I rarely "camp"- we RV and travel and I work my full-time job while we travel.
I've recently had 3 situations where the cell coverage was "just enough" for me to work, but barely. And, once Friday night hit- the service for the weekend was just crap-awful-bad (Internet requests would stop responding and generally rendered my working ability useless). (East Berlin, PA; Jefferson, OH and Colonial Beach, VA have been my 3 culprits.)
(Before you blame AT&T, we've heard from friends with similar complaints from Verizon.)
AT&T iPhone 4 and 4S for voice + mobile surfing. The 4S performs marginally better than the 4 in terms of getting service. My 4 is up for renewal and I'm not against getting a 5 if it gets better service. Though, I'd prefer to stay with iPhone instead of an Android. Originally, I used the hotspot feature on the iPhones.
AT&T Unite as a hotspot. This is a 4G unit and when it works, performs quite well.
Most of the campgrounds that I've stayed at charge for WiFi. Or, if they don't- it's frightfully bad or I camp in the area of the campground that doesn't have it. I just don't trust the campground WiFi enough to trust/rely on it.
I have read about external antennas and boosters and whatnot, but frankly- it's all Greek to me. The AT&T Unite has 2 plugs for external antennas. The iPhones do not.
Any suggestions for things that I can do to increase my cellular service while we travel? We'd like to go away for a full summer, but I just don't know how if I can't get reliable service while I'm on the east coast.