The Best Tablets for Backpackers and Hikers

Apple Ipad Mini Tablet

Apple Ipad Mini Tablet

Backpackers and hikers usually try to have as light backpacks as possible. However, it’s practical to have a Wi-FI or LTE enabled device with you while you are on the move, not only for entertainment and communication but also as a source of information. With internet access you can see the weather forecast, bus schedules, book accommodation and much more. Notebooks are too big and heavy to be carried around, especially on hiking trips. On the other hand, smartphones are too small (unless you own a phablet) and their screens usually don’t offer a clear overview.  Tablets are a great compromise between notebooks and smartphones and can be super lightweight. Therefore, they are perfect for activities like travelling, hiking, backpacking and even mountaineering.

Here we selected and reviewed the best tablets for backpackers and hikers to make your buying decision a little easier. These tablets can also be used for navigation along the trails; check out our review of the Best Hiking Apps to learn more about navigation apps for hiking.

1. Buying a Tablet for Backpacking or Hiking – What is important?

Protective Case:

A case protects your tablet when it is stored in the backpack among hiking gear. Tablets typically don’t come with protective cases – they are sold separately. Therefore, we also added recommendations of protective cases for the respective tablets in this review. We only included cases which protect both backside and front side of the tablet.

Weight:

A tablet for backpacking or hiking should be lightweight. While you are on the move every gram counts and therefore we listed only tablets that are lightweight.

Size:

Packing everything into a backpack is a common problem. A tablet shouldn’t take too much space in a backpack and therefore we listed only tablets equipped with screens no bigger than 10”. Such tablets allow you to easily browse the web or even watch movies on your trip but are at the same time small enough to be packed in a backpack without a problem.

LTE Connectivity:

Access to the internet is most likely the main reason why you are buying a tablet. Therefore, it’s a great benefit if the tablet is equipped with LTE (on hiking trips it’s typically hard to get Wi-Fi coverage). All tablets in this review are available in LTE versions.

Performance:

A tablet should allow you to smoothly browse the web, watch movies and play games. We only listed tablets with powerful processors, at least 1GB of RAM and no less than 16GB of internal storage.

Expert Selections
We only list top-tier products. Read how our selections of best hiking products differ from others here.
Links
We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases at no extra cost to you.

2. The Best Tablets for Backpacking and Hiking Review

Best Backpacking Tablets

Best Backpacking Tablets

The Best Tablets for Backpacking and Hiking – List

  1. Apple iPad Mini
  2. Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2
  3. Lenovo Tab M7
  4. Huawei MediaPad TR3
  5. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8

Comparison

Scroll Horizontally
Feature/Product Apple iPad MiniSamsung Galaxy Tab Active 2Lenovo Tab M7Huawei MediaPad TR3Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8
Size‎7.69 x 5.31 x 0.25 in.8.5 x 5 x 0.4 in.6.94 x 4.03 x 0.33 in.9.05 x 6.29 x 0.31 in.8.3 x 4.9 x 0.3 in.
Size (Metric) 195.4 x 134.8 x 6.3 mm215 x 127 x 9.9 mm176.2 x 102.3 x 8.3229.8 x 159.8 x 8 mm210 x 124 x 8 mm
Weight 10.3 oz.14.6 oz.8.3 oz.1.01 lb.12 oz.
Weight (Metric) 293 g415 g237 g460 g345 g
LTE YesYesYesYesYes
Display8.3”8.0”7.0”9.6”8.0 ”
Display Resolution2266 x 1488 px1280 x 800 px1024 x 600 px1280 x 800 px1280 x 800 px
Operating SystemiOS 15, upgradable to iOS 15.5Android OS, 7.1 Android OS, 11Android OS, 7.0Android OS, 9.0
CPUHexa-core (2x2.93 GHz + 4xX.X GHz)Octa-core (1.6 GHz)Octa-core 2.0 GHzQuad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53Quad-core (2 GHz)
Memory4 GB DDR33 GB DDR32 GB DDR31/2/3 GB DDR32 GB DDR3
Storage64/256 GB16 GB 32 GB + External16/32 GB + External32 GB
CameraRear: 12 MP; Front: 12 MPRear: 8 MP; Front: 5 MPRear: 2 MP; Front: 2 MPRear: 5 MP
Front: 2 MP
Rear: 8 MP; Front: 2 MP
Battery Life (Constant Use)Up to 10 hUp to 12 hUp to 10 h Up to 9 hUp to 11 h
Apple Ipad Mini Tablet

Apple Ipad Mini Tablet

1. Apple iPad Mini

Suitable for:

  • Everyday use
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling
  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering

The Apple iPad Mini is an extremely powerful and well-designed tablet. Even though some other tablets in this review have better hardware, the Apple iPad Mini outperforms them in usability. The reason for this is the iOS operating system which is much “lighter” than the Android operating system. The Apple iPad Mini is equipped with a superb 8.3-inch, 2266×1488-pixel display which satisfies even the most demanding users. The powerful battery allows you to constantly browse the web or play multimedia for up to 10 hours without recharging the device. This is very practical because it’s often hard to get access to electricity on hiking and backpacking trips – and a device with an empty battery is nothing more than additional weight to carry. The Apple iPad Mini also features the Touch ID technology which allows you to unlock the device easily and securely with the fingerprint identity sensor. Additionally, you can sign in apps and verify purchases by putting your finger on the home button and letting the device scan your fingerprint. The Apple iPad Mini is an outstanding tablet, and we would recommend it to everyone who wants a reliable gadget for travelling.

Recommended Case: Shockproof Case

 

Pros:

  • Battery
  • Weight
  • Screen
  • Design
  • Touch ID

Cons:

  • Price

 

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2

2. Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2

Suitable for:

  • Everyday use
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling
  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering

The Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2 is a super rugged tablet which is designed particularly for harsh conditions. It is also very compact and easily fits in your hand due to the sophisticated design. The tablet features 8-inch display with the resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. The display is not as good as the display of the iPad tablet mentioned above. Nevertheless, it provides good brightness and colors. Like the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2 offers a fingerprint scanner. However, Samsung’s fingerprint scanner is a bit slower than Apple’s Touch ID. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is a great device for travelers, backpackers, hikers and others who need a powerful and rugged tablet.

Recommended Case: Not required

 

Pros:

  • Durability
  • Shockproof
  • Battery life
  • Fingerprint reader

Cons:

  • /

 

Lenovo Tab M7

Lenovo Tab M7

3. Lenovo Tab M7

Suitable for:

  • Everyday use
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling
  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering

The Lenovo Tab M7 is a budget tablet which is best for those who want a very simple device for their trips. The tablet features a 7-inch display with the resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. The display offers good color balance, saturation and sharpness. However, the Lenovo Tab’s camera doesn’t take as good photos as the cameras on Apple and Samsung devices mentioned above. Nevertheless, the Lenovo Tab M7 is also much less expensive. The tablet is powered by a reliable octa-core processor which ensures that everything runs smoothly. The battery allows you to play multimedia for up to 10 hours without recharging the device. We recommend the Lenovo Tab M7 to those who want an inexpensive but a reliable tablet for their adventures.

Recommended Case: Shockproof Case

 

 

Huawei Mediatab TR3

Huawei Mediatab TR3

4. Huawei MediaPad M5 8

Suitable for:

  • Everyday use
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling
  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering

The Huawei MediaPad TR3 is an inexpensive tablet with great performance. It is equipped with a big 9.6-inch, 2280×800-pixel display which offers good color balance and sharpness. The tablet has larger screen than other tablets in this review. However, this tablet is also the largest in size and thus can’t be packed that easily in the backpack. It also weighs more than 1 lb. which is a bit on the heavy side. The good thing about this tablet is that it’s inexpensive and offers good performance. It’s powered by a quad-core processor and has either 1GB or 2GB of memory, depending on the version. The Huawei MediaPad T3 tablet is a great option for those who want an inexpensive tablet with a large screen.

Recommended Case: Shockproof Case

 

 

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8

5. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8

Suitable for:

  • Everyday use
  • Gaming
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling
  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 is a budget tablet like the Lenovo Tab M7. Nevertheless, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 is slightly less powerful than the Lenovo tablet. It has an inferior processor. However, it does have better cameras than the Lenovo tablet. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 is equipped with 8-inch, 1280 x 800-pixel display which provides good brightness and high contrast. While the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 is not the most sophisticated tablet in this review, it’s a great option for those who want a simple and inexpensive device for their trips.

Recommended Case: Shockproof Case

 

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Author Information

Blaz

Outdoor enthusiast with experience in all types of hiking and mountaineering. Hiked in the Alps, Iceland and other countries. In love with via ferrata trails and snow-covered slopes. Check out my hikes.