Bulletproof Laptops for Studying on the Road

Barry Lenson

There’s no need to take a break from your online college studies this summer, even if you’re kayaking through the Everglades or trekking the Sierra Madres. All you need is some kind of broadband access and one of these ultra-rugged laptops that are designed to take any kind of beating that you or nature can dish out.

We’ll list them in order of price, with the least expensive first.

The GammaTech Durabook D15RP has a hefty case, an extra rugged keyboard and a shock-resistant hard drive that encrypts itself automatically to protect your information if the computer falls into the wrong hands. Price: About $2,000.

Panasonic Toughbook F8 is a laptop hiding in a nearly bullet proof aluminum attaché case. Highly shock resistant, with extra-long battery life. Price: About $2,900.

General Dynamics Itronix GD6000 looks like a character from a “Transformer” movie. It’s built to withstand the rigors of life in a vehicle – the high heat, impacts, spilled beverages, and more. Price: About $3,500.

General Dynamics Itronix GD8000 ramps it to the next level with an ultra-bright display you can read in full sunlight and an extra measure of resistance to dust, water and sand. It was designed for use by the people who lug laptops up and down cell phone towers. Price: About $4,250.

Panasonic Toughbook 30 is a jumbo laptop with rugged metal construction, a bright display, and long battery life. Since it was designed for field engineers, it can probably take what you’ll be dishing out on your surf vacation to Big Sur. Price: About $4,800.

Dell Latitude E6400 XFR costs a bundle, but you get a lot for your adventure dollar – a ballistic-grade shell, an ultra-bright display and extra battery life. Price: About $5,150.

Getac B300 looks like it could survive being thrown off a skyscraper, because it’s been designed for military use. The doors to the USB ports and the DVD drive are hidden behind nifty waterproof lids. It’s doubtful that anybody actually needs a laptop like this, but it could sure start some interesting conversations. Price: About $5,500.

You’re going to need a solar recharger too. How else will you recharge your laptop while you’re dangling from a Dipterocarp Tree in the rain forest canopy? One ultra-neat option is the Voltaic Solar Generator, a nylon laptop case with a built-in solar panel. It costs about $600. But heck, it will recharge your cell phone too.

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