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  1. #1

    Default Computer - trying to make this work

    It will be possible for me to thru hike next year if I do some of my writing/computer related work along the way.

    Is there a small laptop that would carry well in a backpack and still function well enough to work a couple hours at a time?

    Thanks for any info...

  2. #2

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    Forgot to say... I would need to use internet on it from time to time but not on a daily basis. Basically work on documents and then send them out on the internet when I'm finished. Thanks!

  3. #3
    Registered User Studlintsean's Avatar
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    You could try something like this which will sync with your iphone (or a different brand that syncs to android, samsung, etc). I am sure others will have better ideas but this could probably work.

    https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-.../dp/B005EOWBKE

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    Registered User Water Rat's Avatar
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    If it has to be a laptop... Some people have been known to mail their laptops ahead on the trail. Just bounce box it to the next town. Otherwise most laptops are a bit bulky and heavy.

    If a phone and portable keyboard is not what you are looking for, what about a tablet and portable keyboard? That would be a way to access your documents in town, as well as allow you to write when you have time/feel up to it on the trail. You would probably get better battery life out of a tablet than you would a laptop. Keep in mind you might also need an extra power source (such as battery backup). The weight starts to add up when electronics are involved.

    You might also look into a mini notebook...but I seem to recall those weigh more than the tablet option and take up about the same space, if not more.

    Many find that they are not up to writing after a full day of hiking (day after day), but everyone is different. More power to you if you still have the physical and mental energy!

  5. #5
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    I have a Microsoft Surface that I use while traveling (not backpacking--just when away from home for work or holidays) that's been really great. Good battery life. The keyboard is just so-so, but it works.

    But are you taking a smartphone with you? If so, maybe you're better off switching to a "phablet" that's big enough to work with a bluetooth keyboard. That will save you from having to carry the extra weight of a laptop or tablet.

  6. #6

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    iPad air or mini with a blue tooth keyboard.

    My daughter uses this combo for her school work.

    The Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard is fantastic. Works with the iPad, iPhone, Samsung and more.
    The Belkin Qode Ultimate PRO is nice as well. Integrated with a case which is nice. (for iPad air 2)

  7. #7

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    A cheap pacer is about 3 pounds.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    A cheap pacer is about 3 pounds.
    acer…...........

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Puppy View Post
    It will be possible for me to thru hike next year if I do some of my writing/computer related work along the way.

    Is there a small laptop that would carry well in a backpack and still function well enough to work a couple hours at a time?

    Thanks for any info...
    I own a business and have had to hike/camp with a computer. I carry a MacBook Air in an Opsack and three data cards (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon). I also have a backup battery that will recharge the laptop once, but have not yet taken the battery on the hike although I have had people meet me up the trail with it. I believe the computer and network cards add 3.5 pounds. I do not carry anything additional, like a laptop case, etc. The computer stays dry but has no protection from bumps and bangs.

    Usually there is some service on the AT from one of those three providers, but many times there is not service in low areas far from a road. I've probably only hiked about 120 miles of different sections of the trail between Springer and SNP, so my experience may not be the best indicator. I too want to do a thru hike but have concluded that taking a computer would not be a practical option.

  10. #10
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Another ten years it will all be on a watch....and will last weeks on a single charge,
    Last edited by Wise Old Owl; 11-10-2016 at 22:35.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  11. #11

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    Ah, you are obviously serious about getting back to nature...

  12. #12
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    I write when I'm on the trail. Most often, I use a notebook and transcribe the stuff later, but if I plan to crank out a lot of text, I have a folding Bluetooth keyboard that I can use with my smartphone. That's lighter than any computer or full size tablet I could bring, and doesn't make me tear my hair out the way the on screen keyboard of a phone or tablet does.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    Ah, you are obviously serious about getting back to nature...
    For some of us there is no choice. I'd give just about anything to leave the computer out of my nature experiences. It is known as "my boat anchor". Your sarcasm is entirely unfair. I hope we never meet on the trail.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Another Kevin View Post
    I write when I'm on the trail. Most often, I use a notebook and transcribe the stuff later, but if I plan to crank out a lot of text, I have a folding Bluetooth keyboard that I can use with my smartphone. That's lighter than any computer or full size tablet I could bring, and doesn't make me tear my hair out the way the on screen keyboard of a phone or tablet does.
    audo dictation takes this even a step further...I think there's already a few word smythes here that use it, or so it seems.

  15. #15
    Registered User Wolf - 23000's Avatar
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    Puppy,

    If you set on using a computer I would also recommend creating two different profiles on your computer. One while on trail and the second when you are trying to transmit information over the internet or in town.

    Windows has many services that run in the background. These services take up power and will reduce your battery life. For example you don't want your computer trying to connect to a blue tooth connection or a wireless signal unless it has some place to connect to. You can also lower your display screen on the trail to help save power. It is simple things like this that can be done that can extend your battery life-span by an extra hour or more depending on the computer.

    Wolf

  16. #16
    Clueless Weekender
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    audo dictation takes this even a step further...I think there's already a few word smythes here that use it, or so it seems.
    It's also more disturbing to anyone camped near me.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  17. #17
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    I have the 11-inch Macbook Air. It's nice and small, doesn't weigh that much, etc., but the battery life isn't that good and there is no way to connect to the internet without wi-fi. It runs all the usual business apps, a real OS, etc. It would easily fit in my pack.

    If I were in your situation, I would also look at taking an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard, and have a cellular data subscription. I'd also carry a fairly large external battery so I could keep it charged (but only if you plan to use it more than an hour or so per day). Now that I think about it, a bluetooth keyboard would make the largest iPhone (the "plus" model) almost as usable. The major downside to the iPad/iPhone is running applications and doing actual work, though I think it could be done unless you are working on large spreadsheets or CAD drawings or something like that.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  18. #18
    Garlic
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    Ah, you are obviously serious about getting back to nature...
    Quote Originally Posted by Another Kevin View Post
    It's also more disturbing to anyone camped near me.
    So far, good humor and snark are tied--not bad!

    I don't even hike with a phone, and if I were in a bad mood I'd be snarky about carrying a computer, too. But I respect those who manage to thru-hike while not only holding down a job, but actually running a business. I can imagine a whole different mindset on a hike with an income stream!

    Those I know who have done it in past years have used the bounce box system, and/or used computers in town, either public or private. I found it very easy to get access to computers on the AT, sometimes nearly daily in the mid-Atlantic states. I think one span was five days, up in Maine, and a hitch or cab ride could have cut that down to four or less if business was waiting.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  19. #19

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    I would find and carry a small tablet/large phone like the Galaxy Note and then carry a fold-away Bluetooth keyboard. That would be the lightest and most convenient option. There are a couple of good Office Suite apps that you can get for free or buy that work with .doc and Excel files. I think you would find that keeping the tablet/phone on Airplane mode you would easily get a couple of hours work done each day for several days.

  20. #20
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeGoldRush View Post
    For some of us there is no choice. I'd give just about anything to leave the computer out of my nature experiences. It is known as "my boat anchor". Your sarcasm is entirely unfair. I hope we never meet on the trail.
    This is blogging, I wasn't sure if RD was directing that at you or me... You appear to be new at this and if it helps to understand, develop a cordial thick skin, towards others. I realize those that know me may call me out as a hypocrite based on past experiences, but reaching out to others and being helpful is key. People will post things here they will never say in front of you in person. Here on WB you will see quite a bit more subconscious stuff. You will also see a learning skill that people will be more apt to pick apart what you type vs what people discuss in front of each other. Some here will write things that do not reflect what they really ment or are unclear.

    As for the electronics, the voice to text features to phones and tablets are awesome, there is little need for a keyboard today. A good modern 4-5 oz smart phone for taking dictation or notes and photos and a removable battery with additional battery or external charger is about all most need, I would turn off the Bluetooth and other items on the power board and also take a Anker External Battery, the best you can afford.

    And the others are right this has little to do with backpacking.


    Hope that helps.


    Woo
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

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