Laptops for the Apocalypse?

Hector Santana
5 min readJun 11, 2024



This Dell 7330 is as rugged as they come. An excellent choice for tough conditions. (Dell)

Computing power is not something we think about when we are putting together our preps. But if you plan on communicating with deep space nine, you may need a ruggedized computer that can take some punishment.

Now, I do not ordinarily push computers as something to have on your journey into the apocalypse, but if you are looking at all the angles on communicating with others while in your bug-out location or on the go, you may want to consider one. Why don’t I recommend the use of computers? Well, it’s not that I don’t, it’s that there are far more important things to carry than a laptop. However, if you are a “hacker”, can do more than the average person with a laptop, and know alternative ways to connect, it may be a good idea to have one.

Ruggedized computers are great tools to have, particularly if you work in the field, love to camp, or just like having a badass computer at your side. Ruggedized computers perform all the functions of standard computers but with a more hardened case. They are better at withstanding abuse and can get wet and dropped without being destroyed. They are often used on construction sites, in police cruisers and by the military for any number of functions, under very extreme conditions.

But beware, these things are not cheap. The average ruggedized computer starts at $1600 and can go all the way to $4500 with all the “bells and whistles.” Panasonic pioneered the concept of ruggedized computers with the CF-41 in 1994, followed by the CF-25 in 1996. The CF-25 was the first fully ruggedized laptop that could withstand a drop from 70 centimeters and was resistant to dust and humidity. Later models introduced water and shock resistant technology and brought ruggedized laptops to a new level of competition with desktop computers.

Another excellent producer of ruggedized laptops is Getac. Getac entered the laptop technology business in 1989 and followed Panasonic into the mainstream ruggedized laptop business. Getac’s first model was a chunky military battlefield laptop designed to take the punishment of war zones around the world. Getac, a Taiwanese company went on to establish a line of rugged civilian laptops that are tops in the industry today.

But having a ruggedized computer is not the end of it, you have to think about how and what you will connect to, assuming the infrastructure is still intact. You also have to think about being tracked once you log on and about having continuous power once you establish communication. That’s a lot to worry about in a chaotic environment. But if that kind of thing is for you let’s consider the best choices.


This ruggedized monster is an excellent choice for those that want one of the toughest on the go computers when you know what, hits the fan. The 7330 boasts a hard ass shell casing for the harshest environment, with the computing power to boot. Other top Dells include the 7414 and the 5430 rugged computer, check those out as well. They come in a several iterations of speed and accessories so do your homework. Of course, these are at the top of the cost scale so be ready for the sticker shock. The 7330 hits 5 grand with all the bells and whistles. But if you love it check out the 5430, it is a scaled down version at a lower cost.

The Panasonic Toughbook 40 is one tough cookie. An industry leader with the power to boot. (Panasonic)

Panasonic Toughbook 40 and CF33

The pioneering Panasonic is still at it with several top contenders in the ruggedized laptop industry. The Toughbook 40 and CF33 are both top shelf when it comes to tough portable computers. The 40 at over $4000 is an industry leader while the CF33 is a much more modest computer with a removable screen that turns into a tablet. both are badass in the field and have the capacity and power to tap into the space station or further, provided you have the connection to get that far.

Getac 360 G2 Pro is a standard sized rugged laptop up to any task. (Getac)

Getac 360 G2

For those who are worried about weight, the G2 is described as a compact rugged computer with all the features without the weight. This slice of ruggedness is said to be excellent in the field and does not skimp on computing power with several choices in CPU and memory. It has won various awards and is on several top rugged laptop lists. It does look standoffish but that's what rugged laptops are supposed to look like.

Durabook R11

The Durabook 11 is actually a ruggedized tablet that cuts down on the bulkiness of a laptop while still getting the job done. It boosts an CPU Core i5 and i7 with iris graphics, so you better believe it is up to the task. This unit is excellent for on-the-go computing and can even keep up with the big boys when it comes to speed and power. While the iris graphics are great it will fall short of what a high-quality graphics card can do in a standard laptop. But fear not, not by much. It will perform standard tasks just not with all the color that you may want. Check one out for size to see if it's for you.

What about more extreme tablets? You ask. Well extreme tablets may be a good choice, as they are lighter and perform comparably to the standard laptops. But you should check out the Surface tablets by Microsoft, they are excellent machines with exceptional performance. They are way better than they were several years ago and are rivaling high level laptops in performance and reliability. Anyway, we hope this clarifies the notion that laptops are not a prepping priority. Ok, at least for some people anyway… Safe trails out there.



Hector Santana

*Top Writer-Camping and Survival. I love to write about the great outdoors, survival and foreign policy. An avid outdoorsman and survival instructor.