Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Equipment, Travel > Communications

Communications Connecting - internet cafes, laptops, Palm devices, cell phones - how to connect, use, which one, and Bike to Bike and passenger intercoms.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 16 Aug 2012
wildlands1's Avatar
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Whitefish, Montana, USA
Posts: 62
rugged small laptop?

IF i decide to take a bloody laptop along, does anyone make a smallish, rugged, vibration resistant laptop pc? with all the wifi nowadays itd be nice to have i guess. didnt i see an add for a panasonic tuffbook or something. do they take the riggors of our travels?
Reply With Quote
Old 16 Aug 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Bassett, Nebraska
Posts: 277
When I go traveling all I need to do is transfer photos from my camera, upload photos, email friends and family and check out HU and ADVrider et. al. and post ride reports.

Cheap with long battery life and solid state storage as opposed to spinning hard drive is what I prefer. Although I currently travel with an 11" Macbook Air since I traded tiling a shower for it. But that is probably overkill for your needs. And if you have a GPS and need to use mapsource a small used atom powered netbook on craigslist.org will probably suit you fine. Something cheap and disposable that you won't mind losing.

If no need for mapsource then I would consider the Nexus 7 for 200 bucks from Google/Asus. Or a used iPad.

Or heck android smart phone or an iphone will get the job done in airplane mode with wifi turned on. Two years ago I was emailing and web surfing with an iPod Touch in Central America. It worked just fine and is fairly cheap.

This is not the first time this has come up. But technology changes by the week and there may be other current better ideas.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=831076
Reply With Quote
Old 16 Aug 2012
Matt Cartney's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Edinburgh, Lothian, Scotland
Posts: 1,351
I use a Asus Eeee netbook. Fantastic. Cheap. Seems robust. All the laptop you need on the road. And actually I use mine at home too. Keyboard is slightly smaller but I recently finished writing a book on mine, so you get used it! Only real downside is the screen is small for photo editing, but you can probably live with that unless you are a pro.

If you are worried about vibes get one with a hard drive.

I got mine brand new for £170.



*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
Reply With Quote
Old 16 Aug 2012
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Poland - Kraków
Posts: 16
Quite reistant - anything small with ssd type of drive.
Truely rugged - Panasonic toughbook. I`ve been using cf-18 for quite some time now and its THE BEST laptop I ever owned when it comes to how usable it is in outdoor conditions. DOwnsides are size (quite bulky) and weight. But I would never trade it for something else.

Reply With Quote
Old 16 Aug 2012
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United kingdom
Posts: 28
I would second the comment above. Panasonic toughbooks are built like a tank (and cost about as much). I would go for a normal laptop with SSD drive (Dell do one) as long as you don't want it shock / waterproof to Mil Standards. Put it in a well padded case. Of course, if you have £2000 and weight to spare, look at GRID (you can literally drive a truck over them).
Reply With Quote
Old 17 Aug 2012
sparco's Avatar
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 68
dell latitude d630 ATG (all terrain grade) pretty handy small enough spilt free keyborad and can handle enormous ammount of stress
Rugged PC Review - your source for rugged computing reviews and specs and take a look at this website
Reply With Quote
Old 17 Aug 2012
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4
Yes, it's called an Ipad with an external storage. Just needs a good water proof bag and don't run over it. Laptops are redundant unless for some reason you need to create content as well as just use applications.

If you can't justify the cost consider that if it is located face up in your pclear plastic map folder on you tank bag it is also your extra oversize and easy to see at a glance GPS, because the screen is much bigger than any other GPS on the market.
Tablet apps are also usualy easier to use and cheaper than PC programs for Weather forcasting, Translating, Messaging and Photoshopping

Reply With Quote
Old 22 Aug 2012
endurofly's Avatar
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: sLOVEnia
Posts: 43
Asus EEE,Acer Aspire One,Dell Mini ..better with SSD.8-32 Gb would be enough,you don't need Tb on the road.
Reply With Quote
Old 17 Sep 2012
Wheelie's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oslo, Norway
Posts: 457
Asus Eee Seashell with 10,1" screen... It is dirt cheap, it's got magnificent battery time , it is robust and it is tiny and lightweight (which is all good for us overlanders). You can probably buy five macs for the price of this one - and can then afford to replace it. But, don't expect to do much heavy editing, and please refrain from installing all sorts of "nice to have, need to have- NO!" type of software... that runs in the background strangling your machine. Also, the screen resolution is quite poor, so expect to scroll more than you are used to.

If you swap the internal drive for a Solid State Drive, you will improve performance susbstantially, increase battery performance even more, and make the computer far more durable as you will have no more moving parts. I would personaly go for a small and cheap SSD and sign up for a Dropbox account for cloud storage and backup. Get a bunch of USB storage sticks (dirt cheap and compact - often given away as advertisement)... use these for backup where you don't have access to wifi, or added storage.

I've never had a computer which has been dropped and tossed arround as much as this one, being thoroughly obused by two kids and two dogs... and my wife. Part of the screen is now broken/black
after my two year old daughter thought it funny jumping on it... it is still ticking.

I would buy it again if I was to take a computer on a trip again. For me, my iPhone covers all my needs...
Reply With Quote
Old 20 Sep 2012
Alexlebrit's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: West London
Posts: 921
I'll second, third and fourth the Asus EEEPC range, they're fantastic little machines, cheap to buy and compact to pack. As has been said, instal the minimum you need, avoid programs which run constantly in the background and you'll be just fine.

I've recently installed Android on one of the very early 9" screen solid state drive EEEPC which I picked up for beans on e-bay and it's given it a whole new lease of life. I've got all the basics, plus things like Google Maps & Earth, a simple but effective photo editor in Photoshop for Android loads of space and best of all haven't paid for a single bit of software. Best of all the whole thing cost little more than the price of a round of drinks, and all the software was fee as there's a group of developers who work at porting Android to PC, and release it as open source.

No use if you want to use things like MapSource which need Windows, but for everything else, I'm really really happy.
Happiness has 125 cc
Reply With Quote
Old 20 Sep 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Dreaming of travelling and riding bikes in general..
Posts: 449
As above but the Samsung N150 (netbook). Rode with mine in a rucksack on my dirtbike for 4months across North Asia in all weathers and never had a problem. I had a charging umbilical cord from tank bag into my rucksack which worked well enough.
-Great battery life
-"fast enough" for most tasks
-Survived knocks and moisture (I fell off into a flooded ditch and the water didn't soak through quickly enough to break the netbook)
-SD slots (backup your docs rather than an SSD for peanuts)
-Mapsource capable
-Ok for typing on
-USB dongles fine
-Wifi in internet cafes and restaurants
-Cheap to buy off ebay
-Can charge other devices at while you use it on mains

-not good for 'heavy lifting' (video editing, resizing tons of photos quickly)
-watching HD movies (small screen and choppy processing)
-heavier than a 7" tablet
-needs a powersupply with a "brick" on it unless you only take a 12V car one.
-Poor upgrade path to Windows8
Find out details of my 2011 trip to Siberia on a lightweight dirtbike:
Reply With Quote
Old 15 Mar 2013
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Montreal
Posts: 1

Originally Posted by wildlands1 View Post
IF i decide to take a bloody laptop along, does anyone make a smallish, rugged, vibration resistant laptop pc? with all the wifi nowadays itd be nice to have i guess. didnt i see an add for a panasonic tuffbook or something. do they take the riggors of our travels?
I've been on the road for 3 years now with a very rugged notebook.
Support - Netbooks NP-N310 | Samsung Laptops
Very long battery life(They say 9 hrs but you can count on 6 for shure). I up-graded it to 2 GB RAM in Jordan for $30. It has 250 GB HD that didn't fail nor showing any sign of it. There's even a SIM card slot under the battery so you can buy cheap data plans almost every where else in the world than North America. It's much more fun than any multi-task phones or tablets to my usage. Small and sturdy for $500, a very though friend.
I do carry the cheapest possible phone and put a SIM card in it in every country I end-up.
Reply With Quote
Old 15 Mar 2013
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Angouleme, France
Posts: 42
Originally Posted by ta-rider View Post
im happy with my samsung nc10 :-)
Me to, 6hrs battery life
and fallen on the floor more times than I dare to say.
Still working great
Typing from it now....

Reply With Quote
Old 16 Mar 2013
colebatch's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: London / Moscow
Posts: 1,726
there are probably more of us using Asus EEE netbooks (and other similar eqivalents) than any other. Those of the Fruit persuasion use MacBook airs.

All are good.

There is no need for toughened notebooks if you pack properly. Tough books are insanely heavy and have tiny screens. Not to mention, super expensive. A vast pool of empirical evidence from people on this forum going back 5 years and more shows crystal clearly that you do not need special laptops. Regular laptops with regular hard drives do just fine.

Avoid heavy laptops.
__________________________________________________ ________________
"Do NOT go wherever the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail"

Sibirsky Extreme - Adventure Motorcycling Guide to Siberia and Mongolia - on Facebook

Click here for Sibirsky Extreme Trail DVD Trailer

Last edited by colebatch; 16 Mar 2013 at 18:34.
Reply With Quote
Old 16 Mar 2013
Genghis9021's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Posts: 193
MacBook Air or iPad with Touchfire keyboard.

No moving parts. Rugged chassis. Light. Long battery life and an LCD much better protected by the stiff chassis, in the MBA's case.

Oh, and they work. ("Windoze, the OS of the damned.")
Orange, it's the new black.
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
hard drive backup for your laptop dstehouwer Communications 10 12 Oct 2012 14:28
Cape Town to Nairobi on small bikes, any suggestions?! kfukuda87 Route Planning 2 29 Jul 2012 16:27
Cape Town to Nairobi on a small budget, small bikes, and small experience/prep time! kfukuda87 sub-Saharan Africa 0 28 Jul 2012 10:24
Small enduro bike, which?!? Petrobaas The HUBB PUB 7 24 May 2012 14:40


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 19:31.