Most ideal, durable, portable iPad workstation setup for travel?
July 16, 2014 10:40 AM   Subscribe

What is the most durable, portable iPad workstation setup for extended traveling abroad?

I will be traveling for 6 weeks with sole backpack, moving around a lot, possibly being rough with the backpack and seeing rough terrain. I want a very portable iPad setup so in the evenings, I can do some writing.

I am looking for the most durable accessories for:

-storing the iPad in a hardcase so it's not damaged in my backpack

-a squishy keyboard that's easy to roll up (example)

-some kind of workstation so I can quickly prop all this up on a desk and type easily

Or any other ideas and suggestions. Thanks!
posted by deern the headlice to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Rather than a rollup keyboard, what about the Logitech keyboard screen cover?
posted by ewiar at 10:42 AM on July 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Have a couple chargers and cables. They often get left behind in a rush or may break far away from a store to get them replaced.

Use a label maker and put your name and email (and cell) on the back of your iPad
Use the label maker to put your initials on chargers and anything else of similar size. This will prevent petty squabbles over "That is my charger" from other people at hostels, etc...

Roll up keyboards stink, get on of the screen covers like Ewiar mentioned above.

Use a lock code and have a way of remembering your passwords / accounts if they iPad gets stolen.

Before you go download offline mapping programs and other helpful apps like foreign language dictionaries.

You can get an offline reader for wikipedia, this might be a fun / useful thing to have when traveling.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 10:56 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

That Logitech keyboard screen cover is probably what you want. We got a few for people who have ipads here at work, and they're all happy with them.
posted by phunniemee at 11:01 AM on July 16, 2014

I've tried a couple roll up keyboards with iPads. They're typically miserable to type on if you are a fast typer. If you don't want the Logitech keyboards (which is what I would recommend) or the similar product from Zagg, I wouldn't bother with any keyboard at all. You might also look at the Touchfire, which is flexible -- I found it ok for brief emails although irritating for longer things.
posted by angst at 11:12 AM on July 16, 2014

I'm loving my Native Union Gripster, which provides an infinite adjustable tilt, 8-way spinner connection to the back, and, perhaps relevant to your interests, it opens flat to create a nice handle for iPad photography. It's affixed with a so-far indestructible adhesive which they claim is removable; you could combine it with the Logitech case (which all my writing acquaintances adore).

I rarely use my Apple Bluetooth keyboard because the Gripster provides a functional typing angle.
posted by Jesse the K at 11:17 AM on July 16, 2014

Response by poster: The Logitech screen cover seems cool, but unless I'm misunderstanding something, it only protects one side of the iPad? Rather than both sides, like this. I'm just worried about my backpack being flung around, the thin iPad being vulnerable, etc.
posted by deern the headlice at 11:26 AM on July 16, 2014

Response by poster: Whereas these kind seem to protect the keyboard and back of the iPad, both. I think.
posted by deern the headlice at 11:28 AM on July 16, 2014

Oh, in that case you may want one of these. Another of my coworkers has one of those and he loves it. Personally I think it's too bulky, but it works well for him. (He has toddlers.)
posted by phunniemee at 11:29 AM on July 16, 2014

Should have previewed. The Zagg one you just linked is very similar (a little less rugged) to the one the toddler-having coworker has.
posted by phunniemee at 11:31 AM on July 16, 2014

I have that Zagg Folio and I love it. It's a little bulky, but super protective for my iPad and I didn't realize how much I would love the keyboard.
posted by rhapsodie at 11:48 AM on July 16, 2014

Response by poster: Good to hear. Bulky isn't the worst thing, I've got a 75-liter backpack ;)
posted by deern the headlice at 11:50 AM on July 16, 2014

Best answer: I keep my 'office' in a messenger bag as I cycle to my various workplaces. I have used the logitech kb but have abandoned it for this specific case from the aforementioned zagg:

The best part is that you can actually use it in your lap.
posted by mce at 11:52 AM on July 16, 2014

The zagg one is cool. But mostly what i came to tell you is what NOT to get. Mainly, this and the newer variations therein. It's very durable, but way too tiresome and bulky even in a big bag. I got it free with an ipad i previously owned, and hated it.

Everyone i see using something like this seems to have either the zagg or the logitech+something covering the back of the ipad.

The zagg ones are the only ones i've seen which actually enclose the ipad that don't look like some fisher price potty training toilet seat adapter, and don't make the ipad 5 times as thick.

fuck is that rocketfish one terrible though. i kinda liked the idea, but o my god it's awful.
posted by emptythought at 3:10 PM on July 16, 2014

I'm going to warn against ClamCase, despite its good reviews. I found it to be an utter piece of shit I regretted wasting money on.
posted by spitbull at 3:34 PM on July 16, 2014

I had a Zagg cover/keyboard for the iPad 1. It fell a couple of feet onto a wood floor, and four keys popped out and couldn't be reattached. Too flimsy for a portable device, unless they've improved the keyboard since then. By comparison the ipad itself is incredibly tough.
Depending on where you're going, you might want to keep it in something that isn't obviously an ipad case.
posted by nixt at 4:33 PM on July 16, 2014

In the category of "any other ideas or suggestions," I heartily recommend the app City Maps 2 Go Pro, which caches OpenStreetMap data. By pre-caching data when you are on a wifi connection, no further network connection is necessary to view maps at a range of scales (and if wifi and/or GPS on a 3G/LTE is turned on, the location-dot may still appear).
posted by zachxman at 6:09 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

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