Electronics on Safari...what do you take or not take?

Philip Glass

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Feb 26, 2015
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RSA, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Austria, Australia, TX, NM
My wife and I are not big computer people. That's to say that we don't mind living without them for a while. It doesn't bother us to not look at our cell phones, computer or even television over the course of a weekend and think nothing of it. However we also know that we are in the minority, and this is most likely a product of how we grew up. I will not get into the "good old days" discussion here, but wanted to know how others felt about taking electronics on safari. Laptops, iPads, cell phones and cameras have become a mainstay of daily life, but does that mean they follow you on vacation or safari? Do you take them in the bush? What are your thoughts and opinions on the subject?

For us, we have taken our cell phones on vacation including safari. Once we took a camera and didn't use it much. On our next vacation, we will probably take a laptop because I can type much faster than I can write. I enjoy writing in a journal at the end of the day, but find the actual writing part of it cumbersome, with typing being much more efficient. The auto-correct spelling is a plus for me as well. I will concede that I do like to draw and sketch things, so I pack a small journal pencil and eraser. It lets me scribble down drawings of animals and scenery I just can't describe with a picture from a cell phone. So for us it's pretty much a cell phone each, share a laptop and a scribble book for me. What say you?

I just take an iPad but if you are doing some serious writing then take the laptop. They make such compact ones now. It will stay in camp

Charles de Ribeau

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Aug 3, 2015
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Namibia, RSA, Canada (Sask, BC, NWT, Nunavut), US (NY, PA, TX, CO, NE, SD, ID, AK)
I have spent my career in high tech and have traveled extensively. Over the years, I have experimented with various alternatives for electronics. I tried just taking just an iPad and cellphone on business trips plus a camera on personal trips. I've tried using a sub-notebook (not bad), pocket PC, and so on. I have learned to pack light (except for cold weather hunts). For trips to most of the world I can get by for 2 weeks with one carry-on suitcase and a briefcase with my electronics and misc. I have finally settled on the following for electronics for personal travel:

Laptop (MacBook) - I have all of my business and personal files on it and every night I can create a backup of photos taken during the day. If I have internet access, I also copy the photos to a backup service (e.g., DropBox, etc.). Yes, I'm a belt and suspenders kind of guy. Also, I definitely prefer the form factor of the laptop for any writing I may choose to do. I take my laptop even when I know that I won't have internet access. (There are still a few places in the world where that is true.)

iPad - I take this instead of packing multiple books, plus I can transfer countless videos from my Tivo DVR and I can't put them on my laptop because Tivo doesn't support Mac. If there is internet, I may use a video conference app (e.g., Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, etc.) to communicate with family or my office. The laptop can be used in the same way.

Cell phone (iPhone) - Once I begin my trip, I generally don't use it to make calls and I really don't like taking pictures with it. However, I do use it for listening to my music on flights. In an pinch, I can use it to make calls during my travels. It doesn't take much space and only weighs a few ounces.

Camera - I like to have one with good optics and small enough to fit in a shirt pocket. I make sure to put in a high capacity memory card. I like the camera to be able to hold all of the pictures from a 2 - 3 week trip. (Remember - belt and suspenders. You can't have too many copies of those images.)

Noise canceling headphones - only use them during flights. Especially good if there is a crying baby nearby

GPS - only for remote hunts in North America.

Rangefinder - only for unguided hunts.

Ridge Runner

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Mar 23, 2017
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East Cape, South Africa
Yes, I did forget to include a rangefinder; very important item takes the guess work for distancing an animal.

Mine also has shot angle, good for using the cheat sheet for mildot crosshair hold.

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