How did ALNSM Overland, the Tactifoz, my YouTube channel and all these adventures begin?
Everything started 4 years ago when I was looking for an adventure vehicle with a long overland trip in mind. I was searching for literally everything: motorbikes, van, trucks, SUV… After refining my searches and my requirements, I realized that I needed something with 4wd or at least AWD, off-road mod possibilities, a bit of interior storage and most of all something cheap. An SUV was the way to go!
So I started looking at CRV, Xtrails, RAV4, XC70 even XJ sometimes and of course, the Subaru Forester.
After a few months, I found the perfect deal! A 1997 SF5 Subaru Forester in mint condition, with all the options I wanted (A/C, sunroof, no leather seats…) but with a bad clutch for only 900€/1000$.
I took it home and the build started! The Forester stayed 1 entire year parked in my garage: the time I needed to save some money for the build, but most of all to think about the best mods and how I would build it. But everything was crystal clear in my mind.
I wanted an expedition vehicle. A rig I could live in for a month or a year. A rig capable enough to explore foreign countries off pavement.
I started with the most important stuff that people tend to forget about: maintenance!
It’s not fun but it is absolutely necessary to start with a good base. So new fluids, new filters, obviously the clutch, some bearings and bushings, all the belts, brakes… Note that except for the timing belt, I did everything by myself. First to stay on the cheap side but also to know my vehicle! Something pretty important when you plan to drive all alone in remote places where nobody speaks your language.
Then, it was time for the essential off road mods and for a Subaru, it’s pretty simple: Tires, lift and skid plates.
My choice went for the well-known BFGoodrich KO2 in 215/75/15. It’s a tire you don’t have to worry about while on the trails. In other words, a welcome peace of mind! This tire size is also the perfect compromise for overland Subarus. They are lighter and smaller than the 235 which means less stress on the trans and CVs, better mileage and better fit but they still provide some additional ground clearance and good grip. It’s a win-win.
For the lift, I went for a 2in front and rear lift kit (with trailing arm spacers) from Anderson Design and Fabrication with Pedders struts and HD springs. And once again, it’s the perfect compromise for Overlanding. With it, I have a pretty decent ground clearance (most of the time more than “real” 4wd with their solid axle and very low diff) but I also keep the stress away for the CVs (they take critical angle with more lift) and the whole setup stay reliable for long term overland trips.
For the skid plates I went for a custom alloy 8mm for the engine/oilpan/trans but also for the rear diff. The front one also includes real rated recovery point.
After these essentials, I worked on other off road mods but also camping/overland mods and gear like:
-Custom spare tire carrier
-Interior storage setup
-Roof top tent + annex + awning
-Desert Tan custom paint!
But that’s just a non-exhaustive list of what I done to my Forester. For more info, I suggest you to visit my website where I made a fully detailed build list of my Overland Subaru Forester
So, all that gear and mods for what?
Like I told you at the beginning of the article I had a long overland trip in mind.
And It started in 2019 In Europe. My girlfriend, our cat and I left France and headed North through Norway and it took us almost 3 months to reach the Northernmost point of Europe: the Nordkapp.
It was an incredible adventure only made of wild camping and incredible landscapes. We put our rooftop tent’s annexe to good use for our cat.
After that, we changed direction and went South through Finland. Lapland was stunning! I definitely want to spend more time out there … Maybe during winter? Maybe soon? We’ll see!
After that, it was time for the Baltic States and its beautiful Fall colours. Then we continued to go South until we reach Spain and the unique deserts, where we stayed there for almost an entire month.
And trust me, this first overland tour was only supposed to be a warm-up!
For 2020 we planned an 8-month trip, this time going even further through Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia.
Everything was ready; The Forester, our gear, all the paperworks, us.
But as you might guess. It didn’t happen. Thank you COVID-19…
But let’s say that it’s not really canceled but just postponed …
That being said, between two lockdowns we managed to explore and enjoy our beautiful home country of France.
To know more about this never-ending epic journey, I invite you to visit the ALNSM Overland Website
I also share all my adventures on YouTube and Instagram, don’t miss it!
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