Our Favorite Subaru Outback Lift Kits (Plus where to buy them) Whether you’re trying to turn your Subaru into an off-road machine, or just want
Whether You're Shopping For Yourself Or Someone Else, These Accessories Will Make Your Trail Days More Enjoyable
One of the most difficult things around the holidays is trying to select a gift for that guy or girl that already has everything. Either that, or their hobbies are way too expensive! If there’s someone close to you that is in to off-roading or overlanding in their Subaru, here’s a quick list of my favorite accessories that can be used by any trail enthusiast.
I’ve come up with some basic items that I’ve found extremely useful over my 10 years of off-roading. There’s something at every price range to pick from. Even if you’re just wanting to pick out a $10 stocking stuffer, I’ve got you covered. Let’s jump in!
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Having a reliable compact air compressor has allowed me to do a ton of exploring in my Subaru. With the ability to re-inflate tires, I’ve been able to safely air my tires down to get through deep snow. I’ve been able to use it to re-seat a tire bead. I even used it to help a group of hikers repair their punctured tire and get out of the remote wilderness before dark.
I suggest purchasing a well known reliable compressor that attaches directly to the car’s battery. The ones that plug into the cigarette outlet work, but they can’t produce much power and run the risk of blowing fuses.
When choosing a compressor, it’s also important to purchase something that’s rated for at least the size of tire that you have. I personally bought the Viair 440p which can handle up to 37 inch tires. I did this because I wanted something that could fill my tires as quickly as possible, and because I wanted to be able to help other people on the trail even if their tires were bigger than mine.
The Viair 85p is a great option for under $100 and can handle Subaru tires. But if you want something more powerful, anything above the 85p is a great option. The 440p can handle really big tires and inflates my 29 inch mud tires very quickly. The Smittybilt 5.56CFM is also another solid option.
My first time getting absolutely stuck in my Subaru involved a large log being hidden in a ditch below some overgrowth. I drove over it and immediately felt it hammer up into my oil pan area. Had I not been fully protected with skid plates front to back, I would have easily destroyed my engine and many other components under my car. Luckily, all I needed was a quick tow and I was out of there with no problem.
I personally like the Primitive Racing skid plates. They offer them in multiple thicknesses to meet your needs and they’re a very well run small business that I enjoy supporting.
It only takes me about 3 minutes to remove the skid plate from my Forester and get to my drain plug for oil changes. So if you wrench on your own Subaru, adding a skid plate is easy and doesn’t interfere with basic maintenance procedures.
As mentioned before, airing down is an essential part of off-road travel. It gives you more grip, a softer ride, and reduces the chance of a puncture against sharp rocks.
There are a couple of great deflators. The ARB deflator pictured is awesome. It physically removes your valve stem without ever exposing it to the elements so you can safely and quickly release air pressure. I’ve had mine for about 3 years and have enjoyed using it.
I also have a set of these Teraflex 4 in 1 style deflators. They’re very affordable and allow you to simply put them on and walk away for a minute as your tires deflate. I like how they screw together into a simple keychain. I paid about $18 for mine.
Sometimes when it’s cold and my car sits for awhile or I’m trying to track down a weird wiring issue, I like to make sure my battery is topped off. The best way that I’ve found to do that is with a basic NoCo Genius. They have multiple models, but I own the Genius 5 and love it. It’s even repaired two old batteries that were completely discharged and wouldn’t hold a charge. I fixed them and gave them away to friends who needed a back up battery.
The Genius 5 can charge 6V batteries, 12V lead acid, AGM, and lithium batteries. I really like this because I have recently upgraded all my batteries to AGM Full Throttle performance batteries and my NoCo has been great with keeping them all topped off even when the cars sit for weeks at a time.
Even if I’m not out on the trails, I always have a headlamp nearby while working on my car. Being able to have both of my hands free while trying to solve an issue is really helpful.
There’s a wide range of prices when it comes to headlamps. But if you’re gift shopping, there’s a lot of great options at all price ranges. The Black Diamond Astro 300 is extremely affordable even as a stocking stuffer. It’s under $20 and can be powered with AAA batteries or a rechargeable battery kit that’s available separately for purchase.
When I’m shopping for a headlamp, I like to look for something that’s got a simple large button that can be activated with gloves on. I also look for something that’s not overly bulky. I need to be able to fit my head into small areas and I don’t want it getting snagged. It’s also much easier to store a small headlamp.
One thing I really dislike is hearing a rock or stump clobber my undercarriage in the dark after I failed to see it while cruising along a trail. It’s also a safety concern when you’re out with others at night. Crowded trails without light bars or pod lights can spell disaster.
A good set of light pods is a great gift that can be affordable and make a world of difference. They also don’t require much effort or accessories to mount. Many companies make vehicle specific pod mounts for Subarus that attach directly to the hood and provide a great place for some extra illumination.
If it fits your budget, I’m a huge fan of the Diode Dynamics and Baja Designs brands. They both make very well engineered products that focus light properly and have a good beam pattern. However, if those are a little out of your price range there are many entry level light options that still work great for off-road use. The Nilite brand is pretty popular among people trying to save money while building their Subaru.
Good recovery gear is worth its weight in gold. In the rare event that you find yourself stuck in the mud, snow, or dirt, a solid collection of recovery tools will help you get home safe.
I personally carry these items at all times: soft shackles, a kinetic recovery rope, and a shovel. Soft shackles and recovery rope will ensure that you have what it takes to get out with the help of another vehicle. However, you want to be able to get yourself freed if there’s no other vehicles around. Even with just a small shovel it’s usually possible to get out of most tricky situations.
I prefer soft shackles and kinetic rope because they are the safest way to perform a dynamic recovery. There’s almost no chance of any metal flying through the air and causing serious injury. Kinetic rope also allows for a much less jarring recovery. This can help keep your vehicle’s components from being damaged in the process.
The Bubba Rope shackles and ropes are some of the best in the business. They’re strong, proven, and coated to prevent deterioration. They are a bit more expensive than some of the other options out there. But in my opinion, they pay for themselves in longevity. There are some other brands like Rhino USA making solid gear as well though.
You might also want to try out a set of traction boards. They can be really useful during solo recoveries.
If you’re shopping for a larger gift for someone, a good set of off-road tires is a great way to go. A solid set of all-terrain tires is going to be perfect for most Subarus. If they’ll be going on a Subaru that’s not lifted, sticking with the stock size is the best bet. If the car is already lifted and outfitted with bigger tires that might just need replacing, try to get a look at the size molded into the sidewall.
There are two really popular options for off-road Subarus. The Toyo Open Country AT3 and the Falken Wildpeak AT3W are both really good tires that don’t weight a ton. They’re also easy on the wallet. When compared to similar tires with matched quality, these are both extremely affordable.
We’ve had really good luck purchasing tires online through Tire Rack and Discount Tire Direct. Both have treated us really well and have quick shipping.
Shopping for someone who’s got expensive interests can be tough. But I hope this small collection of ideas helps you out. I’ve used some of these very same items as gifts for friends in the off-road community and I’m certain there’s something on here that you can use to make a great gift out of.
If you’ve got another go-to gift idea, share it with us. We’d love to hear some of your favorites!
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