Rating: 4 / 5
Some people fish, fly kites, chat with their hiking mates, or mull over their route and equipment when they aren’t hiking. Some hike from dawn to dusk and have no time for such weighty pass times. If you don’t like to read in your free time, then you’ll not understand this review at all.
Reading fits nicely in my trips. Often my downtime is in the tent because of monsoons or lightning. Sometimes I’m trying to acclimate to the altitude and deliberately end my day early. I’ve counted the squares in the ripstop nylon and rationed how many pages per day I can read of the single book I’ve carried. Not a problem with the Kindle.
Of course, this thing is expensive and needs proper care. Sounds like everything else in my kit after several years on this board though! I used a neoprene sleeve with a clear window sold on Amazon to keep mine safe, and I wrapped it in a trash compactor bag. I pack it on top of the pack, so it can’t be squeezed or twisted by other gear.
For a reader this thing is heaven for hiking. I can load ten pounds of books on this 19 ounce book (Kindle DX). In fact, I can put hundreds of pounds of books on it. Of course, I couldn’t read all that on any average kind of trip, but I wouldn’t plan to. The kindle holds reference books. . I have a dictionary and the Bible. I have downloaded onto it Medicine for Mountaineering. I could download Roper’s entire book on the Sierra High Route. When I did sections of that hike I photocopied pages out of the book. There are guidebooks available on the Kindle that may cover your hike, or maybe you’d like to contemplate your next hike while on your current one.
But, the fun thing is downloading a book about the area. I was reading a funny history of the Pittsburg Mine in the 1800’s one night, and the next morning at 13,000’ hiked right up to the remnants of the mine itself.
Far more interesting to know the background of the area you’re in.
The DX will accept PDFs emailed to it, so I suppose one could add notes for a trip, or even black and white topos, but I don’t think it is practical enough to be removed from a pack on a frequent basis. Nonetheless, if you have train, plane, emergency numbers and the like to keep track of during a trip, the Kindle DX would at least give you another place to store that information.
Battery life was not a problem for me. Turn off the downloading capability and you are good to go. In my view, one can subtract so much weight from the pack that law of diminishing returns kicks in. If you have a trip that may require some downtime, bring something superfluous. For me it was the Kindle.
I give it a four out of five, because of the expense and the need to treat it carefully.