As part of my overall prepping, I have been debating keeping a prepped and ready tablet or laptop for use in any number of situations, mainly bug-in but possibly for bug-out as well. My checklist of ideal specifications was:

  1. Portable
  2. Rugged
  3. Usable (i.e. a level of power and performance is required)
  4. Chargable from solar if required
  5. Windows or Linux (Not android, chromeOS or other)
  6. Redundancy (Replaceable components, with spares on-hand)
  7. Free software
  8. On-line and off-line facilities (don’t assume it will only be used when the power/internet is gone)


The Hardware

I have some experience of Panasonic Toughbooks as we use them where I work and the CF-19 fits the bill very well and has the added benefit of being able to convert into a touch-screen Windows tablet. I picked up a MKII Refurbished model for £325 which was spec’d as follows:

Based on Intel® Centrino® Duo Mobile Technology

  • Operating System: Genuine Windows® 7 Professional
  • Vibration and shock resistant (MIL-STD 810F)
  • Water and dust resistant (IP54, MIL-STD 810F)
  • Lightweight at just 2.25kg
  • High-brightness 10.4˝ LCD with  Digitiser Screen
  • Firewire (IEEE1394a), USB 2.0 and serial port
  • Bluetooth® and WLAN integrated


  • Designed using MIL-STD-810F test procedures
  • Full magnesium alloy case
  • Moisture- and dust-resistant LCD, keyboard and touchpad
  • Sealed port and connector covers
  • Shock-mounted removable HDD in stainless steel case
  • Rugged hinge
  • Vibration and drop-shock resistant


  • Intel ® Core 2 ™ Duo Processor U2400
  • – 2MB L2 cache
  • – Processor speed 1.06GHz
  • – 533MHz FSB


  • 500GB HDD


  • Tablet PC version: 10.4″ 1024 x 768 (XGA) transmissive, 550 Nit daylight-readable TFT Active Matrix Color LCD with Digitizer
  • External video support up to 1280 x 1024 at 16 million colors (24 bit color depth)
  • Intel ® 945GM graphic controller DVMT up to 128MB
  • Low Reflection Screen Coating


  • SigmaTel ™ STAC9751 AC-97 v2.2 Compliant Audio Codec
  • Integrated speaker
  • Convenient keyboard volume and mute controls


  • PC Card Type II x 1
  • Secure Digital (SD) Card
  • Express Card/54 x 1


  • 82-key with dedicated Windows ® key
  • Pressure sensitive touchpad with vertical scrolling support
  • Active Digitizer  LCD


  • External Video D-sub 15
  • Headphones/Speaker Mini-jack Stereo
  • Microphone/Line In Mini-jack
  • Port Replicator Dedicated 100 pin
  • Serial Port D-sub 9


It’s a portable, rugged, windows-based choice with interchangeable drives and batteries so ticks all the boxes as far as my requirements.

As far as spares and hardware add-ons, I wanted to make it as flexible and usable as possible and make sure I could keep it running for as long as possible with swappable parts before it ever broke down with something unrepairable so I added these to my kit:

  • Spare PSU
  • 2 x Spare batteries
  • Notebook wireless mouse
  • External USB-powered multi-CD/DVD
  • USB hub, bus powered
  • Spare HDD, cloned


I may swap the HDDs for SSDs at some point if I think there is enough gain to justify the cost.


The Software

As part of my ideal specifications I didn’t want to assume that the machine would only get used in a full-on SHTF situation where there was no power and no internet so I have tried to come up with a suite of applications that let me open and edit files, watch a DVD or media file or listen to music. As well as those, I added some utilities to search for files, scan networks, connect to servers and so on. Anything I could need for bugging in or, if I could justify carrying the weight, bugging-out. The suite I have installed at the moment is made up of:

  • Firefox
  •   –  Adblock Plus
  •   –  FireFTP
  •   –  Video DownloadHelper
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe Flash
  • Adobe Shockwave
  • Visual C++ Distribution Files
  • Libre Office
  • DVD player software (WinX DVD Player)
  • 7Zip
  • Veracrypt (Truecrypt originally but vulnerabilities were found in the legacy code recently)
  • Evernote
  • Google Earth
  • Putty
  • Advanced IP Scanner
  • GIMP
  • Keepass 2 (Password Manager)
  • Dropbox
  • CD Burner XP
  • FileSeek
  • FastImageResizer
  • Dexpot (Virtual Desktops)
  • VLC Media Player
  • uTorrent
  • Notepad++
  • Primo PDF (PDF Printer Driver)
  • Kindle Reader for Windows (Added 05/11/2015)


I am open to any suggestions for additions or replacements for these programs. I haven’t created the cloned spare hard drive until I am settled on the software installation. Has anyone got a use for this machine I haven’t accounted for?

I already have three cloned external USB hard drives full of my movies, TV shows and music. I am also building a library of survival and other manuals to add to these drives. My motto here is redundancy, redundancy, redundancy!

My long term plan is to get the whole thing set up and then seal it in a Faraday box along with a decent solar charger and other electronics.