Flat Towing Vehicles – The Pros & Cons

Flat towing vehicles, or dinghy towing, as others refer to it, is very common. Especially, when the motorhome is a big rig!

After all, who wants to use a large and unwieldy motorhome to drive around town or run errands?

So you will see motorhomes pulling a vehicle behind that has all four wheels on the ground all the time. And that is what flat towing means, all four wheels of the towed vehicle are on the ground.

But how can you do that without tearing up some very important parts of the towed vehicle?

Well, let’s talk about that and also about whether flat towing a vehicle behind your RV is the best choice overall.

Tow bar or tow dolly? The pros and cons of Tow Bars.
Watch my video on flat towing vehicles

Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – I earn a commission if you make a purchase using our affiliate links. I only link to products and companies I use and feel comfortable recommending. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this website.

Can You Flat Tow Any Vehicle?

So can you just hitch up your car and flat tow it down the highway? Probably not. Only certain vehicles are designed so that RV flat towing is possible.

Most cars and trucks simply won’t tolerate being pulled down the highway with all four wheels on the ground. Mainly because of the damage that can be done to the drivetrain, especially the transmission.

If you have an automatic transmission in your vehicle, in many cases it can’t be used for flat towing.

In fact, flat towing vehicles not approved for dinghy towing down the highway will simply tear up the gears. And then you will have a huge repair bill!

If you have a manual transmission in your towed vehicle you stand a much better chance of being able to flat tow it. But even then you need to make sure that the vehicle’s manufacturer has approved it for dinghy towing.

But does this mean that all cars with automatic transmissions can’t be flat towed? Actually, there are some vehicle that have been designed by the manufacturer to be approved for this kind of towing.

Which Vehicles Can Be Flat Towed?

If you watch for motorhomes going down the highway, you will begin to see the same flat towed vehicles often. So which ones are you going to see?

Overwhelmingly, you will see a lot of Jeeps being dinghy towed. It could be a Jeep Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, or Wrangler.

A lot of RVers like these vehicles because they also often have four wheel drive capability. And some are even known for being great for off-road adventures, like the Wrangler.

Some other good choices could be a GMC Terrain, Chevy Equinox, or an older Honda CRV, especially pre-2014. And some pickup trucks are flat towable as well.

All of these cars may be able to be flat towed successfully. But before you buy anything, make sure that the year and model you are considering is specifically approved for RV flat towing.

Any mistake made in choosing a tow vehicle here would be very expensive. So make sure you do your homework well on choosing a dinghy tow vehicle.

You also want to make sure that the towed vehicle’s weight is within the guidelines for your motorhome. Some vehicles are relatively light in weight, like the Honda CRV. Others, like a pickup truck are heavy in comparison.

So stay within the approved towing weight and hitch weight for your particular motorhome.

RV Tow Bars And Face Plates

RV tow bar for flat towing vehicles.
An example of a tow bar for flat towing

Once you have selected your towed vehicle, what now? Well, before you go dragging it down the highway, you will need a few essential pieces of equipment.

The first is an RV tow bar. The tow bar usually attaches to the hitch on the back of the motorhome.

There are two telescoping handles that come out of the tow bar and attach to the towed vehicle. The two most common tow bar manufacturers in use these days are Blue Ox and Roadmaster. Either one would be a good choice.

But there is one more issue here. Many vehicles do not come with a provision for flat towing already installed. So there are no hookups for the tow bar to use for a connection to that vehicle.

If this is the case with your towed vehicle, you will need to install a face plate on that vehicle. A face plate will be mounted securely to the vehicle so that towing it down the highway can be done safely.

This is not a job that most people can do easily or well. So unless you are very mechanically inclined and have experience in these areas, leave it to a pro instead.

It may cost more, but it is well worth making sure that you have a quality face plate installation. Once installed the face plate has the connections included for the tow bar hookup.

Don’t Forget The Safety Cables

One last piece of equipment needed in this step is safety cables. They will attach the vehicle face plate directly to the hitch of the motorhome.

This is a safety precaution in case the vehicle somehow breaks away from the tow bar. It doesn’t happen often, but you sure don’t want your vehicle falling into traffic behind you untethered.

Brakes Installed For Flat Towing Vehicles

So far we have the vehicle connected to the motorhome using a tow bar and face plate. But what about the vehicle’s brakes?

In most states you are required to provide some means of vehicle braking for the towed vehicle. That is, other than using the motorhome’s brakes. This makes sure that the motorhome can use all of its braking power if an emergency should arise.

So there are usually two choices for dinghy vehicle braking. And either choice works quite well for many RVers.

One is to install a system for using the brakes on the vehicle itself. This means that you have to tie into the braking system of the vehicle.

Then a brake controller will need to be installed in the RV to fine tune the braking communication between the RV and the vehicle.

The braking commands are then usually passed through a 6 or 7 pin connector on the back of the motorhome. And the vehicle is wired to plug into that connector.

So when you apply the brakes in the RV, the vehicle’s brakes are applied as well.

If the braking system is installed correctly, this arrangement can work very well. But installing this kind of equipment is also beyond the average person.

So if you are not very familiar with working with vehicle braking systems, it’s probably best to have a pro install it instead.

Click here for my recommended hard-wired braking system

Click here for my recommended RV brake controller

(These are affiliate links for the product on Amazon. It does not cost you any extra to buy the product using my affiliate link if you choose to do so)

Auxiliary Braking For Flat Towing

The other solution to the braking issue is to use an auxiliary braking system. These do not tie into the towed vehicle’s brakes in any way.

They are usually a boxy piece of equipment that is placed in front of the driver’s seat in the towed vehicle. The rear of the unit is then secured up against the driver’s seat for leverage.

A mechanical arm protrudes from the system that can be attached by hand to the brake pedal of the vehicle. It usually just wraps around the pedal to hold it firmly.

The system is then plugged into the DC outlet in the vehicle for power. It is then ready for use.

The system works on inertia activation. In other words, if you put the brakes on in the RV, the system detects it in the vehicle.

It then activates the arm on the unit to physically apply the brakes by means of the brake pedal in the vehicle. It can even be trained to apply the brakes with a force in proportion to what is applied in the RV.

There is also a kill switch on the unit to apply the brakes quickly if it senses that the vehicle is no longer connected to the RV.

Some well-known brands of these units include BrakeBuddy, Roadmaster, and Blue Ox. There is also a low-profile version of the system made by RVi Brake.

An auxiliary braking system example
An example of an auxiliary braking system connected to the brake pedal

These auxiliary braking systems also work very well for many RVers and have lots of fans. But they take a while to install before each tow and must be removed and stored somewhere afterward.

Click here for my recommended towed vehicle auxiliary braking system

(This is an affiliate link for the product on Amazon. It does not cost you any extra to buy the product using my affiliate link if you choose to do so)

Lights For Flat Towing Vehicles

Now we have one more step before we start flat towing this vehicle. We have to arrange for proper running and directional lights.

It is also a state requirement to have some means of displaying brake lights, night lights and directional signals. So once again there are two choices for most people.

You can either hard-wire the lights into the vehicle lighting system or use auxiliary lights. And either system can work well depending on your needs.

If you hard-wire the lights they are controlled by the 6 or 7 pin connector on the back of the motorhome. But if the vehicle brakes are not hard-wired, you may only need a 4 pin connector for the lights.

Installing the lights this way means that whatever lights are used on the RV are also used on the towed vehicle. This kind of installation can also be tricky though.

So use a qualified mechanic for the project if you are not completely comfortable with it.

Using Auxiliary Lights Instead

The other choice is to use auxiliary lights that usually mount on the back of the towed vehicle. In many cases these lights are magnetic and can attach to the vehicle roof for easy visibility.

Then the wires for the lights have to be run to the front of the vehicle. There they are connected to the motorhome through the 4, 6 or 7 pin connector.

OK, let’s review the results of the two choices for vehicle lights.

If the lights are hard-wired into the flat towed vehicle, they can be ready for use by just making the connection to the RV.

If auxiliary lights are used instead, they must be setup and installed each time you tow. And then they must be taken off and stored in between tows.

Click here for my recommended towed vehicle hard-wired lighting solution

Click here for my recommended towed vehicle auxiliary lighting solution

(These are affiliate links for the product on Amazon. It does not cost you any extra to buy the product using my affiliate link if you choose to do so)

What Is The Cost Of Flat Towing?

Obviously, we have discussed quite a bit of equipment that will be needed for flat towing vehicles. These include a tow bar, face plate, safety cables, and braking and lighting systems.

So what are we looking at for the cost of this kind of setup? Very often, anywhere from $3000 – $5000 if new equipment is used.

If you hard-wire the lighting and brakes and install a face plate, these will probably need to be done professionally. If so, there will be labor costs. And some of these projects are time-consuming.

If you choose to use auxiliary braking and lighting instead, you will probably have a lower overall cost. But you will also have to install these systems every time before you tow. And remove and store them afterward.

So the more convenience you have in towing, the higher initial cost. But the lower initial cost of the equipment also means more hassle each time you tow. Your choice.

Of course, if you buy used equipment you may save quite a bit on the initial purchase costs. But make sure that the items you buy are in good working order.

So with all of this said, here are the pros and cons of flat towing vehicles:

Dinghy Towing Pros

  • If your brakes and lights are hard-wired, hooking up and unhooking is a breeze. It only takes just a few minutes. You drive the towed vehicle up to the RV and connect the tow bar and safety cables. Then you plug in to the 6 or 7 pin connector and you are all set. Quick, simple and easy!
  • There is little to store with flat towing. The tow bar folds out of the way on the hitch. If you use auxiliary braking and lighting, they don’t take up much storage room either.
  • Flat towed vehicles track behind the RV like a dream. They usually have the same turn radius as the RV. Easy, peasy.
  • In a tight situation, it is easier to just unhook the towed vehicle before maneuvering the RV. A tow dolly is much more cumbersome in these kind of situations.

Dinghy Towing Cons

  • The cost. Setting up a vehicle for dinghy towing can cost more than twice the amount of a tow dolly. This is mainly due to the additional equipment needed and the installation costs by a professional.
  • You are limited in your choice of tow vehicles. Because the vast majority of vehicles can’t be flat towed, you can’t even consider them. You only have a relatively small pool of vehicles to choose from.
  • Many vehicles require leaving the ignition key in the “ON” position to allow the front wheels to turn freely. This can easily run the battery down unless even more equipment is installed in the towed vehicle to prevent this.
  • If you hard-wire the brakes and lights, you have a tough decision when you get a different vehicle. One choice is to remove those systems and have them re-installed again in the new vehicle. If professional removal and installation is required, this is very expensive. Or you have to let all of that equipment go when you sell the vehicle and buy new again. Either way, an installed face plate will certainly have to go with the old vehicle. And then a new face plate may be required for the new vehicle too.

Conclusion

Clearly, there is a lot to consider when flat towing vehicles. It is not a simple setup.

In the end it mainly comes down to ease and convenience vs. cost. The more you spend, the easier it is to hook up and unhook your towed vehicle each trip.

I also will be writing a companion article about the pros and cons of tow dollies for RV towing. So be sure to read that as well to be able to make a fair comparison.

And remember that what works for others in their situation may not work for you. As always, do the research and make your choice based on your personal circumstances.

If you do, you will most likely make a choice that you will be pleased with for years. And there are plenty of RVers who happily use either one of these towing solutions successfully.

Once again, have safe and happy travels my friends!

5 Essentials For Your RV Water System

Your RV water system has a greater impact on your daily life than almost any other system in your RV. And it can directly affect your health as well.

So it makes sense to do your best to keep your RV water system in good working order. That way you can make sure that the water you use each day is high quality and safe.

So I’m going to share 5 essential tips about water usage that every RVer should know.

None of these tips are expensive. But they will make your RV travels so much easier if you use them.

So let’s get started with the first essential tip.

Video - 5 essential tips for your RV water system hookup
Click this image to watch my Youtube video on this subject too

Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – I earn a commission if you make a purchase using our affiliate links. I only link to products and companies I use and feel comfortable recommending. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this website.

#1 – Get The Right Kind Of RV Water Hose

In our brick and mortar homes, water is dispensed to us through pipes. And there are safety regulations in place to govern the materials used in those pipes.

This is because unsafe compounds in the piping materials can leach into the water and over time damage our health.

In an RV, we also have water pipes once the water reaches the inside of the RV. But in between the campground source and the RV, we rely on a flexible hose to convey the water.

So what kind of materials is that RV water hose made of? Is any old hose OK to use for your drinking water?

If you ask the average person, they would probably say that any hose will do the job just fine. But that is not true!

Most water hoses found in a hardware or building supply store are designed for use in a garden or outside area. So the materials used in those hoses do not have to meet strict food safe standards.

And some of the materials used in the construction of those water hoses are not safe for drinking water use.

So are there water hoses that are safe to use in your RV water system?

Yes, but you have to look for a hose that specifically says that it is “food safe” or “drinking water safe”. And yes, these kind of RV water hoses will cost more than the typical water hose.

But when you are talking about the water you drink every day, don’t go cheap here. Make sure that it is made of high quality materials and “drinking water safe” to use.

Click here for a “drinking water safe” RV hose

(This is an affiliate link for the product on Amazon. It does not cost you any extra to buy the product using my affiliate link if you choose to do so)

#2 – Get An RV Water Hose That Will Last

In addition to getting a water hose that is safe to use for drinking water, you need to get an RV water hose that will last.

After all, as RVers we put these hoses through some pretty hard times. And the connections are usually the part of the hose that goes first.

I can certainly recall some times where I needed to apply some serious torque to get my water hose to connect properly.

This is especially true in RV campgrounds where the water faucet connection is old and worn.

Well, all of that extra tightening can easily and quickly wear out a water hose with plastic connectors. In fact, I have had them break apart in my hands after a while.

So getting a quality water hose for your RV water system also involves getting one that has strong metal connectors on both ends.

Again, this is going to cost more money than the hoses with plastic connectors. But that’s why the manufacturers make them that way. To keep the cost down.

And if you only go RV camping every now and then, it may last a while. But if you use your RV regularly, that kind of hose is actually going to cost you more in the long run.

This is because you will be replacing it long before the hose itself is worn out. The connectors will fail first.

So make sure to get a hose that will stand up to the unique challenges of regular RV water system use.

Click here for an RV hose with metal connectors

(This is an affiliate link for the product on Amazon. It does not cost you any extra to buy the product using my affiliate link if you choose to do so)

#3 – Get A Water Pressure Regulator With A Gauge

My next essential tip is about RV water pressure regulators. Make sure not only to get one for your RV, but also make sure that it has a readable gauge.

RV travels take you to lots of places and lots of different water hookups. Water pressure regulators are needed because some of those water connections can have extremely high or low water pressure.

If the water pressure from the campground connection is very high, it could damage the pipe connections in your RV water system.

And since those connections are usually hidden, you can imagine how difficult it is to repair. And costly too!

So an RV water pressure regulator helps resolve that issue. It reduces the water pressure to a safe level for your RV.

But there are some regulators that just have a readout dial. Nothing tells you what the water pressure reading is that is going into your RV.

And you can’t adjust the pressure to your specific rig or needs. Of course, it’s nice to have the color-coded readout, but a gauge is much better.

So be sure that the RV water pressure regulator you buy tells you what the exact water pressure is in PSI. And also that it allows you to adjust that pressure as needed.

Click here for my recommended RV water pressure regulator with a readable gauge

(This is an affiliate link for the product on Amazon. It does not cost you any extra to buy the product using my affiliate link if you choose to do so)

What Is A Safe RV Water Pressure?

The answer to this question is dependent on the age and condition of your rig. But there are some general guidelines that many RVing websites agree on.

Generally speaking, if your RV is more than just a couple of years old, you may want to keep the water pressure between 40 – 50 PSI.

If it is a fairly new rig, the plumbing has probably been tested up to 100 PSI at the manufacturer. But you don’t want a steady diet of that kind of water pressure going into your RV.

So for newer rigs, many RVers have successfully adjusted the pressure to 60 PSI and had good results.

But what about low water pressure?

There is only so much pressure that you can get out of a hookup with low PSI. But an adjustable water pressure regulator allows you to get as much as you can.

In most cases you will find a screw on the top of the regulator that can adjust the water pressure.

By tightening the screw, you can often raise the water pressure. And by loosening it, the water pressure going into your RV is reduced.

The real point is that having an adjustable water pressure regulator with a gauge puts you in control. It allows you to set the water pressure in your RV water system to the level that you desire.

#4 – Use A 90 Degree Elbow Water Connector

As mentioned above, you will encounter all kinds of water hookups when you travel in an RV. And some of those hookups are very close to the ground.

In fact, sometimes the connection is so close that it makes it difficult to get the hose connected without kinking it.

This is especially true if you use an RV water pressure regulator. These units work best when they are first in line at the campground water connection.

So when you add the water pressure regulator to the hose connection at the faucet, more room is needed. And if the water faucet is close to the ground you may run out of room fast.

Also, the water connection that goes into the RV is usually on a vertical wall. If you like to use a water filter or other accessory before the water enters your RV, this can be a problem.

The weight of the filter or accessory can put downward pressure on the water connection going into the RV. Over time, this can weaken that connection and leaks develop that are hard to resolve easily.

So in both scenarios mentioned above, using a 90 degree elbow can solve the problem.

If the faucet is too low, just attach the 90 degree elbow. Then you can put the water pressure regulator and anything else you wish on the hose without running out of room.

And if you attach the 90 degree elbow when the hose goes into the RV, this solves the weight issue at the wall connection.

Since the 90 degree elbow points down at the connection, now gravity is working for you and not against you in this critical area.

These little 90 degree connectors are so cheap, but they help so much to make your RV water system last without developing leaks prematurely. So get a few of them and keep them on hand!

Click here for a 90 degree RV water connector

(This is an affiliate link for the product on Amazon. It does not cost you any extra to buy the product using my affiliate link if you choose to do so)

#5 – Cold Weather RVing Tips

My last essential tip for your RV water system is about what you should do with your campground water connection in really cold weather.

When I say cold weather, I mean when the temperatures will be falling to freezing or below for a few hours. Above freezing, your water hookup should be fine.

But if you know that freezing temperatures could be in store, I recommend unhooking from the campground faucet altogether.

Of course, before you unhook, be sure to put sufficient water in your fresh water tank first. Then just use the water pump to feed your faucets and shower.

In fact, I just had a little bit of a wakeup call on this subject recently.

I saw that the temps were going to go below freezing for a few hours, so I unplugged my hose from the RV. But I forgot and left the outside water filter on the faucet.

The next morning the water had frozen in the filter, expanded, and tore it in half!

This was a real reminder of the damage that can done to RV plumbing by freezing water.

Of course, many RVers seem to ignore this advice and many get away with it too.

But nobody likes big plumbing repair bills. Especially when they happen simply because you didn’t take a few minutes and unplug your RV water connection.

So be sure to take freeze warnings seriously and prepare well for them. This includes unhooking any water filters and storing them in a warmer area.

Conclusion

None of the RV gear recommended above is expensive. In fact, they are very cheap compared to some other RV related items and gear.

But they can make sure that your RV water system is the best that it can be. And having these items can make your RV travels less costly and frustrating.

In the case of RV water hoses, many people don’t give them a second thought. So they just buy the cheapest one they can find.

But that can be a bad choice for many reasons. Just getting a “drinking water safe” hose with metal connections is the right choice for this section of your RV water system.

Then getting 90 degree elbows can make sure that you are ready for almost any water hookup issue you may encounter.

And finally, don’t tempt freezing temperatures when you are RV camping!

Unhooking at the campground pedestal is the smart move in these cases every time.

I hope these 5 essential tips have been helpful for you.

We would love to hear about your own experiences with RV water hookups. So please comment below and share your knowledge with us as well.

As always, have safe and happy travels my friends!

Your RV Internet Connection Made Simple And Easy

Having a fast, reliable RV internet connection is a must for modern RVers. It’s not really a luxury any more. It’s a necessity!

But when you wander into the field of electronics and gadgets, it’s easy to get lost and bewildered. And lots of money can be spent in the pursuit of fast RV internet!

However, having a fast and reliable internet connection almost anywhere you go doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it can be surprisingly simple and easy!

The simple and easy way to get a fast RV internet connection
Click this image to watch my Youtube video on this subject

Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – I earn a commission if you make a purchase using our affiliate links. I only link to products and companies I use and feel comfortable recommending. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this website.

What About Campground Wifi?

In a perfect world, we could count on all RV campgrounds to provide us with fast internet service. But it’s not a perfect RVing world and campground wifi service is often extremely slow.

In all fairness though, campgrounds are not always to blame for poor wifi reception either.

The truth is that building a wifi system that will allow all of their campers to access the internet at fast speeds is very expensive.

One of the main reasons for this is that a lot of RVers also want to stream online content regularly. Especially from services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon or others.

Unfortunately, streaming videos is resource intensive when you have a lot of people doing it at once. So it’s not uncommon to see campground wifi systems slow to a crawl, especially at times of high usage.

So relying on a fast and consistent RV internet connection through campground wifi is not a good strategy. It can be helpful at times, but it shouldn’t be your main internet source.

My Simple And Easy RV Internet Connection

After doing a lot of online research into this subject one thing became clear. And it is that if you are traveling a lot in your RV, you need to take responsibility for your online connectivity yourself.

If you are always relying on an internet connection provided in some way by others, you are going to be frequently disappointed.

Of course, there are lots of public wifi access points available these days. But you have to hunt them down and they are not always very good. And you also could face online security issues when you don’t know who else is on the system with you.

And the farther you go out into nature, as many of us like to do, the fewer choices you are going to have.

So I developed an internet connectivity setup that has proven to be simple, easy to implement, reliable, and inexpensive. It has worked well for us and I would like to share it with you now.

There are three components to this system and they are – (1) a dedicated hotspot, (2) a high quality cell booster, (3) a portable outside antenna. Let me explain how each of these components work together for us.

1 – A dedicated hotspot

So what is a hotspot anyhow? Really, it’s just a device that allows other electronic devices like cell phones, tablets, computers and TVs to connect to the internet.

Some RVers have a cell service plan that allows them to use their cell phone for this purpose. When the phone connects to the internet through the cell tower, it can share that connection with other devices.

One problem with this approach is that using your phone this way eats up a lot of battery power. And on some phones, if you receive and make a phone call, your RV internet connection is lost altogether.

And what if you want to have a private phone conversation? The internet connection for your other devices may suffer severely if you go out of earshot.

And finally, cell service plans often put restrictions on hotspot usage by your phone.

So, in view of all of this, I decided to use a dedicated hotspot that does only one thing and does it well – share an online internet connection.

Which Cell Service And Hotspot To Choose?

There are so many choices when it comes to your cell service carrier, it’s downright paralyzing. Added to that is the fact that the main carriers are changing their service plans all the time.

And they also add lots of fine print in each new plan offering too. So it’s a good idea to scrutinize your cell plan very carefully to be sure of what you are getting for internet connectivity.

For RV travel, the two carriers that are most often used is Verizion and AT&T. The reason for this is simple. These two carriers have the most cell coverage in the US.

T-Mobile is not bad though. But Sprint is only usable mainly around larger urban areas.

But in my research I came across a reseller of AT&T cell service that has great reviews from a lot of RVers. It’s called OTR Mobile. Just click the link to visit their website.

I am not affiliated with them in any way, but I can recommend them based on my experience with their service so far. In fact, we have had an excellent RV internet connection almost everywhere we have gone across the country.

And the best part is the cost. We currently have an unlimited and unthrottled plan that only costs us $70 per month as of writing this.

We have used it for all of our computing needs online and also for streaming too. And it has worked very well for us, even in rural areas.

There are dedicated hotspots that you can buy with the service and we are satisfied with the Velocity 2 hotspot that we bought from OTR Mobile.

It connects up to 10 devices to the internet simultaneously. And we have used almost all of those connections so far.

Of course, you can buy more expensive and more capable hotspots if you like. But we can highly recommend OTR Mobile for the hotspot and the service that we currently have.

Click here to check out the dedicated hotspot and cell service plan from OTR Mobile

2 – A High Quality Cell Booster

The next step in this simple system is to purchase a high quality RV cell booster. And for us, the choice was to buy from the industry leader, WeBoost.

There are increasingly more companies to choose from in the RV cell boosting field. But WeBoost has been doing this a long time and they get consistently great reviews.

But which cell booster to buy for your RV travels? There are boosters that are specifically designed for use in an automobile. And they can be adapted for use in an RV or motorhome.

But WeBoost makes a dedicated RV cell booster that meets the needs of most RV travelers. It’s the Drive-X RV booster.

It’s more expensive than the boosters used in automobile applications, but I want the best cell signal boost that I can get when I am in rural areas. And this booster provides that. In fact, it’s the most boost allowed by a cellular booster that can be used in motion.

After looking around for a long time I bought the RV bundle that TechnoRV offers. It includes the booster and antenna for use inside an RV and a means to adapt it for use in a car or truck too.

And finally, it also includes equipment that allows me to attach the outside antenna to my RV without drilling holes. Let’s talk about that part of the system now.

3 – A Portable Outside Antenna

Being an RV inspector, I have seen firsthand the kind of damage that water intrusion can do to an RV. So I don’t like drilling holes in my motorhome if I don’t absolutely have to.

But the vast majority of RV cell booster installations that you see do exactly that. They drill a hole in the roof somewhere for the antenna base.

Then they run wires through the RV to the spot where the booster is installed. And then they run more wires to the inside antenna.

This is a serious bit of work. And a lot of folks are not comfortable with all of this drilling and inside installation work. And who can blame them?

But the RV bundle sold by TechnoRV approaches this issue from a whole different perspective.

What if you didn’t have to permanently mount your RV cell booster outside antenna? What if you could even raise your antenna far above the roof of your RV for the best cell service reception possible?

Click here for the WeBoost Drive-X RV Bundle from TechnoRV

(This is an affiliate link for the product on TechnoRV. It does not cost you any extra to buy the product using my affiliate link if you choose to do so)

All of this is possible with the RV bundle from TechnoRV and here is how it works:

Our Outside RV Cell Booster Antenna

The TechnoRV bundle comes with a very high quality suction cup that is made for use on the outside of an RV. Now this is not the cheap suction cups found at Harbor Freight. Those cheaper suction cups have their place, but this is not one of them.

In fact, just to be safe, I also include a second suction cup for extra stability.

The bundle also comes with a means of attaching the outside cell booster antenna to a painter’s pole. And you can easily buy one of these at Lowes or Home Depot for just a few dollars.

You simply attach the antenna to the top of the extension part of the pole. Then you attach the suction cup to the handle of the pole. But how do you attach the cell booster cable to the antenna?

A little known tip about RVs is that you can easily pass wiring through the slideout wiper seal when the slide is moving either in or out. Of course, when the slideout reaches its fully extended position or if it is completely retracted this doesn’t work.

But when it is in between these two opposite positions, it’s actually easy to fish a cable through the side of the slideout. As an alternative, you could also run the cable out through one of your RV windows.

Then you simply attach the RV cell booster cable to the antenna and mount it on your RV wall with the suction cup.

All of this takes me only a couple of minutes when I set up at a campsite. And the removal is equally as quick and easy when we leave.

Installing the antenna this way lets me run it up to the full height of the pole’s extension when it is in use. This is several feet above the RV roof. And that means that I get a much better RV internet connection because the antenna has fewer obstacles to overcome at that height.

My RV outside antenna
My outside antenna setup

An RV Internet Connection With Cell Boosters

If you put all of these components together you get a reliable internet connection in most places where you camp. But let me also discuss the proper use of a cell booster in this system.

Some people seem to have the opinion that they should leave their cell booster on all the time. Even when the connection is a good one.

But that is not what cell boosting is for. It’s designed for those cases when your dedicated hotspot cannot make a solid connection on its own. This usually happens when you are not in an area with readily available cell service.

But if your location is where there is plenty of good cell signal, you should probably turn off the RV cell booster. Why?

It’s the same reason that it makes it hard to understand a person who has a megaphone and shouts into your ear at close range. It’s just too loud and the sound gets garbled.

But suppose that person walks away about 20 yards and points the megaphone at you while talking. You can probably understand everything they say easily.

It’s the same with cell boosters. If you use them when the signal reception is fine, they may even degrade the incoming signal. So just use your RV cell booster when your hotspot needs help receiving the signal on its own.

How About When No Cell Towers Are Around?

What if you like to boondock a lot on BLM land way away from almost anyone else? Can you still get a good RV internet connection?

The good news is that in many cases it is possible to get a good internet signal if you add one more component to the mix. And that is a long-range directional antenna, like the Yagi antenna.

Click here for the Yagi directional antenna

(This is an affiliate link for the product on Amazon. It does not cost you any extra to buy the product using my affiliate link if you choose to do so)

The antenna that comes with the WeBoost Drive-X RV package is omni-directional. That means that it looks for reception in all directions. But by doing that it shortens its effective range.

Directional antennas are made to look for cell reception in only one direction. So you have to find out the location of the nearest cell tower and point the antenna in that direction.

This takes a little extra fiddling when you set up camp, but when you get used to it, it can be very effective. Of course, if you get too far out away from civilization, you aren’t going to get any usable cell signal.

But many boondockers have used these directional antennas to pull in a useful RV internet connection when almost nobody else can. Of course, you need a high quality cell booster mentioned above to make this work like it should.

And for those who like to switch between campgrounds and rural boondocking, you may need two poles. One with a pre-installed omni-directional antenna, and one with a directional antenna instead.

Conclusion

So here are the advantages of the RV internet connection setup that I have explained above:

  • No holes in your RV
  • No need for expensive RV cell booster permanent installation
  • Easy setup and tear down
  • One central hotspot for all of your devices
  • Low monthly cost through OTR Mobile
  • Cell boosting for both toad vehicle and RV
  • Highest possible antenna placement on the RV
  • Pull in far away cell signal with just a change of antenna

I hope this information about our RV internet connection setup has been helpful. If you have other suggestions on RV connectivity, please tell us in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.

Have safe and happy travels my friends!