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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I introduced myself before and now I am starting the build on my newly acquired 2002 Outback. I bought it 3 months ago with 158k miles on it and she still runs great. Anyway here is the beginning of my thread which will be updated every couple of days.

The plan for this Outback is to build it for a year long (or longer) road trip to 49 states starting in Oregon and ending in Anchorage, Alaska next August for the Anchorage Show n Shine Car Show.

Here's a list of upcoming mods:

Outback

King Dual rate coil springs
GR2 Struts
Window Tint
Storage shelves
63 QT ARB Fridge*
Yellow Top Battery
Pioneer Double Din Deck
Satellite Radio
Roof Bike Racks
yokohama Geolander AT/S tires


Trailer

Yellow Top Battery
12v water pump
20 gallon fresh water tank
Opening top lid
Roof Top Tent Installed
Slide out kitchen
propane tanks
Subaru Outback wheels
Yokohama Geolander AT/S tires



Bought it like this.

\



Today I picked up a Cascadia Roof Top Tent that is now installed on the Outback for the time being.






This is what the trailer looks like now. It will have a lid, propane tanks, fuel cans, wheels to match my Outback, and a lot of modifications that I will update as I go.


 

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2008 Ford Escape XLS - 2002 Subaru Outback
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Looks like a good base, I'd be careful on weight. Plus, going across country with a 170k mile car (what most likely will be), will be hard. Not to mention towing a trailer. I've been debating taking a road trip up to Alaska as I have friends that stay there for the summer. Bring plenty of washer fluid for the bugs!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The Outback has already had the Head gaskets, timing belt, and water pump changed, and just recently got a new clutch and brakes. I am doing a lot of little repairs to get it ready and as a lifelong mechanic, I think I will be able to handle anything that breaks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm thinking about ditching the trailer idea due to weight but I really like the idea of having the storage space and the ability to leave the trailer and tent at the camp site to run into towns or to mountain bike trails. On the other hand, the trailer is a 4' x 8' so I may just cut the back 2' off and shorten it to 4' x 6'.
 

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Looks like a good base, I'd be careful on weight. Plus, going across country with a 170k mile car (what most likely will be), will be hard. Not to mention towing a trailer. I've been debating taking a road trip up to Alaska as I have friends that stay there for the summer. Bring plenty of washer fluid for the bugs!
Keeping weight down is key. Our long distance major tip trailer weight is 890lbs empty and about 1300 max.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My goal is to keep this trailer under 1,000 lbs so we will see once I get the tent installed and start mounting the slide out for the sink and stove.
 

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I applaud your plans, but for a one year (or longer) trip I think that old clunky trailer won't work out - you will have lots of issues. You need one that is built for a serious trip.

What is your budget for the trailer? Can you sell that one and apply the funds toward a better one, made of aluminum? You get a seriously reduced empty weight that way. The payoff over a year's driving would be measurably better fuel economy and much better towing performance.

Are you going to be camping full time? If so, that tent is going to be a real hassle to set up and take down all those times, and it will be just miserable in winter.

Dirt roads? How rough?

How about a small teardrop?

Expedition Trailers - Expedition Portal

Soft Road Trailer

Can you show some more pics of the Cascdia RTT? I am thinking about a Maggiolina Air Top tent (hard top and bottom), and Cascadia makes a clone. I have looked at those and they seem so close a copy that there must be some patent infringement going on. How can they do that? Anyway, I would like to hear your comments on Cascadia tents....

I STRONGLY encourage you to use a trailer! Without it you will be really cramped, and I suspect by the third week you will be swearing and looking for a trailer to pull. If you had a teardrop to sleep in and carry your bedding, fridge and galley equipment, I expect you could easily carry all the other stuff in the OB. Have you seen this guy? 1440 pounds unladen - a little heavy for your car. http://www.adrenalincampers.com.au/2012-hard-floor-campers/ They are now being built in Montrose, Colorado. I looked one over at Overland Expo and they are simply amazing. Another thread: ... http://forum.ih8mud.com/trailer-tech/586770-new-american-built-adrenalin-off-road-camper.html

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Great information there John. I've been reading up on trailers, tear drops, and roof top tents for a few years now and I'm pretty sure I've read every thread on Expedition Portal. I've been looking around for Aluminum trailers but the cost goes way up. I may just shorten this one and make it work. I have plenty of experience camping in the snow and cold weather and I will be fine. I really think I'm going to go with the trailer as I don't see a way to carry everything on the Outback. I had a Jeep built for rock crawling and I know this won't go anywhere near as far but it'll handle most of the forest service roads just fine.

That adrenaline trailer is pretty awesome. If only I could afford to bring one here. Just wait and watch what I end up doing with this little trailer and I think you guys will be impressed.
 

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Well, as long as you have the skills and the knowledge, and are prepared to deal with unexpected stuff that happens on the road, go for it. Unexpected does not mean unprepared.....

I still want to hear your thoughts on the Cascadia tents. How is the company to deal with? Did you buy direct and pick it up in Bend? Did you rent one first? I would like to try one of their hard top tents, but they don't rent those ;(

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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That sounds like an amazing trip. I've always about a roof top tent as applied to the Outback. Does the roof deflect excessively? It's hard to see from the shadowy parts of the photo, but are they resting on the factory cross bars or some aftermarket bars? The factory bars are very flimsy in comparison. Does the tent bottom have extra supports that reach down to the roof to spread some of the weight across the sheet metal too? Or is everything held by the cross bars?

How many people are going on this trip? If its just you, it almost seems better to get some cargo baskets / boxes for the roof. Since I assume you'll have the rear seats folded down the whole time for cargo, you can just arrange a flat space in the back of the car for sleeping at night. But then I know you want to use that sweet roof top tent.
 

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I've always about a roof top tent as applied to the Outback. Does the roof deflect excessively? It's hard to see from the shadowy parts of the photo, but are they resting on the factory cross bars or some aftermarket bars? The factory bars are very flimsy in comparison. Does the tent bottom have extra supports that reach down to the roof to spread some of the weight across the sheet metal too? Or is everything held by the cross bars?
All the load goes onto the crossbars, so you would need at the very least two stout straight Yakima or Thule bars. A third bar to spread the forces would be advisable for rough forest roads. A hard top tent will weigh around 120 pounds without any additional stuff inside. The soft tents weigh about the same, maybe a few pounds more.

A bulky soft cased tent like the one shown on Page 1 will create serious drag and is not advised unless you simply want to burn up a lot of gas, or you are on a strict budget. The fiberglass (or carbon fiber) hard shell models erect and pack up fast, have minimal drag and look pretty darn cool. The more miles you drive, the better the payback. I have read that on some vehicles with a long roof, the mpgs actually go up with the RTT installed, especially if you install a fairing underneath, at the top of the windshield..



If you are planning on mounting the tent on a trailer, the aerodynamic part of the equation doesn't matter so much.

The Cascadia hard RTTs (made in Oregon) are an almost exact copy of the more expensive Maggiolina Air Land tents, which are made in Italy and have been evolving in design for the last 40 years. They go up and down (slowly) with a hand crank.

AutoHome Maggiolina top roof tents for car camping

CVT Cascadia Vehicle Roof Top Tents | Cascadia Vehicle Roof Top Tents

The RTT I have my eye on is the Maggiolina AirTop, pictured above, which uses gas struts and pops up effortlessly in 30 seconds.

If you want some excellent reading, spend a few hours here, searching for "roof top tent" or "RTT": ... Camping Equipment - Expedition Portal

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The tent I got is just on the stock cross bars but will be moved to the trailer as I am going to have a 75 lb Husky/Lab and possibly a friend just not 100% sure yet. I got the Mt Hood which is the 4 person tent instead of the smaller one because of the good possibility of a friend traveling with me.

CASCADIA TENTS - I called and scheduled a time to show up in person and have them install it to the roof rack because my trailer is not set up for the tent yet. It is mounted to the outside edge of the stock cross bars and is plenty enough sturdy to handle being up there but for a long trip I would use the aftermarket cross bars from Yakima or Thule. I don't plan on having it on the roof for more than a week or so from now.

I don't even really notice the tent on the roof other than in high side winds and you can tell there's extra weight when letting out the clutch from a stop.

As far as gas mileage goes, I did notice a drop in the mileage on my way back from Bend but only about 2-3 MPG. I will have it on a trailer so the aerodynamics will not really be affected as much. I am coming from driving a Jeep on 35" tires geared low that got 12-15 MPG so seeing over 20 makes me smile when I fill up the tank. I will be using the tent this weekend so I will post up pictures of it open and a good review.


Just another thing to think about, I will be living out of my Outback for a year or maybe more depending on if I decide to settle down somewhere. I spent 10 years in the military working more hours than I could try to work the entire rest of my life so now that I have my disability every month, I just want to travel and experience everything I can. Life is all about having fun every chance you get. I plan on doing some Scuba Diving off the Florida Keys, Mountain Biking in every state, and checking out every National park I can find along the way.
 

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Thanks for the comments on the tent.

I plan on doing some Scuba Diving off the Florida Keys, Mountain Biking in every state, and checking out every National park I can find along the way.
Bravo for you. I hope you have plans to bring along a good camera, because we will expect lots of pics every couple of weeks.

And my best wishes and thanks for serving your country.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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.... A hard top tent will weigh around 120 pounds without any additional stuff inside. The soft tents weigh about the same, maybe a few pounds more...

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
Thanks for the links and the tips. I had no idea RTT's weighed so much. I suppose it makes sense, considering the structural integrity of the floor and mounting brackets needed to take the weight of occupants. Just a surprising fact to find out about them. Thus far I haven't actually had a good reason to consider one, but I've always been fascinated with them. Something about seeing one on the back of a Land Rover makes me all giddy for adventure.

...Just another thing to think about, I will be living out of my Outback for a year or maybe more depending on if I decide to settle down somewhere. I spent 10 years in the military working more hours than I could try to work the entire rest of my life so now that I have my disability every month, I just want to travel and experience everything I can. Life is all about having fun every chance you get. I plan on doing some Scuba Diving off the Florida Keys, Mountain Biking in every state, and checking out every National park I can find along the way.
Your adventure certainly warrants starting a blog for, if you're into that sort of thing. We'd love to follow your adventures. You deserve to enjoy this country you worked and fought for.
 

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Should video blog every day, take plenty of pictures. Stop at a Mc. Donalds for a cup of coffee and a video upload :p
 

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I don't know your skill level on a mountain bike, but for pure scenery these two in north Idaho are very nice.

This one is easy, paved and relatively low altitude, and rideable from about March through November. It passes through a number of small towns.

Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes bike path in northern Idaho

The next one is groomed gravel, pretty high up in the mountains, and has some north facing slopes with long lasting snow drifts, so the season is much shorter - early June to mid Fall. The highlights are the nearly two mile Taft Tunnel at the top, many more short ones on the descent and lots of scenic trestles and railroad stuff along the trail, and also scattered over the region. This was the area most affected by The Big Burn that decimated 3 million acres in 1910. You can go up and down, or take a shuttle back to the upper parking area from the bottom.

Route of the Hiawatha Mountain Bike Trail in Northern Idaho

Here's one of the tunnels, where the bike trail crosses a forest road:



And there are many more tunnels and trestles in the area that have not been fixed up for wobbly tourists. like this one:



And this one:



both of which will eventually be part of the official Route of the Hiawatha bike trail.

That is a really cool area to spend a week exploring. I have a lot of gps routes and waypoints I can share if you are interested. It's bear country so you need to be well prepared if you get off the beaten path.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Got the windows tinted today so I went for a drive to take a few pictures. The roof top tent is still installed so you can see how it looks from multiple angles.








Here's an old Marine Barracks that were once used many years ago. Thought I'd get a couple of shots of the car.




I also installed new fog lights this past weekend.




Oh and this new 60 QT ARB fridge/freezer was delivered by FedEx today.





This is where the fridge will go. It'll be completely sideways and will slide out on a drawer. There will also be a platform above it to allow for more storage without getting in the way of accessing the fridge.



More updates to come this weekend when I use the tent on top of my Outback this weekend. Then it will be installed on the trailer where it will reside for the trip.
 

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'97 Outback stock - Well she was rolled 7/9/17 coming back from Savannah, Ga and totaled :-( Not I have an '07 Outback - not sure for how long though - would like an XT :-)
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Since you have a 5 speed, have you considered upfitting the shifter bushings? I purchased these Kartboy 5mt bushing combo for my '97 (244k) and it made it feel/shift like it's new(er).
Good luck on the build - what time of the year will you be passing NC?
Later, T.J. (USN - '84-92)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you for the link to the bushings, I'm going to order them and see if it helps with the shifting.

I'm not sure just yet when I will be leaving and NC is probably around the half way point so we will see what happens. Right now I'm still in the build phase and planning out the route which could easily change along the way.
 
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