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Best Prepper Laptop [3 Bug Out Bag SHTF Laptops]

In this article we discuss whether you would need a laptop when SHTF, the reasons you should consider one for your bug out bag, and our top prepper laptop choices!

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When disaster eventually strikes, you’re going to have to think sharp and act sharper. Having a bug out bag at the ready is an absolute necessity, and it is imperative that you only pack the essentials. The only question…is a laptop one of them?

Today, we discuss whether you would need a laptop when SHTF, as well as reasons you should consider one for your bug out bag. We also list the best machines across various categories for you and your quest for survival.

What is the best prepper laptop for a Bug Out Bag?

The best prepper laptop available today is the Panasonic Toughbook Laptop. The laptop boasts up to 64GB of RAM, an Intel i5 processor, and AMD Radeon Pro WX 4150 Graphics.

It features a military-grade chassis, and it is optimized for satellite communication from and to anywhere on Earth. It can also be equipped with a DVD or Blu-Ray drive, among other components.

Do you need a laptop when bugging out?

Honestly speaking, even though smartphones are the proverbial “fifth limb”, laptops are arguably the sixth. Laptops are an essential part of life today, and would definitely have a key role to play if SHTF.

They can contribute in many ways: communication, data storage, navigation, resource management, entertainment, etc.  A pen and paper just won’t cut it, I’m afraid.

Firstly, there is the issue of communication. Were traditional communication systems to falter, satellite communication would be the best way to communicate.

A lot of modern laptops have been optimized for these new comm systems, which is a massive edge. Even if your local internet service provider were to fail, you would still have access to satellite internet.

We’ve already seen how crises like earthquakes and floods affect traditional communication avenues like phone lines. You will need to keep tabs on your loved ones, and they will want to check on you too. An underrated but potentially lifesaving feature on a laptop is that you can use it to charge your phone.

Survivalists can also use laptops for navigation. Online and offline maps, as well as real global GPS, are just some of the tools that are available on modern prepper laptops. These tools are arguably the best way to ensure you don’t waste precious time, energy, and resources by getting lost.

Books and informative journals, especially on the subject of survival, are of the utmost importance. The only problem is stuffing a whole lot of survival books into your bug out bag will eat up a lot of precious space.

A laptop, on the other hand, can hold thousands of e-books. You can create a library filled with all the survival and life skill books you will ever need.

Non-survivalist books are also key for recreation, and you would be wise to include them in your digital library. If you have kids, chances are their schooling will be disrupted.

You can include loads of educational e-books and materials on your laptop and set up a survivalist home school for them.

The coming dystopia won’t always be fast-paced like The Walking Dead or I Am Legend, you know. There will be a LOT of free time to kill, and boredom can easily set in.

Netflix and Amazon Prime, if still in existence, of course, would be your friends once the nature walks start getting old. Downloading tons of entertainment content before SHTF would also be a great help.

The good thing (for a while, at least) about total societal collapse is that you will finally have time to catch up on your gaming. Whether you’re into the latest triple-A titles or the classics, a good laptop will have you covered. Games are a good way to keep your motor skills up and ease stress.

Best prepper laptops for your bug out bag

We’ve searched and zeroed in on the best laptops you can add to your survival kits today. We have also isolated three categories that we feel are extremely important for a prepper to consider.

Best rugged laptop for preppers: Dell Latitude 5424

Bugging out is tough, harsh, or even unforgiving at times. It is also a very unpredictable lifestyle, and you never know where you might end up. A shiny MacBook Pro is nice and all, but is it worth the series of mini heart attacks from drops and bumpy rides?

I’m also certain that no one EVER wants to hear “MacBook” and “flooding” in the same sentence.

You will need something with a little more meat on its bones. Something that will break the floor when it drops, not the other way round. Something like the Dell Latitude 5424 Rugged Laptop.

Now, before we go too far you need to know that this computer is EXPENSIVE. Very expensive. However, the features, functionality, and steel it possesses easily make it one of the best value-for-money machines out there.

It is available in four specs. The best of these packs a whopping 32GB of memory, a 1TB hard disk, and Intel’s i7-8650U processor. The laptop’s chassis is made from magnesium alloy that is of automotive standard. In other words, this bad boy won’t even flinch in the face of drops.

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The Rugged 5424 weighs in at 5.5 pounds, which is hefty but doable in a bug out bag. It is 13.66 inches long, 9.63 inches wide, and 1.75 inches tall with the lid closed. The laptop also features a 14-inch screen.

A key aid to portability is the computer's briefcase-style handle. This machine also features a secondary battery bay, which affords you at least 40 hours of battery life.

The laptop also features panels for covering vulnerable parts like ports and disc drives. Yep, you read that right…you can watch your favorite DVD or Blu-ray movies again on the Dell Latitude Rugged 5424. You can even play CDs! Remember those?

Best military-grade laptop for preppers: Panasonic Toughbook FZ-55

While there are minimal differences between “rugged” and “military grade” laptops, the latter description is the best way to categorize the laptop we’re about to discuss.

Introducing the Toughbook range of laptops from Panasonic. The jewel in their crown, the Toughbook FZ-55, is arguably the best laptop for any prepper anywhere.

Remember the communication problems we touched on earlier? The FZ-55 breezes past them thanks to its satellite communications optimization. This computer can instantly communicate to and from any point on Earth. It also has real GPS that is independent of conventional internet connections.

It can also endure any environment you take it to, all thanks to its IP53 certified magnesium alloy chassis. Everything on this laptop feels very durable and high-quality. Even the lid closes with a satisfying thud.

Last update on 2024-06-02 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Toughbook FZ-55 is definitely a chunky piece of tech, weighing in at 8.25 pounds. It is 18 inches long, 13 inches wide, and 5 inches tall.

The laptop also has a cool modular design that allows you to easily add optical disk drives and other components. The optional handle module is particularly useful for mobility if your survival bag is full.

On the inside, this Windows 10 computer has up to 64GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage, and Intel’s 8th generation i5-8365U processor. On the graphics front, it’s packing an AMD Radeon Pro WX 4150 dedicated card.

Other features include a 40-hour battery, a 14-inch touchscreen, an emissive backlit keyboard, water and dust resistance, and many more. A definite winner!

Best waterproof laptop for preppers: Dell Rugged Extreme Laptop

Another Dell Latitude scoops this prize. The Rugged Extreme Laptop from Dell is a tough as nails computer that will get the job done in any environment.

While it is not as spec-heavy as its younger and nimbler sibling, the Rugged 5424, the Extreme boasts one key advantage: it is certified IP65 water and dust resistant. The laptop can withstand direct water blasts from a nozzle, which means elements like rain and snow will be a breeze.

The laptop has Intel’s Core i5-4310U processor, 4GB of RAM (upgradeable to 8), and 128GB of flash memory. It runs Windows 8 out of the box but you can upgrade to Windows 10. Not the flashiest specs, but enough to cover all of the essentials. The 4-hour battery life is rather disappointing though.

Last update on 2024-06-02 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Rugged Extreme has aged quite a bit since its 2016 release, but its build quality still contends with any new computer of this class. It is also available for much less than the prince’s ransom demanded for the 5424.

The laptop is VERY heavy, another reflection of its age. It weighs 12.2 pounds, which is two times heavier than the more powerful 5424. It is 9.7 inches wide, 2 inches tall, and 14 inches long. It also has an integrated handle, which means you can carry it around secret agent style.


What to look for in a great survival laptop?

A great survival laptop must be able to enhance one’s chances of succeeding in the wilderness. Here are the most important things to keep in mind when buying a laptop for you bug out bag:


Firstly, and this should go without saying, a survival laptop must be able to…survive. It must be able to withstand any environment you are in without faltering or compromising performance. A tough chassis and water or dust resistance are some of the features that contribute to this end.

Battery life

Battery life is also a key aspect of a good prepper machine. Even if you have solar and other alternative power sources, you want to save as much electricity as possible. A laptop that can go a full day or two without charging would be a massive help.

Another way to save electricity is by getting a low power laptop. In other words, a laptop that requires very little power to charge. This is extremely beneficial if, for instance, you have a small solar or battery setup. Just make sure you use an anti-EMP protective laptop case for such a scenario.

Last update on 2024-06-02 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Satellite communications availability

Advanced communication capabilities like sat comms are among the features that preppers would appreciate. We’ve discussed their importance, and we expect more new laptops to be optimized for this because the benefits are limitless.

A laptop with access to satellite internet, for instance, can be used as a Hotspot to provide your smartphone with an internet connection. These connections can then be used to make VoIP calls to loved ones or rescue parties.


Mobility is any prepper’s best friend, and your bug out bag must be as light as possible. Therefore, the ideal prepper laptop must be as compact and as light as possible.

Remember that you might have to travel very long distances during a crisis, some of them on foot. A small laptop that doesn’t compromise on durability would be a perfect choice.

Survival uses for an SHTF laptop

There are a lot of ways a laptop could contribute to your future survival missions. When trouble hits, you will need every tool that you can make use of.

Contacting loved ones, or anyone at all via conventional channels could prove difficult in a disaster. Having a sat comm-ready laptop could help you stay in touch with fellow survivalists. These collaborations could be key in locating resources, avoiding threats, or just exchanging lifehacks and skills.

An SHTF laptop is also an easy way to track and manage your life when things go haywire. You can easily run through your survival plans, craft worst-case scenario strategies, as well as create and modify to-do lists. You can also access maps and highlight points of interest in your vicinity.

Unfortunately, it is HIGHLY unlikely that S will wait for you to read every survival book ever before HTF. Even within the prepper community, few of us are actually survival experts with real training and experience.

A digital library of survival e-books is a great way to learn survival tricks on the fly. This would actually reinforce the theory in the books because you will be putting it to practice.

Believe it or not, the end of the world as we know it might be a little stressful. Stress, as we all know, is the silent killer, and steps must be taken to alleviate it. Journaling, gaming, and reading are just some of the tools that could prove useful for helping people detach and relax.

Prepper Laptop Conclusions

The survivalist life may feature a bit of rough tumbling, but it still has plenty of room for laptops. Several world-class machines are up for the challenge, and you can bet that more are on the horizon.

Consider your particular needs before settling on a bug-out laptop. We gave you 3 prepper laptop choices we think are very good. However, scour the Internet and you might be amazed by the number of machines that will fit like a glove when SHTF!

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Hi, I'm Russ!

I've been prepping for a long time, but 2020 convinced me that I need to take it to the next level.

This website started as a way to keep me going forward on the path to being better prepared.

Now, I’m turning it into a complete blueprint for anyone else looking to do the same!
Russell M. Morgan
Telson Survival

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