We’re hitting the road in 9 days, and we’ve got the mobile office ready to go! Read more for information on our rig and how we’ve set it up.
If you’re thinking about going on your own RV adventure, here’s some info about our gear:
We went with a 2014 Dutchmen 257RBGS — this trailer hit the sweet spot between weight (just under 5,000 lbs dry, safely towable by my diesel BMW X5), price (under $20k after negotiations), and layout. A lot of trailers are set up to take 4-6 people out for a few days. We needed something that would be comfortable for 2 people (and 2 dogs) for 4 months. That meant that we didn’t want space wasted on bunk beds, we wanted to make sure there was a real oven (many just have a microwave/convection oven) and a decent fridge. We also wanted to make sure that we’d be able to comfortably camp off-the-grid for 4-6 days at a time (known as Boondocking or Distributed Camping), so we had the dealer add an extra battery and we bought a Honda EU2000I generator that we can run for a few hours a day to top off the battery.
Obviously, our biggest requirement has been the ability to get online. If we park somewhere and can’t get a reasonably fast (I’ll define that as at least 500kbps with sub-200ms pings to google.com) internet connection, then we can’t stay there. Which would be a big bummer if we found a beautiful spot, got set up, then had to move!
So, here’s what we came up with for gear:
WiFi Ranger Sky + go2 – this combo includes a roof-mounted antenna (the “Sky”), and an internal router (the “go2”). This is a pretty cool setup because the Sky will pickup any WiFi network within about a mile (unsecured or secured– if it’s secured you’ll need the password). Then the go2 will speed test the WiFi, and, if the connection is solid, it will rebroadcast it within the camper. If the WiFi is non-existent or not strong enough, it will fall back onto our cellular hotspot. The other handy thing about this setup is that you don’t have to keep connecting all of your devices to different networks. Between kindles, iPads, iPhones, computers and our DVD player, we have 10 devices on our WiFi network, and not having to change the settings on each device should reduce one big PITA.
Millenicom Verizon Jetpack– Millenicom is a “bulk reseller” for Verizon, so this means that you can get 20gb/mo of bandwidth with no contract for $70/mo, tax included. (This would be $130/mo+tax directly from VZW)
AT&T 4G Hotspot– As a backup to the Jetpack, we got an AT&T 4G hotspot. This hotspot has 5gb of data for $50/mo
Wilson Electronics Signal Booster + Wilson Dual Band Cellular Antenna– This combo SHOULD allow us to pick up distant 4G connections. Our jetpack is mounted in the cradle, and the goal is to boost the fringe signals we’re likely to come across.
Alright, I’d better get back to work, but I’ll write more about our other gear later on– hopefully this helps those of you who are thinking about doing this yourself!