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A silver lining of COVID-19 has been the ability to work from home. Many of our fellow campers, including ourselves, have taken this time to enjoy camping while working from the campground. A drawback that we have run into while working from our camper is the lack of a cell signal in some of the campgrounds that we have visited. Brandi and I are unable to work if we cannot connect to the internet, which requires a strong cell signal. We love to camp in state parks, but unfortunately, many of these parks are located in remote areas with little to no cell service. The lack of a signal for work has led us on a quest to find a cell booster that will allow us to work while on the road.
Cell boosters do not create cell signals. In other words, if you are camping where there is no signal, a cell booster cannot make one for you. A cell booster amplifies the signal that it receives, so there must be a signal to amplify. However, we have discovered that a cell booster with an outside antenna can pick up a signal that our phones cannot receive. In many cases, the cell booster does provide us with a signal where otherwise, we would not have one. We use a streaming device to watch television, (see our article on watching television in the camper) and the cell booster allows us to watch television at campgrounds where we would not ordinarily be able to do so.
Campers and Campfires has extensively researched cell boosters and we tested a few as well. As a quick disclaimer, we are not affiliated with any cell signal booster company and we have purchased each booster that we tested. It is our opinion that weBoost makes the best booster. There are many less expensive options available, but weBoost gets the job done.
weBoost Drive Sleek
weBoost manufactures several different models of boosters, including those for RVs, automobiles, and houses. For the RV models, the antenna can permanently mount on your camper and will help with a signal while you are driving your RV down the road.
We were not interested in permanently mounting a booster on our camper and instead wanted something that was portable. The first booster that we tried was the weBoost Drive Sleek. The Drive Sleek (Check it out on Amazon) is designed for automobile use. However, it is easy to set up and use at the campsite as well.
We used the booster at two campgrounds where we could not pick up a single bar on our phones. The Drive Sleek allowed us to get two bars, and it worked great for making calls and retrieving emails, which we were unable to do without the booster. However, the Drive Sleek did not provide enough of a boost to stream video or to participate in online meetings using Google Meet or Zoom.
We definitely recommend the Drive Sleek for the purposes of truly making calls on your phone and for access to emails and internet sites.
weBoost Multi-Room Home Booster
To truly work on the road, we need to steam and participate in virtual meetings. For a stronger signal while using multiple phones, we purchased the weBoost Home Multiroom Kit (Check it out Amazon). This booster is made to be used in a home and emits a signal that covers 5,000 square feet. While this booster is designed for home use rather than an RV, it fits our needs perfectly.
Our first experience with the multiroom booster was at a campground where we picked up one bar. Without the booster, we could check our email, but it took a minute to load. With the booster, we got three bars and were able to participate in numerous video meetings with no problems. The booster was also compatible as I used my phone as a hot spot to stream movies to our TV at night (Read our article on watching television in the camper).
Setting Up the Cell Booster
We chose not to permanently leave the booster in the camper, and only use it at campgrounds when needed. It only takes about ten minutes for a complete set-up. I attached the outside antenna to a telescoping flagpole (Check it out on Amazon). The flagpole connects to a hitch mount that we installed on the bumper of our camper. The flagpole, hitch mount, and hitch receiver cost less than $75 on Amazon. The flagpole is 17 feet tall and allows us to place the outdoor antenna high into the air. You can purchase a steel pole, but the telescoping flagpole is easy to transport. Plus, we also use the flagpole to fly our American flag. Attaching the flagpole to the camper is easy.
You will need a hitch receiver on your camper. Since we did not have a hitch receiver (Check it out on Amazon), we purchased one that mounts to the bumper of the camper. It took less than five minutes to attach the hitch receiver to the bumper, and now it remains permanently mounted.
The only other equipment that you need is a flagpole holder with a hitch mount (Check it out on Amazon). Attach the flagpole holder to the hitch receiver, and you are ready to go. We now travel with a stationary hitch mount, flagpole holder, and flagpole on our bumper. Since the set up attaches to the bumper, it takes up no extra storage room. One thing to note in our case is that the outside diameter of the flagpole is quite a bit smaller than the inside diameter of the flagpole holder. We stuffed a ball of aluminum foil into the flagpole holder to hold the flagpole in place.
The weBoost cell booster includes a flat piece of coaxial wire that can be placed through a sliding window. Connect the outside antenna to the flat piece of coaxial cable, which then connects to the amplifier inside the camper. There is also an inside antenna that provides the boosted signal inside of the camper.
We use the built-in stand to on the inside antenna, and place the booster on our dinette table. The inside antenna can also be permanently mounted on a wall. While we received a boosted signal throughout the campsite, it was stronger near the inside antenna.
Camping has taught us to unplug and not worry while traveling. However, when working on the road, cell boosters have made it possible for us to travel to some great campgrounds and state parks. We now won’t leave home without one.
Do you have any experience with cell phone boosters? We would love to hear from you. Please drop us a line in the comment section below.