Warn Releases Their New Subaru Forester Winch Tray

Warn is on a roll with new hidden winch mount options for popular SUVs, trucks, and even crossovers. While it might seem unconventional to install a 12-volt recovery winch on a Forester, Crosstrek, or Outback, it makes sense. In my travels, I have encountered Subarus nearly everywhere in the backcountry, and they are almost always alone, driven by a mountain biker, hiker, or rock climber. I have also encountered them stuck many times, the owner often convinced by the “unstoppable” capability of their trusty steed (Subarus are actually quite impressive on the trail, often only limited by their tires or lack of low range).
The ExPo team was out testing an AEV Ram and the G-Wagen when we found a stuck Subaru and a stuck Jeep. The Jeep didn’t try to help the Subaru (there was no way they could without straps or a winch).

The newest Warn semi-hidden winch mount is made for the Forester, one of the most popular (and roomy) Subaru models, nearly matching many SUVs for space and capability. The 8.7 inches of ground clearance and 1,400-pound payload will make some competitors blush. We are seeing more and more modified Subarus like the FozRoamer and others (see the list of featured Subarus here)

This new winch tray requires some tasteful trimming of the stock bumper, but also provides several areas of increased protection, particularly for light impacts and scrapes, or the occasional animal strike. It is tested to be compatible with AXON 45, AXON 55, VRX 45, and other powersport winches up to 6,000 pounds in capacity (with mounting bolt pattern: 3.0 x 6.59 inches or 76.2mm x 167.4 millimeters).

These semi-hidden kits are designed to work with the vehicle’s unibody construction, including two proper 5/8-inch D-ring/D shackle recovery points rated for winching and strapping. The mounting systems have a 3/16-inch (4.8-millimeter) steel structure and weigh less than 75 pounds (34 kilograms). Alternatively, to a winch install, a 20-inch (51-centimeter) LED light bar can be fitted in place of the winch. This kit has a powder-coated finish with a five-step pretreatment process using zirconium nanotechnology and will stand up to a 408-hour salt spray test for corrosion resistance and UV protection. Optionally, a grill guard/hoop can be installed, along with auxiliary lighting. warn.com

Warn also released a model for the Crosstrek as well.


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Scott is the publisher and co-founder of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal. His travels by 4WD and adventure motorcycle span all seven continents and include three circumnavigations of the globe. His polar travels include two vehicle crossings of Antarctica and the first long-axis crossing of Greenland. He lives in Prescott, Arizona