I’m working on an off-grid Subaru forester hunting rig conversion because I’m planning to maximize my time hunting and do more out-of-state hunting while staying flexible and agile in my approach.
After looking into every method I could find from trucks, RV’s, cargo trailers, pop-up campers, campers…etc, I finally decided to just keep the vehicle I had and convert it into a hunting rig to keep costs as low as possible and to keep things simple.
Sure, a Subaru Forester it’s going to be tight but I think I’ll be able to fit everything I’ll need to make it work. I’m willing to sacrifice comfort and off-road capabilities for more hunting.
It’s not going to be able to handle 100% of what I want it to do, but it will get me into around 70% of where I need to go safely. I can make up the rest with a little extra legwork. I am willing to make that sacrifice for now but may need to upgrade to a truck in the future.
This is my first post documenting the process and I still have a lot of work to do. That being said, it’s been coming together nicely over the last month or so.
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Many people online convert their vehicles using wooden storage and drawers. I personally didn’t want to go this route if I didn’t have to. I didn’t want to take the time to build unless it was an absolute benefit. So far I’ve found that there isn’t a big enough benefit for me to invest the energy.
I’d rather buy plastic storage. I have some work to do to figure out what bins will be most efficient.
I may need to buy roof storage as well, but I’d like to be able to carry a canoe during hunting season, so we’ll see how crowded it is in my car when hunting season rolls around.
Sleeping In My Subaru Forester
I haven’t slept in my car yet because I’ve been getting everything together but I’m going to try to sleep in my car this weekend as a test run. I plan to write a post on how that goes.
For sleeping, I am using a tall Coleman cot. It fits absolutely perfectly in my Forester. I’m 6’3”, which is quite tall for a Subaru Forester, but the way the cot is situated I don’t have to sleep diagonally at all. This helps maximize space a lot.
By taking the headrest off the passenger seat I am able to gain many inches of extra length because the height of the cot is about level with the passenger seat after this modification.
When I add my 4″ Tri-Fold Memory Foam Mattress pad the slight difference is not very noticeable. I’m able to rest the top of my head over the top. I will go more into this in future posts and videos. I’ve got a tri-fold mattress for easier storage when not in use. I may buy another mattress, I’m not sure that I’m going to stick with this memory foam model.
One of my first purchases was pop-in window shades for my car. It keeps people from looking into your car when you’re sleeping or just in general. They are the WeatherTech Windshield Sunshade for Subaru Forester.
They are very simple to use and provide thermal regulation in both hot and cold weather depending on if you face the reflective side in or out.
Cooking When Hunting
For cooking, I bought the Camp Chef Everest with 20,000 BTU burners because of the amazing reviews it has. I have yet to try it but am looking forward to it.
I’m also looking into a JetBoil, I’ve heard these are great for minimalist camping.
Because I film and blog, my Subaru Forester hunting rig conversion needed to have as much power as possible. When I’m out there in the woods I don’t want to run out of power. I bought the Jackery 1000W portable power station. It’s basically a giant battery. This power station is supposedly able to handle a LOT of power. In addition, to the battery, I bought two Jackery solar panels to keep the battery charged when I don’t have a way to charge it.
It also can be charged while my car is running. These features will be very helpful for keeping my cameras, laptop, drones…etc charged for week-long hunts or longer.
The Jackery 1000 is currently the biggest battery made by Jackery and I had to buy the largest because its the only model with USB-C plugs for my camera gear. Otherwise, a smaller model battery may have been plenty but I’d rather have too much power than not enough.
I bought BF Goodrich tires because heavy-duty 8-ply tires are important. Flat tires are stressful and time-consuming. Every time I’ve gone on moose hunts in northern Maine I’ve had a slow leak because of small metal staples or nails that a more rugged tire would be able to defend against. I also don’t want to deal with this traveling out of state.
On top of that, I needed some tires that could handle more off-road terrain. My all-seasons just weren’t cutting it in the snow. I was always scared I was going to get stuck. Although I have tire chains, I’d rather have a nice set of tires.
I’ve briefly looked into this. A 2″ lift is pretty expensive. It would be helpful, but at that point, I might as well save the money for a truck if I need a lift that bad. So, I think I’m going to make do with it at stock height. I think it will be good enough, but not ideal.
I haven’t looked into this too much yet, but maybe something I consider for extra room or to just get out of my car once in a while. A tent would be especially nice in the winter because I could use a wood stove.
I’ve still got a number of small details to wrap up. For example, cookware, fine-tuning storage, ergonomics…etc. But for the most part, the big stuff is taken care of. I’m going to start practicing living in it soon, maybe this weekend especially as the temperatures warm up so that I can figure out the things that aren’t as obvious.
Let me know if you’re interested in more of my Subaru Forester hunting rig conversion posts.
I hope you guys enjoy reading these short simple journal posts. I’m looking to do these at least once a week to document scouting, hunting, hunting prep, ideas, SUV-Living/Conversions…etc.
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