes, or other toys aren't in the way. We awarded the Foothill extra points for space because, although the interior isn't exactly the roomiest, it frees up a ton of space on your rack, which can often be more important than sleeping space.

Thule Tepui Foothill rooftop tent - despite its compact travel size, the foothill unfolds to be a...
Despite its compact travel size, the Foothill unfolds to be a sizeable tent.
Credit: Ross Patton

Durability


The last thing you want when you purchase a product that costs this much is to watch it fall apart. We put these tents through rigorous testing –- camping in each model for at least five nights and driving on rugged 4x4 roads to test the mounting system. While on our adventures, we converted each tent between travel and camping mode 25 times and also zipped and unzipped every door and window at least 25 times. If you're looking for a softshell rooftop tent with a durable canopy, the Foothill hits the mark.


The canopy on this model is made of the same material many tents use for their rain fly — 600D ripstop fabric with water ventilate coating. In many climates, this may completely eliminate the need for the added rainfly in most storms. The zippers all performed perfectly even after dozens of borderline violent pulls as part of our testing.

The only reason why we didn't give the Foothill a higher score for this metric is because the travel cover is made out of a Cordura fabric rather than the thicker rubber-like material that we've seen out of most of the other models that we've put through the wringer. Even after more than three years of use and thousands of highway miles on one particular model, we haven't seen any signs of damage on the rubber versions. Fabric, however, tends to flap in the wind and may eventually weather and tear over time — especially if you're doing a lot of high-speed interstate miles.

Thule Tepui Foothill rooftop tent - the thule tepui foothill canopy is made out of 600d ripstop fabric...
The Thule Tepui Foothill canopy is made out of 600D ripstop fabric and the zippers are bomb-proof.
Credit: Ross Patton

Ease of Conversion


The Foothill is not the easiest tent to convert from travel to camping mode and back. There are a couple of key steps that make it take a few minutes longer than most of the other tents. To maintain its slim profile while in travel mode, the three inner poles are telescoping on both ends and must be extended and collapsed during every conversion. This only adds maybe a minute to the process, but it is an extra step that many of the other tents in our review do not require.


The slim design does not allow for the standard Tepui ladder to be permanently fixed in place. In travel mode, the ladder sits on top of the tent lengthwise. When it's time to set the tent up, you have to attach it to the tent body using a couple of quick-release pins and then remove it when it's time to put the cover back on. This realistically only adds a minute or two to the setup time.

The ladder on the Thule Tepui Foothill has to be detached and stowed...
The ladder on the Thule Tepui Foothill has to be detached and stowed during transport because of its slender design.
The quick-release clips that attach the ladder to the Foothill are...
The quick-release clips that attach the ladder to the Foothill are easy to use.
Once the ladder is attached to the Foothill, it functions just like...
Once the ladder is attached to the Foothill, it functions just like any other telescoping model.

Ease of Assembly and Installation


Unlike the other soft-top rooftop tents in our review, the Tepui Foothill comes ready to slap on your rack right out of the box. While the other models require you to attach the mounting hardware underneath the mattress (which can often be complicated and require two people), the mounting rails come installed by the factory when you purchase this tent.


Pull the Foothill out of the box, grab a buddy to help you lift it onto your rack, then use the included ratcheting wrench to crank down a few nuts, and you're on your way to adventuring. While you're at it, you can install a bike rack, kayak rack, or a skinny cargo box and get it all done at once. The only reason why we didn't give this tent a higher score for this metric is that there are models that do not require tools once it's time to remove the tent for the off-season or to reinstall your tent once it's time to camp again.

Thule Tepui Foothill rooftop tent - the mounting rails on this model come installed at the factory, so...
The mounting rails on this model come installed at the factory, so you can lift the tent out of the box and place it directly onto your rack.
Credit: Ross Patton

Cover Convenience


It's very easy to get the Tepui Foothill cover off and put it back on. The more square-shaped tents require you to do a few laps around your vehicle to deal with the cover, whereas the Foothill can be dealt with from one side. Recognizing that sometimes you end up climbing all over your vehicle like a monkey to get the rubber square covers to squeeze everything in before they can be zipped up, we see this as a huge bonus.


Value


Considering the versatility of the Thule Tepui Foothill, we believe it offers a great value. You'll get the comfort and convenience of a rooftop tent while leaving room on your rack for your other toys. For some folks, that versatility is priceless.

Thule Tepui Foothill rooftop tent - the cover is much easier to deal with on this model than most others...
The cover is much easier to deal with on this model than most others because you can remove it from one side of the vehicle rather than three.
Credit: Ross Patton

Conclusion


We absolutely love the Foothill. It is innovative, ready to install right out of the box, and one person can deal with removing or installing the cover with ease. If you want a rooftop tent but don't want to give up all of your roof rack space, this is the one.

Ross Patton
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