Kayaking with a laptop

Hypothetical situation: You go on a two-week working vacation for which you need your laptop. In the middle of your vacation you take four days for kayak camping. Which is the safest place for your laptop?

  1. In the trunk of your car at the launch.

  2. In your kayak, even though you don’t need your laptop while you’re camping.

    Is there something waterproof I can put the laptop in? I hate the idea of leaving it in my car.

If the hotel you were staying at
before your kayaking trip is the one you will be staying at after your kayaking trip, or you can practically swing by it after your kayaking trip, I would ask the hotel staff if they can store it for you for those 4 days, and give it to them in a padlocked secure case. That would be the safest option.

I have checked out of hotels around the world, and asked them to store luggage for me for a few days (my scuba gear for 7 days in Africa), rarely have I ever had a problem. There are some that might be loathe to take the responsibility for a laptop (I just hid mine in a larger suitcase and didn’t tell them about it in Japan) but providing it in a secure case could overcome their concerns.

both have their risks
condensation on the river can wreck a computer…even if it is double dry bagged.

But if you have dough Pelican makes a computer case. The O ring keeps out condensation and you can add dessicant pouches inside.

Now will it fit in the hatch?

to each his/her own. but I cannot imagine taking a backcountry trip and having to devote some of that time to work.

read again
the OP is taking a camping trip in the middle of a work trip…

Under number 2. OP just wants item safe; not using it.

but better than not going at all
Personally I would make sure I’m fully backed up then keep the laptop hidden in the car. If the data is safe but someone steals my car the laptop would not be high on my list of concerns. You just want to hide it well enough than they don’t casually break in and grab it.

Well he did call it a "working vacation"
I’m not sure exactly what that is. It sounds like a vacation where you still have to do some work. I have had business trips where I got to do some play, in Japan, Germany and France, and in Spain, but that is different. Company paid for my flights over and all hotel expenses except for those during days I might have extended my trip to sightsee, and the days I was working were not counted against my vacation days. A “working vacation” sounds more like you are taking vacation days and traveling on your own dime, but still have to get some work done during at least some of those vacation days, which sounds like a bummer.

I hear similar from many on things related to work and technology. People put down the idea of bringing any way to communicate or do work. I agree it’s best not to, but people need to understand the many varied situations others are in. Imagine you have a good paying job you enjoy and that puts a roof over your head and food for your kids, but the nature of the job means you’re needed quickly for the next six months. The ability to work or check in may be the difference between not going anywhere at all. Life is full of compromises and you need to do what it takes to get out and enjoy life while still being a responsible person. I’ve mostly avoided being in this situation but I fully understand those that are.

I’ve done both, but usually truck it
I have taken my laptop in my canoe in a waterproof camera bag on day trips just because I feared break-ins to my van. However, the vast majority of time I leave it in the van. I carry so much stuff of value to me in my van that the laptop just goes into the break-in risk pool. Plus, my Voyageur waterproof camera bag finally broke after 25 years.

I now have a new laptop, which will stay at home, and I’ll travel with my old one, which will always stay in the van when I’m paddling.

that’s why I said “to each his/her own”

– Last Updated: Apr-25-13 12:26 PM EST –

I would avoid it like the plague. If it meant the difference between eating and not eating, obviously I would choose eating.

One of my beefs with electronic technology and social media is that it makes it easier to stop trying to avoid work. I'm not convinced everyone assesses "need" to the degree they can,but of course I'm placing my own value on a work-free vacation. I put a lot of thought and pre-planning into avoiding such situations, whether the "need" has just been expanded from a matter of convenience, and FWIW I would find it pretty unpleasant to be on a trip with someone else who did their work during the trip unless they absolutely had to.

I'm not judging the OP, I misunderstood their question.

mea culpa, my poor reading

No hotel involved. Only two options are the car and the kayak.

Being able to work on the road allows me to take multiple trips each year. I always struggle with how to keep unused items (bike, other gear) safe while I’m out kayak camping.

If in the car
you might tuck it in with the spare tire, if you have one. On some cars the spare is under a panel under a carpet in the trunk. But what about the temperature inside a car in the summer? In the NY area, I’d worry about cooking the bits.

How about shipping it home before the kayak trip? Wouldn’t work if you need it afterwards, though.

In the old days you could ship it to yourself care of general delivery at post office so-and-so, then pick it up later with ID. Or put it in a coin locker at a bus or train station.

How about pawning it and buying it back after the trip? OK, I’m officially out of ideas…

On the other hand . . .
This isn’t a case of “I’m so glued to my work that I can’t even take a vacation without my laptop.” It’s the opposite: I enjoy the outdoors so much that I take frequent trips and bring my work with me. I probably spend more time in the outdoors than people who take nonworking vacations. Plus these trips pay for themselves. What’s not to like?

try reading my post again

– Last Updated: Apr-25-13 4:30 PM EST –

...because you missed this last line:

"I'm not judging the OP, I misunderstood their question."

I guess we both goofed!

Not judging, just said its a bummer
if he has to do that.

For me on vacation, my smart phone is usually good enough if something comes up, and the hotel business center if I need a real computer. Though now that I have a tablet, I take that on vacations with me a lot.

you need to apologize about 3 more times
It’s obvious a nerve was struck. I’ll never say anything negative about taking electronics for work on vacation ever again.

Excellent suggestion.

checking here
And see if someone here is close to where you are starting from and can leave a packed bag and pick up at the end of the trip. I wouldn’t want to leave it in a locked hot car nor take it in the kayak. Even if you buy a good protective case you then give up space in the kayak for it.

Could you
1. Mail it to yourself at general delivery.

2. UPS or Fed Express it to your next destination with signing required so you pick it up at their main office.