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2012 Forester 2.5x 4EAT
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397 Posts
I ran my stock height Forester around on the most primitive BLM and National Forest roads I could find for a year (and on all-season tires). It's astonishing where you can go just stock. I think the important thing is - as jdacc85 ^ said - be smart about it. I was super cautious when I first started hitting dirt roads, but each time I went out, I would push into more difficult terrain - only in places where I was sure I could back myself out of. Bit by bit I gained a feel for just how capable the Forester is and became more confident tackling roads I never would've dreamed of driving on when I first bought the car. The AT tires I've only just got make it even more capable, I feel this is totally worth the investment for anyone regularly hitting more than just graded gravel Forest Service roads.

I do have a small lift now but I was doing fine without it...I don't think that's a mod you need to make preemptively; rather, only do it if, after some outings, you begin to perceive a need for it. I would first spend money on having adequate recovery gear in the trunk.
 

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2015 Forester 2.0XT H-CVT
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363 Posts
I’ll chime in. I don’t have a lift, just A/T tires and skid plates.

Imo, skid plates should be your first upgrade. Protect your Foresters vital organs. Stock height and stock tires will suffice. Don’t worry about your tires, they won’t last long and you’ll have to get a pair of A/T’s anyways. The p-rated G015’s will get similar MPG as oem tires.

Some Xbull tracton boards can come in handy. 90 bucks on Amazon.



They’re definitely a capability multiplier! I used them here to bridge my Forester across a deep chasm. It was only a test, but just imagine you come across something like this on a narrow trail. One of the boards ended up snapping, but that’s because I drilled four 3/8” holes in them (to use as mounting holes). The other board only had two holes drilled, and it survived. I’d recommend NOT drilling any holes.




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@Lenardm15

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What tires are on now?

Swapping wheels over is a pia and you won't have to do it if you select a tire that can handle all your requirements reasonably well. For example you could leave a less aggressive AT tire on all the time. Something like Bridgestone Dueler Revo perhaps.

For the rest it seems like you're on the right track.
 

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2010 Forester 2.5x
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754 Posts
I take my bone stock foz off road in the ca desert a fair amount 4-6 times a year. J-tree, mojave, Death Valley and some forest roads in San jacinto, Ojai and Cen. coast. Some of my top prioritys when going off road are (in order) to drive smart, then a kick *** med kit and emergency comms. But by far THE most important thing is to file an emergency plan with some one at home... don’t be James Franco!
Where do you like to go In j tree... May be headed there this fall... And or death valley pm me maybe as to not hijack the thread. Tia

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