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One of the best things about being a professional photographer specializing in landscape photography is that I get to mix work and play together. I can find beautiful places to photograph while traveling, and I like to go beyond the scenic turnouts and nice hotels and camp out in the wilderness or in well-placed campgrounds to get the most out of my travels.
So, I often end up working while camping since many of my camping trips are intended to capture more images for selling prints and stock photography. Sometimes I even take on a commissioned photoshoot, looking for something specific a client has requested.
I also write many articles and product reviews and make ad copy for several long-term clients. Deadlines don’t just go away when I’m out camping, so I often work remotely besides all of the photography and other fun things I’m doing.
If you would like to take longer treks and yet not miss out on working and making an income, you’ll want to read on for some tips I’ve learned about how to work remotely while camping. These tips covering working while camping are useful for any type of remote work. It doesn’t all have to be about photography.
Table of Contents:
- Working While Camping Basics
- You Can Create a Workspace in a Matter of Seconds
- You Don’t Necessarily Need Starlink
- Your Clients are Probably More Accommodating Than You Think
- Working While Camping is Harder Than Working from Work
Working While Camping Basics
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Remote working while camping is really nothing new. It describes what famous explorers and lovers of nature, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Zebulon Pike, all did in the first half of the 1800s in North America.
Perhaps you remember your own childhood when Dad had to finish a brief, or you had your summer school assignment, and you all chose to work on them while vacationing instead of foregoing the camping trip altogether.
What’s different about remote working in the internet age is that you don’t have to wait till you get home to turn in the results of your work. With various online and wireless technologies, you can be “live” at the office or in a sales meeting with a client even though you’re hundreds of miles away.
All you need to tap into this reality is power and a connection. And a comfortable place to work. Power can come from batteries, generators, or the electrical grid. Connectivity is available in some previously unconnected areas. Even a satellite link-up is an option for many remote workers.
You Can Create a Workspace in a Matter of Seconds
If you’re like me, you have taken a vehicle to get to your camping destination. If so, you’re not hampered by limiting what you bring to just what you can carry on your back. That SUV has a spacious cargo area; take advantage of it!
This means you can carry extra batteries, power converters that use the vehicle’s electronics, or a fuel-operated electrical generator. You can also take your furnishings, more or less, that will make the working while camping situation more comfortable.
One of my favorite items for making working while camping more doable is the Tailgater Tire Table. This sturdy table gives you flexibility and a stable spot for working, preparing food, or whatever else you would use a table or desktop for at home or the office.
It comes in two sizes and in either aircraft, aluminum or steel. It is strong and lightweight, with the powder-coated aluminum version resistant to corrosion and rust. It has a slightly heftier price tag than competing camping tables, but it is definitely worth the extra cost in convenience, strength, and ease of setup.
The Tailgater Tire Table fits on your tire, either the rear-mounted spare or the actual driving wheels. You can set it up in less than a minute. It breaks down to a compact size for ease of transport, and you won’t lose any parts because everything is stored on the table.
I like mounting it on the driving wheels, front or rear, as opposed to the tailgate-mounted spare tire, simply because I can use my favorite camping chair with it as my remote working while camping office space. This table, a comfortable chair, and some shade or rain protection are all you need for a camping office that dreams are made of.
You Don’t Necessarily Need Starlink
Easy and reasonably priced satellite access like Starlink is a huge plus for remote working in the wilderness, but you may not need to go that route to stay connected. Unless where you’re camping is completely off the grid, you could probably use your smartphone’s hotspot function for connecting to the internet.
Also, I have found that almost any campground that offers water and electricity for RVs also includes some WiFi capabilities in the space fee.
If you’re going out of the range of your smartphone network and don’t have Starlink to keep you connected, there are ways around that as well. Downloading files ahead of time, printing out physical copies of some things, and knowing where a hotel, library, or business center is close by that lets you tap in for free or a modest fee are all part of being prepared for remote working while camping.
Your Clients are Probably More Accommodating Than You Think
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Even if you are on the surface of Mars and can’t transmit work files in real-time to your bosses or clients, you may not need to worry too much. Many clients are very accommodating with deadlines if you clearly communicate with them about your possible uploading issues.
Here’s the thing, though, you don’t want to chance losing a new client because you were a day or two later than what you promised. It isn’t a business relationship that is just starting, or if you have agreed to a strict timeline, don’t play around with them if you want to keep them as a customer. Or, find a better class of clients!
Working While Camping is Harder Than Working from Work
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A word of caution when thinking about how to work remotely while camping: It’s a simple job of mind over matter when working from your home office, studio, or workplace cubicle or office space.
It’s a completely different story when you’re out there in the great wide open and typing to concentrate on work. There are so many sights, sounds, smells, things your family or friends want to do, and so on. All of this can definitely get in the way of doing any solid work.
Photo by adamkaz via iStock
Here are some things I learned or took from others who also love working while camping:
- Establish rules for the workday and workspace.
- Have a specified time period within the day set aside for work.
- Create a dedicated work area with the Tailgater Tire Table, your laptop or tablet, camera gear, and a comfortable chair.
- Invest is an awning for shade and a white noise machine to prevent distractions.
- Ask your friends and family to treat you as though you are in your office, even though they can see you right there!