Overlanding with Forester in the USA

I browse Instagram every now and then. Typically feed is full of nice photos of the Forester as that is the topic I follow mostly. One day I checked one photo more carefully and then switched to profile to see if there are more interesting photos. This person was Eric Cadger with more than 6 000 followers. In my opinion that is a fair amount of followers. Not as much as Cristiano Ronaldo has but quite close I would say. (for quick reference, Cristiano has 274 million followers)

Eric does have a lot of photos from his adventures and photos are taken with a good taste. I really recommend checking his Instagram feed to see all photos and of course to follow him if you’re not doing so already. From the photos I can tell that he takes his hobby seriously. So much and many modifications done to the Forester. And Forester is seen in various places. Even next to cactus as you can observe from the banner photo of this blog post.

I decided to get in touch with Eric and ask him to tell little about this overlanding hobby.

The Interview

Please introduce yourself
My name is Eric Cadger, I have lived in Southern California my entire life, and currently live in Yucaipa,  CA.

Did you own other Subarus prior to your current Forester
Yes. My first Subaru was a 2004 WRX STI in Java Black Pearl.  I got it new in October 2003. It was the first year the STI came to America. Then, in 2012, we got a WRX STI hatchback in Pearl White. That was my wife’s daily driver for 6 years.

What is your current ride and does it include any modifications
I drive a 2019 Subaru Forester Sport that has been modified for both on and offroad adventures. I have added LP Aventure- bumper guard, front skid plate, CVT skid plate, rear diff skid plate, rock sliders, ditch light mounts, and axle back exhaust. KMC KM708 Bully 18×8 wheels with Falken Wildpeak AT Trail tires 235/60R18. Prinsu modular roofrack.  Dirt Complex Trail Swing tire carrier. Outer Tents Osprey Rooftop tent and 6.5 ft awning. Rallitek overload rear springs and standard height front springs. Crawford Performance Air/oil separate. 4WDKING 40 in light bar and 2 in driving lights. Brightsource Canada 20 in light bar. AmBros ditch lights. Trigger Controller Six shooter. Ultimate 9 throttle controller.

What are the best features in Forester
I’d say the AWD system is the absolute best feature. It takes us wherever we need to go and let’s us have fun and be safe at the same time. Next is the Dirt Complex Trail Swing tire carrier. I can carry a full size spare and still have full access to the back of the car.

You seem to spend quite a lot of time on different adventures, is it your hobby or work
For work, I am a delivery driver for a Grocery distributor. I drive a tractor/trailer and make about 18 deliveries each day to convenience stores all over Southern California. As for non car related hobbies, I enjoy competing in triathlons.  I am a 2x Ironman 140.6 finisher, 4x Ironman 70.3 finisher, and have done numerous Olympic and Sprint distance triathlons. I’ve also ran 2 marathons, 6 half marathons, and lots of 5 and 10k races.

What are top 5 accessories to offroad trip

  1. A good set of tires. I believe tires will make or break your offroad adventure.
  2. Some kind of recovery/ traction boards like X-Bulls or Go-Treads. If you get stuck, you need some way to get yourself out.
  3. A good Shovel for digging yourself out.
  4. A first aid kit, because you never know.
  5. Skid plates.  Nothing ruins a fun offroad trip, or an engine,  like a rock through the oil pan.

What rooftop tent you are using
I have the Outer Tents Osprey hard shell rooftop tent. It sets up extremely quick and breaks down almost as fast.

If someone would be choosing rooftop tent right now, what are the most important things to consider
The size of your family you want to put in there. RTTs are pretty small and can get pretty cramped pretty quick. My Outer Tents is 7 ft (2,13m) long and 5 ft (1,5m) wide. It is barely enough room for my wife,  my dog and myself.  Some of the fold out Tents can be bigger than a hard shell so check the dimensions and get what works best for you.

How much proper rooftop tent costs
They can range from $1300 to over $5000. My Outer Tents Osprey retails for $2200 which is a nice middle of the road price. Some of the more expensive ones are fully sealed and have really nice heavy duty latches so nothing can cut into the tent, like dust or bugs, but those are usually $3500 or more.

What was your best offroad trip so far
So far, my favorite trip was Sedona, AZ. We just spent 2 days, 1 night,  but it was so peaceful and beautiful. We are going back this May for a full week so we can explore Sedona and the surrounding areas. 

Do you have any favorite 4×4 trail in the USA
I haven’t really done a lot of trails other than my local mountains.  I live 10 minutes from the San Bernadino National Forest, home of Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead.  There are dozens of trails throughout the mountain range and I have only done a handful. My favorite is a trail, 1N12, in Angelus Oaks.  It is a fire road that has off shoots that you can challenge the AWD system, and there are camping and picnic spots that over look the San Bernadino Valley.

Have you faced any challenges during your adventures
So far, just knowing when to say when and turn around.  AWD is not 4WD. A Forester cannot do things a JEEP can do. Some trails I just have to walk up to see what’s at the top because my Forester doesn’t have the suspension articulation a Jeep has and can’t connect the tire to the ground to make it to the top. It’s best to be safe and find another way.

Have you been in another country with your Forester
I would love to explore Canada with my Forester and meet some of my Canadian followers and check out their Rigs. I think a bucket list trip would be to take a mont and  drive to Alaska exploring Canada along the way.

Anything you would like to say to the blog readers
It doesn’t matter if your vehicle is bone stock or fully built, just get out and enjoy nature. The offroad and AWD community is full of amazing people who are very willing to help new offroaders experience and explore the great outdoors and have a good time doing it.  It’s all about community and becoming one with nature. Also, leave the trails better than you find them. Always take an extra trash bag and pick up what other may have left behind.

Thank you!

Thank you Eric Cadger so much for your time and effort! It was truly inspiring to read your thoughts about driving through the wild areas of the USA.

1 comment

  1. very nice interview – Eric lives in a part of the world I would love to come and explore one day. I have done some overlanding now, but with a second (larger) dog coming soon, it doesn’t seem feasible anymore to continue doing so – unless the wife tags along in her Jeep 😉 Anyways, overlanding is highly recommended for all Forester owners!

    Liked by 1 person

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