indulging · travel

Subaru Forester Review Part 2

This post is sponsored by Subaru.

Go Gingham Subaru Forester ReviewWhen I agreed to use the Subaru Forester for a 10-day trip, my husband and I decided this was our opportunity to get our kids to go camping with us for 5-days. Our kids are teenagers and have each declared camping to be “not fun” any longer. I was beginning to think we wouldn’t have a summer camping trip but then we cooked up a plan to spend 5-days camping and 5-days with our friends in Carlsbad, California. The kids had to camp to get to Southern California! Bribery? Perhaps.

I love what camping does for our family (although I don’t really love sleeping on the ground!). It gets us outdoors, gets us unplugged, and provides us with an inexpensive place to stay while traveling. All of the hiking, fishing, and cooking outside are also activities that make camping even more enjoyable for my husband and myself – but not so much for teenagers!

Go Gingham camping adventure
We used the racks for attaching our tarps and as a drying line.

While they may not admit it publicly, I think our kids did really enjoy the trip – even after 5-days without showers.

What I really liked about the car for camping:

  • Visibility for driver and front seat co-pilot – large, clear unobstructed views and lots of space.
  • Heated seats. This was heavenly especially for our very cold early morning drives (we woke up one morning and it was 30 degrees, and this was August!). The driver and co-pilot had their own settings – hello! No heat battles with my husband!
  • The car handled really well on bumpy roads. (Note to Subaru: We didn’t take the beautiful brand new car, “completely off road” like I agreed to BUT we did take it on plenty of mountain roads that weren’t paved and I MAY have tried to peel out, kick up dirt and rocks, slam on the brakes to stop quickly or skid across rutted out roads. Rest assured, the kids kept me in check by saying, “Mom, STOP driving like that! You’re going to get in trouble and then they won’t give us the car!”)
  • We’re not going to talk about the deer that ran out in front of the car when leaving Big Pine, California. The brakes worked super well and I didn’t hit any wildlife.
  • The water bottle holders. They are plentiful unlike the drinking water at the campgrounds. We had to bring lots of water with us and being able to have lots of spots to stash water without it spilling was a plus.

Go Gingham Big Pine campgroundWhat I would change about the car for camping:

  • The beeping at the campsite when opening the back or locking/unlocking the doors. Usually, I’m the one cursing the campers who get into their cars or trucks in the very early morning because they need something and this time it was me! It seemed extra loud when everything else was quiet. (Maybe there is a way to turn this off but before we could read the manual, the car was gone.)
  • Back seat occupants were cold! One of the mornings, it was 30-degrees when we got up and broke camp to head to our next spot. While the front seat people were nice and warm with their heated seats and plentiful air vents, the back seat occupants were cold much longer. We weren’t prepared for the weather being this cold and I wish we would have packed extra jackets. And socks.
Go Gingham Fishing
Lunch, anyone? Trout were small but tasty.

Subaru gave us a Go-Pro camera and a $50.00 gas card to use on the trip. Because we camped mostly in Northern California and Oregon (which IS Subaru country!), everyone who owned a Subaru had to know the story and take a peek at our brand-new Subaru, that had New Jersey license plates. Everyone said, “Oh, I hope Subaru let’s you keep you the car!” I always replied, “I know! Me, too!!

Here’s a video from our trip:

Go Gingham related links:

Frugal family summer fun activities can be found here
Want to keep food costs low while traveling? Try these tips!
Headed to the Pacific Northwest? You’ll want to hit these spots.

Disclosure: I participated in Subaru of America’s Forester Blogger program. I have been asked by Subaru of America to review their products in exchange for the use of a short-term vehicle loan. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. My disclosure policy can be found here.

13 thoughts on “Subaru Forester Review Part 2

  1. Loved the movie! It is a great way to capture fun moments. Loved the sound track too. My new nephew used a Go Pro to film his drive from Tennessee to Oregon when he moved out to marry my niece. It is a priceless 3-4 minute film of an epic journey.


    1. Michelle, that sounds like a good video! I must say we’ve been enjoying the Go Pro around here. I’m a big fan of the time-lapse pictures that can be made into video. If your niece/nephew have a link to their video, I’d love to see it. 🙂 Thanks, Michelle. PS when does college start??


  2. Camping – yuck. Visiting friends – yay. Traveling with teens – double yay. Driving a fun new Subaru – yay some more. I’ll bet that Subaru would do just as well parked each night in a hotel parking lot.


    1. Alexandra, my not liking camping friend, 😉
      You are correct, it probably would have done well camped in a hotel lot BUT then I wouldn’t have been sleeping under the stars! One of the couples we met at a campground showed us how they had rigged the back of their Subaru Forester so that they can sleep in the back on a mattress. It looked very comfy! First off thought I need the Subaru people to bring my car back so that I can do that!! 😉 wink, wink!


  3. Unlike the twinster, I love camping. And after owning two Subarus, I also love those cars and covet in a completely inappropriate, non-frugal way the new Outback 4 wheel drive. Gimme. Mine Mine Mine. Yes, secretly I think your teens enjoyed their adventure, especially special time with mom and dad and trout.


    1. Oh, Kymberly! You are right – about the teens enjoying their time with the parents, fishing, and about loving camping. I think it’s completely acceptable to covet cars, by the way. I’m longing for my 2014 Subaru Forester to be returned to me. But I only want it AFTER they’ve cleaned it. OKay, if they brought it back dirty, I’d accept then, too. 🙂 Thanks, Kymberly! Glad to know there are still campers in your family.


  4. Fun trip! Great video. Did you get to keep the video camera or have to give that back, too? Still fun to play with! Need to get some of these offers coming in to our inbox!!


    1. Yes, EFB, we got to keep the Go Pro! It is now used to film tennis games and corn hole matches in the front yard. We are not very glamorous and those are the activities that get filmed. 🙂 It was a fun trip and you know how great camping is! 🙂


  5. P.S. It’s her senior year and she’s about to start applying to colleges. Will look forward to your frugal ideas for the college education!


    1. That’s right! I lost track of time.
      Well, I’m looking forward to my frugal ideas about college, too. I know this much: student loans are getting out of control. I like a little “skin in the game” when it comes to higher ed but not $100K in debt or loans that 18-year-olds say “yes” to and they have a 25-yeaar term. Yikes! Fun times ahead! 🙂


  6. OK, Sara, first of all, it’s completely unfair that you still look cute after 5 days of not showering. I don’t go camping without my handy dandy bag shower. And I’m totally bummed to think that my little people someday won’t love camping. I’m really not in the market for a Subaru, but it looks like you had a fun time and your video is proof about why camping is fun–such beautiful places you visited! Thanks for sharing!


    1. Kris! There was no up close photography on the trip AND with a swim in the lake, it was almost like showering. Almost. Your kids may still like camping later but they may not admit it like mine. 🙂 The trip was so pretty and I loved getting outside so much. Thanks, Kris!


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