Camp Life Truisim # 3: Cellular Frustrations

Every lifestyle has its quirks and camp life certainly has no shortage of quirkiness. We are coming up on our 14th month of camp life, and while we are masters of nothing, we have managed to glean a bit of experiential wisdom along the way. In that spirit, we started putting together installments for what we have affectionately coined our “camp life truisms”. The first edition focused on consumption, the second on laundry, and this week’s piece focuses on cell service or its lack thereof….

Truism # 3: Cellular Frustrations

Another truism that emerged during our road life is that as developed a nation as we are, cell signal is no guarantee and all cell phone providers are not created equal. Despite all the satellites, towers, and wires running through and around this country, cell signal is hit or miss and it isn’t always directly correlated with how “developed” an area is.

We have T-Mobile and Verizon, and while Verizon has been fairly consistent and available throughout our travels, coverage for T-Mobile is sorely lacking in large segments of the country. Most recently, this was a constant source of pain throughout upstate New York and much of the upper east coast.

T-Mobile seems to only focus its service on densely populated metropolitan areas, figuring that’s where it will make more money, and largely ignores less densely populated areas, leaving huge gaps in service even within single states. With less and less people having a landline, or access to one, cell service seriously needs to improve its game. We have a cell booster, which certainly helps, but it can’t create a signal where there isn’t any to begin with. A couple helpful apps that we use to proactively see if any area will have cell coverage for our providers are: “Coverage?” and “CoverageMap”.


I get that it may be hard for any one provider to cover all territories, but if cell companies can make international agreements with outside companies so that I can get stellar cell service while in Europe, certainly domestic agreements amongst cell providers can be arranged to the mutual benefit of all.

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