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  1. #1
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    Taking your laptop

    For those of you who carry your laptop with you, what do you do to protect it while on the road? I have a small, under-3lbs laptop that I'm taking with me (can't leave it behind for many reasons). If it makes a difference, I'll be taking a trailer, so it can go on the bike, the trailer, or my back.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Many do., I don't .. trailer? you can make as well padded bag as you want
    to keep your laptop in. ortlieb makes computer sleeves , lots of places sell computer sleeves .
    Pelican may have a immersion waterproof case, for all I know, dive computing?

    there are Netbooks, that use an all solid state hard-drive rather than a spinning disc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Many do., I don't .. trailer? you can make as well padded bag as you want
    to keep your laptop in. ortlieb makes computer sleeves , lots of places sell computer sleeves .
    Pelican may have a immersion waterproof case, for all I know, dive computing?

    there are Netbooks, that use an all solid state hard-drive rather than a spinning disc.
    I have a computer sleeve, but didn't think that'd be enough padding to absorb road shocks. I'll add some styrofoam or bubble wrap and keep it in the middle of other soft things. I just wasn't sure if that was enough to keep it from frizzing out (obviously, it'll be in something waterproof). I just wondered if there was something that could help protect it from the normal bumps and lumps of road travel.

    I'll check into Pelican...thanks. Dive computing?

  4. #4
    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    This is an interesting topic. I do bring a mini netbook computer on my tours. It weighs 2.5 lbs with charger cord. I use attachments to charge my cell phone and Ipod from the computer...so I only have to locate one power outlet. But that's my preference. I bought a lightly padded sleeve from Best Buy or one of those stores. With computer in sleeve, I insert it into a good sized blue ziplock freezer bag...then that gets stored into my right rear pannier. I haven't had a problem yet with this arrangement, but I'm interested to read about how others deal with their computers.
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  5. #5
    tip
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    I'd also be interested to see what others do. I wish I had access to a small netbook to take, since my laptop seems to weigh a good 10lbs...

  6. #6
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    I have a netbook with a solid state drive. Road vibrations, even on gravel, won't damage its innards. I slip it into a fabric bag and then put it into the pannier with my clothing. Since my panniers are waterproof, I'm pretty much set for whatever comes.
    Life is good.

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Sew or Tape an even thicker pad around the regular sleeve. sew your own bag?
    stuff one of Ortlieb's Office Bags with more stuffing, like Egg crate foam.
    Or, as above, just pack your sleeve in your pannier surrounded by clothing.

  8. #8
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    I took a quick peek at netbooks and thought...hmmmm...but then realized they're just too limited for what I need. Since my fussy little laptop is so lightweight, I'll just cough up and invest in one of Verizon's mobile modems and then invest in some decent packing material for the sleeve. If nothing else, I can always sew one.

  9. #9
    Stoker's View seenloitering's Avatar
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    I carry a mini-laptop, but I carry it a dry-sac in my camelbak. There are a tremendous number of tiny delicate parts that fair unpredictably with vibration. Sometimes they'l hold together, sometimes they wont (this is pretty much true of most laptops).

  10. #10
    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    Mine has held up well, no problems yet. However, it rides in amongest my clothes in a pannier.
    2012 TransAm Tour journal link: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/Threeisacharm

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  11. #11
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    In the future, when my netbook finally dies, I would consider replacing it with an iPad. It's a device which seems to replicate much of the functionality of the netbook, but in a much thinner package.

    At present, the netbook, an Acer Aspire One with a solid state drive, is more than adequate for my needs. I am strongly considering replacing the battery before my next tour. The present battery no longer holds a charge as well as it did when I bought the computer.
    Life is good.

  12. #12
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    Laptops aren't nearly as delicate as you might imagine; once a hard drive powers down, it pretty much locks itself up, making it difficult to injure.

    I haven't taken my much abused netbook on any tours, but I do commute with it daily, and it gets no special treatment. If it's lucky, it might put in it's case before it's thrown into my pannier, but more often than not, it just gets tossed in. The worst that has happened is the case is a little scratched up. Other than that, it is still going strong after nearly 2.5 years.

  13. #13
    "bikes bikes bikes" mbcharbonneau's Avatar
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    Yeah, as long as you have a padded sleeve to protect against major bumps, and you make sure it's in sleep mode (or turned off), I wouldn't worry about it. I carried my iPad on tour in one of my front panniers. I designated that one my "off the bike" pannier; I put all my valuables there and brought a shoulder strap so I could carry it whenever I left my bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
    In the future, when my netbook finally dies, I would consider replacing it with an iPad. It's a device which seems to replicate much of the functionality of the netbook, but in a much thinner package.
    The iPad is a great choice if you want something with a larger screen than a smart phone. Not just because of the size and weight, but also because the battery lasts over 10 hours. I only charged my iPad a couple times while I was on the road, and I was never too concerned about draining the battery even when I had it on for 3, 4 hours reading books at camp.
    ThatBlueBike.com - On bike commuting and touring.

  14. #14
    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbcharbonneau View Post
    ...The iPad is a great choice if you want something with a larger screen than a smart phone. Not just because of the size and weight, but also because the battery lasts over 10 hours. I only charged my iPad a couple times while I was on the road, and I was never too concerned about draining the battery even when I had it on for 3, 4 hours reading books at camp.
    I'm interested in the iPad. Does it function as well as a laptop? I mean can I update my online journal, download pictures and such? Will it capture Wifi? Or is it cell phone signal unique? Email? As you can tell I know nothing about the iPads.
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  15. #15
    djb
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    from working in photography since 89 and having spent years travelling with camera equipment for location shoots, the main thing other than the obvious water issue, is vibration. Ive seen little screws come loose over time in Hasseblads, Nikons, and powerpacks etc, so the very good recommendations of surrounding a laptop or whatever with bubblewrap, clothes etc is really the best way to go. Clothes, if they will stay surrounding teh given doohickey, can work fine (fleece sweaters etc) but I think the main thing is to think ahead and avoid the doohickey going up against a hard part of the bike bag or whatever, where the shock transmission and vibrations will do their insidious thing more efficiently.

    not that I own one, but the iPad or other type tablet thingees really look to be the future for travelling, no hard drives, wi fi, and as others said, bigger screen for easier work than a smart phone doohickey. Im sure they will become more and more capable and handy for holding/editing photos/using Word type programs etc--I guess as processors get faster and at teh same time dont use too much juice, they will evolve more and more, with the bonus of being smaller than laptops and netbooks.

    oh, Ive used cut out bits of those blue sleeping mats, the whatever foam ones that have been around for ages, as vibration reducers. light and easy to cut to specific sizes and shapes (and duct-tape-able too)

    Im sure you will be able to come up with a good, safe system, even if it aint pretty.

    ps, Ive taken camera and laptop gear camping, and have always been pretty careful of not showing it off too much, figure "out of sight out of mind" for the opportunistic "bad camper-slash-ladrone"

    luego

  16. #16
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    You'd be surprised at the kind of punishment laptops can actually take. I usually have my netbook out for field work (I just keep it in a zip lock bag), and its been going strong for about 2 years. Just make sure the thing is powered off when you shove it in a pack and start rattling it around a lot.

  17. #17
    mev
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    As others mention, laptops seem to be fairly resilient. I put mine in waterproof wrapper and in foam and have carried in panniers many miles. One laptop had hard disk go bad but otherwise have carried laptops over many miles. Just in case, I'd suggest backing up critical data to a USB drive. Also think through how you might recover from system-level virus on the road.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gus Riley View Post
    I'm interested in the iPad. Does it function as well as a laptop? I mean can I update my online journal, download pictures and such? Will it capture Wifi? Or is it cell phone signal unique? Email? As you can tell I know nothing about the iPads.
    I haven't had a laptop in years and always thought I'd get another one someday, but the iPad does everything I'd want a laptop to do. It's not a full computer, but if you figure out exactly what you want to do, the iPad may do the job. Email for certain. Wifi or cell data are options depending on the model (GPS is only available in the cell-data-capable version, but you can use it without a data plan). You can get pictures from your camera to your iPad with an extra connection kit. As for updating your journal, that will probably depend on your journal software/interface.

  19. #19
    Hot in China azesty's Avatar
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    One thing that iPads do not do that would be very handy when travelling is to accept memory cards from your camera, allowing you to make a backup, or plug your GPS in allowing yiou do save or upload tracks....

    iPads are just big iPhones, that are too big to put in your pocket!

    z

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    Quote Originally Posted by azesty View Post
    One thing that iPads do not do that would be very handy when travelling is to accept memory cards from your camera, allowing you to make a backup, or plug your GPS in allowing yiou do save or upload tracks....
    An iPad can certainly import photos from a camera.

  21. #21
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    Having used an iPad for a bit, I don't think they make good substitutes for laptops; the lack of a real keyboard makes it difficult for me to do any amount of typing. Short emails are ok, but I want to do anything longer than a line, I find the process frustrating. Give me a physical keyboard any day.

    Yes, there are attachments that have physical keyboards, but at that point you're going to be carrying so many extra dongles and add-ons that you would be better with a laptop.

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    "bikes bikes bikes" mbcharbonneau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gus Riley View Post
    I'm interested in the iPad. Does it function as well as a laptop? I mean can I update my online journal, download pictures and such? Will it capture Wifi? Or is it cell phone signal unique? Email? As you can tell I know nothing about the iPads.
    Updating the journal and doing email will be fine, either on wifi or if you spend the extra money for a 3G (cell phone) capable one. The only real drawback is if, when you're writing your journal, you typically work with lots of windows and applications. When I'm working on my journal I have image editors open, lots of tabs in my web browser for maps and trip information, a preview of the article, and I'm going back and forth between all that data and the text editor. You want a real computer in this situation, not an iPad.

    Quote Originally Posted by azesty View Post
    One thing that iPads do not do that would be very handy when travelling is to accept memory cards from your camera, allowing you to make a backup, or plug your GPS in allowing yiou do save or upload tracks....

    iPads are just big iPhones, that are too big to put in your pocket!

    z
    Completely wrong. There's a lot in common but actually using the iPad is a different world entirely than a smart phone.

    Quote Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
    Having used an iPad for a bit, I don't think they make good substitutes for laptops; the lack of a real keyboard makes it difficult for me to do any amount of typing. Short emails are ok, but I want to do anything longer than a line, I find the process frustrating. Give me a physical keyboard any day.
    A physical keyboard is better for writing long articles, but even if I resigned myself to carrying a bluetooth keyboard the iPad would still be near the top of my list just due to battery life.
    ThatBlueBike.com - On bike commuting and touring.

  23. #23
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    Small netbook with a conventional hard drive (one with moving parts).

    Neoprene sleeve over it and then put it inside one of these which has more padding and keeps out water/dust:
    http://cascadedesigns.com/sealline/u...sleeve/product
    I use the smallest size and I have room in the case for a spare battery and a separate mouse (I hate touch pads). Great case.

    Make sure that you do not pack it in a way that squeezes it, I had mine flat (horizontal) in my duffle on top of the rack and apparently had a few pounds of stuff on top of it that pressed down on it, 80 miles later I could see the outline of several of my keys on the screen from the screen touching the keyboard for 80 miles.

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