Is 17" MBP too heavy for backpacking?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MacSyn, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. MacSyn macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2006
    Hi, guys. Just need some comments/opinions in traveling with 17" MBP. I'll bring a MBP with me when I backpack alone later this year. Is 17" MBP too bulky/heavy (almost 7 lbs)? I was thinking to get a 15" model but found a pretty good price of 17" model. So I want to hear some opinion. Also, is it a good idea to use a notebook on the beach or chalet's porch facing ocean?

    Comments from people with 17" MBP/backpacking experience are especially welcome. Thank you.
  2. FJ218700 macrumors 68000


    Mar 8, 2007
    Blue Dot, Red State
    if it were me, I'd buy an iPhone + a 15 inch MBP instead.
  3. MacSyn thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2006
    No no, no iPhone for me. I don't like and don't need an iPhone.
  4. Fearless Leader macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2006
    its only 1.4 lbs heavier. That shouldn't be a problem. depending on your backpack it might be to bulky, the short time I got to borrow a friends 17" i didn't have a problem with it in a school backpack, but it couldn't fit in a secondary pocket, where I keep my 15".
  5. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    I think it would really depend on a few things-

    Where are you backpacking?

    What time of year/conditions will you be backpacking in?

    For how long are you backpacking?

    What kind of shape are you in physically?

    What kind of backpack are you going to be using?

    All those answers should help you answer your own question- There are places I woudl have no problem backpacking with a 17" MBP, but if I was doing the AT there is no way!!! So more info please
  6. dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
  7. vtprinz macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2004
    If you're really hardcore backpacking, every pound matters, and practically any laptop would be too heavy. If you're just going on day hikes or just walking around the city or something, then it's sort of the opposite, any laptop would do, depending on how strong your shoulders are.

    It's not a perfect trial, but you could always measure out some weights (or anything really) to equal the 17" mbp and throw them in the bag for a day and see how it feels. Do the same with the weight of the 15" and see if you notice a difference.
  8. babababoon macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2005
    I think if you feel like the screen size of 15 inch is good for you then just go for it. I am currently using a 15" powerbook and carry it with me everyday. I actually thought about 17" but feel like it is not as mobile as 15".
  9. MacSyn thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2006
    Where are you backpacking?
    A: To Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, China, perhaps Bali and India also.

    What time of year/conditions will you be backpacking in?
    A: End of this year til middle of next year. Will have a lot of walking I believe when looking for places to stay. Will leave it in hotel rooms when out for sightseeing.

    For how long are you backpacking?
    A: End of this year til middle of next year.

    What kind of shape are you in physically?
    A: Will work on it hopefully will get fitter before I leave for the trip.

    What kind of backpack are you going to be using?
    A: Will buy a pro-use backpack for everything. And will bring one extra school-size Jansport backpack for MBP (in a sleeve of course) and traveling documents.

    I bring it with me because I need some entertainment when I am on the road alone and to store my photos not to show off. Also what about my question of using it on the beach/in front of porch? Any answer?
  10. Applenewb macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2007
    you are asking to be robbed or mugged carrying a 3k backpack in those areas. Go buy a 700.00 acer or at most a basic macbook. I have no idea why you would need a 17" MBP unless you need to crack out a few movies on the run. Save yourself the major headache and get a cheapo one.
  11. foidulus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2007
    I agree. The macbook is the lightest notebook apple makes(only .3 lbs less than a 15" mbp, but its still something) plus it will take up less room in your backpack and if it is stolen, isn't worth nearly as much.

    As somewhat of an aside, Apple advertises the weight of its laptops as their weight with the battery and optical drive installed. Is it possible to remove the optical drive without voiding your warranty?
  12. MacSyn thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2006
    Pleaseeee, Asia is not what you think. Cambodia and Vietnam are probably safer than the Spain and Italy! I have been to Thailand many times, it's a relatively safe country. These may be are 3rd wolrd countries but definitely people are much nicer and kinder than people from developed countries!

    I am not interested in all these comments to other countries, please stick to the MBP discussions, thank you.
  13. mrscribble macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2004
    Sorry, I know you want to stick to the size question, but I completely agree with Applenewb - I'd give you maybe a 2% chance of finishing the trip without having that stolen if you take it. If you're staying in backpacker hotels, and leave a macbook pro there while you're out, there's a good chance it will not be there when you get back. Most of the countries you're visiting are safe, yes, but it's a few other backpackers you need to watch out for - people who've run out of money and are be prepared to rob you for another 2 months' spending money. It happens. And even if not, you will get seriously fed up of carrying that thing around for 6 months, and worrying about having it stolen the whole time.

    If you use it on the beach / porch then you just increase the chances of someone stealing it from your room while you're away. And you won't be able to read the screen on the beach.

    If you want entertainment on the road alone, take a book and a cheap mp3 player. To store your photos, get a flickr or .mac account and upload at an internet cafe when your memory card gets full.

    I'm sure someone will say it can be done with no problem - but I wouldn't. And if you absolutely have to, take a 12" 3 year-old piece of junk that you won't miss, not a top of the range desktop replacement! You'll have a great time.
  14. foidulus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2007
  15. bertpalmer macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2007
    I have been to the countries you refer and I would seriously consider downsizing to thr 15" if not the MB. Remember that these countries become VERY humid esp during the rainy reason and if you are travelling through jungles etc then you really don't want to be carrying expensive electrical equipment.

    If you do then you need to think about some serious protection for it.

    I would really think of the weight too - when you put everything you need in one bag the weight soon adds up.
  16. siurpeeman macrumors 603


    Dec 2, 2006
    the OC
    wouldn't a macbook pro be a little to fragile for backpacking? why not get a refurb macbook specifically for the trip, and sell it afterward. if it breaks or gets stolen, it won't be as big a deal compared to the loss of a macbook pro.
  17. tango554 macrumors member

    May 6, 2007
    petty theft aside, there are a lot of unpredictable things that can happen backpacking, much less to a laptop.

    That said, If I had to carry a laptop backpacking, I would want the lightest one possible. A 12"powerbook or macbook would be ideal. Between the 15" and 17" mbp? thats a no-brainer.
  18. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
    IMO it's too bulky and a tad too heavy for backpacking ... :(
  19. emotion macrumors 68040


    Mar 29, 2004
    Manchester, UK
    I'd say it's too big for travelling around with. I'd buy a second hand ibook 12" for this or maybe a 12" powerbook.

    After a few years with a 12" powerbook I think the macbook is too big for carrying around.
  20. Igantius macrumors 65816

    Apr 29, 2007
    Regardless of where you're travelling, whether it's a developing country or not, if you're backpacking a 17" isn't going to be a very practical solution.
  21. MacSyn thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2006
    From all the opinions here I guess I won't bring MBP with me except iPod.

    Thank you for you all inputs. Really appreciated.
  22. mccldwll macrumors 65816

    Jan 26, 2006
    Something not mentioned is the wealth factor--travelling in underdeveloped countries with an item worth more than the GNP of a small village. Sort of antithetical to the backpacking experience. Go for a durable 12" ibook G4 (w/ applecare) and spray paint it UGLY (no decals, adhesive becomes a mess).
  23. kerpow macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2004
    Taking a $2500 laptop with you travelling? You must have more money than sense.

    I'd pick up an old iBook for about $500 off ebay and sleep a whole lot better each night.

    Buy a 15'4" MBP when you return home.
  24. wPod macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2003
    Denver, CO
    i am a minimalist when it comes to backpacking. so for starters i would say no laptop. get a video iPod and a palm or other such PDA. that way you can store your pictures on your iPod from your camera (get the little adapter, they still have those, right?) then use the PDA to access the internet and such(are there even wireless hotspots in these countries?), if thats what you are planning to do with a laptop. if you really want a laptop then go for a MB, i am not saying that for getting stolen reasons, i am saying that for carrying dead weight reasons.

    what will a 17" MBP provide that a 13" MB will not provide??

    but, on the topic of getting stolen, get a lock for your laptop. that way when you leave it in your hotel room you can lock it to the desk or something. maybe im paranoid, but ill do that in the states even just to be safe.
  25. Dustman macrumors 65816


    Apr 17, 2007
    well said. i agree, however wouldnt saturating in paint and ripping off all the decals void applecarE?

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