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Top 5 Subaru Outback Camping Hacks

Why Camp In Your Subaru Outback

The Subaru lineup of vehicles is very popular with the crowd who loves camping. They’re compact, sturdy, and perfect for outdoor adventures! One of the most popular models is the Subaru Outback, which offers a roomy cabin that you can convert into storage space. Many campers like to use their cars for camping, so we’re here to share our top 5 Subaru outback camping hacks! You’ll be able to enjoy a whole new level of adventure with these tips.

1. Buy A Roof-Top Tent

The Subaru Outback is a fantastic car that offers a good amount of space. However, if you’re camping with your family, you’ll need even more room for everyone. The back seats can be folded down or removed, but the living space will still be cramped. 

That’s where rooftop camping comes to the rescue! Many avid campers have been turning to this camping hack, which creates additional space without making a larger footprint. Roof-top tents are compact tents that can be installed on the roofs of cars, vans, and other vehicles. They generally have canvas/fabric sides that are easy to collapse when they are stored away.  They are easy to set up and have comfortable solid bases. So you won’t have to worry about an uncomfortable night’s sleep in one of these tents!

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One of the most popular setups for the Outback is the Tentbox. This can be installed directly onto the roof, and it is easy to expand and collapse. You can even use it for extra storage space when it’s not being used! 

Roof-top tents are definitely one of the best Subaru Outback camping hacks. You can enjoy a lofty view, lots of space, and an easy setup and takedown process. Plus, this leaves your trunk free for storage and the rest of your camping gear.

2. Sleep In The Trunk With A Mattress

If a roof-top tent isn’t speaking to you, you can always use your car’s interior as your tent! There are definite bonuses to sleeping inside a vehicle because you’ll be better protected from wind, rain, and fluctuating temperatures. Plus, it’s safer if bears or other wild animals are a concern in your area.

Bundling up in the car is a great way to stay safe and protected. You can also enjoy modern comforts and conveniences even when you’re out in nature. The storage space of the Subaru Outback will be your best friend in this case. They already have a fairly spacious trunk, but campers can maximize the available space by removing or folding down the cabin seats.

Line the trunk with a cargo tray or mattress, and you’re ready for a good night’s sleep! If you’d like to preserve your storage space, you might want to go with an inflatable mattress or sleeping pad, which can be tucked away when they’re not in use. 

If you want to take things a step further, you can retrofit your Outback as the ultimate tiny camper. Check out the video below for some ideas on how you can do this. 

3. Maximize Gear Storage

When it comes to Subaru Outback camping hacks, sometimes it’s best to use the vehicle as a storage space for your camping gear! Many people love the feeling of tent camping, but they want to have modern conveniences close at hand. An Outback is the perfect blend of action and comfort, and they can serve as fantastic storage units. 

There’s no need to pack everything into a tent, and you can use the car to keep your food safe from wildlife and outdoor temperatures. To maximize the storage space, try using solid, easily stackable containers. Plastic storage tubs (with lids) are great for this purpose. You can easily fit coolers and other items, so take full advantage of your trunk space! 

An Outback can also function as a charging hub for electronics. You should always charge batteries beforehand, but it’s great to have a vehicle around if your phone dies or you need to plug something in. 

4. Use The Roofspace For Storage

We already mentioned the possibilities of a roof-top tent, but the roof of your Outback can do so much more! One of my favorite Subaru Outback camping hacks is using the roof bars for extra storage. You can hang hooks on them that can function for drying clothes, as shower caddies, or holding cooking/cleaning supplies. 

Of course, you can also use the roof and exterior of the car for extra storage space! You can transport skis, kayaks, bikes, and other bulky equipment on the roof and any bags or gear that doesn’t fit in the trunk. 

Outbacks offer lots of usable space on the inside and outside, so make sure you take full advantage of all of it. 

5. Getting Power When Subaru Outback Camping

To finish our Subaru Outback camping hacks, I recommend bringing a heavy-duty external battery. When camping with a vehicle (whether on top, nearby, or inside), you’ll probably require an occasional electronic recharge. The car battery can be used to power devices and charge electronics, but it’s a finite resource. If you push things too far, you could drain the car battery and face difficulty when it’s time to get on the road again. 

A portable power station is an excellent solution to this problem. As long as you have a full charge when you set out, you can rely on this unit to power your electronic needs. You won’t have to worry about your car or phone dying when you want to decorate with fairy lights or play music. 

One of the best options is the Jackery Portable Power Station. It’s portable, lightweight, and compatible with a variety of devices. You’ll be able to rely on it while preserving your car battery and peace of mind. You can check out the Jackery battery in action in the video below!

Grab Your Suburu And Go Camping!

Now that you know how to successfully turn your Subaru Outback into a compact van conversion, you’re all set to head out and go camping. Do you have a non-traditional camping vehicle? Tell us about it in the comments. Or tag Vanlifers on Instagram with your #Vanlife build.

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10 thoughts on “Top 5 Subaru Outback Camping Hacks”

  1. Outr Ascent battery is a joke. You can’t charge anything while camping and constantly need a recharge. No bueno for a camping car. Literally the first time we took it camping it died….after charging a phone and putting air on one mattress. Other cars never had the issue and for a car that is geared towards outdoor purposes, the issue is unacceptable. Looking at Toyotas and Hondas at the moment.

  2. I can’t believe people use rooftop tents. There’s just so much that’s wrong with the idea of having to use a ladder to get in and out of it. Besides that where does one store the thing the other 50 or so weeks a year it’s not getting used? Also, for what they cost alone you can outfit yourself with your entire camping gear setup- tents, stove, cooler, sleeping bags, et cetera.
    Second- if you need to bring along that many electronic devices with you on a camping trip maybe camping isn’t for you.

  3. I just went camping with my Subaru Outback ❤❤❤I was able to bring alot of camping gear! It was also really easy to drive to the lake! Handles like a CHAMP 🏆. Soon I will go and not bring my tent.

  4. Awesome! You did a super job! Thank you for sharing. I’m thinking of doing something similar with my forester. Really appreciate you sharing how you have kitted your vehicle out with creative solutions!

  5. I need to buy a new or late model used Subaru size SUV ASAP! I want to buy an Outback preferably, or possibly a Forester, with all the camping options!!! Need all the suggestions from all you experienced Subaru campers that I can get!!! ‘PLEASE’ forward me any & all your wise & wild suggestionsy, pro & con from years of joy & disappointment!!!
    Thanks in advance! -joe

  6. Great video — a question & comment.
    Screen for the rooftop is a great idea to keep fresh air overnight–couldn’t tell if yours kept out mosquitoes or critters that go bump in the dark?
    Hope your drone is whisper quiet–& hopefully you don’t use it at all where other folks are also enjoying quiet privacy. (Drones are an endangered species in Hunting Season.)
    Thanks for the ideas.

  7. Keep keys hand while camping inside, to get out quickly to pee.
    Windows and door lock should always be adjustable while bivouacking inside the back, to adjust for wind, rain, and threat or privacy changes. Don’t cook or heat inside while sleeping – for safety. Take extra fleece blankets & soft hat. Keep small flashlights handy. Enjoy.

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