Survival Gear Review: Kindle e-Reader For Your Bug Out Bag

Relying on or using electronic tools in a survival situation is a serious debate among the survivalist and the emergency preparedness crowd.  Sometimes the usefulness of a tool might out weight risk of something going wrong with it, which is the case with the Kindle.

The common themes you will hear from those individuals adamantly opposed to any electrical devices for Survival are:
“What if there is EMP or Solar Storm?” (Electro-Magnetic Pulse)
“What if it gets wet?”
“What if there is a dust storm from a Nuclear Fallout?”
“what if you can’t find a source of power?”
“What if you run out of batteries?”
“What if, What if, etc.”

I agree with those “What If” planners,  you have to consider for as many of those contingencies asSurvival Gear Survival Knife Survival Shotgun you possibly can but on the flip side, what if all of those things don’t happen and you are in an urban survival or wilderness survival situation with out a good piece of gear like an eReader.  I believe this falls into the same category as the GPS.  They are an excellent tool but you better have a compass and map as a back up.  Same goes with the eReader, you need to have a few back up survival books/manuals in case things go wrong. (Two is One and One is None)

The Kindle 3 by can hold up to 3500 books and weighs just 8.7 Ounces.  The older Kindle Version 2 weighs a whopping 10.2 Ounces.  Compare this to the paper back version of “Making the Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook” by James Talmage Stevens which weighs over 1 pound.  1 Book at 1 pound or 3500 books at 8.7 Ounces, who do you think will be better prepared?

Get Your eReader Charged Up

The Kindle ver. 2 & 3 can hold a charge for almost two weeks.  If you combine the Kindle eReader with a product such as the Brunton Solar Roll, you are talking about endless amounts of reading and being able to reference books for different situations such as medical emergencies, edible plant types, tool making, gun smithing, agriculture, etc (as long as the sun is shining).  I know, I know….what if the sun doesn’t shine for a long time?  Trust me, if the sun doesn’t shine for a long time or we are hit by a Solar Storm, that last thing you will have to worry about is your Kindle not working.

There is also another factor that a lot of people do not think about in survival situations.  If you go long periods without some type of stimulation you could become depressed and your drive to survive could become diminished.  A tool such as an eReader, with 3500 books on it, could provide someone with endless stimulation and knowledge to get through a terrible situation.  Some survivalist out there might consider the iPad but at 1.5 pounds and a questionable battery life compared to the Kindle 3, I would not recommend it for emergency preparedness situations.  Bright colors with touch screens and animated graphics are nice but they also use lots of extra power with no real added benefit (The only exception to this might be for topo maps).

Keep Your eReader Element Proof

Get your eReader and electronic gear element proofed!!!  Use a product like LOKSAK element aloksak-survival-rifle-survival-knifeproof bags to make sure all of your electronic gear is 100% safe.  These bags are resealable element-proof storage bags featuring a hermetic seal.  That means absolutely no water, air, dust or humidity permeates the closure.  They are designed for a wide range of applications and environments.  The transparent bags are flexible and puncture resistant and they come in multiple sizes (including ones that hold a full size AR-15 or pistol) and can be sealed over and over again.  The best part about these bags is that you do not even need to take your Kindle out of the bag, you can type and view the screen right through the bag.  The unique and patented materials, closure systems and manufacturing techniques used to fabricate the LOKSAK products meet the most rigorous testing standards and the SurvivalCache team has field tested them as well, they work!!!

Still Worried About an EMP Blast or Solar Storm?

Store your Kindle in a Faraday Cage Anti-Static Bag made by 3M.  Will it work?  I am not sure but at least with the combo 3M anti-static bag and a Loksak bag you have covered a lot of bases and improved your Kindle’s survivability.


With all of the “What If’s” considered and knowing that there are products out there that can recharge your Kindle and keep it safe from the elements as well as a static electric charge, we feel that a product like the Kindle should find a way into your Bug Out Bag.  At 8.7 Ounces, the potential benefits far out weigh all of the “What If’ers” arguments against it.

The Best Survival and Emergency Preparedness Downloads for the Kindle (or paperback):

1. How to Survive TEOTWAWKI
2. SAS Survival Handbook
3. Crisis Preparedness Handbook
4. Where There is No Doctor
5. Where There is No Dentist
6. The Survival Retreat
7. The Encyclopedia of Country Living
8.  Back to Basics
9. The Firefox Books
10. 5 Acres and Independence: A Handbook for Small Farm Management
11.  Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills & Wilderness Survival
12. Handy Farm Devices and How to Make Them
13. The Ultimate Guide to Wilderness Survival
14. The Survival Handbook
15. When All Hell Breaks Loose

Photo Credits:
The SurvivalCache Crew

“The Future Belongs to Those Who Prepare”

Joel Jefferson
Written by Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joel’s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here. Read more of Joel's articles.

42 thoughts on “Survival Gear Review: Kindle e-Reader For Your Bug Out Bag”

  1. With this you can cut the hard copies of books in your bag down to a minimum and still have them all with you. I wish I had money…I don't have the money for a kindle, let alone a kindle to sit in a bag and wait to be used :/.

  2. Reading the books and practicing the knowledge within them might be a better choice. You want to know what to do before TSHTF, because learning it afterwards is gonna be hell. Knowledge doesn't cost as much as a Kindle, weighs nothing, and takes up no space. Of course, in a stressful situation it would be nice to have something to look to for help if your brain isn't exactly functioning at full speed. So I guess if all your other preps are finished and the basic gear has been obtained, a Kindle or GPS unit might be an alright buy…

  3. Another good solar charger for the Kindle is JOOS Orange. It is 6" X 9" X 1/2", weighs 9 oz., can be charged by sun or USB, will only lose approx. 1% of charge per month and is $99. After charging mine for a few hours I charged Kindle, iPhone & camera and still had charge left. It is virtually indestructable and waterproof, has locking loop so it can be locked to a tree, etc with a bike lock or chain. I've looked at the Bruntons (and still want one) but like that Joos has a battery so it can store a charge (for those cloudy days and that it can be drop kicked and survive.

  4. ” If you go long periods without some type of stimulation you could become depressed and your drive to survive could become diminished.”
    This is why I keep a plastic chess set with vinyl roll up chess board in my BOB. Say I do Bug Out, say I handle business and set up a good camp to stick it out. What then? I don’t tolerate boredom well and I love chess. It keeps the mind active.

  5. Another advantage to an e-reader is discretion. I do not know about some of the books others have read, but I find a lot of prepper library staples have rather loud and obvious covers. Not that I think anyone should be ashamed of their reading choices but I think it raises a few eyebrows on the subway or campus to have a book with an orange cover that says HOW TO SURVIVE THE END OF DAYS with a pic of a knife and a shotgun on it. An e-reader looks the same no matter what you are reading so you can take it anywhere without people getting weirded out. Love the site. Keep up the great work.

    • Start at Wal-mart. Alot there is cheap (both in price and quality), but it will get you started. Get what you can there, then go to a discount sporting goods store(like Dunhams) and get what you can there. Then move up to hunting and camping stores like Gander Mountain and Cabelas. Through all of this, compare with suppliers online, you might be able to find good deals and better quality.

      I’m just starting out, too and this has been my strategy so far. I was able to find decent rope, gun cleaning supplies, sewing stuff at Walmart. But had to go to Gander Mountain to find a good knife.

  6. in this digital age, agruably a survivalist needs some technology to survive. Still, technology doesn't beat by a country mile the reliability of traditional survive gear. For instance, while ebooks, cell phones, and GPS are handy tools to have on hand, they only good for the short term survival scenario when you are most likely still in a pretty modern environment. When you are talking about TEOTWAWKI, you need gear that would work without any excuses involving battery supply, user range, robutness, etc. For this reason, for every piece of technology in your Bug Out bag you should have at least one traditional backup. For example, for the ebook you should have a good edition of a survival manuel and a good sequel to a thrilling book series as backup to help keep your mind off the fact that your electronic friend just shut down due to an undercharged battery. 🙂

    • Agreed sir. Also, if you are using your Kindle for a reference library, either have the backup books or paper and pencil to copy critical items. I'm one of the few folks I know with a CRC math table book (used ones are available cheaply on line). Not needed for survival perhaps but absolutely priceless for rebuilding. Trig and logarithm tables are incredibly useful if you know how to use them. Once the calculators die, they will be needed for a whole slew of things.

  7. Hey, so I've been downloading some of the books listed in the article (the ones available as ebooks) and I found that you can download the "Where There Is No Doctor" and "Where There Is No Dentist" ebooks for free at Maybe I'm late to that party, but I thought it would be good for people to know if they are going after some of those books. Besides, that it can get pricey to fill your library with hard copies and E copies.

    • I personally plan to have 'the basics' in hard copy. And then have the 'gravy' books on kindle. I'm confident that my family and I can survive in a TEOTWAKI situation. It's the living and thriving that I need to work on. Things like, how much seed do you need to grow enough plants and produce enough food (and next year's seed) for your family? Sounds like a horrible math story question to me. And I know that reference materials will be essential for that situation (I feel like I'm pretty intelligent, but even I can only retain so much).

      Besides that, if it really is TEOTWAKI, it will be important to at least try to preserve some knowledge.

  8. I purchased a small AM/FMweather alert radio that is solar/crank/ac rechargable that will also recharge any device that recharges using a usb port. I havent used it yet ,but if all works as it should this will keep my basis for technology running.

    • Try it out and let us know how well that usb charging works. Best if you could test a smartphone (like an iPhone) as they require more watts than a dumbphone (a plain ole cell phone).

      I don't see the point of a kindle in a BOB. A) I don't have one anyway. B) I really don't read that much (no newspapers or magazines…just internet/email) C) Humans and "stone age" civilizations did and continue to get by without written language passing on their history and knowledge verbally through stories and song.

      • I currently have a sony xperia smartphone touch screen and some features that can eat the battery in a couple hours. I purchased this radio with that in mind, with hopes of being able to keep it functioning. I certainly hope it works as well as I want it to.

    • I purchased two Red Cross emergency hand crank/solar radios FR150 for my BOB in the vehicle and an FR300 for the home BOB. Both have a USB port and can be charged by hand crank and solar. The down side is 5 minutes of hand crank for 1 minute cell use which in an emergency can be enough for an brief phone call.
      I tested the crank charger by letting my nieces take turns 5 minutes a piece and I got just over 2 minutes before the phone gave me the phones about to die beep. I tested the solar charging during a summer month all day and it gave my phone a 3/4 battery charge on the FR150 and the FR300 was able to give the dead battery on my net book a 1/4 battery charge sitting there all day. Not bad, not great but it does work. Its why I invested in a converter charger for the cars cigarette lighter to charge electronics while driving or even sitting there.

  9. The kindle is a great tool to add to your kit. To go with the Kindle I keep a solar/crank powered shortwave radio that has a usb port for charging.

    Some of the cons to the kindle is that it is hard on the eyes if you read it for extended periods of time, the version I have does not have a back light for night reading, and the color pictures are in black.

    The biggest pro is the 800,000 FREE books available on amazon. Most of them are the classics but who cares, they're free. Oh, and most books are cheaper when you buy the kindle version as apposed to the hard copy but not all books are available in electronic form.

  10. I had this idea a while back and have had my kindle for several months now and there are some notes on the kindle that I have yet to see.

    The kindle does have a two week battery life…with the wireless internet connection turned on. It is actually up to 1 MONTH turned off. Also, the amount of storage is insane!!! 3,500 books that can download in under a minute each. I can't even think of 3,500 books, let alone 3,500 books solely on survival. I have quite a large selection already stored on my kindle. and am slowly making my way through each. Some of these books are even free and range in everything from how to tie knots, to home brewing, to survival manuels. I even found army manual FM 21-76 (survival) for like $3.99. The books are cheaper to buy than hard hard copies so after I buy the books i go through and take notes on any new and useful information that I find.

    On the downside though, there are very few images in ebooks to begin with and the kindle only renders them in greyscale. Also the anti-glare feature (which is a plus) is acchieved by not having a backlit screen. this means no reading at night unless you have a light. Noth that the LED ebook lights are expensive, just a heads on that.

    • I got my copy for free, because when I was in the Army Guard here in Kansas one of the units that shared the Armory with my unit was getting rid of their outdated manuals and had five copys of FM 21-76 (1986) on the table for soldiers to take. If I recall right it was 1989 when this happened.

  11. all is good, except i wantto find a hand generator to recharge my kindle and cell phone, or a solar roll or combination of both..any ideas?

    • I use the Anker Solar panel on Amazon for around $50, and the Anker Battery pack for about $30. It will charge up to 3 devices at the same time through USB ports.

  12. Got my Kindle and I do like it. I've already downloaded several books along with some recreational reading. It is doing a good job and worth the price.

  13. A few things to cover. First, Regardless of claimed battery life…That is for reading for an hour or so a day. It is not continuous usage. In reality the battery is only good for about…24-30 hours of ACTUAL USE. I am really really not a big fan of those misleading “a month of life” claims with disclaimers “assuming X amount of usage per day”. I’ve never read as little as an hour a day in my life.

    For the person who payed $4 bucks for the fm 21-76, All declassified army manuals can be obtained, for free, legally, in pdf format. plug “free army field manual PDFS” into google, and you’ll find em.

    • DRA,
      Good point, I've grown so used to misleading claims that I just "assume" they are no good. I've run some test on my Kindle and 24-30 hours is about right without the internet connection. Much less with. I also don't know what the usage is with the audio books as I don't use them. I do have the ability to charge the kindle from my BOL so that is some help.
      Thanks for the comment.

  14. The good CaptBart asked me to re-post an idea here. For a '$2 insurance policy' for your Kindle, or other reader/tablet, get a 'semi-flexible cutting board' at any kitchen aisle (about 1/16 inch thick tough plastic, you fold/bend it to pour what you just chopped into a pot).

    Cut the board to the size of your reader, and slip the piece into the reader's padded case to help protect the touchscreen from accidental impacts. It's not bullet-proof carbon fiber, and no Apple logo, but you can protect 2 screens for about $2.

  15. I basically agree with you. First things first and I wouldn't buy a Kindle in lieu of my defensive firearm or needed food for example. That said, I've found my Kindle an excellent tool as I go along. Many books are free; all are cheaper than in hardcopy. Some things I have are for entertainment reading while grid down. Science fiction, history, Plutarch, etc. are all there for my enjoyment. That 'down time' is critical when everything is stressed. Since I already have some backup power, I'm not worried about recharging the Kindle. Not a first priority but a really useful tool to add to the kit (and maybe reduce some weight in the BOB).

  16. I work for the NASA – They objected to my screen saver of Volcanoes because some of the eruptions looked like atomic bomb explosions! Try reading a prepper book at your desk during your lunch hour around here! I agree that the ability to read what you want without raising "fear and loathing" from those around you can be a bid deal. Nice catch. Thank you for your insight.

  17. I had a similar idea awhile ago. I have an ipad. I never leave the house without it. About a year ago I saw a solar paneled charger akin to the one described here. However, this one uses a solar panel to charge two AA batteries and then uses those to charge my ipad. The benefit to this is that I could use those batteries in anything I needed. And, if my grasp of college level electronics is right I could put in fully charged batteries and charge my ipad off of that. As long as it was out of the sun of course.

    Another reason why I chose a ipad over a kindle is that I have access to a ton of medical tools on it. I am in school to be a doctor and the ipad has apps with a bunch of surgical anatomy tools and drug dosage and interactions.

    Most importantly, I have medicinal plant reference guides on there. I dont know about you, but when I am risking my life on whether a plant is poisonous or not I would much rather have a full color view of it. To not have this would be like asking a dog to cut the blue wire to diffuse a bomb.

    In addition to this, I have over 300 novels on it.

    Oh and did I mention it goes with me everywhere? Instead of being left in a pack, I have access to all this information everywhere. It even serves as a back up telephone.

  18. the nice thing about Kindel is that its software is also downloadable to your desktop, laptop, or netbook. I already have two desktops and a netbook and plan to have the netbook in my BoB or nearly as handy as it actually is nearly part of my everyday carry kit (don't take it with me nearly everyday).

  19. OH and on the technology thread, tecnology is always good just keep older tech handy for when the high and ultra tech items fail. This includes a compass to back up the GPS, signal mirror to back up the Cell Phones and Hand Held Radios, books to back up the Kindels and other e-books. Oh and remember the oldest laptop is a lap desk with plenty of paper, sharpened pencils, etc.

  20. Just my 2 coppers…
    The kindle is OK – BUT – you are chained to Amazon's store and limited to what you can load on it.
    Get a Nook, you can connect to your computer and copy EPUB's and PDF's to it until you run out of space.

  21. I think that one should have both a Kindel or other eReader and downloads of various books that can be useful for surviving in a post disaster situation including a fall of civilization as we know it. For ancient times it was the Christian monks that saved most of the knowledge thought lost in Europe after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, but today it would be private libraries in people's homes, on their computers if electricity is still available and on their eReaders (which can be recharged with a solar recharger like the one talked about in the article.) One reason to save our collective knowledge or as much of it as we can is so that we don't have to relearn everything that was lost from scratch.

  22. Just remembered I've downloaded the Kindel Reader application to two of my PCs. I have to do it to my Netbook soon so I can have the books I have on it too. But If you don't own a Kindel, you can download the reader app to your PC, Labtop, or Netbook too.

    • load up some movies too for those dark and stormy nights, or when you need to keep family members entertained…. or other folks your with. the initial post is about usefulness for essential books and the like…. but disregards the entertainment value to keep up morale.

  23. oh, all you folks that are relying on "the cloud"…. what happens when you dont have a wi-fi connection and you want to find something in there? you CANT. get yourselves a tablet that allows you to read AND WRITE to a usb, sd, or micro sd. at least youll have a doodad to take with you instead of trying to load it all onto your device. and for god sakes put it in a plastic baggy

  24. A cheap DIY Faraday cage for your Kindle (or any electric devise) is a empty cookie tin! Wrap your Kindle in bubble wrap, then in a zip-lock bag, then in the cookie (or popcorn) tin, and duct tape/seal around the tin to keep it together; this will also help protect it from accidents and elements! Another good reason (maybe the best) to carry a Kindle in your BOB is downloaded children's books to keep the rug rats occupied QUIETY! Keeping them busy (out of your hair) when busy at the end of the day when you're all tired, but you still need to set up camp, collect fire wood, set up security, etc., all of which is much easier without a child wrapped around your leg! If you're worried about loosing all your Kindle-held info, simply buy two and have the essential info on both! The only real downside to carrying electronic devises after SHTF is they may become much sought after by less-than-honorable types of people, but your food is more likely to be a target! Good Luck!

  25. I love tech I think I would go with some phone that has all these apps to read listen to music a camera light
    and other fun stuff but have it not count on the fact you can connect and download it when you feel like it.

    I love my Kaito radio my MP3 player and I have quite a few flash drives filled with video and audio.
    I will be heart broken not to be able to watch Godzilla stomp out Tokyo BUT I am not a person who grew up
    with tech so I can use my deck of cards to play solitair.
    Besides I am not going to be using this stuff for quite a while I think in a severe situation your better served by being vigilant and not a space cadet with head phones stuck in your nut like a pair of butt plugs
    even reading at night backlights you just right for a hole in your forehead.

    But when you do have time and security for R&R let er rip but I think you better have your ducks in a row
    or your dead meat.
    I do have an idea, keep some soft screen wipes on you so whoever bashes your head in can wipe your brains off the screen that is why the military trains so they do not have to get out the instruction manual when they should be
    paying attention to the zipper heads in the area.

    if your in for some light reading the Navy Dive Manual is available for free download.

  26. Just in case here is a web site with millions of downloadable books videos public domain free movies etc.

    It is kinda hard to navigate some egghead must have built the site but once you get in it is fantastic for public domain movies in MP4 format you have to look for MP4 strange a few movies are not available as MP4 I guess you could convert them from one format to MP4 though a lot of very good old black & white movies all generas.
    you have to right click and save as on the format you want like I said whoever built the site did not make it easy in some ways for a novice but it is worth the effort.

    I have spent hours actual video of historic events also sections in other languages it is like having a library at your finger tips but I know there are tons of interesting stuff for everyone have your flash drive ready and buy more because you will fill them up quick enjoy.


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