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One of the best aspects of camping is enjoying the outdoors. However, when inside at night, we enjoy watching television in the camper as a family before going to bed. There are several ways that everyone can enjoy television in their camper.
Streaming in your Camper
In our opinion, the best way to watch television on the road is by using various streaming services. As long as you have good cell service, there are numerous ways that you can hook up a phone or streaming device to watch TV. We at Campers and Campfires use Youtube TV to stream programming in our camper. We also stream programs from other services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney Plus. These are all services that we have at home so there is no additional cost to use them on the road. Numerous additional services are available to stream including Hulu and Sling TV.
If you are interested in streaming your programming, it is best to have an unlimited data plan because streaming video uses a lot of data.
Several different methods can be used to stream content to your television. There are adapters (Check out the Apple Adapter on Amazon) that connect your phone directly to your TV. Using the adapter (Check out the Micro USB Adapter on Amazon) the TV will display whatever is on your phone. You will need an HDMI cable to connect the adapter to the TV.
You can also use streaming devices such as a Firestick (Check it out on Amazon) or Roku (Check it out on Amazon) to connect to your television. To do this, you will need to connect the streaming device to an internet signal. If the campground has a strong WI-FI signal and they allow streaming, you can connect to the campground’s WI-FI. In our experience, most campground WI-FI is slow and spotty at best. The second option is to use your phone as a hotspot. Most cell phone companies will allow this at no additional cost if you have an unlimited data plan. Using your phone as a hotspot allows the phone to act as a mobile signal and provides internet from your phone to your device. We have found that in some remote campgrounds we need a cell booster to ensure that we have a strong cell signal (see our article on cell boosters).
The third option is a mobile hotspot. You can purchase a mobile hotspot and pay for data as you go or check with your cell provider and see if they have a mobile hotspot plan. The mobile hotspot becomes your WI-FI so you can connect the streaming device to your mobile hotspot.
Movie Night Around the Campfire
We also love having family movie nights while we are gathered around the campfire. You can purchase a projector (Check it out on Amazon) for around $100.00 and then you can project what you are watching onto a screen attached to your camper. To do this, you will connect your streaming device to the HDMI input on the projector. Within seconds, you are enjoying the big game or movie on the screen. You can purchase a large screen (Check it out on Amazon) for around $30. Our screen is made of a wrinkle-free fabric. We mounted the screen to the side of our camper using the stick-on hooks (command hooks) that came with the screen and they have yet to come off. Some people hang the screen from the flap on the awning using binder clips. Using the projector is a great way to watch a movie or the big game and still enjoy sitting around the campfire. Due to lighting, the projector will generally only work after the sun goes down because you need the darkness to see the projection.
Satellite Television in your Camper
For years, the best option for those who wanted to view more channels while on the road was satellite TV. A satellite is still a good option, especially if you camp in locations with limited cell coverage. Dish Network offers a “pay as you go” plan, specifically designed with campers in mind. Just like with any cable or satellite service, you choose a package you would like based on the programming and pricing that fits your needs, but you only pay for it during the months that you use it. All you need to do is purchase the satellite and receiver (Check them out on Amazon) and you are ready to go. It takes about 15 minutes to set the satellite up at the campground. We would recommend setting your satellite on a tripod for stability.
Some campgrounds offer cable hook-ups. As long as you have a cable input on the outside of your camper, you can connect the coaxial cable to the campground provided hook-up. Campers and Campfires recommends that you have at least 50 feet of coaxial cable in order to ensure that you have enough cable to do the job. If your cable connection is recessed like ours, it can be difficult to screw the coaxial cable onto the connector. For that reason, we like the Amazon Basics cable with easy-grips (Check it out on Amazon). The easy grips make it easy to attach the cable. If you do purchase this cable, it has two white plastic protectors that need to be removed. Initially, it looks tricky, but all you need to do is push up the easy-grip covers, and they will quickly push off the shipping protectors.
If you already have coaxial cable and it is difficult for you to screw on to your camper connector, you can purchase this handy tool (Check it out on Amazon), which makes the process much easier.
Most campers come with an antenna used to watch over the air programming. However, most stock antennas are not good quality, and it is difficult to pick up many stations if you are not camping near a big city. While an antenna an excellent way to watch television, you are generally very limited in what you can watch. If this is your preferred method of watching TV in the camper, you can purchase an antenna with increased power that will help you pick up more stations even when you are not camping near an urban area. The easiest way is to buy a new replacement antenna head and upgrade your original antenna. This King Replacement Head (Check it out on Amazon) is our recommendation and in most cases, it can be easily attached to your existing hardware.
Most campers also come with a DVD player, so bringing DVDs with you on the road is always a good option. Some of our favorite movies on camping are:
Whether you like to watch a little or a lot of television on the road, these methods will help enhance your enjoyment while camping. Do you have any tips for watching tv while you are camping? We would love to hear from you. Please drop us a line in the comment section below.