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Why we can’t always boondock – off grid RVing

I know many people are like us and just want to get out and explore the country. We want to pull off in a remote location and stay for a while.  Isn’t it about the view and waking up to silence?  Well RVers call this boondocking and I gotta tell ya it’s pretty awesome.  Our goal is to spend nights in remote locations and take in as much nature and quiet as possible – that was one of the reasons we began this journey.  The reality for us, though, is that we telecommute for a living and having access to a good internet signal is paramount!

Welcome to our dilemma.  So, how does it actually work?  During the work week we make sure we are somewhere with a good Sprint signal.  On the weekends we tend to travel and check out more remote spots.  Our on the go internet is based on a Sprint USB stick in conjunction with a router.  Thanks to the folks at Technomadia and Mali Mish (other full-timers) for sharing their arsenal of internet gadgets as well as their internet successes and failures.

Internet on the Go supplies

Cradlepoint CTR-500 Travel Router – Takes the Sprint USB stick and makes a portable hot spot.

iSound Portable Battery – For powering the Cradlepoint when we are in the truck

Millenicom Sprint reseller – unlimited plan – we pay $69/month for truly unlimited Sprint internet uploads and downloads. No daily or monthly limits- we have seen our monthly usage range from 15GB – 40GB per month so far.

We have experimented with staying at National Parks during the week and mostly we find that the Sprint coverage isn’t consistent enough.  We keep experimenting and find that some areas out in the open/more desert like have been just fine even if they are nowhere near a city (areas in NM, AZ and TX).  We always check the Sprint coverage map before we head into a new place.  You can plug in a city or zip and see if cellular/internet is reliable – Sprint coverage map.

The other option to consider is to get a tripod or roof mounted satellite dish.  While they are rather expensive (tripod can range from $1200-$2000 and a mounted, folding roof satellite can run you $5000) they will get the job done.  We are looking into this option but the price is a bit steep for us right now.

Now back to boondocking which is what Brenda and I like the best.  We certainly don’t always know where to pull off and park, where it’s safe, where it’s legal, etc.  We have found a great resource from another full-time lady who already did the research!

Frugal Shunpikers Guides to RV Boondocking. Great set of ebooks exclusively about boondocking (off grid RVing) – also great for finding remote (and free) places to pitch a tent, car camp, etc. – invaluable

Get out there and enjoy – send us pics of your boondocking places as well (whether you are RVing or not).

Update as of 4/2012 – We have found the Sprint coverage to be inadequate – the signal has been too weak in parts California, Oregon and Arizona.  We decided to stay with Millenicom but switch over to their Verizon reseller package.  It includes 20GB of data per month for $60 (after you purchase their USB stick for $100).  After reviewing our data usage we decided to switch over and watch fewer movies/TV shows through Netflix and Hulu.  As long as we don’t go overboard with streaming shows we won’t use more than 20GB.  The Verizon coverage has been MUCH better so far – we have been in California, Utah and Colorado.

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