May 8, 2012 at 2:40 pm #1289674
@troutLocale: Long Beach
I was wondering if anyone has found a solid light alternative to bringing a book that works for them. I've done audiobooks but just don't find them particularly compelling compared to the act of reading. I'm particularly interested in this for longer trips of the 14-21 day variety.
Do people bring books for these trips? Is the consensus to go kindle? Touch 3g looks pretty legit. iPad?May 8, 2012 at 4:02 pm #1875642
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
While more than half an hour at a time of reading on a computer screen makes my eyes blur, I know lots of folk who read on smart phones and other such gadgets. My son-in-law is one of those; he has everything from the Bible to bird identification books on his smart phone.May 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm #1875644
Smartphones seem like the way to go for me; if you only use them for reading and use in airplane mode, they last a good amount of time (or at least mine does) and can hold a lot of books, are lighter (I think), and they can be multi-use.May 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm #1875647
Love mine.May 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm #1875648
For 14-21 day trips, the newest, cheapest Kindle ($79) would be tough to beat since you could do the entire trip on one charge. And since it's relatively cheap, if something catastrophic happened to it on the trail, replacing it wouldn't be too onerous. Just put it in a quart-sized Ziploc and wrap it in your quilt or something.May 8, 2012 at 4:18 pm #1875651
Another Kindle fan! It's my favorite luxury item!May 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm #1875656
@jackelliottLocale: Bend, Oregon, USA
I have a Kindle, liked it a lot at first, but after a while I found that reading from the ebook is less involving than reading off paper. Don't know why. To me, the most words per gram come from Penguin Classics, the ones with the orange and black spines. They use very thin paper, a small typeface, and close leading. All this means a high ink/paper ratio, thus a lot of reading for the weight.May 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm #1875919
@skauLocale: Southern California
I also have a kindle and want to bring it backpacking but i have heard somewhere that the e-ink technology could freeze and ruin your kindle if the temperatures drop. Haven't had personal experience with it but it has deterred me from bringing mine. Also, i like to read before bed and I would than have to turn on my headlamp which I wouldn't want to to save battery life.May 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm #1875926
@dangLocale: Pacific Northwet
I have both a kindle and the kindle app for my iphone. Either will probably work for you but for 14-21 day trips the kindle would be the only option due to battery life unless you have some kind of solar charger, or are recharging your phone every couple of days.May 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm #1875931
One thing of note is that most of the e-reader do not have backlighting. Therefore, if you want to read at night you will have to have a light source. The Nook simple touch comes in at under 7oz and lasts 1 month using the glowlight feature based upon a half-hour of reading each day. 2 months if the glowlight is off. Just something to consider as opposed to taking extra batteries for a separate reading light. Also the Nook has expandable memory.
I do not have one myself, but I do have a Nook Color and I have been quite pleased with it.
The other thing that I was wondering was whether or not anyone has downloaded maps to an e-reader. Since the Nook purports to support JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP, I was thinking that you could create maps in one of those file formats for use on the trail. You could have a guidebook, and maps on the same device.May 10, 2012 at 5:07 am #1876164
@flriderLocale: The Southeast
For me, I find that my Android-capable phone works pretty well as an e-reader. If I have it turned off during the day with the battery removed, and only turn it on at night for an hour or so with it in Airplane mode and the screen brightness turned all the way down, I'll get five to six days' charge out of the battery.
Which, here in the sweltering Southeast, is about the longest I'll have to go between resupply stops. Stopping in town, I'll usually take an hour or two for food and probably coffee at a local place. Which, if I bring the charger, means that I'll have pretty close to a full charge when I leave. Phone & charger together weigh ~217 g/7.7 oz (analog scale, so that's an estimate good to about 0.1 oz either way).
On my bike tours, I'll add an emergency backup battery charger (storage battery; gets me about 50% of full power), since I use the phone as my bike computer/road map. That weighs an additional 67 g/2.3 oz. It's rechargable from the same charger as my phone, and I usually stay at an established campground for about one night in three. Also, I usually stop for lunch at a restaurant with wall sockets.
Stores pretty much as many books as I want, either in .epub format or .pdf format.
Anyway, it's worked pretty well for me so far.May 10, 2012 at 9:29 am #1876239
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
I doubt that you're carrying 14 to 21 days of food, so a relevant question is whether your resupply plans include any device recharge opportunities. For thru-hikers, this is typically so; I carried a solar charger for part of the PCT, but ultimately decided not to bother on long trips after that. I spare battery or two was better, with just always enough chances to recharge when resupplying in towns along the way.
I personally wouldn't consider a kindle; too heavy, and perhaps a bit harder to protect. And the few times I've ever been inclined to read while actually on trail have been at night; eInk isn't the best choice there.
A smartphone is a swiss army knife with a host of weightless blades and attachments (software). If the smaller screen bothers you, try it with a pair of really light reading glasses.May 16, 2012 at 4:47 pm #1878364
I regularly do 18-20 day trips w/o resupply and of course every trip includes around 6-8 lbs of reading material. Books. The kindle holds absolutely no interest. It's real simple—go to a used book store, find pocketbooks for 50 cents, take four or five, and burn them page by page as you go. This system works well and your pack gets lighter.May 16, 2012 at 10:04 pm #1878479
I can't burn books. Talk about a waste.May 16, 2012 at 11:16 pm #1878489
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I typically use my iPhone. It's powered off most of the time. It gets powered on if I need to double check position via GPS, if I am on a peak and want to send my daughter a text, and mostly for the kindle app. It won't last 21 days if I was reading 1-2 hours each night. So there would need to be a solar recharger, an external battery, our a recharger in a bounce box (if you are doing resupply).
I think an e-ink ereader (I would vote for the kindle touch model) would be a good way to go. It will have the battery life you need. Lighting can be done with a headlamp on low intensity or with built in lighting with some models. I appreciate the preference to paper. It is indeed more engaging… studies have seen 20-30% better retention of material, but the compactness and weight of the e-readers, especially if you are a fast reader has made it worth it to me.
–MarkMay 17, 2012 at 9:41 am #1878614
Michael Lang—Burning a book on a backpacking trip is oddly fulfilling, like I'm doing humanity a service. It sure helps to make the pack lighter.May 17, 2012 at 10:10 am #1878625
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
"I regularly do 18-20 day trips w/o resupply and of course every trip includes around 6-8 lbs of reading material"
Wow. Just … wow. Assuming 1-1/2 pounds of food per day (?) then something on the order of 28 pounds of food, and perhaps more. Add 6 – 8 pounds of books and that sums to 35 pounds. Let's say a base weight of 15 pounds (not ultralight but light) and you're at 50 pounds. Then add maybe five pounds for water and likely you carry stove fuel.
Then you probably need a heavier backpack just to carry all of that, so add a couple pounds more. So it seems likely that you're approaching 60 pounds starting out and perhaps higher even than that.
What's the name of the website that we're talking about this on again … ? :-)
Seriously, my hat's off to anyone who's willing to punish themselves that way today. It certainly gives you a lot more freedom to get out there. On the flip side, I wonder what sort of daily mileage a person can do for the first few days like that.
I'd far rather cache or hitchhike, or even just force the pace and night hike some to attain higher mileage. Perhaps for you it's more a matter of just being out there that long rather than going anywhere specifically with associated logistic issues.May 17, 2012 at 10:29 am #1878635
Brian—The UL conundrum comes from pulling long trips without resupply—it's the hard-to-solve riddle for ULers who have a chance to go long-term w/o cache or resupply. Even Skurka had to hump 55-60 lbs on his recent Alaska loop during a 14 day stretch w/o resupply.
Anyway, it's more like 2 lbs of food a day for me and my food load is generally around 40 lbs at the start of a trip.May 18, 2012 at 2:42 am #1878903
– off track –
60lbs is more than half my body weight. perhaps I can find two people to carry me on my next trip if I tell them stories?
LOLOct 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm #1921659
Some people have suggested the Nook… so a warning: I have a Nook Simple Touch (no backlight, but I use a headlamp) and it works great… EXCEPT on the trail. I'll bring it out fully charged, but after a couple hours on a cool trail (40 degrees F or so) and maybe half an hour of reading, the battery life is down to around 75%. This is OK on an overnighter, but no good for a multi-day hike. (Planning to do the AT next year, and hoping to have my trail guide on e-reader… somehow.) Funny thing is, once I get back in the house where it's warm, the battery life claims to be back up at 97% or so. ???
Not sure if I just have a lemon, or if lots of Nooks behave this way. Any other Nook users or techies know what's typical?Oct 16, 2012 at 10:49 pm #1922036
To go more than 14 days you need to be sure you get one the doesn't have have a color screen or backlight. Also ,if you can find one without wifi or any other wireless feature.
Many phone and Ipads have color LCD screens which require a back light. LCD screens on cell phones and color e readers typically do not have enough battery life to last 14 days and it might be difficult to read the screen in bright sunlight. Other e-readers use e-ink Displays. they don't have back lights and are easily to read in bright light.
another power consuming feature on e-readers is the wireless system. When you are hiking in remote areas wifi won't be able to connect and it could kill the battery as it repeatably tries to connect. At a minimum you want an e-reader that allows you to turn it off. I have a Kindle and on one hike I used it the first day but on the second it was dead. I am not sure but I think a button got pressed when it was packed away activating the wireless. so I would recommend looking for one without the wireless feature.
The memory on e-readers can hold a lot of books. I have about 15 books on my kindle and it would take me more than a month to read them all. Typically I read for a few hours after sunset and then go to sleep. I have a Princeton Tec Fuel head lamp and based on the information on their site It should supply me with enough light for a about a months worth of reading (assuming 3 hours a night)using 3AAA batteries.
My understanding is that the e-ink display won't work in below freezing conditions but should work normally once the temperature rises to above freezing. All batteries tend to loose power in cold conditions and that could cause the device to think the battery is dead. But once the battery warms up it should work normally.Oct 17, 2012 at 3:49 am #1922063
It sounds like you need a down case for your nook.Oct 17, 2012 at 7:02 am #1922095
@jackelliottLocale: Bend, Oregon, USA
"My understanding is that the e-ink display won't work in below freezing conditions but should work normally once the temperature rises to above freezing. All batteries tend to loose power in cold conditions and that could cause the device to think the battery is dead. But once the battery warms up it should work normally."
I can confirm that. Sitting outside my shelter last month, reading on my dark gray and lighter gray Kindle with my headlamp, the thing got more and more sluggish as the temp dropped below freezing. Page turns happened much more slowly until they stopped altogether. It took it a long time to recognize that I had toggled the power switch, though it did finally shut down.
After that I kept the reader against my belly inside my clothes when I wasn't reading. It only slipped down into my pants once, which was kind of awkward.Oct 19, 2012 at 4:37 am #1922768
…when I do it is most likely to be audio books. If I take my phone anyway the "books" weigh nothing. If I wasn't taking my phone, I'd take an iPod Nano I forget what it weighs, but I think it is under an ounce. Some models weigh more though. A charger adds another two ounces or so though.
If I actually want to "read" rather than do audio books, I'd take my kindle. I much prefer it to paper any way.
I might skip books for the trail, but I do find that I want books for the flight to and from so I take some form of "books".Oct 19, 2012 at 5:32 am #1922779
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
I have one of the original nooks (which, despite my obsession with paper books, I simply LOVE) and I also have been having serious battery trouble on the trail. I assumed it was because the device was getting on in years…
During a 12-day patagonia trek my nook died within 4 days…I was able to recharge thanks to a Refugio with a compatible cell phone charger. Then, despite keeping it in the sleeping bag with me at night (the temp never dropped below 40), it again died 2 days later. Then during my 8-day Winds trip in August it died after 3 days, and again the temps never really dropped below 40.
I keep it in airplane mode all the time…but that doesn't seem to matter. At home…I can go more than a week without recharging.
Anyway…I think the newer ones have better batteries (one of my friends in the Winds had a new one and the battery icon never budged during the whole trip), so I was going to try one of the nook glow light ones. Much, much lighter than my old, heavy version.
But to address the OP, despite my technological issues, I love the e-ink and the ability to have many, many books to choose from while I'm on the trail. If it's working, of course……
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