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Keep tablet at home or take with?

Old 06-28-19, 07:08 PM
  #1  
spinnaker
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Keep tablet at home or take with?

Never had a smart phone before so I would take along my tablet for browsing the web, listening to music, watching videos etc. I had a GPS but had maps loaded on the tablet too. Its advantage a nice large screen for planning (it is a 7 inch screen).

Now I have a smartphone. Tons more storage than the tablet. The only thing I might use the tablet for is easier browsing and bigger format for videos. I probably won't use it much for planning since the route is pretty much straight forward.


So leave it at home or bring it along? Not like it is heavy but it still adds weight. And one more thing to worry about? So you smart phone guys, do you still bring your tablet along?
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Old 06-28-19, 09:05 PM
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I took a smartphone over the last few years but I recently bought a tablet with phone capabilities to see if that was a better option. It was. On our next long tour, I will take the tablet instead of the phone for easier reading when surfing and better map display. I also take a digital camera so don't rely on my phone for this.
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Old 06-28-19, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve0000 View Post
I took a smartphone over the last few years but I recently bought a tablet with phone capabilities to see if that was a better option. It was. On our next long tour, I will take the tablet instead of the phone for easier reading when surfing and better map display. I also take a digital camera so don't rely on my phone for this.
Yeah trying to decide to take the camera or not too. It is pretty light weight so I will probably bring it. I hate those LCD screens on the phones to shoot a picture.
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Old 06-28-19, 10:33 PM
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I like taking the tablet. It is more convenient for end of the day reading, photo editing and surfing, but if I don't have enough room or no place to charge it, I have no problem leaving it behind.
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Old 06-29-19, 12:52 AM
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If your tablet has mobile connectivity (i.e. a SIM) then it provides a useful backup if your phone fails or is stolen. Otherwise, it is a matter of personal preferences. Most people end up using exclusively their phone. To wit - large screen phones and stagnant tablet sales.
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Old 06-29-19, 03:34 AM
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I have a tablet but not a smart phone. I take the tablet with me sometimes. It takes great pictures and I download them to my desk top at home via e-mail to myself.
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Old 06-29-19, 05:05 AM
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I have been going with just the phone and been pretty happy with that.
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Old 06-29-19, 06:51 AM
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you know spin, you are just going to have to evaluate how much weight bugs you, and how long you are going to be gone for. I personally found my tablet , probably the same size, to be really useful for looking at maps, web browsing etc, but then on the three trips that I took it, I was gone for longer trips, 2 mths, 6 weeks and about 4 weeks, so it was worth having and I also had access to electric plugs regularly.

I also had my smartphone, and a point and shoot camera....the phone I took cuz it was handy for calling sometimes (I had bought sim cards for it in the places I was going on two of the trips, didnt on the last trip)

and I too very much prefer an actual camera and looking through a viewfinder, not looking at a screen.

so in the end for you, its extra weight, but only you know what to decide and what factors come into helping you decide.
I personally find that these size tablets that can fit into a handlebar bag are a great tool, although for sure the larger phones are an inbetween thing--I guess for me it really comes down to how long is the trip and how much will I actually look at stuff on wifi and how much wifi will I have.
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Old 06-29-19, 08:51 AM
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Can you ween your self and take a vacation from your IT gear?
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Old 06-29-19, 11:21 PM
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We go overboard! I have a phone and tablet in my handlebar bag and a laptop in the rear pannier! My wife really likes to do the blog on a real keyboard. Plus we have tried, unsuccessfully, to create routes on a tablet and move the to our Garmin.
So our "system" works and I have redundancy!
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Old 06-30-19, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Tandem Tom View Post
We go overboard! I have a phone and tablet in my handlebar bag and a laptop in the rear pannier! My wife really likes to do the blog on a real keyboard. Plus we have tried, unsuccessfully, to create routes on a tablet and move the to our Garmin.
So our "system" works and I have redundancy!

Yeah I just HATE the routing in googlr mobile. Myabe it is just me that does not know how to use it.
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Old 06-30-19, 12:20 PM
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I expect this one to be a bit of personal preference.

If you think about:
- laptop
- kindle
- tablet
- phone
- camera
- GPS
They all can have some levels of overlapping uses and areas where they are individually best. If you have a minimalist mindset, you can narrow that list down pretty small as the tradeoff of perhaps not having the ideal solution for every task. For example, a smart phone can cover many use cases done by other devices above. For some that is probably ideal.

It depends a bit on the sorts of tasks you want to do. For example, I find keeping a blog and processing photos easier with a laptop than a tablet - and easier with a tablet than a phone. I find navigation in the field easier with my phone than my tablet. I find reading easiest on the kindle, and easier on a tablet than a phone. Listening to podcasts/audios seems equally easy on a phone/tablet and easier than a laptop. I find it easier to take photos with my camera than my phone, and the phone is easier than my tablet (*).

You are in best position to decide how much of that tradeoff you want to make between minimalism and ease for tasks you will do. Personally, I've erred on the side of carrying too many tech toys and may even have a trip or two where I've had at least one of every item on the list above . However, I would actually argue in favor of going the other direction: decide to leave the tablet at home. It won't be catastrophic without it, your trip isn't that long and if it were really missed - then you can add it back again on the trip after this one.

(*) Some of this might be because I haven't figured out workflows with some of these devices - but sometimes the device/software is focused on particular tasks.
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Old 06-30-19, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Can you ween your self and take a vacation from your IT gear?
Says the guy who couldn't even ween himself from modern printed maps. Nothing wrong with doing it old-school with hand drawn maps from the locals or just asking which way to the next town. But you just Had to have your modern printed maps...

It's all relative. A tablet, as mentioned, can be great for directions. And not everyone is on a meandering tour, traveling as long as they want. Some(Most) people have a set amount of time away from work and other responsibilities, and therefore ease of mapping a route, ability to maybe do some work tasks, email family, etc, is necessary. The blogging and instagram type stuff seems really silly to me to be doing while on tour. To me that's like taking a picture of a cool statue on your way past rather than stopping to look at it. I prefer checking out the small town or enjoying the state park, rather than sitting in a tent/hotel typing about the stuff I passed on the way to the campground. But whatever. Some people make money off of it, or just enjoy writing a lot.

Just plain sitting there surfing the net while on vacation, yeah, that's probably an addiction...
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Old 06-30-19, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
Says the guy who couldn't even ween himself from modern printed maps. Nothing wrong with doing it old-school with hand drawn maps from the locals or just asking which way to the next town. But you just Had to have your modern printed maps...

It's all relative. A tablet, as mentioned, can be great for directions. And not everyone is on a meandering tour, traveling as long as they want. Some(Most) people have a set amount of time away from work and other responsibilities, and therefore ease of mapping a route, ability to maybe do some work tasks, email family, etc, is necessary. The blogging and instagram type stuff seems really silly to me to be doing while on tour. To me that's like taking a picture of a cool statue on your way past rather than stopping to look at it. I prefer checking out the small town or enjoying the state park, rather than sitting in a tent/hotel typing about the stuff I passed on the way to the campground. But whatever. Some people make money off of it, or just enjoy writing a lot.

Just plain sitting there surfing the net while on vacation, yeah, that's probably an addiction...
interesting comments mr 3speed
makes me think of lots of things--re maps drawn from locals--makes me immediately think of biking through central mexico somewhere, hadn't seen any other bike tourers until one day, there were two Scottish folks, riding old 80s road bikes they bought from some dude in California (an arse in my opinion, as the bikes were truly road bikes, 52/42 cranks and one of the bikes had a 13-25 cassette on it, and the guy of the couple was pulling a Bob trailer full of crap and extra water! yowzer!) so totally fricken over geared---but I digress--they were traveling totally a la hippy, and all they had were hand drawn maps, and names of upcoming towns. They were fascinated by the Mexico map I had (which I bought in Montreal) and the guy looked at it closely for a while-----why the heck one would travel like that when you could just buy a map of southern and central mexico like I did, I dont know, but hey, they were doing it and when talking with a local kid who showed up fascinated by these four gringos stopped on bikes, I heard right away that their spanish was rather good, so I knew that they would get by.
They were almost stereotypical hippies, although in their 20s, tattoed, piercings, dreads. Afterwards, down the road, I realized that I should have offered them my spare food supplies, as I could have bought more down the road, and they would have appreciated it, I remember traveling with hardly any money. I guess the surprise of running into other bike tourers made me not think of it at the time. I hope their adventure worked out fine.

so yes, you jest , and I get it, and sure, folks in the past got by with this way of traveling, drawing paper maps etc , heck I did it30 years ago to a degree, but at the same time, as you point out, modern technology is a tool, simple as that, and even though I still really like a honest to goodness paper map, modern technology is fantastic too.

re blogging--you know, Ive done it twice, and yes its a heck of a lot of work, but at the same time, it is pretty neat and fun. I enjoy writing, and enjoy photographing, and you know, I look back at my blogs, and Im really glad that I did them, because the style that I did, I put down thoughts and stuff in the moment (would take pen and paper notes in the day) and so it is very much enjoyable to revisit it years later, and fun to see the photos and thoughts of the time.
Also, its fun for my family and friends to follow, so I look at it like all technology, its pretty neat, but just to have balance of how it affects your trip, and Im comfortable with how it did on my trips.

again, good comments though.
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Old 06-30-19, 08:46 PM
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how old were you in 1976?
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Old 06-30-19, 09:00 PM
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Bob, me or djb? I was -7.
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Old 06-30-19, 09:49 PM
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I wasnt as old as fiets, but I was older than you, 60s baby and all.
I was probably goofing around on my first bike when fiets was in his boomer.

and really seriously, while Im a goof who still likes a paper map, one has to go with the flow and embrace (or at least objectively look at) new technologies.
its all good, and new stuff is cool, and usually good, but old stuff is too.
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Old 06-30-19, 10:45 PM
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New tech can be really amazing and beneficial. It can also be mind rotting. Like everything in life, moderation and thought about what you're doing is key.
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Old 07-01-19, 04:39 AM
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One thing I didn't mention... I find it really helps maximize the ease of use of the phone to use one of the larger phones. Maybe that is just because I am old with failing eyesight and fumble fingers though. In some ways they are almost like a mini tablet in functionality.

Another thing that occurs to me when I read the list of what some carry is that their list of electronics probably exceeds my total gear list in weight on some camping and cooking trips (I went coast to coast with 14# base gear before I even really trimmed down the weight of some of the key items as much as I could and have gone as low as 8#). That is okay if that suits their style, but it definitely doesn't appeal to me. Everyone has their own ideas of what to carry and that is fine, but the idea of lugging 15# or more of electronics and charging gear makes me tired just thinking about it. Some are happy carrying 50, 60, or 100 pounds. We all do what works for us.

As far taking a vacation from the IT gear... If that includes skipping the smart phone, no thanks. I'd wind up replacing it with as much weight and bulk just in paper maps and wouldn't have a camera. If I wanted to read, I'd add more weight and bulk with a paper book. Then there is the many other myriad functions of the phone as a information and communication tool.

One of my favorite things about the phone is that it frees me from having to actually talk on the phone, something I don't like to do when I can avoid it. Now that we can just check in with a text I minimize my voice calling. No looking for a pay phone to check in with family. Just check texts once a day and leave a text. Call with a voice call only when you feel like it. It is very freeing IME.
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Old 07-01-19, 05:03 AM
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^ I completely agree on the smart phone things. I personally only carry my iphone SE(one of the smaller ones). I use it for basic navigation, but don't even use any sort of turn-by-turn directions. If need be, depending on the location and need, I'll write up a cue sheet for turns and stick it on my bike stem. The phone is a great resource, and I do love the ability to have any map directions I want from maps.me even without cell service. The only other electronics I carry are a small power-bank, the plug for charging the phone, the cord to go from the plug or power bank to the phone, and a couple small flashlights. I use dynamo lights. I have a good camera and internet on my phone, which lives in a robust waterproof case. It can, and has multiple times, handle falling to the road while riding, or riding in the rain. I have no desire to carry a ton of other electronics and weight. I'm always amazed when I see people talking about hauling 50lbs+ of gear. My god... I'm travel heavy compared to you and I haul 20-30lbs depending on the trip(with food, but not including water). I could cut more weight, but I like to camp comfortably with a two person tent(roomy for one, very snug for two), inflatable pillow, small chair, etc.
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Old 07-01-19, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
My god... I'm travel heavy compared to you and I haul 20-30lbs depending on the trip(with food, but not including water). I could cut more weight, but I like to camp comfortably with a two person tent(roomy for one, very snug for two), inflatable pillow, small chair, etc.
For what it is worth I have run the gamut from pretty heavy to ultra light and can see some merits to most approaches except the just throw everything in willy nilly one.

I think what is carried should be well thought out whether a heavy or light approach is taken. Every thing should have a good reason to be there and each item ought to get some thought whether it is the best choice.

When backpacking in the Sierras I was repeatedly asked, "What do you have in that little tiny backpack". The answer was always, "Probably all the same things you have in that great big one, just lighter more compact versions". Then if they pressed further and we compared notes there was usually nothing they had that I didn't have something that adequately accomplished the same function. Touring is pretty much the same except when you get to things like chairs.

I could maybe see myself going on a heavier tour again depending on the route, mileage goals, other activities, and so on. I'll probably never go much over 20# base again though unless the purpose of the tour was to support some other activity that required extra gear.
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Old 07-01-19, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
If your tablet has mobile connectivity (i.e. a SIM) then it provides a useful backup if your phone fails or is stolen. Otherwise, it is a matter of personal preferences. Most people end up using exclusively their phone. To wit - large screen phones and stagnant tablet sales.
That's how I use mine. If I'm traveling in unfamiliar areas, I sign up for different data service than what my phone uses. A couple of times on my last trip, I was only able to check in with my wife because the tablet had a connection. I was also to stop and admire some scenery and take photos of that scenery and share those photos online from camp later in the day, in spite of 3speeds concerns that you can't have actually enjoyed the ride if you take time to share it later.
Also I will sometimes capture GPS tracks of my longer rides. Having the tablet means I can turn that feature on, tuck it in a bag, and let it record all day without worrying about running my phone battery down. The bigger battery of the tablet,combined with keeping it put away with the screen off, means the battery drain is not extensive.

Also, maps are easier to read, and when I'm thinking ahead, I'll download maps before I leave, so connectivity isn't an issue. This time it didn't really matter. Hard to get lost when you're on the same trail for 200 miles. Also sorting through photos is easier on the tablet. Although I will say that while it came in handy a few times on my latest trip, it did not get used as much as I thought it would. It was more useful as an entertainment device during the pre and post trip traveling than it was on the actual trail. I did carry a small camera, though, and I would load those photos on to the tablet at the end of the day. I could have put them on my phone just as well, but they're easier to look at on the tablet, and I didn't want to fill the phone's storage up. Only problem with that is that to preserve data, photos only synced in wifi, which I didn't encounter that often, so I would end up with some photos on my phone and some on the tablet, and they never merged until the trip was over.
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Old 07-01-19, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
I was also to stop and admire some scenery and take photos of that scenery and share those photos online from camp later in the day, in spite of 3speeds concerns that you can't have actually enjoyed the ride if you take time to share it later.
Well I was more referring to the internet obsessed who sit in the tent/hotel surfing the internet for an hour+ at a time, or someone sitting there blogging all night, not spending a few minutes posting a picture to facebook or something. But whatever you do, have at it. I think I explained my opinion that there's nothing wrong with using some technology on your tour, getting some work done, etc... Just that I personally would prefer to walk around the woods, sit around a fire, or walk around a town rather than sit in a hotel room or tent putzing online all evening. I could spend an hour or two writing about my ride for the day, or I could spend an hour or two hiking. I'll hike.
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Old 07-01-19, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
Well I was more referring to the internet obsessed who sit in the tent/hotel surfing the internet for an hour+ at a time, or someone sitting there blogging all night, not spending a few minutes posting a picture to facebook or something. But whatever you do, have at it. I think I explained my opinion that there's nothing wrong with using some technology on your tour, getting some work done, etc... Just that I personally would prefer to walk around the woods, sit around a fire, or walk around a town rather than sit in a hotel room or tent putzing online all evening. I could spend an hour or two writing about my ride for the day, or I could spend an hour or two hiking. I'll hike.
oh.. I dunno. I've been keeping journals off and on most of my adult life and recently rediscovered a stash of them including my first bike tour in 91, several climbs I did and the summer I lived in a tent with my dog while working as a river rafting assistant guide. I'm currently writing my "memoirs" and they are pretty important insights into the past thoughts that I had forgotten - most notably how much angst I felt about the competitive nature of outdoor pursuits and the difficulties I had stepping away from it.

The problem is that they are all hand written and have to be laboriously transcribed to digital format. I still do written hournals on trips but convert them back home into word documents.

Some people say they just live in the moment but I find that a little short sighted when one can't share the experience with others and will forget the nuances themselves over time.

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Old 07-02-19, 08:04 AM
  #25  
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Iím certain I will forget things from my trips. I already have. For me, Iíd rather experience more things than worry about forgetting the details of some of the things Iíve done. And I certainly donít think so much of myself to think others want to sit around and read about me riding my bike. I take pictures while on my trips, but even those are basically just for me to look back on. No one wants to sit around and scroll through 100 pictures of trees, etc. Iím not hating on journaling at all. Obviously itís a great thing that our world has lots of great writers. If thatís what you like to do, by all means do what makes you happy. Writing about my trip, and certainly sitting in my tent surfing the web for hours while on tour, doesnít make me happy.
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