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Life in the SkyRise


Randy Propster, Backpacker Magazine’s Get Out More Guru, practically lives in our SkyRise rooftop tent. In just about a year, he’s logged over 150 nights in his SkyRise. That’s more than anyone we know of. “It feels like home,” says Randy. “It better. I’m on the road for over 32 straight weeks right now. This year I have my SkyRise on top of my Turtleback Trailer and I’m pulling the whole kit around with a Ford Transit Connect van. I have a home everywhere I go.”   The van his living room and garage (“I travel with 1000 pounds of ultralight backpacking gear”), the Turtleback his kitchen, and the SkyRise is the bedroom.

“I climb that ladder, hit that 2.5 inches of wall-to-wall foam mattress, look up through the skylights, take a deep breath and find myself in a peace-and-quiet happy place.”

This is Randy Propster. He lives in the SkyRise each summer as he travels around the country for the Get Out More Tour Festival


And his home is a penthouse. “Being elevated offers a look from above. You oversee your camp, each mesh window wrapping around you. And the two skylights give you great views in dark sky locations.  You really feel closer to the stars. And you’re out of reach of creepy crawly critters and slithering suspects that I’ve definitely enjoyed watching from my safe-and-sound perch. I say it’s my peace-and-quiet happy place, but it’s also a place to take in nature’s audio showcase. From tree frogs in South Carolina ponds, to whip-poor-will and screech owls in the Blue Ridge Mountains, you simultaneously elevate yourself above it all and surround yourself with it all.”


Randy gets gear and there’s one big thing that he feels set the SkyRise apart. “Ease of set up. People are always surprised that I can set that thing up faster than I can a small two-person backpacking tent.  Just unzip the case and grab the ladder.  In literally seconds you have a complete shelter with a 2.5-inch wall-to-wall foam floor that you can dive right into. I added the cargo net. I love it – it’s an easy way to stow away muddy boots.  Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference. When you combine ease of use with off the ground comfort (I keep saying it, but 2.5 inches of wall-to-wall foam, I mean, c’mon…) and surround yourself in nature thanks to the wrap around windows and skylights, it’s a unique sleeping experience.”


Randy lives for the outdoors, for remote, beautiful spaces. He is inspired to explore. So, given the entire world to choose from, where does he dream of taking his SkyRise someday? “The next stop,” is his answer. “Sounds cheesy I’m sure, but I can’t allow myself to take one second of this opportunity for granted. I mean, how many people get to travel practically the entire county for 32-plus weeks exploring so many of the its most beautiful natural and scenic sights along the way?  Not too many.  I’m in the moment.  Shame on me if I’m not.  The next stop is living the dream, and I don’t have any intention of waking from this dream for at least another 27 weeks.”

Here Are Some Randy’s Fave Views – So Far – From His SkyRise:

  • Sitting on the dunes overlooking the ocean in Southern California
  • National Forest Camps in the Northwest with big snow capped peaks out the window
  • Watching alligators sunning on the banks of ponds in the southeast
  • Surrounded by the biodiversity deep in the Pisgah National Forest
  • Last summer’s full solar eclipse dropping onto Mount Jefferson from a field outside Madras, Oregon


Meet Randy. Find the stop near you and get on out to Backpacker’s Get Out More Tour. Learn, get inspired, discover how good decisions and good equipment – Yakima included – make being outside better.