roseanna sunley cannock chase hiking camping

One of the best things about working online is that you can work from almost anywhere.

This is great when staying in hotels or Airbnbs which have the luxury of electrical sockets and wi-fi, however, it can present a challenge when you’re trying to work from a tent.

Here’s what I take and how I do it.

Power

The main problem of going off-grid is that you have no access to power. (Hence, “off-grid”)

When camping, you can, of course, book tent pitches that come with an electrical hook-up. All you need is an EHU with a long lead and some electrical sockets and you’re good to go!

If camping a bit more remotely, or at smaller campsites, a hook-up might not be an option.

To ensure that I can still work, I purchased a large portable battery with some solar panels and they have been one of the best camping and adventure purchases I have ever made.

I use it to charge everything! Laptop, iPad, mobile phone, earpods, electric toothbrush, Canon camera, and anything else that has a charging port.

I have never run low on power, and even on a cloudy day, the solar panels have still managed to put some juice back into the battery.

large portable battery power

The only problem is that it’s a BIG battery and therefore not very portable. This is fine for me as I’m always traveling around in my van; it’s not like I have to carry it on my back up a mountain! But for portable power sources, check out the list in my ‘other devices’ section below.

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Internet

More than likely, you’re going to need access to the internet.

Ocassionsly, I can get away with working offline (e.g. drafting a blog post in Microsoft Word) but more often than not, wifi is needed.

Some of the larger campsites do give you free internet access, however, they are not all created equal. So, even if a site advertises ‘free wifi’, take that with a pinch of salt. It’s not uncommon for the wifi to painfully slow, regularly drop in and drop out, or be completely down at the time of your visit.

Here in the UK, we have pretty good 4G coverage, and so I connect my laptop/iPad to the internet connection supplied by my mobile phone.

I have a pay-as-you-go SIM from GiffGaff which allows me to decided what package I want each month. When I’m going camping, I purchase an unlimited data package for £25 which gives me all the internet I need.

Occasionally, I end up camping in a dark hole that gets zero mobile phone reception or internet connectivity. In these rare instances, I do offline work in the tent and then upload everything when I’m out on my daily adventures.

working from tent roseanna sunley

I do know that you can buy travel wi-fi hotspots, which I have occasionally looked into. They seem to have mixed reviews, work out more expensive, and still need the 4G network to operate, so for the time being, I’m going to stick with my mobile. However, if you have found any other wi-fi solutions, please let me know in the comments below.

Other devices

The devices you take when camping will probably depend on the type of work you do and how long you are going away.

Here’s a rundown of the electrical devices that I like to take with me.

Smartphone

Of course, I take my phone (currently an iPhone XR) and use it as a wi-fi source as mentioned above.

I do most of my social media work directly from my mobile as well as manage my daily task lists. I also use my phone to help me find good hiking trails and for GPS navigation.

Laptop

My laptop stays in its sleeve in my van and only comes out when I need to sit at my desk and work on bigger tasks.

I have a 16″ MacBook Pro, so it’s not the most portable of machines, and it’s too expensive to leave laying around, but I love it!

laptop working from tent battery

iPad

This is a new addition to my family of tech devices and has proved handy for those one-off tasks that you can’t do on your mobile, but are not big enough to warrant getting the laptop out.

You can, of course, get the keyboard that accompanies the iPad which can transform it into a mini-laptop. Depending on the work you do, this may be a suitable replacement for your laptop.

Canon Camera

I am not a photographer, but I do like to try! I have a small Canon M50 a Bluetooth tripod and a fluffy microphone.

The quality of the photos always turns out much better than what I can achieve on my iPhone XR.

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Powerbank

A powerbank is a small portable battery that is ideal as an extra backup when you’re out hitting the trails, especially if you’re relying on your mobile phone for navigation.

It’s small and lightweight and should be able to provide 2-3 mobile phone charges.

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Action camera

I have a small and cheap action camera that I use when kayaking.

It’s difficult to film and paddle at the same time (and I always panic that I’m going to drop my phone in the water) so I just clip this camera to my chest and off I go.

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Dashcam

I have a dashcam mounted in my van to record the roads that I’m driving down.

I’ve traveled through some places with stunning scenery that I’ve been unable to capture because I was driving. This solves that problem instantly as well as recording other motorists in the event of an accident.

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Earpods

Brilliant for listing to podcasts and music when you’re out walking, or for watching movies back at the tent.

There’s nothing worse than camping and having to listen to whatever the music the neighboring tent is listening to! So if there’s only one thing that you take from this list, take a pair of headphones!!

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Spares!

This mainly applies to camera batteries, memory cards, and charging cables.

Usually, you can pick up spares online for little cost. However, if you have to buy a charging cable from a store whilst you’re away, it’s not going to be cheap!

Not only will it dent your pocket, it will also cause you a big inconvenience during your trip as you try to hunt down a local technology store.

I always take a few spares where possible.

Transporting it all

Listing everything out like that seems like quite a lot of kit! …and I suppose it is.

To help transport it all, I obviously use my little adventure van, Dory.

citroen nemo adventure van roof box roseanna sunley

I have a large plastic storage box which I have creatively named my ‘tech box’, and anything tech-related goes in it.

It doesn’t take up much space, it keeps everything protected, it makes it all easy to find, and it makes packing and unpacking very simple and quick.

Non-tech items I would recommend

If you are wanting to camp and work on the go, there are a few other things that I would like to recommend.

1. Make sure you have a big enough tent

You don’t want to be squashed up in a low-profile tent having to work on the floor. Make sure you have a tent big enough for you to stand up in.

2. Get a foldable table and comfy chair

Create a space where you can comfortably sit and work for a few hours. This will not only make you more productive, but it will prevent you from developing aches, pains, and stiff muscles.

working from tent

Working whilst traveling

Working online gives you the freedom to be able to take your office on the road with you. This is pretty simple when staying in hotels but it can present a few challenges when camping out in nature.

Your main two priorities are power and wifi. Once you have those sorted, it’s simply a case of making sure you take the tech devices that you need.

Although it seems a bit counterintuitive to take your work on a camping trip, there is something blissful about having a tent as an office.

Happy camping (and working)!

Roseanna x

P.S. If there’s anything I have missed, please let me know in the comments below.

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Roseanna
Currently winging my way through life and putting most of it on the internet. This is my personal website where I share my business book reviews, my adventure tips and stories, and my general musings on life as a solo entrepreneur.

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