Kayaking with a laptop

So other than the 4 days of kayak
camping, where are you sleeping?

Other options:
Greyhound bus terminal rental lockers (if they still have those post 9/11)

Rent a storage unit. I used to store my apartment furniture over the summer so I know you can do it month by month, and small storage units can be as low as $19 a month.

See about renting a PO box at a Fed Ex Office or a little mom and pop Mail Depot kind of place.

Any friends or family nearby?

In short, I would do anything BUT leave the laptop in the car or take it in the kayak with me. I would not trust even the best waterproof box to keep a laptop dry in a small boat, and leaving your vehicle unattended for several days somewhere that you obviously aren’t leaving it in a trusted friend’s garage (or else you’d just leave it with the friend), you are taking a really big risk.

Other option - decide either that this trip isn’t one you are going to take your laptop on, or this trip isn’t one you go on a kayak camping trip. Of course it’s your laptop, you may not be too worried about the cost of replacing it, but if you decide to leave it in your car or take it with you, make sure you have backed up all your files in a cloud or an external hard drive that you leave at home, because chances are, you’ll need it.

Those are my worries
I take too many trips to fool around with FedEx etc.

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is the risk of loss of personal data—identity theft, loss of privacy and so on. Some people have their entire work and personal lives on their laptops.

I’m thinking that with the laptop in the kayak I at least have some control over its fate, whereas I have no control at all over my car at the launch. The more I think about it the riskier it feels to leave it in the car.

My hatches have always been watertight.

double drybag it anyway
This is no time to invite Murphy to go with you.

So I put the laptop in the hatch inside a couple of plastic bags (not drybags). Not a drop of water got inside the hatch.

However, I concluded that the laptop was an underused hassle and I will try not to take it in the future. One concern was that I was storing food in the other hatch. I wondered if some bear was going to tear the whole kayak apart and gnaw on the laptop. No signs of any animals, but why cause yourself that anxiety if you can avoid it?

[I know I shouldn’t store food in the hatches in black bear country. I usually hang food but got lazy this time.]

Pelly makes waterproof laptop cases, but yeah, if under used, home may be safer, depending on home perimeters.

Ha! That’s true!
Your house is at risk just as well when you’re out in the puckerbrush for a week.

back-up and encrypt
regularly back-up your data and have hardware-based full disk encryption with separate encrypted folders for personal things (banking etc). I’m not in the least worried somone pinched my laptop - not only data is useless, it is also boobytrapped to call me back if the idiot tries to switch it on connected ot the net. Though encryption to the standard I use is illegal where I live, frankly, I could not care less.

safest place
is back at your office–that way you can enjoy your vacation without distractions

Personally, I would be much more concerned about my vehicle than I would be about the contents. If the parking was less than secure, I would try to find a better place to park. No paddling adventure is enhanced by having to worry about returning to a break-in, or vandalism to your car.

I realize that pretty much eliminates a heck of a lot of paddling opportunities, but that seems to be the way the world is these days.

Pelican Case
Google it.


waterproof laptop case!!!

How far is your launch from a town?
I’ve done this before and usually I’ll spend an extra $30-$40 for cab ride from and back to town. I sleep MUCH better at night knowing my car and equipment is at a much safer location, i.e. airport lot or even a 24 hour major convenience or grocery store, than sitting at a launch. This is easily done of course if you are not hauling the canoe on top of the vehicle you want to leave in town. But, if then, it’s not that bad. Unload your equipment at the launch…have someone watch it while you drive back to town, park somewhere safe and take a cab back to the launch. Now if you’re launch is 30 miles from the nearest town…well, I dunno.

Nothing is ever 100% guaranteed, but I just don’t like leaving my vehicle at an unattended launch for days…

Pelican laptop cases are good
I often take my laptop when kayaking (and I don’t care what others think about it – if they would rather be inside working, that’s their business – me? I’d rather be working on a picturesque beach somewhere instead of in a stuffy office).

I use one of the Pelican Laptop cases (it’s a bit older than the current models) and have never had any issues. Mine is similar to this case:


I also use a Watershed waterproof bag for carrying extra batteries, mouse, etc.



River nerds…
The techno hubby needs to stay in touch (we have our own biz)so he usually has nerd foof along. Pelican has kept the electronics safe and we haul the travel guitar in a Watershed bag. We’ve left items in the care of outfitters or innkeepers with satisfactory results. Don’t leave stuff in a hot car.

Personal data worries? PGP or TrueCrypt
If you’ve got sensitive data on your laptop, it should be encrypted. Use PGP, TrueCrypt, or something similar to render the data useless to anyone who steals the unit. Or if you’re really paranoid, spring for a hardware-based encryption system.