Bring A Portable Wifi Router
A third option is to bring a portable wifi router. Depending on the model of your device, you will be able to connect several devices at once using this small device.
If you have an unlimited data plan with your phone provider then there are ways that you can use the internet without it counting against your data usage so check into those options as well.
Portable Wifi For Camping Traveling And Working Remotely
For those that work remotely while on the road, having reliable wifi while camping is often a struggle.
Over the years, weve tried various cell boosters and cell service providers, trying to find a combination that would provide a more consistent camping wifi solution. But we still often found ourselves either taking a less desirable campsite to ensure we had reliable enough cell service to use our portable wifi hotspot, or worse, wed end up breaking camp early to seek out wifi at a local coffee shop in town.
Though we havent completely solved the camping wifi paradox, we have recently found a camping wifi setup that works better than any other weve tried, and wanted to share this info with fellow campers and working travelers.
Dealing With Data Caps
No one likes data caps, and theyre a much more common issue with wireless internet compared to wired home internet. Its surprisingly easy to burn through terabytes worth of data per month with normal activities like watching Netflix, so we generally suggest going with an unlimited data plan if you have access to one.
If you have minimal internet needs or have occasional access to free Wi-Fi on your trips, its possible to make due with a cheaper plan with a restrictive data cap. Just remember to be disciplined about your internet use because overage charges can negate any savings you made very quickly.
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Best Coverage In Rural Areas
Besides price, coverage is another important thing to consider. Even if your cellphone plan has the lowest price, it may not cover the areas you are looking for. If you are doing a lot of camping, spend some time looking up coverage maps for the areas you plan to camp. Depending on where you live, different cell phone providers may be more ideal.
For example, while Verizon has the highest coverage percentage in the United States, here in South Texas, AT& T is king. That being said, me and my friends were camping at a nearby state park, and only my Verizon phone had enough coverage to tether for my friend who needed to log into work for an urgent matter.
Mobile Hotspot Options For Verizon At& t T
Whether you’re in the RV or just chilling at the campsite, consider these options. Our biggest tip for finding compatible mobile hotspot devices is making sure the product is up to date. Meaning it’s compatible with 4G LTE, compatible with your phone network, and can also connect to several devices.
Pros: You can connect up to 15 Wi-Fi-enabled devices, and it has a 20-hour battery life. It’s great for mobile phones with signal and unlimited data.
Cons: Some customers report a sim wasn’t included.
Pros: Connect up to 20 devices and 1Gbps download speed.
Cons: Some customers report a sim wasn’t included.
Pros: Under $30.
Cons: Some report it didn’t work
Pros: 8-hour battery life & 150 Megabits per second.
Cons: Some report the battery life is shorter than 8 hours.
Keep in mind free WiFi is kind of unheard of. Be prepared to pay for data plans with some of these devices. Worst case scenario, campers will have to drive for some much-needed WiFi or visit a coffee shop to get some work done.
Also, streaming a Netflix movie on these devices might not be a pleasant experience, but they’ll come in handy for staying connected to friends, family, and working in remote areas while traveling or backpacking.
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How To Stay Safe On Campground Wifi & Public Hotspots
Here are five ways to keep you safe and secure when using public services for WiFi connection. This way your personal data will not be exposed to strangers
Ensure it is a Secure Network Connection
Always remember to verify the network before connecting your devices to it.
Talk to an employee of the establishment and ask them if the system is legitimate and if they can provide the IP address of the network provider. Verifying the name of the network protects you from being a victim to cheeky hackers who set up fake systems.
Another way to ensure that the connection is secure is to turn off file sharing options on the network. This makes it impossible for hackers to access your files and to also upload viruses and malware onto your devices.
Only allow file sharing on interfaces that you trust, and you shouldnt trust networks that are accessible to members of the public.
Use a Virtual Private Network
A Virtual Private Network is a tool that allows you to have a very secure connection on any public network. VPNs act as a tunnel between you and the network servers and encrypt data such that they are inaccessible to anybody in between.
Your activities and information online are therefore inaccessible to hackers. VPNs also hide your IP under their own IP address, and it is impossible for hackers to trace your physical location.
The paid VPNs, however, offer additional security features to their customers. It is not a heavy price to pay for your security and online privacy.
Boost Your Internet Connectivity
In preparation for our 2015 West Trip we recently installed a cell phone booster and antenna on the camper. Although we generally like to unplug as much as possible from our phones and computers while camping, for this trip Kristin will be doing some work and we will likely be in some areas where normal cell reception may be spotty at best. Full-time RVers typically use several options to maintain connectivity, including: cell boosters, Wi-Fi boosters, directional Wi-Fi antennas, etc. I started researching all the different options and decided that our solution would need to meet the following criteria:
- Easy to set up and tear down as there will be times when we are only at a campground for a brief stay.
- Able to be used in both the van and camper. There will be times when Kristin plans to work as we are driving down the road and other times when she will be working from the camper in a campground.
- Cost-effective .
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Our disclosure policy can be found here.
There are some great posts on others websites about how to get internet while camping so I will give just a brief explanation of why we chose what we did and why we did not go with other options.
Wi-Fi Ranger: The ultimate connection tool is a Mito Mirrors SkyRanger. Mount this on the top of the camper/RV and you will most likely be the talk of the campground! However, at close to $400 it was outside our budget AND it would not help us when traveling in the van.
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Can You Work Remotely While Camping
Whether you work remotely all of the time or want to do so part-time, remote work makes it easier to go camping when you want. Fortunately, you can still work while on a camping trip, but you may need a good internet connection.
Of course, you can tether your laptop to your phone or use the hotspot. You can also use WiFi from the campgrounds or a local cafe. And if youre camping in a rural area, you might want to invest in satellite internet or a cell plan with more data.
Enjoying The Camping Too
You might be thinking, When am I supposed to have fun? Maintaining balance if youre working while camping is super important, especially since snafus like a downed cell phone tower can throw your fun plans out of whack.
My biggest piece of advice is to plan on staying places for a good length of time, whatever that is for you. Two days to explore Arches and Canyonlands national parks isnt enough if you have half a day of work to do.
When we know we only have a day or two somewhere, we prioritize only the most pressing tasks or take the days off entirely. Weve even adjusted our itinerary when we know something important is happening, like a time-sensitive shipment arriving at a UPS Store for my husbands business. You can also decide that mornings are for exploring, afternoon is for working, and evenings are for the campfire. With a little planning, you can make almost anything work.
Even if youre working on something difficult, youll be amazed by how soothing it is work surrounded by nature instead of a cubicle. Just remember: When youre done for the day, switch off and take a hike!
Have other tips or hacks for working while camping? Please share them on the Hipcamp page!
Words and photos by Tamara Murray
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Find Your Best Internet Option By Answering The Questions Below
How vital is internet connectivity for you while traveling? If you have work deadlines to meet, health issues, or other concerns that require 24/7 connectivity, invest in the best internet you can get and have a backup plan .
Where Are Americans Headed This Year
Topping the list of travel destinations this year are US National Parks, many of which were closed for parts of the past year. In 2020, national park visitation dipped nearly 28% due to traveling restrictions and park closures.1 But now that travel is picking up, many Americans are headed to the great outdoors.
Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Acadia National Park top the list for the parks Americans most want to visit. Yosemite boasts rushing waterfalls, scenic valleys, and ancient sequoia forests that were popularized by Ansel Adams. The hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone attract visitors from around the world, although its often the bison and bears that get the most attention. And Acadias picturesque beaches, lighthouses, and evergreen trails also land it on the bucket list of must-see nature spots in the US.
If youve already visited the top three national parks, try taking a road trip to another one in the top 10 list.
Our survey showed that these are the top 10 national parks Americans want to visit:
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How To Get Internet While Camping
Getting Internet while camping is primarily done one of two ways either through your existing cell phone provider, or through a satellite Internet service. Most boondockers use a hotspot through their existing cell phone provider because its cheaper. But if you want Internet even in the most remote locations, youll need a more expensive satellite Internet service.
Whats The Best Way To Get Internet In My Rv
Getting cellular internet is the best way to get high-speed internet in your RV most of the time. Once you wander away from cellular coverage areas, though, a satellite internet plan or a satellite hotspot will be the only way to connect.
To get cellular service for your RV, you can either buy a hotspot device through your cell phone service provider, buy an unlocked mobile hotspot on Amazon and get prepaid SIM cards for occasional use, or you can get a cellular plan that allows you to use your phone as a hotspot. If you sign up for 4G LTE service, you may be able to use an unlocked hotspot device you own or you may be required to use the one set up to work with the service.
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Get A Portable Wifi Router
A portable WiFi router can use the same cell phone tower and connection as your phone or internet USB. However, they may be more reliable than the other options. That can come in handy if you need to have a video call or do serious work.
Unfortunately, they do need to have a connection to your cell phone network. If you go too far into the wilderness, you may not be able to connect to the router.
Be sure to check your internet service plan to view the coverage area. Then, you can make sure the portable router will work where you plan to use it. If it wont work, you can consider some of the other options out there.
How To Set Up Your Camper Van Rv Or Vehicle With Wi
When it comes to setting up a vehicle with Wi-Fi, youll need to have a professional install it for a beautiful appearance and the best functionality. Proper installation, in this situation, is critical as youll be wiring it into your cars electrical system. Where can you take it to have it done then?
You can take your vehicle to the local electrical auto shop. You can also inquire at the dealership or a corporate auto electrical shop if you have one local to you.
All youll have left to do is to choose what kind of unit you want to be installed and take it to the appointment for them to do the work. Some car routers come with USB and Ethernet ports, while others only offer Wi-Fi, and the one you choose will affect the price.
When it comes to choosing the unit itself, each shop will most likely have a couple of brands they like to install. Youll want to talk directly to them instead of trying to order your own, as different makes and models of cars require different parts. You dont want to order the wrong one and have to take it back.
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Is Wifi Affected By The Weather
Weather is an unpredictable factor you will have to encounter when spending some time in the wild. When it comes to internet connection, weather features a massive impact on WiFi signals and surfing speed.
When the transducer is adjacent to your computer or smartphone , things should be okay.
Nevertheless, when you rely on public hotspots or campground WiFi, the connection would be slower when the weather is rainy, and the air is humid.
The principle here is that thewater drops absorb parts of the electronic signals energy and interrupt with the signaling. Therefore, you might experience slower internet connection when you stay inside your tent on a rainy night.
Also, there is a good chance the signals would be reduced when you camp next to rivers, lakes, and seas which feature relatively humid air.
High humidity might also affect the general camping experience, besides the internet. In these conditions your sleeping bag would probably get damp due to condensation and your tent would be wet from the inside due to compromised ventilation.
Find Cell Signal Blockers
If you are trying to connect to WiFi within a metal box, your chance of getting a signal is much lower. Trees, metal, shrubbery, and hills are all effective blockers of WiFi signals.
- Try to maintain Line of Sight with the WiFi or cellular signal source
- Height can help a lot. If you dont have a signal where you are, try climbing the nearest hill
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Do Trees Block Wifi Signals
When you are using the campground hotspots, it is likely that trees would surround you. The inevitable question would be whether or not the thick trunks and high tops block the electronic signal of the internet connection.
In fact, trees have a significant impact on the WiFi connection, and you probably need one which isstronger than 5.8 GHz for it to be able to pass through.
When you rely on public services for internet connection, I highly suggest that you pick the location wisely. Stick to open areas which dont feature too many trees between you and the transducer source.
If the camping area features a few hills, try to camp on a high ground rather than at the bottom. When you are elevated you will be able to reach the signals that are being blocked by the trees at the bottom.
Making Your Own Antenna
If you can stand the music, this video shows you how to make your own cell phone antenna booster. This is not exactly boosting the signal, because it is not amplifying the signal, but it is rather just allowing you to take the better signal in one location and redirecting some of that signal to another location.
In other words, if you have great signal on top of your RV, or on a tree branch nearby, but terrible signal down low, then you put one end of this antenna where the good signal is to transmit it to the other end.
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