View Full Version : possible hiker friendly PC?

05-27-2008, 15:10
First let me say that I know a great many of you would rather unplug from society when hiking. You leave the cell at home, dont worry about email, and maybe even not carry a watch. But for those who feel a need to stay connected on long trips, I got to play with an interesting little device the other day that got me thinking it may be possible to carry a full PC without carrying a great deal of extra weight.

ASUS just released a line of UMPC (ultra-mobile PC) laptops. I got to play with one last week and i was really impressed. Their dimensions are roughly 8.5" wide, 6.5" long, and 1" tall, models are available with 7" and 8.9" screen, and weigh 2.02-2.18 lbs (depending on screen). They have solid state 2G - 20g drives, so much less worry about damaging a hard drive. Available with XP Home or Linux, and price on the 7" w/ XP is $399!


Sorry if this sounds like an advertisement, but I was impressed. I'm probably going to buy one just because i think they're awesome, but considering the weight/size, i'd probably consider carrying it on my upcoming thru. I could use wifi or couple it with a USB cell modem and ditch the cell phone, and make calls with skype. Or replace pen and paper and just type my trail journals... I can always shave 2 lbs elsewhere. :D or heck, I could always mail it home if it didnt work out.

05-27-2008, 15:19
So you're going to bring it so you can type out your journals and use Skype?

Please don't take me for the unplug from society type (even though that what's I ideally want to do). The point I'm trying to make is what more do you want on a hike that a BlackBerry type device can't provide? You can do email, check weather, go to newspaper sites, or pretty much any site that isn't loaded with flash or fancy graphics or whatever. And of course, easily make phone calls. What more do you want to do on the trail?

Just doesn't make a lot of sense why you would use something more bulky when a blackberry seems more efficient to me.

Big Sky
05-27-2008, 15:35
I own a green EEEPC and I absolutely love the thing. I've always been around computers since I was a young kid and I understand your desire to stay connected. To each their own. If you want to take a computer with you for use on a long trip -- do it.

I'm fully ready for the onslaught of fun-making that will come when I take mine on my through hike and I couldn't care less -- my pack still weighs 22 pounds. Sea to Summit makes a dry sack that fits is perfectly :)

05-27-2008, 15:47
very good point, i wont argue that. i guess it just suits my personality/preferences a bit more. actually i've been searching for a mobile device like this for a long time that wasnt so SMALL... i know, it sounds strange... I've never been a big fan of thumb-typing anything more than a few words. the keyboard on the Eee PC is small, but i could type at pretty much full speed on it, which i liked. the screen size makes pages easier to view with resolutions as high as 1024x600. Personally, i probably wouldnt use internet on it via cell service, though its always an option.... i could utilize free wifi rather than paying for a monthly data subscription, so in the long run that saves some money. and because its got windows XP on it, you can have any IM's, programs, etc... that you would have on your desktop/laptop.

its certainly not for the 8lbs-baseweight super-UL's, but i could see myself finding a spot for it in my pack. maybe i just like it because its geeky :)

05-27-2008, 15:56
I've got an EEE as well, it's a cool little laptop for sure! I've thought about packing it up with me, but I'm more than satisfied with the features on my Sprint Mogul phone. I use it for checking work email, writing Word docs, internet (some sites aren't mobile device friendly, but the ones I use are), and of course, phone calls. Oh, I also can remote my PC at work too.
Any device you choose will be at the mercy of cellular coverage however. Forget the Skype when you go into an area with bad cellular reception and decent bandwidth is lacking. I also use an external Holux bluetooth GPS with the Mogul. Weight-5.8 ounces, USB charging cable-1.5 oz., Devotec solar charger - 2.8oz. (10.1 oz total.)

05-27-2008, 18:40
Consider getting a free G-mail account from Google. In addition to e-mail, you can create, upload, edit, share, and store text documents, spreadsheets, and calendars for free using Google Docs and Google Calendar. You can upload and share photos for free with Google's Picasa. I think you can even IM with G-mail.

Nothing to carry, and you can access to all your stuff from any computer you can get your hands on.

Once you've uploaded your stuff, you never have to worry about your computer crapping out or getting swiped. Instant backup.

No cost to you. And it weighs 0.0 grams.

The downside would be lack of anytime, on-demand access.

05-28-2008, 11:52
Yea more power to you if you want to take it along. I have done so before and came home with a broken wet computer.... so keep it safe and dry!

05-28-2008, 19:49
I have a EEE very, very nice and plan on taking it with me in the Alps this year mostly just to assist in the language problem (reservations, maps etc) not sure I would take it on the AT

To add a little more power visit www.eeeuser.com and visit the forums section.

05-29-2008, 00:04
Or you could try out an OLPC (if they are out yet):

They weigh just over 3lbs, are resistant to dust and water, and I'm pretty sure you can still spend ~$300 to buy one for yourself and send another one to a child overseas.

If you've really got money to spend, try one of these:

Pepper Beard
05-29-2008, 00:19
One has also to consider how much it weighs with the battery, recharging equipment, case, water-proofing (it must be water proof, not water resistant) etc.

Another consideration, how long is the battery life? If it's 3 hours, you'll be able to run it around 30 minutes a day.

My Palm can run for around 24 hours and weighs just ounces even with the recharger and has been dropped so many times, I've lost count.

Odd Thomas
05-29-2008, 05:59

Weight: 14 ounces


05-29-2008, 07:36
sweet. With a computer that small I can take my porn collection anywhere!

05-30-2008, 12:02
Check out the HP mini-note. Those things are great... the next computer I get will be an iPhone, but I hope to follow that with a mini-note soon thereafter. :)

(I think the HP probably specs and reviews a little better than most other ultra-portables.)

Odd Thomas
05-31-2008, 03:38

Another contender


05-31-2008, 15:59

Another contender
Not really since you can't buy it yet. The HP can be purchased already.

06-02-2008, 17:18
they're all possibilities for me, and more possibilities will open up in the future, as i'm not thru-hiking until 2010. When i look at any sort of gear i try and find something that best satisfies the big 3 groups -- price, size(or weight), and function.

for me, at least, the Eee PC seems to fit -- the price of the 900 model is around $550, where other models like the OQO above are $1500 for the base model, and they go up from there. as for size/weight -- ok so its not the smallest/lightest choice, but i dont like thumb-typing, and 2-2.5 lbs isnt THAT bad -- keep in mind some people carry $500-1000+ DSLR camera setups with roughly the same weight. finally function -- the fact it has a solid state drive is a big selling point for me because i'd be less worried about trashing a mechanical drive. 8.9" screen is a plus. it pretty much has everything i could ask for -- desktop windows OS with the ability to install virtually any PC program, could install google earth, hook up a lightweight (2-3oz) GPS receiver, could have mobile broadband via ATT or Verizon... i could keep going.

i'm glad to see i'm not the only one here checking these things out. now if they'd finally get some black 900's in stock.... :)

max patch
06-02-2008, 18:09
I'm going to get the 9 inch as soon as Amazon gets them in stock. Estimated wait is 1-2 months.

I think I'll get the XP version as I don't know squat about Lineux.

The 7 inch is a steal at $275 at BJs.

But I wouldn't take either of them on the AT. This is for vacations and coffe shop use.

06-02-2008, 23:12
I'm going to get the 9 inch as soon as Amazon gets them in stock. Estimated wait is 1-2 months.

I think I'll get the XP version as I don't know squat about Lineux.

The 7 inch is a steal at $275 at BJs.

But I wouldn't take either of them on the AT. This is for vacations and coffe shop use.

I'm doing the same thing -- waiting until somebody gets some *black* 900's in stock. I'm going to order the Linux version because its got 8 gigs more space and i've got a spare OEM XP Pro key i can use to load windows myself. the XP and Linux models are the same price, so might as well get more SSD space. :cool:

if you dont mind the pearl white models, newegg.com still has both XP and Linux models in stock. i hate white laptops. i bet LW gets more excited by blue ones. :D

i'm gonna order one anyway. i've got plenty of time to change my mind about carrying it for the long haul.