Many Americans love to watch sports on TV, especially football. But what happens when you move into a van and live off-grid in the boondocks, can you still watch TV? I’m glad to say that yes, you can! Lot’s of my friends carry antennas designed to provide them with Over-The-Air (OTA) broadcast TV. In fact some of the true sports fanatics plan their travels around the football season and plan their camping locations around TV reception. I’m not a sports fan but I do like TV so I have Direct TV which gives me most Cable Channels by using a Satellite Dish on a tripod.
There are lots of antennas that work and will pull in many stations from a long ways away, but vandwellers have unique problems because we move so often and live in such a small space that for a TV antenna to be practical for us it has to be:
- Small enough to carry inside when traveling.
- Strong enough to not be fragile when putting it up and down constantly or be damaged by the strong desert winds
- Effective enough to pull in stations from a long ways away.
That’s a surprisingly hard combination to find and after experimenting with many different ones most of my friends have settled on the Clearstream antenna and are using it because it’s small and very sturdy but still works very well. You can get it from Amazon here: ClearStream Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna – 60 Mile Range
My friend Bryce is one of those that likes to watch TV so he has a two Clearstream antennas and gets pretty good reception most places he goes. One of them is on his cargo trailer which is his Man-Cave in the winter and goes into storage for his summer travels. The other is on his slide-in truck camper which he lives in year-around. You can learn more about his set-up in this post I did on it: http://www.cheaprvliving.com/blog/cargo-trailer-man-cave-2/
He is also a guy who loves to cook for and entertain others so he’s always looking for an excuse to have a get-together. If you’ve read my blog for long you’ll remember him because he’s cooked a turkey at the last two Thanksgiving dinners (over 40 people at each one) and he regularly hosts breakfasts, movie nights and other gatherings for everyone in camp. He’ll use any excuse to cook for everyone and what better reason than to watch the BIG GAME? So he threw a Super Bowl Party at his camp and this year about 20 of us were there.
You may be wondering how he cooks for such large groups and usually he just provides the main dish and asks everyone else to bring other dishes and side dishes. That’s always worked out well, we all get plenty to eat and it’s great food! This party was no different, he made meatballs, chicken wings and even a pizza.
He cooks on his large barbecue grill and uses it just like an oven. It’s long enough that it has 4 burners and has a large lid that goes up to open and comes down to close. He turns it into an oven by turning the two outer burners on and leaving the inner burners off and closing the lid. The food he’s cooking goes in the middle between the burners so there is no direct flame below the food. Because the lid is closed the heat is captured and stays inside essentially becoming a very good oven. Anything you can make in an oven, he can make in his barbecue grill.
The same idea works for any barbecue grill and I carry a small Weber Portable grill and have used it often as an oven and it works extremely well for that also. It’s too small to cook for large groups like Bryce does, but for a few people it’s perfect. I love mine and highly recommend it: Weber Go-Anywhere Portable Gas Grill I also highly recommend a book called “Fix it in Foil” for many great recipes you can cook in a Weber from vegetables, deserts, to full meals: Fix It In Foil Cookbook
As usual Bryce put on a great Super Bowl Party!! He has a 55 inch TV in his 7×12 Cargo trailer but we all couldn’t fit inside, so he opened the back doors of the cargo trailer and set it on the tail-end of the trailer. I’d been a little concerned that we wouldn’t be able to see it during the day but as the pictures make clear we could see it surprisingly well. He propped one of the doors open in such a way that the TV was in the shade but everyone could still see it. As the sun set it just got progressively brighter until at dark it was like watching it in a movie theater.
So if you’ve been concerned how you would watch TV or sports if you went on the road, no worries, it’s easy to do. Or, if you’re a social person who prefers to be able to throw parties and entertain others, no problem there either. Many in our camp our fairly introverted so they remain more isolated, but even they can’t resist free food and great fellowship among like-minded people. Whatever you want from life, there are ways around all the issues and you can live the life you want to live.
I’m making Videos on my good friends James and Kyndal’s YouTube Channel. See them here:
If you’re interested in living in a converted cargo trailer, check out this video I shot of a couple living in a 6×12 cargo trailer:
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