Maybe you can use a normal laptop?
I am a med student who is heading off to the South Pacific to do some field research in various villages on some of the islands out there. Whilst I haven't actually been there myself, I have been told that some of the villages are relatively inaccessible, whilst others are fine. I badly need a laptop that I can use to record and process data, but I am not sure if a rugged notebook is essential or not. I will also be backpacking before I return to the UK.
I was impressed with Panasonic's Toughbook range whilst I was using it on board RN ships (pretty sturdy given the amount of abuse it received whilst sailing through rough waters) but as a strapped for cash student, I'm not sure if I can justify the cost or if there are any more viable alternatives.