Kindle Paperwhite Review | Ultimate Outdoor & Survival Resource

Kindle Paperwhite Review

Reading on the trail is an important activity for many outdoor travelers. Whether it be strictly recreational, survival and plant guides, or trail maps; books certainly have their place in the backcountry. Unfortunately, printed books are bulky and sometimes heavy. Carrying multiple is usually out of the question for obvious reasons, which is why I adopted the Kindle E-Reader for my outdoor knowledge resource.

While Google typically quenches my thirst for knowledge in and around civilization, the luxury of a reliable internet connection is not typically a part of most hikes. This is why I like to compile a vast database of useful information on a digital device. Even during a potential grid down scenario, I like the feeling of having so much useful information readily accessible anywhere, anytime.

Continue reading for more information on my ultimate survival knowledge resource, and the accessories I use to protect it.

Kindle Paperwhite Features

Kindle Paperwhite Dimensions & Capacity

For starters, let’s consider the fact that a single Kindle Paperwhite takes up the same amount of space as a very small paperback. However, this small device can hold thousands of books. I divide this space in to two sections. My own personal library ranging from Faulkner to Asimov, and resources like local trail maps, first aid manuals, or the works of Mors Kochanski.

It’s especially convenient and sometimes important to be able to access these in an emergency or simply while lounging in a hammock before bed. With the Kindle Paperwhite screen size of 6 inches, it’s the perfect size to comfortably hold with one or two hands. I’ve found the screen to be a tad on the small side, but an honest tradeoff for packability.

Kindle Paperwhite Backlight

Speaking of nighttime reading, the Kindle Paperwhite’s built in backlight allows for reading in any condition. The ambient light sensor automatically adjusts screen brightness for perfect readability whether you’re in pitch darkness or blinding sunlight.

This is useful because while it may sacrifice potential battery time on your device, it saves the life of your headlamp or torch if you plan to read before bed. Even though the Paperwhite has less battery life than unlit models it still lasts for weeks, not days.

Kindle Paperwhite Warranty Information

Fortunately Amazon backs up the Kindle Paperwhite with a 1 year limited warranty and service guarantee. There’s also an optional 2 year extended warranty available for US customers only. However Kindle Paperwhite problems are pretty uncommon as most issues stem from accidents, carelessness, or misuse.

Kindle Paperwhite Charger

The Kindle Paperwhite Charger cord is a standard micro-usb, and will deliver a full charge in about four to six hours. A fairly modest amount of time considering its six week life. In order to conserve the Kindle Paperwhite battery life, always power off or return your Kindle to sleep mode when not in use.

Kindle Paperwhite Storage Size

According to Amazon, the Kindle Paperwhite memory size is 4 gigabytes. While this is enough for thousands of books, I’ve found difficulties uploading comics. Their much larger file size prohibits mass uploading of comic series, so be sure to plan ahead if you’re planning to read the Walking Dead on your trip.

Kindle Paperwhite Connectivity

In order to access the Amazon Cloud for adding content to your device, the Paperwhite comes equipped with wifi and 3G options. While the Kindle Paperwhite wifi and 3G will drain your battery faster, they also enable you to surf the web via the Kindle Paperwhite browser. While this will work better for some sites than others, it’s a fun feature that can be surprisingly convenient.


The one critical flaw of this master plan for creating the ultimate outdoor information resource is quite straightforward. Digital devices are prone to failure. While the Paperwhite is reliable and well built, accidents do happen, and the device is inherently fragile. This is why I like to combine my Kindle with a few aftermarket accessories to ensure it survives anything the trail throws at it.

Otterbox Defender Series for Kindle Paperwhite

Otterbox is a well known and reliable manufacturer of rugged, bomb proof cases for digital devices. I’ve armored every smartphone I’ve ever had in an Otterbox Defender, and every one remains in mint condition to this day.

While not waterproof, these cases are reasonably water resistant. Splashes and spills will generally not penetrate the case, but I wouldn’t completely submerge it or abandon it during a torrential downpour. While my devices have survived these, I certainly don’t recommend trying it. That being said, violent impact with stone and concrete or high crushing force is nothing to these cases.

Otterbox Defender for Kindle Paperwhite – Materials & Construction

Otterbox created a multi layer system to protect the Paperwhite from scratches, scrapes, dust, and impact. A self adhering screen protector protects against scratches and scrapes. The two piece polycarbonate inner shell provides the first layer of impact protection, while the overmolded rubber outer cover absorbs shock.

An adjustable shield stand protects the screen while not in use, and doubles as a versatile support. Multiple viewing angles allow one to read or type easily without holding the device.

Otterbox Defender for Kindle Paperwhite – Final Thoughts

I use my Otterbox for go anywhere, do anything functionality. But for storage I’ve chosen a more comprehensive option. An Otterbox leaves the fragile screen exposed, and can succumb to moisture. While the included screen protector can mitigate these risks, the case below completely eliminates them. Best of all, they can be combined to form the ultimate fortress for your Kindle.

Pelican 1055CC Hardback Tablet Case

As stated above, the Otterbox and Pelican cases can be combined. While encased in an Otterbox Defender, your Kindle will still fit in a 1055CC Hardback Case. This combination renders your device virtually indestructible and completely waterproof. However you won’t be able to use it while stowed away in the Pelican case. I use it to store safely in my backpack while traveling.

Pelican products are widely used all over the world, and often considered the industry standard. These cases are used extensively by the military for protecting firearms, electronics, and sensitive documents.

Their HardBack line of protective cases was produced in partnership with BMW DesignWorks. Hardback cases are crush and dust proof, and rated IP67 for water and dust protection. A watertight gasket and automatic pressure equalization valve allow for submersion up to 3 meters. Stainless steel hardware ensures the durability of all joints and latches, and the molded plush shock absorbing liner further protects devices from impact. Pelican reinforces their claims with a lifetime warranty.

Kindle Paperwhite – Specifications

Kindle Paperwhite E-reader – Black, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers

  • Resolution: HD 300ppi
  • Light: Built-in adjustable backlight for reading day or night
  • Screen: No glare in any lighting conditions
  • Battery: Up to six weeks
  • Capacity: 4 Gigabytes, thousands of books
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi + 3G
  • Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Dimensions: 6.7″ x 4.6″ x 0.36″
  • Supported Content Formats: AZW3, AZW, TXT, PDF, MOBI, PRC; HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP
  • Warranty: 1 year

Otterbox Defender Series Kindle Paperwhite – Specifications

OtterBox Defender Series Protective Case for Kindle Paperwhite, Black

  • Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Weight: 7 ounces
  • Materials: Rubber & polycarbonate
  • Protection: Scratch, scrape, impact, & dust proof, water resistant

Pelican 1055CC Hardback Tablet Case – Specifications

Pelican Products 1055CC HardBack Case with Computer Liner (1055-003-110)

  • Exterior Dimensions: 9.42 x 7.02 x 1.24 inches
  • Interior Dimensions: 8.55 x 5.52 x 0.85 inches
  • Weight: 0.82 pounds
  • Materials: Stainless steel & polycarbonate

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