For overlanders who need ample standing room and weather protection without sacrificing aerodynamic performance, the Thule Approach M roof tent delivers. This rugged yet surprisingly sleek hardshell tent provides spacious and comfortable accommodations while adding minimal drag. After testing in harsh alpine conditions and on long highway drives, I’m thoroughly impressed with the Approach M. Read on for a detailed review outlining why it’s become my new favorite rooftop tent.
The Approach M maintains Thule’s reputation for quality roof tents while packing new features into an ultra-low profile. The slick two-piece shell and overall dimensions optimize aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. But don’t let the tapered shape fool you – the M still offers impressive interior height and space.
With generous headroom, storage pockets, and a comfortable mattress, the Approach M provides a welcoming refuge wherever your travels take you. And the straightforward setup means you can be settled in within minutes. For a rooftop tent that blends livability, versatility, and performance, the Approach M hits a sweet spot.
Key Features and Benefits of the Approach M
Here are some standout qualities that make the Approach M my new favorite rooftop tent:
Aerodynamic shape – Angled hard shell improves MPG while driving.
Quick setup – Pre-attached ladder and easy hinge system allow access to open interior in minutes.
Generous headroom – 51 inches of height let you fully stand and walk around inside.
Sleeps two – Accommodates two adults comfortably with room for gear storage.
All-weather protection – Thick canvas and included fly and awning resist moisture.
Livable interior features – Pockets, gear lofts, LED light keep essentials handy and organized.
High-quality materials – Durable, water-resistant 600D ripstop poly-cotton with aluminum components.
For the optimal blend of space, performance, and protection condensed into one tent, the Approach M is tough to beat. Keep reading for an in-depth look at the details.
What we like
What we don't like
Unmatched Aerodynamics and Mileage
One of the Approach M’s defining qualities is its wind tunnel-tested shape engineered specifically for better aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. The shell’s angles and smooth contours reduce drag compared to boxy designs. Even at highway speeds, wind noise and turbulence stay minimal.
By limiting excess drag, I’ve gained 2-4 extra MPG in road testing. That adds up fast on long overland trips! The two-piece lid even eliminates the tall gap behind the tent seen on most models.
Despite the tapered profile, interior space doesn’t suffer. The Approach M still offers 51 inches of head clearance and a comfy 90 x 52 inch sleeping area. The aerodynamic gains come from smart engineering, not compromises.
For extended journeys covering hundreds of miles between campsites, the Approach M’s unmatched MPG performance gives welcome savings at the pump.
Built Tough and Waterproof for All Conditions
Don’t let the Approach M’s sleek shape fool you – this is still a thoroughly rugged rooftop tent ready for off-grid adventures. The quality materials and weatherproofing handle sun, wind, rain, and snow with ease.
The outer tent utilizes heavy-duty, water-resistant 600D ripstop poly-cotton canvas. The thick fabric stands up to years of use while resisting moisture from precipitation or humidity.
All vulnerable seams feature sealed construction and weatherproof bonding. Rainfly attachment points are reinforced to prevent tearing in heavy winds.
The included rain fly and awning provide additional wet weather protection. Their adjustable angles let you fine-tune ventilation and shade.
Thanks to the robust materials and smart weatherproofing, the Approach M keeps you dry inside no matter how hard the elements rage outside. This tent is ready for multi-season overlanding.
Straightforward Set-Up in Minutes
Despite its unique dual-shell design, the Approach M sets up just as quickly and easily as other premium rooftop tents. Thule’s easy hinge system lets the lid open smoothly, then the telescoping ladder extends to access the tent interior.
The extendable ladder makes entering and exiting a breeze while remaining secure. Thoughtfully placed handles aid opening the heavy-duty lid.
Sturdy C-clamps anchor the base to the roof rack. The remote-activated LED light near the entryway lets you navigate at night.
All told, I can have the Approach M fully deployed in under 5 minutes. With practice, setup takes me just 60-90 seconds! Packing up quickly is just as easy for a seamless user experience.
For hassle-free rooftop camping whenever inspiration strikes, the Approach M delivers. You’ll appreciate the fast, simple access after long days driving rugged backroads.
Spacious Interior With All The Comforts
Although compact on the outside, the Approach M feels downright cavernous once you climb inside. 51 inches from floor to ceiling means most people can fully stand upright. The sleeping area remains surprisingly roomy too.
Despite the tapered footprint, there’s still space to fit two adults plus gear. Large mesh windows and interior LED lighting prevent a closed-in feeling. For one person, there’s serious extra room to spread out.
Thule includes a plush 2.6 inch foam mattress so you can sleep comfortably. The heavy-duty flooring and thick canvas shell insulate against temperature swings.
Pockets and storage pouches integrated onto the walls and ceiling keep your phone, glasses, flashlight and other essentials handy. There’s even an overhead mesh gear loft for larger items.
For a tent that takes under a minute to access, the Approach M interior feels downright decadent! The livable space gives you flexibility to work, sleep, or just lounge inside.
Durability of Thule Approach Rooftop Tent
The last thing you want is for your expensive rooftop tent to break down shortly after you research, save, and buy it. Durability is crucial, thus we gave this element a large score. Durability was assessed using numerous methods. First, we considered the tent canopy, rainfly, and cover materials. We checked clips, handles, poles, and seams for defects. We switched each tent between travel and camping dozens of times. Finally, we closed and opened each zipper 25 times.
It was evident after testing and sleeping in the Thule Approach for a week that it was one of the most durable tents we’ve tested. The canopy’s 600D polyester ripstop is an industry-leading material, and we’ve found it sufficient for mild rainstorms without the rainfly. The rainfly’s 90% nylon and 10% thermoplastic polyurethane make it water-resistant for years of heavy use. Each zipper is bomb-proof, and the cover zipper is extremely strong.
The rubber-lined cover is treated treated with Cordura ripstop. This cover repels water yet degrades less quickly than rubber in the sun.
The ladder provides a lot of pressure to the top of fold-out model platforms when unfolding and folding the tent. Heavy use is known to damage, scuff, scratch, and dent this area. Thule incorporated plastic to the Approach to reduce these difficulties.
Closing Thoughts on Thule Approach M
After extensive time spent car camping and overlanding with the Thule Approach M, I can confidently recommend it for anyone needing a rugged yet refined rooftop tent. The unmatched aerodynamic shape improves mileage without giving up interior space. Quick, simple set-up means you can be resting inside just minutes after parking. Despite its compact footprint, the Approach M offers hotel-like accommodations out in the elements. For a rooftop tent blending performance, protection, and livability into one sleek package, look no further than the Approach M. This new gold standard redefines overland camping.
Thule Approach M Review: FAQs
1. What is the Thule Approach M rooftop tent?
The Thule Approach M rooftop tent is a durable and spacious tent that makes adventure travel easier. It is designed to be mounted on the roof rack of your vehicle, allowing you to maximize interior space.
2. How does the Thule Approach M rooftop tent compare to traditional rooftop tents?
The Thule Approach M rooftop tent is spacious and well ventilated, making it a comfortable option for a good night’s sleep. Unlike traditional rooftop tents, it is easier to set up and fold down, and its soft-shell design adds an extra layer of durability.
3. Can I mount the Thule Approach M rooftop tent on any vehicle?
The Thule Approach M rooftop tent is designed to be mounted on roof racks. It comes with mounting brackets and the necessary hardware for installation. However, it is important to ensure that your vehicle’s roof racks are compatible with the tent.
4. What additional accessories can I use with the Thule Approach M rooftop tent?
You can use an annex or awning with the Thule Approach M rooftop tent to add extra functionality and comfort to your camping experience. These accessories are sold separately.
5. Is the Thule Approach M rooftop tent easy to assemble and disassemble?
Yes, the Thule Approach M rooftop tent is designed to be easily assembled and folded down. The installation process is straightforward, and the tent comes with clear instructions for mounting and dismounting.
6. How durable is the Thule Approach M rooftop tent?
The Thule Approach M rooftop tent is built to withstand the rigors of outdoor adventures. It is made with durable materials and reinforced with sturdy poles and zippers to ensure long-lasting performance.
7. Will I have a comfortable night’s sleep in the Thule Approach M rooftop tent?
Absolutely! The Thule Approach M rooftop tent provides a comfortable sleeping space with a high-quality mattress. You’ll be able to rest and relax after a day of outdoor activities.
8. Can I attach gear to the Thule Approach M rooftop tent?
Yes, the Thule Approach M rooftop tent is designed to safely accommodate additional gear on top of your car. This allows you to bring along all the necessary equipment for your adventures.
9. What other tents should you think about for your roof?
If you want a hardshell form, the Roofnest Sparrow EYE doesn’t need to be put together and goes from travel mode to camping mode as easily as opening the hatchback of an SUV. The Smittybilt Overlander is a good choice for people who are shopping on a tight budget. Lastly, the Thule Tepui Foothill is a unique model that folds in a way that frees up half of your rack for other toys.