If you have a newer Subaru Forester, Outback, or Crosstrek, you have the ideal vehicle to go camping this summer. Subaru is an adventure brand, and it gets even better for adventure enthusiasts with a rooftop tent to get away from civilization. The Japanese automaker is about developing off-road-ready vehicles, and all you need to add is a few accessories and camping gear.
Subaru of America now offers the Forester, and Outback Wilderness trim levels for those with active lifestyles. A recent report from Maritz says nearly 25 percent of Subaru Forester owners will use their vehicles to go camping, and Subaru says about 30 percent of Crosstrek buyers will take their subcompact SUV off-road.
photo credit: Subaru of America via Amos Chase
Adding a rooftop tent makes Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek ideal outdoor adventure vehicles. Add in Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive and the dual-function X-Mode, and it gets you further away from civilization.
What is the load capacity of Subaru roof rails?
The capacity of the standard roof rails on a Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek is 700 lbs when parked on a level surface. The tent and occupants inside cannot exceed that weight. When the vehicle is moving, the three Subaru models have a roof rail capacity of 176 pounds; the tent has to weigh less when stowed. Thule makes several products designed for your Subaru if you need to increase the carrying capacity.
Wilderness trims have increased load capacity
The 2022 Forester and Outback Wilderness trim levels come with a new ladder-type roof rail design offering a higher load capacity (220 lb. vs. 176 lb.) and an 800-lb. static load limit (vs. 700 lb.), allowing safe use of a rooftop tent.
The seven best rooftop tents for your Subaru are adapted from a report from Road Affair. Torque News and Subaru Report do not receive commission or kickbacks from purchases made through links in this article.
The Thule Tepui Explorer Kukenam 3 is a three-person tent constructed of a 260-gram polyester/cotton blend with ripstop fabric with a water-resistant coating. The floor dimensions are 96” x 56”, with 37.33 cubic feet of floor space and a peak height of 52”. Inside are four large pockets for storing your accessories and gear, and the mesh panels give you plenty of ventilation. This tent breaks down to 56” x 48” x 12” and weighs 131 lbs. This tent can withstand the elements in any season and is ranked one of the best roof tent options on the market.
The iKamper Skycamp 2.0 is consistently among the top rooftop tents available. The tent weighs 160 lbs. and can accommodate three adults or two adults and two children. The polyester/cotton canvas tent body is breathable and holds up well in the rain. Inside the tent, the roof has a window so you can stargaze, and two side windows let you take in the views. The honeycomb aluminum floor extends to 85.8” x 82.6” with 49 cubic ft of floor space. The tent has two interior pockets and a peak height of 45”. The tent breaks down to 85.8” x 54.3” x 12.5”. The iKamper Skycamp 2.0 is easy to set up and durable.
This tent is ideal for smaller vehicles like the Subaru Crosstrek and breaks down to 57.1” x 54.3” x 12.5”. The iKamper Skycamp Mini is a three-season tent that can sleep two people. It has a fiber-reinforced hard shell and quilted insulation. The three interior windows let you look out of both sides and the roof. It only weighs 125 lbs. but has a 900-lb. weight limit. The peak height of the tent is 45,” and the dimensions are 80.7” x 50.4”, which gives you a floor area of 28 cubic ft. The tent is also equipped with a polyester rainfly, mesh netting to keep mosquitoes out, and two interior pockets. The iKamper Skycamp Mini sets up in only one minute.
The Thule Tepui Explorer Autana 4 sleeps four and is an excellent car rooftop tent for families. It’s constructed of a polyester/cotton blend to help withstand the elements. The tent fabric is also resistant to mold and UV rays. The Thule Tepui Explorer includes an extended canopy entrance and a removable annex for additional space. Four large internal pockets allow you to store your snacks, camping gear, etc. It has 48 cubic ft. of floor space, with dimensions of 96” x 72” and a peak height of 56”. The 190-lb. tent breaks down to 72” x 48” x 12”.
The Smittybilt Overlander offers the best value. This 117-lb. tent has a maximum load of 661 lbs. and can sleep up to three people on a double/full mattress. This tent is easy to set up and take down and has a PVC cover to minimize moisture and UV damage when not in use. It opens up to 95” x 56” x 51” and has side windows and a sunroof. Included are mosquito netting and a waterproof rainfly. The Smittybilt Overlander is the perfect budget-friendly tent that doesn’t compromise on quality.
The Yakima SkyRise HD 2 is a durable two-person tent. The tent offers four-season protection thanks to its ripstop polyester fabric, 3,000 mm waterproof coating, and ripstop polyester rainfly. The extra-large windows and doors allow for optimal ventilation, and the guy-lines and D-rings let you effortlessly secure your gear. The 2.5” thick wall-to-wall sleeping pad helps you sleep in comfort and is easy to clean. The abrasion-resistant tent floor measures 84” x 48” and has a floor area of 28 civic ft. The 102-lb. tent has a peak height of 42”.
The Tepui Tents HyBox is a pop-up rooftop tent that works as a hybrid system. It has a zipper letting you easily switch from cargo box to tent. Its aerodynamic shell offers a fuel-efficient and quiet ride. The floor dimensions are 81” x 51”, and it has an area of 28.7 cubic ft. The tent has a height of 37”. The foam mattress is 3” thick and has a removable cotton cover. All four openings have mesh to keep bugs out, and the canopy has a waterproof rating of 3,000 mm. This two-person tent breaks down to 84” x 55” 12.75” and weighs 155 lbs.
The 2022 Subaru Forester, 2023 Outback, and 2022 Subaru Crosstrek are ideal all-wheel-drive vehicles for camping and carrying a rooftop tent this summer. Subaru says leave no trace when you are in the national forests. Check out the leave no trash pledge here.
Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Photo credit: Subaru USA