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Road to MADE Show: Yakima’s New Rib Cage Rack System for the Jeep JL + SkyRise HD Medium RTT

Yakima Rib Cage SkyRise HD mountedTent mounted (without mattress)...
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I’ll be in Portland this week to cover the “celebration of the frame builder” that is the MADE Show. To me, the indy frame builders and the outliers of the bike industry are often underrepresented, so it’s nice to see a spotlight on ’em. This is the first year for the MADE Show, but I have a good idea of what to expect.

MADE Bike Show Founder, Billy Sinkford has a passion for the bike and all that surrounds it. That passion is palpable and contagious just to be around him. The show will be an extension of that passion. It will be an unapologetic celebration of the bicycle and its culture. It will likely celebrate inclusivity as last year’s Philly Bike Show did. It’ll celebrate the component makers, the frame builders, the “one-offs”, the individuals that think outta-the-box, and the craftsmanship we’ve come to expect from custom builders.

Yakima Makes My Drive to MADE a Bit More Comfortable

Yakima Rib Cage and SkyRise MD unloading the tent with Jeep
Photo c. R.Frazelle

Needless to say, I’m very excited to attend the show. I’m also excited to make the 15-hour (1000-mile) trek in our “new-to-us” 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, camping along the way.

Yakima Rib Cage Rack for Jeep JL 4-Door

To outfit that Jeep, Yakima has sent over their new Rib Cage Rack system made for the Jeep JL (JL is the latest iteration of the Wrangler, Yakima has another version for Jeep JK) Unlimited (4-door) for me to review, along with their SkyRise HD Medium rooftop tent.

Yakima Rib Cage and SkyRise MD Rib cage
Photo c. Yakima Racks

The Rib Cage is a relatively new product for Yakima Racks and retails for $600. There are a few different ways to attach a rack system to a Jeep JL. A few surround the top without touching it, with attachment points on the rear bumper and front cowl area of the Jeep, and require no drilling.

However, the Rib Cage falls into the group of rack systems that are a little more permanent and require some drilling through the fiberglass top. These types of racks use the inside of the Jeep and the “roll cage” to reinforce the rack. This allows for a larger payload, and/or use of a rooftop tent. The others out there are over twice the cost of the Yakima Rib Cage.

Yakima Rib Cage and SkyRise MD in use
Photo c. Yakima. The Rib Cage in use with different options on both the Jeep JK (rear) and JL (front).

As it works out, the Yakima Rib Cage has the largest weight capacity of most, if not all of the systems available for this application. Furthermore, Yakima “fully tested and off-road rated” the Rib Cage.

Static Weight: The “static” weight of a rack is basically the amount of weight the rack can hold when the vehicle is not moving. Think your rack and rooftop tent with you in it. The Rib Cage carries a static load rating of a whopping 825 lbs.

Dynamic Weight: The Dynamic weight of a rack is how much it can carry while the vehicle is in motion, and arguably for those that are often off-road, the most important rating. The Rib Cage’s dynamic load rating is 330 lbs, which is the highest I know of in this application.

Another key point to mention about the Rib Cage is that it can be easily disconnected, allowing for the full removal of the Jeep’s top (one of the highlights of owning a Wrangler).

Installing the Yakima Rib Cage on Jeep JL

Yakima Rib Cage and SkyRise MD directions
Good and complete instructions.

The installation of the Rib Cage was involved, not really very difficult, but involved. What I mean by that, is that there was a lot of reading and re-reading the detailed instructions, which Yakima suggests you do prior to starting the installation. I also watched the available video 3-4 times prior to the installation as well.

There were a lot of parts to the rack, as expected, as well as the needed tools. The parts and the tools were very well organized in a compartmentalized package.

Yakima Rib Cage and SkyRise MD drilling the top of Jeep JL hardtop

Drilling the top of our Jeep was daunting, so I wanted to make sure that I “measured 5 times and cut once”. Our Jeep has the color-matched, painted top, so it seemed even more weird drilling into it. But, the Rib Cage is a well-thought-out solution that eliminated some of the stress of installation.

As I mentioned earlier, it wasn’t really hard, but I would suggest getting a friend to help. I struggled on some portions of the installation where another set of hands would’ve helped tremendously.

Yakima Rib Cage and SkyRise MD back support

After the installation, the rack pretty much disappeared and looked like part of the Jeep. It is a fairly stealth final product before mounting the load bars. The Yakima HD Bar crossbars went on very easily and tightened right down.

Yakima Rib Cage and SkyRise MD top of the Rib Cage
Logos in…

One thing that I was worried about was the rack making noise in the cab of the Jeep. But, the design of the rack being attached outside the Jeep and anchored inside the Jeep, keeps it quiet.

As of right now, with about 600 miles on it after the installation, it is quiet with no signs of creaking or squeaking showing up in the future. I’ve already done a couple of decent off-road trips with the SkyRise rooftop tent on it, and it has remained silent.

Yakima Rib Cage Details

  • Fully Tested and Off-road rated up to a 330lb dynamic load rating and an 825lb static load rating.
  • 48″ HD Track sections allow for variable crossbar spreads to support 2 or 3-bar or multiple tower LockNLoad platform setups.
  • Freedom panels are removable while the system is in use and is easily disconnected to fully remove your hardtop.
  • Rooftop Tent compatible
  • The internal supports attach to the roll cage ensuring lateral stability for maximum strength.
  • The minimal footprint of the internal supports will not intrude on your passenger or cargo space.
  • To fully outfit your system, you can choose either the Yakima TrackTower with crossbars or platform of your choice, or the Yakima SkyLine Tower and Landing Pad 26 with crossbars or platform of your choice (sold separately, additional parts may be required).
  • End caps allow the installation of T-slot hardware without having to remove caps.
  • Compatible with Jeep Wrangler JL 4dr Hardtop models only.
  • Separate Jeep JK 4dr Hardtop model available
  • $600 Retail

Yakima SkyRise HD Medium Rooftop Tent for a Jeep

We’ve used a similar tent to the SkyRise for about 4 years, and we were pretty satisfied with it. But, I’ll tell you, as soon as I opened the box from Yakima, I could instantly tell, this was a much higher-quality tent, which it should be as it retails for $2499.That’s twice the cost of my other rooftop tent.

Yakima Rib Cage SkyRise HD with rain fly
Photo c. Yakima

It’s classified as a 4-season tent, so the material of the tent was thicker and felt nicer. We will see how that works out as winter is right around the corner.

The SkyRise HD uses 600D Ripstop Polyester fabric with a 3000mm waterproof PU coating. I noticed the 2.5″ foam mattress was denser and seemed of higher quality as well.

The SkyRiseHD Medium is slightly bigger than the regular SkyRise tent with a closed size of L 58″ x W 48″ x H 17″, and an open size of L 56″ x W 96″ x H 48″. It weighs in at a svelt 114.6 lbs, making it a great choice for smaller vehicles.

Yakima SkyRise HD Medium Tent Details

  • Two size options provide room for two or three campers (small and medium)
  • Frame geometry offers more usable space
  • Large doors, windows, and skylights open up the vistas
  • 4-season weather protection: 600D Ripstop Polyester fabric with a 3000mm waterproof PU coating
  • Rainfly with 210D Ripstop Polyester, 3000mm PU waterproof coating
  • Guy lines and D-rings on the tent floor to hang gear or tie down the tent in windy conditions
  • Abrasion-resistant tent floor with a textured finish for added durability
  • Ladder has mid-height adjustment points for easy set-up
  • Ladder auto-close function that makes it a snap to close up
  • Tool-free and lockable vehicle mounts—easy to put on, quick to take off
  • Easy-to-deploy design means less work and more play—great when it’s dark or raining
  • 2.5″ thick foam mattress
  • Foam sleeping pad includes a removable cover for easy cleaning
  • Mesh panel improves ventilation and lets you view the starry skies
  • Aluminum tent frame is light, strong, and pre-set to make pitching a breeze
  • Open Dimensions: 56″ x 96″ x 48″ High
  • $2,499 Retail

Yakima SkyRise HD Medium Specs

  • Weight: 114.64 lbs.
  • Dimensions: L 58.00 in x W 48.00 in x H 17.00 in
  • Minimum Crossbar Spread 26.00in
  • Maximum Crossbar Spread 40.50in
  • Limited Two Year Warranty

Installing the SKyRise HD Medium Rooftop Tent on a Jeep JL 4dr

Yakima Rib Cage and SkyRise MD recieving the tent

After removing the box, I set the tent on its side and attached the “tool-free” lockable vehicle mounts to the bottom of the tent. I could’ve used a second set of hands for this as well, but I got it done.

I then attached the rainfly better, as it comes just sitting on the top of the tent and needs a little installation. After that, I installed the ladder and the external cover. I removed the mattress to make it a little lighter, and then I had my sister-in-law help me put it up on the crossbars. I then centered it up and locked it down.

Yakima Rib Cage and SkyRise MD mounted on Jeep JL 4dr
Yakima SkyRise HD Medium mounted and ready to head to the MADE SHow

The tool-free lockable mounts are pretty slick. They will make loading and unloading the rooftop tent a lot easier. They sit a little higher than I would prefer, but the added convenience of being able to quickly remove the tent from the Jeep is worth it to me.

My wife and I have yet to sleep in it, but we are camping on the way up to the MADE Show and on the way back, and we are stoked to give it a try. We’ll also be stopping by the Yakima headquarters in Oregon on the way home to touch base and see what’s coming up on the horizon.

Stay tuned!


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13 days ago

I feel like the average Made show attendee and someone who owns a jeep rubicon aren’t intersecting circles on a venn diagram

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