Stay connected this summer

Kurt Sharpe —  28/12/2012

Camping is often seen as a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, away from the work phone calls and emails flooding your inbox. But not everyone is so keen to undertake the digital detox and cut themselves off for a week long camping adventure.

Luckily all is not lost for the keen campers who want to stay connected this summer. Technological advances now give you the means to rough it in a tent while still keeping in touch with what is going on in the outside world. Here are three tips to make it easier to stay connected while camping these holidays:

Tent on a beach in New Zealand.

Some still want to rough it and stay connected this summer

1) Check your campsites coverage

The Department of Conservation manages over 200 campsites throughout New Zealand, and while mobile reception can be patchy when you are out enjoying our wonderful natural scenery there are some things you can prepare for. Check up on your mobile carriers coverage before choosing your campsite. All major carriers have detailed maps on what the likely mobile coverage will be:


Mobile coverage signal boosters are also an option and are available online and in some electronic stores.

A low battery screen on an iPhone.

The screen of death for many a summer camper

2) Use alternative energy sources

While a lack of power plugs may limit the life of a smartphone when you are out camping there are plenty of other ways to charge that iPhone or Android mobile. Portable battery chargers, that run off AA batteries, are available from all good electronic stores and as long as you have enough long lasting batteries, they should see you through most camping trips.

Solar chargers are also an option, presuming a plentiful supply of sun is on hand this summer. They are a great, clean and renewable source of electricity to keep you charged.

If you need a bit more of a physical work out while camping there are also hand crank options to keep you powered up while you get back in touch with nature. So long as you have the energy to keep manually charging up your phone this is the perfect option.

A portable solar charger in the sun.

Portable solar chargers are a perfect summer gift

3) Choose a Wi-Fi hotspot holiday 

Yes they really exist. WhananakiCable BayUretiti Beach are to name a few connected campsites but all up there are more than 100 Wi-Fi hotspots in popular summer regions throughout New Zealand this summer, including Northland, the Coromandel, Bay of Plenty Tasman and Queenstown Lakes. This will help keep you connected all summer long.

So what are you waiting for? It is time to start preparing for your first connected camping adventure. Remember though that being connected is not what your camping trip is about – take time to enjoy the surroundings and activities away from your mobile devices and appreciate the beautiful places you get to explore. If the technology fails don’t panic, enjoy camping!

A laptop on the beach.

Stay connected even at the beach

Do you have any other tips for staying connected while camping? Leave them in the comment section below.

Kurt Sharpe


Kurt helps to share DOC's work with New Zealanders across our various social media channels. Originally from Waitomo, he's now based in DOC's National Office in Wellington.

One response to Stay connected this summer


    Some great ideas, staying connected is important for some people. It can be vital in an emergency and it is also good to have some entertainment for the kids if the weather deteriorates. I think large capacity portable chargers are the reliable way to go.