Boondocking with RV Satellite Internet is Worth Every Penny

All RVers have their own camping style. Nine years ago we decided ours is to get as far away from humanity as possible. Like this free West Texas sweet spot that we just vacated after two weeks. Nobody else paid us a visit except the game warden.

RV satellite Internet boondocking West Texas
Boondocking in West Texas.

It’s not that we don’t like people, it’s that we love the independence and self-reliance that a fully self-contained RV provides. Why not make the most of what we paid for, by living off-grid among gorgeous scenery like this?

When it comes to our satellite Internet system, I get all giddy when we arrive somewhere, the dish goes up and locks on to service. Speeds are so fast now that we can make VOIP phone calls, have screen shares and conference calls, all over satellite. We can call with our smart phone over wifi, or use this flashback $1 phone we acquired from a Nevada thrift store. The phone is connected to our dish via a special MobilSat device.

RV satellite Internet boondocking West Texas
The Sat Phone Bat Phone at Agreda Communications.

Personally I prefer the “Bat Phone.” It reminds me of the one I had in high school. Jim wants to paint it red.

A number of times we’ve been judged by RVing geeks who think we’re crazy for spending money on our RV DataSat 840. They look at the price and then say things like:

  • “Wow you must have a lot of disposable income…that’s expensive!”
  • “Why would you pay that much for data?”
  • “You can get broadband almost everywhere, why bother?”

The first key word you see there is “expensive.” Yes, it’s pricey bandwidth, fair enough. But it’s a cost of lifestyle choice. We can live in a stunning place we adore with nobody else around and earn a living. We work our tails off to do what we do. But we play hard too, and strive to make the most of everywhere we camp.

Are we saving money with free camping, even though we’re paying more for data service? Not yet. The DataSat system probably won’t pay for itself until this time next year. Do we care? Pfft. Not when this is our backyard.

Elephant Mountain Texas WMA Boondocking
All alone in West Texas and loving it!

The next key word(s) are “broadband almost everywhere.” Yes, cellular broadband coverage is better than it was nine years ago when we started full-timing. But thank Dog there will always be remote, faraway places where cell phone companies don’t have financial incentives to be. That’s where you’ll find us, like here at our backcountry campsite in Big Bend National Park where I’m writing this from.

It’s places like the Big Bend which we strive to find in our travels. Out here in West Texas we’re on our own, and we like it that way.

Yee haw!

Elephant Mountain Texas WMA Boundary Sign
Greetings from the Big Sky of West Texas.


6 thoughts on “Boondocking with RV Satellite Internet is Worth Every Penny”

  1. My wife & I are newbies and need strong internet access as well as an Ethernet connection for her IP phone. I must’ve read 50 articles on this subject. I am now a little confused. Any suggestions?

    • Hey John, no real suggestions here other than redundancy is key. At this point unless you plan on spending a ton of time off-grid, all you really need is data service by at least two different providers. I can’t advise you on the Ethernet connection though, sorry. Happy travels!

  2. We are thinking about buying the same system …. slightly different situation from you, but for use when cellular hotspots are simply not available. Does the satellite do a good job of staying on signal? Our RV occasionally shifts, rocks in high wind, occasionally the jacks are not on super stable ground and I’ll have to adjust slightly …. is the satellite super sensitive to these things (our old Motosat HD TV dish almost never has to be adjusted). It certainly seems like “you’d do it again” I’m just trying to gather a little extra data before sinking $6k into the hardware. The competitor I’m looking at is the manual tripod based system from $1000 for their equipment and the manual aiming they say takes 1.5 hours the first time, and 30 minutes when you are experienced ….. I’m just worried that I’ll try to save the $5k and regret aiming (and potentially re-aiming) every time we change spots (roughly 15 times a year).

    • I’m just worried that I’ll try to save the $5k and regret aiming

      A very valid worry. Too many times I’ve seen (and helped) others point their manual systems, only resulting in frustration and/or a very long time before getting online. We have never had wind or rocking knock out our signal. If it did, or when we have moved the rig—to level out or slightly adjust—a push of a button will re-peak and lock back on immediately.

      FYI: RTC was our previous provider, email us if you’d like some more detailed feedback, especially if you have any concern about support!


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