A lot of people need to switch off when going camping; no appliances, TV’s, phones or laptops. Said another way: no work and no way for the office to contact you! I know that’s been a driving motivation for me when I go camping. It is often difficult for to be off the internet when out camping, but it could be just what the doctor ordered.
Camping is a great way to halt from the daily routine, cultivate some fresh air, and to grow and learn in nature. After all, camping is more than campfires. When one proceeds on an expedition out camping, you often learn to reconnect with nature, family, friends, and yourself!
However, every once in a while, you might just need WiFi. I’m guilty of connecting online while I’m camping to keep in touch with my loved ones and the office.
Do you need Wi-Fi while camping?
Whether the Wi-Fi is for work or play, remaining connected while one is on camping is becoming more and more vital. There are numerous explanations why one may want or even require Internet access while go camping. We’ve come across two key reasons why it makes a lot of sense to stay connected on WiFi while camping.
Staying in touch with the office
Let’s be honest, we all know that work isn’t a ton of fun! Hell, that’s why a lot of us end up going camping in the first place. However, sometimes there are times where we need to stay in touch with the office. Common reasons we’ve seen for this are large deals that might be in process or perhaps a slightly overbearing boss that might want to reach out to you for some immediate help on something.
Staying in touch with loved ones
While loved ones are obviously more important than staying in touch with the office, we’ve actually found this to be a much less common reason for wifi while camping than staying in touch with the office.
The reason why is your loved ones are often with you while camping!
Or, if you have a serious family situation going on, such a family member in very poor health, you probably aren’t camping that weekend anyways.
That being said, if you are camping with friends and your significant other is at home, it can make a lot of sense for you to have WiFi to stay in touch with loved ones.
Before committing to finding WiFi, ask yourself if you absolutely have to have it
It’s your decision and up to you on whether or not you need wifi. There have definitely been times where we’ve brought our phones with us to connect online.
One scenario where you will need WiFi is if you live in your RV. Since you live in your RV, you should need access to WiFi so you can check your online banking, keep in touch with your family, and more.
How to Get WiFi While Camping?
There are a couple of different strategies where you can get WiFi while camping. Below, we’re going to dig into each of the possibilities of how you can get online. These strategies will
WiFi from your phone
Depending on where you are camping, you might be able to just get online with your cell phone. If that’s the case, then this would absolutely be the easiest strategy for you to do. Most “non-remote” camping locations should have service. If you are going camping in a more rural location, then you might struggle to have service.
Before going camping, make sure to check the cell service coverage maps to see if you’ll have service in the area.
The only strategy where this could not work is if you need to use your computer online while you are camping. In the case where you will need a computer, you should:
- See if your cell provider will allow you to hot spot your phone
- See if your plan will allow you to hot spot
- Check if your data plan is unlimited (if not, you might find a HUGE bill when you return)
If you’ve never hot spotted your phone before, here’s a guide on how to do it.
WiFi from the campsite itself
Some campgrounds have started to provide WiFi. It’s not very common but it is much easier than some of the later options on this list.
Since it’s not very common, it’s safer to assume you won’t have WiFi at the campground than to get there and be disappointed. However, a quick Google search allowed us to see whether or not most campsites have WiFi. If you live in Texas, then you are in luck! The Texas government has an online section on their website that highlights whether or not there is WiFi at the campsite.
However, you might have to pay for campground WiFi. We’ve typically seen rates of $5-$10 a day. That’s difficult to swallow because WiFi is always included in hotels now.
A portable, cellular hot spot
We’re not looking at some of the most obscure methods to get online while camping. These strategies will also cost you more money.
That being said, these strategies do work and are great solutions for more remote camping locations.
The first one is a portable cellular hot spot. If you’ve never seen one before, they look like this:
These “hockey pucks” can connect to the internet anywhere there is cellular service. They also often provide faster service than the standard cell phone connection. Even better, they are easy to hook your computer up too.
If you are going to need to receive and send big files from your computer when camping, then this is probably the best solution for you.
To begin, I’ve never used satellite internet and I only know of a few people who have.
On the plus side, you can get online with this strategy. The other big plus is you can get online anywhere in the world. If you are going camping in the remote woods of Canada, an Arizona desert, or even the arctic circle, you can get online with satellite internet.
However, you’ll pay a pretty penny for that amount and not get a ton of results for it.
Not only will you need a portable satellite antenna, which can get very pricey, you’ll need a subscription to satellite internet as well that can run more than home-based internet. For that reason, only dedicated campers who frequently go to remote areas AND need internet access are the ones who will get satellite internet.
One other note to caution on: it will be EXTREMELY slow. The average satellite internet connection is about 10% as fast as your internet at home.
If you can skip it, we absolutely recommend you do.
In this article, we’ve talked about WiFi and camping. We talked about how camping is about going out into nature, but sometimes you need to bring work or a connection to loved ones with you. After all, we’ve brought a connection to the internet with us before in the past.
If you do want to get online while camping, then there are a couple of different strategies.
Connecting via your phone is the easiest and cheapest, but you are limited by your service plan. If you cannot hot spot your phone, then you cannot get your computer online.
Some campsites now have WiFi to get your computer online, but it’s not very common and you may need to pay for it.
Alternatively, you can look into a hockey puck connection or satellite internet, but both strategies are much more expensive.
We’ll see you at the camp site!