Many first-time backpackers assume they need something like a Panasonic Toughbook to take backpacking; this is very much wrong. While backpacking is a fairly ‘messy’ means of traveling – and if you’re doing a lot in the wilderness, there’s always the chance of ruining your book – Toughbooks are expensive overkill, not to mention the fact that they weigh far too much to carry around.
As any experienced backpacker will tell you, if you must bring along a laptop, bring a small one. The device should be light and thin, requiring minimal space and being essentially unnoticeable when carried in a bag or pocket. The accessories required should also be equally as light. Some laptops have huge, heavy adapters, which add to the overall burden of a large notebook.
The laptops should be moderate to small sized, and should have decent specs. You won’t need everything an average user would need, however. For example, an optical drive is not needed, as a backpacker is not likely to carry around any discs. RAM doesn’t need to be more than a gigabyte, and integrated graphics chips would be more than enough.
Below is a list of laptops that are good choices for backpackers.
Read Also: The PNW Waterproof Backpack
Asus Eee PC
This one was a difficult choice. It’s battery life is not ideal, though the original model does get three or four hours on a charge. The thing that makes this work is the solid state disc, preventing data from being lost, the small price making it a minor loss if stolen, and the fact that it is small and light, yet large enough to type on.
The power adapter is equally as small, and won’t take up much room. There are also a number USB ports, so multiple devices can be plugged in.
The Apple iBook is becoming a dated gadget, yet it makes a perfect choice for backpackers. They can be found fairly cheap off eBay, have good enough specs to use for general tasks, have smallish adapters, don’t have optical drives, are small and light, durable, and able to connect to the Internet.
This PC hasn’t been released yet, but it will be in just a couple months. It is very small, but has a larger screen than the Eee PC, looks sleek, and has better specs. You could run some game emulators on this machine should you get board. It is more expensive than the Eee PC, but if you’re planning on using the computer fairly often, this is the better choice.
If you want a full-sized laptop (which isn’t recommended), then a Thinkpad will make a good choice. These notebooks are known for being very durable, able to withstand drops and jostles without being injured. They have recently released an ultra-thin notebook that runs on an SSD, so if you can afford it, this one is a good option.