How To Get WiFi While Camping
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To get WiFi while camping there are four common ways. One way is to use the Internet service on your phone. The second way is to use a mobile hotspot device. The third way is to use satellite internet and the final way is to use the wifi provided by the campground.
Whether you’re car camping or deep in the backcountry, getting online while camping can be a lifesaver. Here are five ways to get WiFi while camping, so you can stay connected even when you need to get away from it all.
Before we jump in, I want to share a recent story of the benefit of having Internet access while camping.
I camped at Inks Lake in Texas in May 2022. Because we had access to the Internet we were able to play music at night, share photos of our friends kayaking, and make reservations at local state park sights (such as Longhorn Cavern).
This might be the simplest way to get yourself WiFi while you are out camping.
If you have a smartphone that has Internet access, you could use it as a hotspot for your other devices.
This means that if you have a tablet that’s WiFi only, you could turn your phone into a hotspot and share Internet access with it.
The majority of designated campsites have access to mobile towers.
While you could find yourself at a campsite that doesn’t have service at all, it’s unlikely unless you are completely in the middle of nowhere.
And this will be less and less likely as 5G services roll out plus the continuing process of telemedicine infrastructure being delivered to support rural communities.
Internet USB Sticks or Devices
Another option you have is to go through your respective wireless carrier and order a special mobile hotspot device.
They make devices that will deliver you hotspot Internet to all of your devices. These devices typically are designed for providing the highest quality Internet on the go.
A lot of them come with support for over 10 different devices at once and they come with a lot of other features that make them much more useful than a phone.
If you have a lot of devices you need to connect, turning your phone into a hotspot might not get it done.
If so, you’ll want to turn to your carrier’s mobile hotspot devices that are meant for this very purpose.
These devices aren’t too expensive and the cost to add them to your mobile plan is likely to be reasonable.
Typically, you have to pay a monthly expense for adding a hotspot line to your account.
This is one of the best options available if you are a regular camper.
If you go camping all of the time, it may be advantageous to splurge on satellite Internet.
This way, you don’t have to worry about finding a campsite with good cellular service or WiFi.
Instead, you can choose to go to any campsite you want without this requirement hanging in the back.
Keep in mind, that this is the most expensive option out of the bunch.
It’s only ideal for those who require Internet access frequently on their camping trips.
And while the first generation of satellite internet was slow and didn’t support services like streaming media or Zoom, the next generation of satellite internet is much faster.
Find a Campground With WiFi
According to KOA, the most requested amenity at a campground is WiFi.
If you are a camper, you’re likely checking out the different campgrounds in the area.
If this is the case, you could always try to find a campground that has WiFi installed.
This will give you easy access to high-speed Internet without having to do anything to enable it.
Why We Want To Stay Connected
While camping is often used as a way to relax and disconnect, you still might want to have access to the Internet.
Here are a few reasons why.
The most common reason why you will still want access to the Internet is to be able to find your way around on a trail. GPS will still work even if you don’t have cellular service but that only tells you where you are by coordinates. You need the Internet to download new maps.
Don’t believe that paper maps will help because paper maps are rarely updated and can also be damaged or destroyed by accident.
I often camp with large groups. Being able to communicate with each other to organize hikes or time for the potluck dinner is nice.
Plus if you do have an emergency, communication with the outside world goes from nice to have to essential.
And while satellite messenger services do exist, traditional cellular is going to assist rescue services better.
For example, a friend was on a guided backpacking trip when a member broke their ankle.
The guide used the satellite phone to call 911 but they got dispatched to Washington DC, even though they were in a forest in Oklahoma.
DC had no idea how to help.
So the guide eventually messaged his assistant back home, who then used their own office phone to call the park service who then dispatched SAR.
I’m writing this article at the beginning of Texas summer. We know what the weather is every day in Texas summer.
But in spring or fall when our thunderstorms roll through it’s important to keep track of severe weather.
You don’t want to only watch your phone all day long while camping but at night as you are winding down in your tent, it’s nice to watch a movie.
Same thing for a rainy day. If you’re stuck in the tent because it’s raining, watching YouTube or playing a game is nice.
Give Your Friends FOMO Via Social Media Sharing your favorite sights from camp with your friends on social media is always fun and allows them to share the experience with you.
Because of the pandemic, many companies were forced to allow all of their employees to work remotely. There is no reason why this has to be your house.
If you have a good enough internet connection you work anywhere, including your favorite campsite.
Plus if you can do this, it means you can reserve campsites during the week when there is less competition for camping spots and a quieter park.
You Can Ignore Your Phone
Just because you have your phone doesn’t mean you have to be connected to work or always updating social media.
I have a job where I could be working 24/7. And even I make sure to ignore work when I’m on my camping vacations.
Get A Stronger Signal With An Antenna
You can talk to your mobile service provider about getting an external antenna that you can take with you to improve your signal when you are camping.
This is a great option if you plan to be on the road for a long time to justify the expense and hassle of configuring the antenna. It is also more likely to be used by RV campers who can permanently attach the antenna to the motorhome or trailer.
Plus having the height of the RV means that it will get an even stronger signal.
When I backpacked with a group through Big Bend National Park, we spent most of our time completely out of range of cellular service.
But then we found ourselves needing to reserve an off-trail campground for a break.
And these days, the only way you can reserve a spot is via the Internet. So we had to drive 5 miles to find a tall enough hill to get a signal to make a reservation.
Thus while it can seem counterintuitive to want internet access while camping, there are uses for it.
Camping can be a fun and relaxing way to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but there are still some instances where you might need access to the Internet. Whether it’s for finding your way around on a trail, communicating with others in your group, or monitoring severe weather, there are valid reasons to want access to the internet.
By using the tips in this article you learned the four most common ways to keep connected including both your phone and satellite internet options.
And that you can always turn the phone off if you absolutely don’t want to be bothered while camping.