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Kindle Hiking:
Should You Bring Yours?

By Diane Spicer

Female backpacker outside her tent with rugged mountains in backgroundIs the backcountry any place for a Kindle??

The idea of Kindle hiking was a new one to me, until I spent two weeks with a guy who brought his along on our hiking trip.

Allow me to share the good, the bad, and some hacks with you if you're intrigued by the idea of bringing along a Kindle in your backpack.

Just in case...

...you're not familiar with a Kindle, it's an electronic, lightweight device for reading text (an e-reader).

Think bigger than a smart phone screen, smaller than a laptop.

  • Take a look at the one I have to get an idea of its 6 inch screen size: Kindle Paperwhite.

Kindle hiking:
good stuff

I am old enough to remember tearing a paperback in half, handing one half to my tent mate, and spending long hours in my sleeping bag until a storm blew over during several memorable backpacking treks.

Halfway through tenacious storms, we switched halves.

  • Only really good friends got the first half first :)
Lenticular cloud above Mount Rainier, Washington USAA lenticular cloud might be bringing a storm your way! Kindle to the rescue.

Every hiker has a comfort item, and reading material has always been one of mine!

So it was a delight to usher in the era of e-readers, devices small enough to fit comfortably into my backpack without hogging precious room I needed for trail gear.

The Kindle Paperwhite has several features which make it ideal for hikers:

  • pretty good battery life (see concerns and solar hack below)
  • no glare from the screen, even in bright sunshine
  • built in front light prevents eye strain (compared to staring at backlit computer monitors)
  • text looks crisp and clear, due to an improved high resolution display (300 ppi)

You'll notice its weight in your hands, but won't be too alarmed by the thought of tucking it alongside your backpacking gear.

  • Around 7 ounces, or 200 grams, without its case.
  • I highly recommend adding a case, for safety and peace of mind. I'm not always gentle about throwing down my backpack, and I'll bet you aren't, either.

Exciting news!

There's a waterproof Kindle now, making it even more suitable for your hiking adventures.

Check it out.

Waterproof and twice the storage

Kindle hiking:
the bad news

Let's return to battery life for a moment.

While it's true that the battery will last for weeks, it's only true if you turn down the screen brightness setting, don't use the wifi, and only read for 30 minutes each day.

So in the "stuck in the tent or you'll blow away or possibly freeze to death" scenario, you will cut into battery life big time.

However, if you're a section hiker or thru hiker, you can judiciously time your visits to towns for recharging in a hotel room or public library.

There is also the problem of moisture to contend with.

  • Take precautions to double wrap your e-reader in resealable plastic bags.
  • Don't put the Kindle in the bottom or top of your pack, where rain and dew (or stream crossings gone amuck) can work their terrible magic on the electronic innards.

Solar charging your Kindle

I learned this trick from the guy mentioned above.

He carried a solar charger like this one on the lid of his backpack every day.

Worked like a charm!

  • And you can recharge your phone, GPS and other electronics on it, too.

Another Kindle option
for you

Still nervous about bringing an electronic reader with you on a hiking or camping trip?

Or gifting a hiking kid who isn't totally reliable with electronic devices?

  • Instead of paying $120 US for a Kindle Paperwhite, you can get a stripped down Kindle for around $80 US.

Now here's
a great idea!

Since you have room for hundreds and hundreds of books on a Kindle, why not add the Hiking For Her Best Hiking Tips book?

More book ideas are right here.

You'll have that e-reader filled up and ready to go hiking in no time at all!

Even better idea: a free trial of Kindle Unlimited!

  • I use it to get lots of freebies and to see my options as a regular Kindle reader.
Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

Happy Kindling!

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KINDLE hiking

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