With new towable campers like the Coleman Rubicon 1200RK hitting the market, off-grid camping is more accessible than ever. While there are benefits of disconnecting every now and then, having cell service in a remote destination can be a lifesaver if the need arises.
You may also rely on your cellular hotspot to make money if you work from your RV. Cellular signal boosters can provide much-needed service in an emergency situation or simply ensure reliable service for your next work video conference.
Let’s discuss everything you need to know about cell signal boosters as an RV traveler.
What is a Cell Phone Signal Booster?
A cellphone signal booster is a device that boosts your cellphone’s existing signal. It is NOT a device that can create cellphone reception if none exists.
Cell signal boosters are also known as amplifiers or repeaters. Most are comprised of an external antenna, an amplifier, and an interior antenna.
Cell signal boosters are great for boondocking situations and campgrounds with natural obstructions that impact cell service. You’ll find them useful anywhere you’ll have 1-2 bars of service and desire a faster, more reliable connection.
How Do Cell Phone Signal Boosters Work?
Most cell signal boosters add gain, or power, to an existing signal in various directions. The external antenna receives the cellular signal. That signal is then “boosted” by the amplifier and rebroadcast in your RV by the interior antenna.
This gives you more bars of cellphone service inside your RV so you can enjoy fewer dropped calls, faster web browsing, and improved download and upload speeds. A cell signal booster can also improve your cellphone’s battery life when camping in remote locations.
How to Use Cell Signal Boosters
The process for setting up a cell signal booster differs by manufacturer. Consult your manufacturer’s installation instructions for proper setup and use.
That said, popular models follow these basic setup instructions:
- Set up the external antenna. Many cell boosters recommend running the wire for the external antenna through your RV window and placing it in an elevated location. Placing it higher will reduce signal disruption from nearby trees or mountains.
- Set up the internal antenna. Place the internal antenna in a secure location inside your RV. The further you can place it from the external antenna’s location, the better service you’ll enjoy.
- Plug the amplifier into a reliable power source. Ensure the internal and external antennas are connected to the amplifier, and then plug the amplifier into a reliable AC or DC power source. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for the preferred power source for their booster.
Pro Tip: If you run the wire for your external antenna out an RV window, be careful not to shut the window with too much force to avoid damaging the antenna’s cable.
You should notice stronger service on your phone – more “bars” – when connected properly. You can also conduct a speed test on your phone’s web browser before setting it up and conduct another test after setup to compare speed improvement.
Certain models are designed for permanent installation, making them ideal for full-time RVers or digital nomads. Others are designed to be set up when you reach camp and stored when it’s time to travel.
The Best Cell Signal Boosters from Camping World
These cell signal boosters work with most cellphone providers to deliver better service for your next off-grid RV trip.
KING KX2000 Extend Pro Cell Signal Booster
Includes: Booster, Outside Antenna, Inside Antenna, 20’ Cable, Mounting Bracket, Ladder/Pole Mounting Hardware, AC/DC Power Supply, and Instruction Manual
The KING KX2000 is KING’s most powerful signal booster and can reach cell towers up to 74% farther away than other models. It also provides up to 32x signal amplification and works with all US cellphone carriers.
It works with AC or DC power and can be mounted to your RV’s roof or ladder. It can also simultaneously support multiple devices without additional contracts or monthly fees.
KING KX3000 Extend Go Cell Signal Booster
Includes: Booster, Outside Antenna, Inside Antenna, Foldable Tripod, 20’ Cable, AC/DC Power Supply, Carry Bag, and Instruction Manual
The KING KX3000 Extend Go offers the same 32x amplification and signal acquisition capabilities as the Extend Pro. This model also provides a portable tripod for easier setup and the ability to quickly relocate the booster until it acquires the best signal possible for your campsite.
As its name suggests, it’s designed for on-the-go RVers and comes with a carry bag for safer, organized transport. It simultaneously supports multiple users and doesn’t require additional fees or service contracts.
Winegard RangePro Cell Signal Booster
Includes: Booster, Outside Antenna, Inside Antenna, 40’ Cable, Exterior Mounting Hardware, and AC/DC Power Supply.
Winegard’s RangePro allows you to boost the signal on multiple devices simultaneously. Multiple mounting options allow you to secure the exterior antenna on your RV ladder or directly on the roof.
The RangePro boosts voice, text, and 4G LTE cell signals and is compatible with all North American carriers. It can be powered by AC or DC power and comes with 40 feet of low-loss coaxial cable for easier installation on larger RVs.
Whether you need service for phone calls to friends or to support your full-time RV lifestyle, here are a couple more resources you may find helpful:
- Everything You Need to Know About Starlink Internet for RVers
- RV Pro Tips for Staying Connected on the Road
Do you have questions about or experience with cell signal boosters? Share in the comments below.