Working from home has become a very common occurrence over the past year because of the long-lasting COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of people are enjoying the opportunity to work while spending time around their loved ones or just in a more comfortable and familiar environment. However, have you considered that working remotely does not necessarily mean that you should be working from home? If you are a nature-lover, then you should certainly consider learning how to work while camping because this can be a neat way to enjoy nature while being productive.
I have been working while camping (or “workamping”) quite a bit over the last 3 years. My family and I spend 25-30 days a year camping, and a majority of that is done while working and homeschooling. I have picked up some tips and tricks along the way, so you have a chance to learn from my mistakes before you go.
Of course, not all jobs can be performed while camping – some are outright impossible to do, while others may require certain accommodations and tools that are not easily accessible. There are several things you should take into consideration if you are building a plan on how to work while camping and this post covers some of the most important talking points.
If you are about to go on your first work camping trip, then stay close to home. This way, if you leave something home, your equipment isn’t working out as well as you’d hoped or the weather isn’t playing along, you can just go to work and come back to camp later. Once you are comfortable with your setup and the ability to work while camping, you can start to extend your travel radius.
Can Your Work be Done Remotely?
The first thing to consider before exploring your options is whether your work can be done remotely or not. Needless to say, typical craftsmanship jobs are unlikely to be accessible while camping since you would need physical access to tools and materials. However, anyone dealing with sales, office work, or even customer support should be able to do their job while camping. Consider the type of work you do, and determine whether it would be accessible for a remote location – there are bound to be some limitations, so make sure that they would not interfere with your work.
Be Mindful Of How You Pack
Preparing your gear is probably one of the most important things to take care of when preparing to work while camping. Forgetting even a single thing may render you unable to do your job, so you should pay close attention to this task. We recommend using a separate suitcase or another storage solution for your work-related supplies – preferably a hard case, so you would not risk damaging your equipment accidentally. To make the packing task even easier and more efficient, use a checklist when packing your luggage – this way, you will minimize the chance of accidentally forgetting an important piece of equipment. This will help you pack your tools and equipment when it is time to leave, and you will make sure not to forget anything.
Pro tip: Permanently affix your gear checklist to your storage container to make sure you don’t forget anything.
Check Available Power Sources
Depending on the length of your trip and the power sources available at your camping spot, you might need to consider bringing additional gear. Determine how much power you will need to keep your laptop or phone on, and see if your camping spot will be able to meet your requirements. While it is possible to solve these limitations, it might not be very convenient – you would need to consider bringing additional batteries, solar panels, or even a generator, which could be quite a hassle.
Pro tip: Bring at least one extension cord.
Consider the Quality of the Phone Signal and Internet Connection
If your work requires you to have constant access to a phone line or the Internet, then this is guaranteed to make some camping locations inaccessible. Many outdoor locations are unlikely to have proper coverage, and you might constantly drop your phone or Internet connection, leading to massive issues. We recommend checking the reviews of your desired camping location since previous visitors are likely to have accurate information about the phone signal and internet quality. Unfortunately, there are no hassle-free or affordable ways to get around such limitations, and you might need to simply stick to a few camping spots.
Pro tip: Camping within urban or suburban areas often assures at least a strong cell connection.
Weather Conditions Also Play a Major Role in Your Choice
Make yourself familiar with the weather conditions and overall environment you should expect from your camping location because they may get in the way of your work under specific circumstances. For example, working on a computer or laptop when the weather is cooler than usual may require the use of the so-called ‘computer typing gloves’ – they are just like fingerless gloves and are meant to keep your fingers and hands warm.
Windy conditions can also cause trouble if you are expected to communicate via phone or voice chat – make sure to have access to a shelter so that the wind won’t blow in your microphone and annoy callers. Even a tent can be enough of a wind break to not be bothersome on a call.
Believe it or not, excessive sunlight can also be a problem if you do not have adequate shade or shelter. The sun may hinder the visibility of your computer screen and force you to max out the brightness levels, which will also increase battery drain significantly. Ideally, your workspace should have some shade to keep your screen visible.
Planning Your Schedule and Making Time for Social Activities
Setting up your work hours and coordinating social activities with your friends or family may be a difficult task while combining work and camping. I know for myself, I often feel like I am missing out because I have to work while camping, but the best advice is to try to change your perspective on the whole situation – focus on the benefits. You get to camp while you work!
There is no denying that it is a great feeling to have the ability to go on a camping trip instead of being stuck in the office or your home workspace. It gives you the freedom to spend time with friends and family during your lunch break or to save time from having to commute.
Of course, you should consider discussing the whole situation with the people accompanying you on the trip – you cannot force them to plan everything according to your schedule, so be prepared to prioritize the social activities that you deem to be important.
With a little bit of preparation and planning, you can have a great work camping experience.