Best eReaders for field use ?


I ordered an eReader recently, as a convenient way to read technical books and pdfs without having to bother cluttering my bookshelf with the physical items (my phone is quite harsh on my eyes). It made me wonder how useful an eReader would be in a survival situation, to store survival information and entertainment in a compact, light format that can be recharged with solar panels and a power bank.

Is it a good idea at all, and is there an eReader that could be sturdy enough for lengthy field use, both in terms of physical resilience (and waterproofing, etc.), battery life, the ability to access and replace said battery as well as a guarantee this device will not be bricked if the company’s servers ever go under ?


  • Comments (9)

    • 2

      I keep survival info & apps on my iPhone.  Yes, it can be hard for old eyes to read but the advantage is, it is always with me.  It is tough, has good battery life, easily charged and already comes loaded with all sorts of survival features, such as compass, maps, level, camera, recorder, flashlight, etc.  Plus I have loaded all sorts of apps, such as first aid, knot tying, plant recognition & other survival apps like SAS Survival.  Many of these apps can be downloaded so that they work even when the internet & cellular are down.

      • 1

        That is a great tip! I need to work on bulking up my phone prep. What plant recognition app do you use? Do you think it has been pretty accurate? You seem to be the plant expert around here!

      • 1

        I’m certainly no expert.  I have loaded PictureThis & LeafSnap but have yet to play with them.  I’m kinda lazy but then again, at one time I was in the School of Forestry at Mississippi State and took Dendrology and other courses which taught me how to identify many local trees & plants.  I’m also old school & prefer a book when I need help identifying… something like the pocket sized Tree Finder: A Manual for Identification of Trees by their Leaves (Eastern US) (Nature Study Guides) and/or an Audubon Field Guide to North American trees.

        But yes, I consider a smartphone or eReader to be an integral tool for survival.  As I said, I’ll live with the smaller size because I always have my phone with me.  A tool is only useful if you have possession of it.

      • 1

        Thank you for the recommendations! I have always wanted to find wild edible plants near me, so this might be a good place to start.

        I totally agree with you that a tool is only useful if you have it with you, I need to have a backup of my prepping tools on my phone. I have my “survival tablet”, but don’t always have that with me.

      • 2

        In that case, where accuracy can mean the difference between supper and getting sick, you might want to look at FlowerChecker.  What is cool about that app is that the results aren’t computer based but are provided by a real person.  You send in the pic & an expert tells you what it is.  I think each query costs around $1, so not free but I’d trust the results a lot more.

      • 1

        Thank you! I definitely agree, $1 is a small price to pay from getting sick or  having to go to the ER. Thanks for the tip!

    • 2

      I think this is a great idea! What kind of eReader did you get? I’d love to see a followup in a month or so when you get your eReader of what you have loaded on there. 

      There is a subreddit page called r/prepperFileShare where people share pdf’s and other resources for phones, tablets, and ereaders with the intention that you are planning on. 

      I know a few years ago I downloaded one of their SHTF archives. It had hundreds and hundreds of pdf’s from many different topics such has how to grow and preserve food, first aid, generators, solar stills, and more. The idea is that this would be a valuable resource of knowledge if you had to rebuild society.  Most of the pdfs in there were useless to me, outdated, and poor quality. I spent dozens of hours going through all of them and reorganizing them and cutting out the ones that just shouldn’t be there. So that may be a project you might like to build your survival library. 

      • 2

        I got a Kobo Libra H2O, mostly for its waterproofing and third party compatibility (unlike Kindle which has you going through hoops to read unprotected pdf and epub files. Plus I’m not the biggest fan of Amazon). I didn’t check if the battery can be replaced or not, though.

        Thanks for the subreddit, I’ll take a look. For now I only stored digital copies of survival books I already own in physical form, plus a few non-survival technical books (IT mostly).

    • 1

      I recently got the Kindle Paperwhite on sale for Prime Day. It was a big discount, and it’s waterproof. I do have some worries about the DRM in a SHTF event, and am generally more inclined to consider a smartphone for a SHTF backup library than a dedicated e-reader. Still, the Paperwhite is now part of my kit, and I’m also doing some regular reading on it.