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To Kindle or not...that is the question
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jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
To Kindle or not...that is the question on 05/30/2012 11:40:42 MDT Print View

The cheapest kindle is about six ounces. How do they hold up on the trail? I'd hate it if it broke and I was left with nothing to read; the whole point is to have more access to better books. I don't want the internet; just a reader; except, could you use a kindle to send an emergency sos? (Obviously I haven't done much research).

Emil Gazda

Locale: Southeast
Kindle and 3G on 05/30/2012 11:58:08 MDT Print View

The older Kindle Keyboards have free 3G access so as long as you can get a signal you can send email.

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Re: To Kindle or not...that is the question on 05/30/2012 12:35:11 MDT Print View

Kindle. No question. But they are breakable. I've broken one, but it took forgetting it was in my bag and chucking my pack across a river and hitting a rock (that also dented a titanium pot). It broke because of my idiocy. And no, don't depend on the internet.

Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
To Kindle or not...that is the question on 05/30/2012 12:55:39 MDT Print View

Requires 3g to be useful for SOS, also the touch version (the one you were quoting, having 3g) doesn't work outside wikipedia and amazon. The kindle keyboard 3g however will work with email or whatever, but yeah it requires 3g connectivity.

At 8oz or whatever, go kindle imho. I was going to bring a 250 page paperback that weighed more than my kindle keyboard 3g. I was going to leave my guidebook at home, missing out on some experience in favor of going light.... but now I don't have to. I'm bringing multiple books, as I'll surely finish the first, and guidebooks, and whatever else I want, all for that 8oz.

I can't speak for their durability, as I've just recently bought a 3g keyboard, but man, I'm looking forward to summer miles with it. Just don't sit on or throw your bag, and wrap it up in your sleeping bag/quilt.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Kindle good on 05/30/2012 13:48:43 MDT Print View

I've carried my Kindle with no problems. The usual caveats apply: Don't use it to swat a fly on a rock, don't toss it in the fire or use it as a windscreen for the stove, don't use it as a paddle for your packraft, etc.

To save the battery, turn it off completely at night, don't just put it to sleep. Hold the power switch in until the screen turns completely blank. You should have no trouble with a week long trip or even longer, depending on how much you read.

I tried once connecting with the 3G, but was not able to get a signal.

Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
To Kindle or not...that is the question on 05/30/2012 13:57:31 MDT Print View

I've carried a Kindle for up to a week with no issues. I made a thin bubble wrap envelope as a lightweight case to protect it. I don't throw it around or abuse it. The Kindle, especially the newer ones, are lighter than most of the paperbacks I'd take anyway and you can have multiple books, quidebooks, etc., available.

Edited by rgless on 05/30/2012 13:58:15 MDT.

Eric Brigman
(engine386) - F - M

Locale: Central Florida
Kindle on 05/30/2012 13:59:39 MDT Print View

word is that they may be coming out with a touch kindle with built in light, in july. I'm thinking of waiting for that one, but not sure about the battery life or extra weight

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
Re: Kindle on 05/30/2012 14:33:08 MDT Print View

I've never considered owning an E-reader, since I really enjoy turning the pages and holding real books. But for backpacking or camping, I can definitely see the allure. The majority of battery life I use from my flashlights and headlamps is to read a book at night. If I had an illuminated e-reader I'd save flashlight battery life, carry something lighter than books, and be able to read at night.

In briefly checking out options, I'm interested in the Barnes and Noble Nook with Glowlight. It's not an LCD screen, it's the E-ink, so easy to read even in sunlight, and yet it has a lighting option built in. And best of all, it's still only 7 ounces.

The Ipads, Kindle Fire, etc. have no appeal to me since I have no interest in going online, watching movies, or anything else similar when I'm backpacking or camping.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: To Kindle or not...that is the question on 05/30/2012 14:35:48 MDT Print View

After dragging my feet on whether to take it, I finally relented and was very happy to have it (especially on a couple layover days). FWIW the e-ink display is far more readable than the Fire's backlit color screen and of course, uses no power whatever when not scrolling.

Mine's a 3G model and the browser is almost worthless in a city, nevermind in the sticks, so I wouldn't count on it for communications.

However, there's a much more compelling upside, which is adding maps, first aid information, trail guides, various owner's manuals, astronomical charts, etc. As long as you're carrying it you might as well pack it with resources. And yes, it's easily read via headlamp, including red ones to preserve night vision.



Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Paper or Plastic? on 05/30/2012 14:45:01 MDT Print View

I'll take paper, please.

I hold dear the books I inherited from my father, finding his signature, a date, the occasionally underlined passage that gives me a clue as to what he was thinking back then.
I own books that still smell like my old bedroom or incense or campfires.
Call me a romantic.
There is my copy of Walden I read entirely on the trail, page corners smudged with High Sierra dirt.
There is the collection of haiku by Basho complete with wine stains on a few pages and a secondhand copy of Allen Ginsberg's Howl with the cover corner (somehow appropriately) chewed off by a dog.
Life, history, memories, a time and a place. Physicality.
It's a beautiful thing to now see my son browse through my library and to catch him reading dates and margin notes that, like my father, I've inscribed inscribed in some past life. To pass around dog-eared, worn copies amongst friends (at least 4 people have read my copies of Fight Club and Breakfast of Champions), to check out a poetry anthology from the library and find "YES!!!!" triumphantly scrawled in some strangers hand next to some W.C. Williams prose...

I'll take paper, please. Sorry, but no self-respecting hopeless romantic hits the power button and scrolls through a backlit touch menu to read Walt Whitman while reclined on a slab of granite.

Edited by xnomanx on 05/30/2012 15:03:12 MDT.

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Re: Re: To Kindle or not...that is the question on 05/30/2012 14:50:31 MDT Print View

FWIW, I think the Nook is actually a better option that the Kindle. I know kindle has become a generic name for e-reader, but the Nook's interface is much much better.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: To Kindle or not...that is the question on 05/30/2012 14:55:27 MDT Print View

+1 Craig!

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Re: Paper or Plastic? on 05/30/2012 15:15:30 MDT Print View

I guess it just depends on whether you think of books as an end in themselves. I did, until I moved. And then moved again. And then painfully purged my books. And then moved again. And now I'm purging books again in preparation for moving again. A kindle has been liberatory in that I now own less stuff, I have to move less stuff, but I also, thankfully don't get as attached. I get the romantic argument, but in the end, books are a means for conveying information. Some books I have a real attachment to. Most I don't. I somehow convinced myself I was attached to all of my books, that they somehow reflected me, but they don't. At best I read most of my books once and moved on. The ones I'll keep are tattered and worn and won't ever leave me, but that's just a very few now.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Paper or Plastic? on 05/30/2012 15:32:47 MDT Print View

I usually pass on my books to others donate them or go to the library.I live in a 200 square foot apt. with a mattress on the floor and no t.v. and no chairs,1 cup,1 bowl,1 spoon,1 plate, 1 knife and 1 fork.What do you have?It took me less than 1 hour to move all my stuff down the alley(walking)to where I live now.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Paper or Plastic? on 05/30/2012 15:38:30 MDT Print View

Yup, plus I canna recall when it became an either/or proposition. It is true that you can't start a fire with a Kindle; or, perhaps more accurately, an intentional one.



Here There
(cowexnihilo) - MLife
Get a kindle, keep the paper books on 05/30/2012 17:31:25 MDT Print View

I love my Kindle Keyboard and I love my real books. I have a few hundred paper books that I will never get rid of (whittled down from a couple thousand) but unfortunately they end up being packed away most of the time due to moves that are all too frequent. Nothing will ever replace their look, smell, and amazing tactile quality, but when I travel paper books can't match the convenience of my kindle. I hope at some point to settle down somewhere and give my paper books a proper home, but even then my kindle will go with me when I'm not able to take more than one or two paper books along.

As mentioned above, a padded mailer makes a great lightweight case. Just don't take it backpacking if temps are below freezing, since the screen won't function properly.


Steve C

Locale: sierra nevada
kindling on 05/30/2012 21:14:27 MDT Print View

I have never used an e-reader, but can see the attraction of having one. I have foregone both books and e-readers in the backcountry in favor of an MP3 player with audiobooks and music. don't actually listen to the music much in the backcountry but do listen to books at night while stargazing from my bag. Saves on battery power, doesn't attract a bunch of creepy crawleez with a light and it is lighter and more importantly for bikepacking much more compact than a book or e-reader. Can't send an SOS with it, but if that was really a concern to me I would invest in a PLB. MUCH more reliable than any other option IMHO.

John Tunnicliffe

Locale: Northern California
Kindling, of course on 05/30/2012 22:39:58 MDT Print View

I was an enemy of the Kindle corp for several years, but, in the words of John Astin "I am much better now..."

Look, the e-reader is the future. Put it (an entire library of knowledge / inspiration / entertainment) in a sturdy cover inside a dry bag and you are set for many, many hours of use. I've been carrying mine on every wander this year and have had zero problems with it, technical or otherwise. Zero. And I have never run it out of juice.

Yeah, I still have paper books, hundreds of 'em, bookcases in every room and I love each and every one of 'em and I'll never get rid of 'em. But I can't haul all those books around with me. I currently have more than 50 books on my 3G and it's still no heavier than it was when I bought it. It is obvious to me that paper stands in poor comparison to this kind of functionality.

As for the "delicate" nature of the device, well, mindfulness matters; I don't soak my down bag or misplace my pack or lose my stove when I'm out in the weeds either. I'm pretty sure I can handle the important stuff.

'Course a Kindle makes poor tinder, unlike a paperback book, and I expect it makes a toxic smoke too, but I don't burn books anyway. Still, it's not multi-use, or is it? It's not just one book, it's 3,500 books if you want it to be. That's multi-something at least.

Yes, put me down as a Kindle supporter, big time. Just like everybody else who owns one.


Doug Wolfe
Kindle in the cold shoulder season on 05/31/2012 04:36:48 MDT Print View

I do most of my trips during shoulder season an I will say that I did have problems with my kindle freezing up at temps from 4°-20°F. But what doesn't freeze up in those temps?
For the summer go for it! Watch the rain obviously.. My kindle has taken a beaten in my pack and still no problems..

jacko vanderbijl

Locale: Shelley Western Australia
Yes but... on 05/31/2012 06:52:23 MDT Print View

I am all for the Kindle or similar for reading material and guidebooks (if you can get them in PDF etc) and am getting used to one (my wifes). But I will still always carry my main guidebook in paper form and will have that within reach while walking. The Kindle is for leisure and camp.
I would not normally carry things like wildflower or wildlife guides but will in future because one book or a 1000 the weight doesn't change.