Everyone’s dreamed of jumping in a camper-van and being setting off on the open road. No accommodation needed – you’ve got everything you need right there with you. Small kitchen, beds, all the right music and podcasts at the ready…The only thing holding you back is thinking of how annoying you’ll be on the roads – slowing everyone behind you down to a snail’s pace. Unless you’re a seasoned trucker, driving slow on the freeway is kind of embarrassing.
…there’s no rule saying you can’t design the perfect adventure camping rig – on an SUV. Take the Subaru Forester. A genuine do-it-all when it comes to city driving but it also takes a front seat at any camping show. So how’s this work exactly?
Start with your customizations
Part of the fun is the preparation. So, you’ve woken up with an urge to go to your local dealership and pick up the following items:
- A second battery + inverter. It’s the must-have of all big camping trips – especially if you plan on having a cold beer watching the sunset. Hook up a cooler in the boot for your supplies and drinks. The Subaru Forester has ample boot space making it easy to install.
- Get a spare tyre rig. This frees up much-needed storage space in the boot – you’ll thank yourself later when you’re packing.
- Aftermarket kitchen in the boot – yeah it’s possible and they work really well too. No need to light a fire or chop wood – just slide it out and start cooking.
- Roof tent – these ingenious contraptions should be on everyone’s camping shopping list. Also ideal if you’ve got a fear of snakes.
- All the fun extras like mudguards, wheel steps, and front offroading lights, maybe a front bumper too.
Plan not to plan
Whether you’re mountain biking, surfing or hiking, every camping trip should have at least a couple of days of unplanned driving and adventuring. Once you’ve customised your ideal Subaru Forester camper it’s time to explore off the beaten track. It’s important to know your fuel range and always pack a spare jerry-can if you plan to go bush. It’s the same with water and provisions. Always pack more water than you think you’ll need.
Can I take the Subaru Forester offroad?
Taking the Subaru Forester offroad is a question every Subaru owner grapples with when planning where to go and what to do. But when it comes down to it – it’s more a question of how prepared you and your car are for the occasion. And there are a few things you can do to boost your performance in the mud and over rocks:
- Get all-terrain tyres – your Forester will come with good tyres, but if you’re planning on going offroad it’s a good idea to beef them up with extra grip for those slippery bits of track.
- Upgrade your suspension – if you’re planning on climbing over rocky terrain you may want to get a suspension facelift for the extra security.
- Extra lift – for even more ground clearance you could invest in a lift kit. This is quite a serious alteration – so only do it if you really think you’ll need it.
Take all the right tools with you
If you’re planning on doing beach driving then you’ll want to pack a tyre pump and a shovel. Subaru’s X-Mode and AWD system will only get you so far in certain situations. Getting stuck in remote places is never fun – not to mention the backbreaking work it takes to get moving again. If you plan on going super remote, it can help to do a 4×4 driving course to up-skill in driving techniques like sand and mud – it’s a fun activity to do even if you never actually end up stuck like they do on Top Gear.
Back in town after a thriller week away? There’s no need to brag. Let the mud on your car speak for itself. When all the fun comes to an end and the city welcomes you back with speed limits and sub-par driving habits you can watch the mud drain off the car as you slip back into efficient driving mode. Back in town, your Forester isn’t just good on fuel, it’s the perfect Compact SUV doing all sorts of small car things like squeezing into parking lots and racing down the freeway. No one would even guess where you were yesterday – crawling down to the beach with the salt spray wetting your windscreen.