Subaru News (BLOG)

Welcome to Subaru News, Suburb Service’s monthly blog! Subaru News is meant to educate, entertain, and engage you in monthly musings on such topics as auto mechanics, Subarus, travel, auto repair, and driving and living in the Lake Forest Park and Shoreline area. Our blogs are released on the first day of each month!

How to Camp with Your Subaru; Anytime, Anywhere

Love The Outdoors? 4 reasons to camp with your Subaru AND 5 Fun Ways to Do it!

Do you love the great outdoors and your Subaru? Why not meld the two into an epic outdoor adventure? You can road trip and camp comfortably with your Subaru - no matter your Subaru make and model. With a bit of planning and flexibility, you can enjoy an incredible experience in the great outdoors on your camping adventure.

With summer just around the corner, the weather is already perfect for camping in Washington. Maybe you're driving down the coast of the Pacific Northwest, or you're taking your Subaru through the inland terrain.

Whether you're headed on a road trip and changing locations daily, or simply have one location in mind and are contemplating where to stay...we have some helpful benefits of camping in, on and outside of your vehicle, and tips on how to do so before you head out on the open road!


Of course your Subaru is portable, that's not what we are talking about. Think about the last time you went camping. You parked your car, had to lug everything to your campsite with several trips, unpack, use, pack up, and drag everything back. But if you use your Subaru as your tent, you eliminate 90% of this hassle.

You literally drive your car to the campsite, allowing you to bring more things of substance and weight since you don't have to carry them a far distance (i.e. grill, lawn chairs). Simply unload the vehicle, push the front seats forward, lay the back seats down, and use the now free cargo space as your home away from home.

Either set out sleeping bags, blankets and pillows or maybe even bring an air mattress that will fit the width of the car! Make your space as comfy as you want, knowing the cleanup is a piece of cake.


If you're someone who has camped a lot, more than likely you've experienced an animal or two showing up for a surprise visit to check out your generous supplies. Sure, you can stay in the tent as still as possible and wait for them to leave (especially a bear), but how much safer would you feel if you were inside your Subaru?

Not only are you replacing nylon for steel, but the windshield is shatterproof. Worst case scenario you need to flee the scene, you can hop in front and put the keys in the ignition. Besides animal trouble, we do unfortunately have other humans to think about. You never know who you will come across, but you do know that you can lock your doors and keep yourself and your belongings safe.

Lastly, there's the weather. Sure a tent will protect against the average rain shower - but what about those crazy storms that come out of nowhere? Not only is a car safer from wind and lighting, you also don't risk all your belongings becoming soaked with an unexpected leak.

Temperature Control

Ahhh, Summer. So hot in the day time, so cold at night. Unless you happen to be out on those perfect days with the nice breeze, chances are you will be uncomfortable at some point. Isn't it nice to know you have the option for heat or AC?

Of course, remember to keep an eye on your gas gauge - but besides that, there's the option to at least cool down or heat up the inside of your vehicle, even if only for a little bit to set a more comfortable temperature.

Saving Money

Now you're interested! Whether you have a Subaru Forester or a Subaru Outback, these babies get amazing gas mileage. Averaging 25-30 miles per gallon with all-wheel drive, you can make some serious progress on your day drives to your destination.

Not only is car camping nice in one location, but also ideal for those long road trips where maybe you don't want to spend money on a hotel every single night. There are safe, legal places you can choose to park, set up your bed, and be ready to go when you wake up in the morning without having to deal with adding on to your credit card or checking out.

There are even some stops that allow you to sleep in your car, but provide indoor showers and bathrooms for everything else! You could have the adventure of a lifetime with just gas and food money.

5 Fun Ways to Camp with your Subaru

#1 Top your Subaru with a tent

There are some great tents designed to be placed atop your Subaru and extend out over the ground with an easy-to-access ladder. Smittybilt Overlander, AirTop, and Tepui are brands of tents you can set up on your Subaru to make a home away from home in the great outdoors.

The great thing about car/SUV topper tents is they keep you off the ground so you stay warm and dry if some drizzly weather finds you while you're camping. These set up quickly and can be transported up top so you don't lose any room inside your vehicle for the drive.

#2 Tow a tiny trailer with your Subaru

Trailers are a great option for camping comfortably but you typically need a big truck to haul one. But the Happier Camper trailer is small enough to tow behind most Subarus because it weighs in at just over 1000 pounds with a lightweight fiberglass body.

The interior is customizable and it can be configured to sleep up to five people, so you can fit the whole family or a gang of pals. Another option is a SylvanSport GO which is a small aluminum-framed trailer with a pop-up tent that allows flexible adventuring.

#3 Pack it in your Subaru and camp out

For the budget-minded outdoorsman, you can always just pack in your gear and take off. A hard or soft top roof carrier can accommodate your larger gear so you don't waste any interior space. This is critical if you've got kids and they need leg room on the drive.

To use your Subaru for more than just the drive, strap on an awning like a Rhino Rack to create shady space to relax, dine or escape unexpected showers. If you have an Outback, the rear deck is a perfect place to store your gear and a study rack on top offers room to bring a kayak, bikes, and more.

#4 Skip the tent and camp inside your Subaru

Like we mentioned before, you can skip the tent and bask in the nearly 70 square feet of available (if you have a Forester) space when the seats are lowered. With the seats folded flat and an air mattress, you can sleep in comfort without being exposed to the elements.

During the day, roll up the sleeping bags and enjoy the space for hanging out, eating, or playing cards. For those that like to trek off the cuff, camping inside your Subaru allows you the flexibility to camp on demand - just leave your supplies in the back so you can camp at will.

#5 Let it all hang out with a tree tent and your Subaru

Prefer to sleep in the trees surrounded by nature? One way to enjoy Subaru camping without hauling a trailer or attaching a tent to the top is to invest in a hanging tree tent to keep you high and dry while camping. Some tree tents suspend just a couple of feet off the ground and some will dangle you pretty high.

Either way, they're as comfy as a hammock and let you sway in the breeze. Luminair, Treepee, and Stingray by Tensile all make tree hammocks that hang from a single branch or two or three trees. Stash your funky tent in your Subaru and go hang in the trees!

Bonus Ideas

So you like some of the perks of a hotel or camper. Guess what, getting a little creative can provide you many of those same perks! Do you want to watch a movie? Hang a sheet on the rear window and bring a small portable projector, have a big screen TV right in front of you while you're cuddled up in your bed.

Or maybe it's nighttime and you are a mosquito magnet - you can either create your own mosquito nets, or you can buy premade nets and cut them to the size of your windows, still allowing the breeze in while keeping bugs out.

If you like the colder temperatures but want a little-added warmth, try an electric blanket! Many are battery powered and would not pull any extra power from your vehicle.

But what if it's nighttime and you don't want to keep your car lights causing your battery to drain, but you are tired of holding a flashlight? Bring a few LED powered lanterns to light up your space, but also keep you safe from any type of heat or fire.

With so many possibilities, you may never spend another dime on a hotel after discovering the home right in your Subaru.

Make your Subaru is road-trip ready before you take off!

If you're planning a camping excursion a short drive away or at the end of an epic road trip, you want to make sure your Subaru is road-worthy before you load up and go. Come into Suburb Service for an oil change, brake check, or a look under the hood to make sure your Subaru is ready for the journey.

Call Suburb Service in Seattle at (206) 705-8695 for an appointment with the Subaru experts at the oldest independent Subaru service center in the Pacific Northwest. For more than 25 years, we've been dedicated to the Subaru owners of Seattle.