My Outback Adventure Begins…

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Liana Lehua

Rank V
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Advocate III

1,659
Southern California, CA, USA
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8969

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KM6ZPM
I’m new here and to overlanding but a veteran of the outdoors. I've been immersing myself in the forums, getting ideas, learning a lot, and I am completely overwhelmed with where and how to start the build of my 2015 Subaru Outback to be my overloading rig.

I’d love any feedback anyone has, especially if you have or have had an Outback, as you’ll know the limitations and help me set my expectations as I get to know Muir (that’s his name).

This is how was, and still is, outfitted when I bought him:

2017 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
Stock rails and crossbars
Sumitomo HTR A/S P02 225/60R18
Subaru wheels
Automatic transmission

FWIW I don’t know what I don’t know, so my requirements as they are today

daily driver - I don’t need fancy, but I want great quality components and parts. Since this is my daily driver, I’d like to keep it as clean as possible when not overlanding.

extended road trips (3 or more days) at least once per month

short trips (up to 2 days) at least once per month

For now, I’ll sleep in my car on the road. I’m debating a RTT on a trailer to keep the roof open for overloading tools and storage, as well as surfboards.

off-roading

How Muir and I adventure

I mostly solo adventure and sometimes bring my small dog. I don't have any space constraints and am very comfortable being in and sleeping in my vehicle.

We take local or <8 hour drive trips every weekend. Some are urban but most involve driving on dirt/fire roads and unpaved trails (like those found in Joshua Tree).

I am a long-time backpacker and camper, so I set up a camp kitchen and cook when I make the time to stay in a spot for at least 2 days. Otherwise, I boil water and eat Mountain House meals.

I like to be up late nights with a fire burning (when and where allowed) beneath the stars.

Gear we carry

I don’t have any recovery gear yet. I do have:
- wilderness first aid kit (also WFA certified)
- compass and paper maps
- Delorme InReach Explorer w/iPhone 7Plus for maps
- headlamp and flashlight
- knife
- Motorola walkie talkies

I want to be able to carry a reasonable amount of and types of gear that is also helpful to others if I can lend a hand when needed.

Camping essentials including a ground tent. I splurge and carry a comfy cot and typically stay off the ground to sleep.

Photography and videography equipment (mirrorless cameras and lenses) in Pelican cases, tripods, and sometimes lights.

How we WANT to adventure

Muir wants to be covered in mud and dirt, and has dreams of water crossings and just barely clearing his undercarriage on the trail.

Our questions are

How did you decide where to start your build?

What should I consider when deciding how to build?

What kind of gear should I get (product makes and models)?
- There is a lot of cool gear, but what do I really need to be safe (for starters).
- What are the first 5 things I should buy or do to my vehicle?

Cargo box or basket?

Thank you

Any feedback is welcome and appreciated. Thanks in advance, and I hope I get to meet you all on the road sooner than later.
 
Last edited:

Terry Pickens

Rank VI
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Pathfinder I

2,741
Vancouver, WA
First Name
Terry
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Pickens
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My plans for my Outback are very similar to yours. Mine is planned for short day trips to long adventures of 4 plus weeks. I just purchased mine in February and the build has started here:
https://overlandbound.com/forums/threads/another-subaru-build-thread.7622/
It is being built at this time for a 45 day adventure to the Yukon and dipping into Alaska next July. I am not going hard core but enjoy trails as shown on my build post. I am also debating an RTT for the Alaska trip for ease of setup and take down. I have a lot planned as time goes on and parts break or need replacing but I am quite happy with mine right now.
 

Liana Lehua

Rank V
Member

Advocate III

1,659
Southern California, CA, USA
Member #

8969

Ham Callsign
KM6ZPM
My plans for my Outback are very similar to yours. Mine is planned for short day trips to long adventures of 4 plus weeks. I just purchased mine in February and the build has started here:
https://overlandbound.com/forums/threads/another-subaru-build-thread.7622/
It is being built at this time for a 45 day adventure to the Yukon and dipping into Alaska next July. I am not going hard core but enjoy trails as shown on my build post. I am also debating an RTT for the Alaska trip for ease of setup and take down. I have a lot planned as time goes on and parts break or need replacing but I am quite happy with mine right now.
Thank you, Terry. You have some exciting trips planned. I will follow your build, and hopefully, my build will offer some nuggets of info as well.

I’m happy with my vehicle now, too. What kind of RTT are you considering? I’m looking at the iKamper for a hard top and the Tepui Kukenam Sky 3 tents. Each very different. I haven’t decided what’s most important in a tent yet. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I know as I get out and drive more, I’ll have a better sense of what I want to do. Your build is inspiring. Thank you again for sharing.


Sent from my iPhone using OB Talk
 
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Terry Pickens

Rank VI
Member

Pathfinder I

2,741
Vancouver, WA
First Name
Terry
Last Name
Pickens
Member #

3062

Thank you for the kind words on my build.I am looking at the Tepui Ayer Sky 2. It is just me and this tent will be the right size and weight for the Outback. I have heard great things about Tepui's customer service and have heard good things about the product. I like the lower buy in price on this base model. It should almost pay for itself on the Alaska Trip and if I am not satisfied with an RTT I can sell it and not feel that bad.
I am also planning an awning for mine as I found this last trip out to the Ord Mtns it would have been nice to have a little shade as I ate lunch at Burro Schmidt Mine.
I will be following your build as well, I follow other Subaru build threads here to also get ideas. Some great information and the people will answer questions you have. Wawa Skittletits has been a great source of info for me.
Hope to see you on the trail sometime.
 
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