E Reader for long trips

1:52 p.m. on April 21, 2017 (EDT)
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 I'm planning a 2 week backpacking trip and usually carry a book or two for that length. Considering switching to an e-reader and interested if any of you use one? Wondering about weight and battery life, also for those of you who are near my age and need reading glasses which size screen do you prefer? Thanks

6:22 p.m. on April 21, 2017 (EDT)
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Don't use them myself, but my wife has a Kindle that she uses a lot. She said the back lit models eat through the battery fast but the regular one runs for about 14 hours on a charge. It holds a charge for weeks without use and weighs 5.5oz on my scale. She said you can change the size of the text if you want larger or smaller letters. Hope that helps Phil.

6:32 p.m. on April 21, 2017 (EDT)
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I got to the point that reading paper books was difficult so I went and looked at every device that Best Buy had and that is many, many devices. I like how you can change the font face and text size as well as the background to sepia. 

I decided on an Apple iPad Mini 2 at the time and have read well over one hundred books on it in just over a year. It can surf the net too and do amazing things. It has voice recognition and a dazzling screen they call a Retina display.  It takes pictures, makes videos, plays music and movies too and is Bluetooth ready. It even reads audio books.

 I got it on sale when the newer models were already out. It has a ten hour battery life. If you only read a book then the battery life must be near an e-reader with back light. They advertise those with long battery life if you read a half hour a day. From what I could tell it works about around the same, maybe a bit better but who only reads a half hour a day? LOL I'm a bookworm and read a lot of short stories too along with all the books. 

I got mine mostly for reading. It holds zillions of books, is very easy to download books and there is an ocean of free literature out there and many more that are low priced. It reads library books with the Overdrive App and comes with the iBooks app for reading too. I also downloaded the Kindle App and just finished reading The Emerald Mile about the Grand Canyon and some river guides from thirty years ago. It was a good read, found it at Amazon on a quick sale for $1.99. Its back up to $7.99 now though. 

I'd say go down to a place that has dozens of tablets and e-readers and look for yourself. That is the best way to do it. You get to see how the display looks in person and what features they have. I can read in a dark tent with mine. 

I got wifi only but you can go cellular with a GPS chip too and use that for maps and GPS along with your paper maps and compass. E-readers just read but they have good displays too, some more than others though. 

8:31 p.m. on April 21, 2017 (EDT)
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I travel a ton, and years ago my wife got me a Nook.  I must have about 250 books on it, and still have about 50 of those I haven't read.  I need to re-charge it about every two weeks, so that might work out pretty well for you.  It doesn't weigh much more than a phone--but no phone battery is going to last two weeks.

7:21 a.m. on April 22, 2017 (EDT)
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If you are carrying your smartphone anyway, and if you don't read a lot on the trail, you could consider using the device you already have. I like to read a chapter or two after hunkering down in the quilt at night, and a few years ago I tried using my smartphone as an e-reader. I was pleasantly surprised at how readable it was for me. Did not bother me that I had to scroll a lot more, each "page" is considerably less than a full page from a book, but it worked well and saved the weight (and expense) of an extra device. Like I said, good for reading a chapter or two before bed each night. I found it easier on the eyes to use the device horizontal for few but longer lines on each page.

4:24 p.m. on April 24, 2017 (EDT)
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Sorry no help Phil , I also use my phone like JR. But where are you going for a two week backpack? Sounds fun!

8:43 p.m. on April 24, 2017 (EDT)
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Thanks for the advice. I already use my phone for GPS backup of my map and compass, as well as camera and video so push the battery limits on a longer trip. Plus I get tired of reading tiny screens and would like something bigger for reading on 4 or more nights.

Patrick...no big plans this year and I'm actually sidelined with back and leg issues right now. This is part of my prep and testing of gear, hopefully later this year, to train for walking across my home country of Scotland next year. A 200 mile trip through bogs and highlands! 

8:31 a.m. on April 25, 2017 (EDT)
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I read on a kindle and occasionally an android tablet.  the kindle (the base model, non-backlit) has the best battery life.  will go  4-6 weeks between charges.  I have a kindle paper white (backlit) that is a couple of years old. when the wifi and 3g are disabled, it will go a couple of weeks between charges; used to go a bit over 4 weeks.  

the brighter-screened tablets (apple, android, kindle fire) need to get charged much more frequently, after 8-10 hours of use when they're new.  

12:17 p.m. on April 25, 2017 (EDT)
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Thanks Andrew. I was looking at the Paperwhite...around 6 ounces and a slightly bigger screen than my phone. Does it work well in daylight and at night? Battery life sounds great.

3:45 p.m. on April 25, 2017 (EDT)
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leadbelly2550 said:

I read on a kindle and occasionally an android tablet.  the kindle (the base model, non-backlit) has the best battery life.  will go  4-6 weeks between charges.  I have a kindle paper white (backlit) that is a couple of years old. when the wifi and 3g are disabled, it will go a couple of weeks between charges; used to go a bit over 4 weeks.  

the brighter-screened tablets (apple, android, kindle fire) need to get charged much more frequently, after 8-10 hours of use when they're new.  

 Correct me if I'm wrong here but don't they advertise that "4 to 6 weeks between charges is "if" you only use it for 30 minutes a day? That would work out to about 14 hrs of actually use or so "if" it lasts for 4 weeks of half hour a day of usage. Not too bad but the way they advertise the battery lasting a month is kind of misleading isn't it...especially when you add that a tablet lasts 10 hours of use. At half an hour a day that would work out to 20 days. Actual hours of usage before a charge is needed makes more sense to me. A lot of Kindle users agree with that in their reviews. 

I've played with both Kindle e-readers and Nooks. The e-ink is very nice and I think the ones I checked out looked better in sunlight than tablets did. Some of them anyway, not all were as good looking to me as some of them were. In lower light, out of direct sun, even some of the Kindle readers thought the better tablet displays were amazing indeed and some preferred them. I do for several reasons but the better e-readers and their e-inks are very nice on the eyes. I think backlit readers are best for low light.

Any way you go, you will have millions of pieces of literature at your fingertips and can download more right in your easy chair from various book sites or various libraries. 

4:51 p.m. on April 25, 2017 (EDT)
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amazon doesn't publish precise information about battery life among models - they generally claim 4 weeks assuming 30 minutes of use per day, regardless of which kindle.  that's clearly not accurate; the non-backlit kindles don't use as much juice, but if i'm not mistaken, different models and years use different sized batteries.  

any electronic device will eventually tap out.  for a 2 week trip, both might be fine, but if battery life is an issue, get a portable solar panel or bring one of those small backup chargers - amazon sells a small power bank the size of a passport for under 20 bucks that will fully recharge a tablet with some juice left over.  

9:15 p.m. on May 25, 2017 (EDT)
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i-pod Nano and a plastic magnifying glass. The Nano will hold any book you want including War and Peace or Moby Dick.

Eric B.

May 24, 2019
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