Social Distancing and On-Car Camping With Our 2020 Subaru Outback
Overlanding is all the rage right now, and with the pandemic still affecting everyone’s lives, what better way to social distance than to leave town for a weekend car camping trip?
We reached out to our friends at Thule to see how to test one of his tents on the roof of our long-term Outback. The company sent us its Thule Tepui Explorer Kukenam 3 ($ 1,699.95), which upon receipt definitely seemed like the perfect way to do a few things in the Outbacky.
The Kukenam 3 can accommodate up to three people (or 600 pounds, whichever comes first). Its internal frame, made of welded 5/8 inch aluminum tubing, is wrapped to protect it from the elements. Thule says it’s “built to withstand any environment,” and while we couldn’t guarantee all potential conditions, it felt solid to us. Setting up the roof top tent was a bit frustrating as I’ve never set up one before and the instructions weren’t always clear. The total time was four (!) Hours. Our Outback has an easy to use retractable crossbar, but Thule’s installation instructions say not to use them for a rooftop tent. Fortunately, Thule offers their own crossbars and brackets with higher weights that work with the factory rails to prevent damage to the roof. Once everything was set up we headed to Bishop, CA for a weekend camping trip.
The rooftop tent was hardly noticed on our way to Bishop. It collapses to just 12 inches tall when stowed away, there was little to no additional noise and at no point did it feel less than secure. Plus, at around 130 pounds, there’s no big tent weight penalty – it’s roughly equivalent to adding a small passenger in the backseat. Inside the Outback, our ride in the car was also comfortable with the Onyx-specific StarTex padded seats.
Inside the tent, me, a little five foot, one inch, and my boyfriend, a big six foot one, we fit perfectly with a lot of wiggle room. (When opened, it’s sleeping eight feet in length.) Setting up for the camp was a snap. All you had to do was unfold the tent and you were all set. The same was true when we packed the tent; it was as easy as 1, 2, 3. Convenient setup and storage saves campers a lot of time so you can spend more time exploring and driving something like this Outback, enjoying its quality comfortable ride and its easy, turbocharged transport power.