Paper Review: Field Notes Expedition


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It’s exciting that Field Notes are now available at Everything Calligraphy. International brands are pouring in, and this only means more choices for notebook and pen junkies like me. That being said, today I got this in the mail from Everything Calligraphy. At first I thought it’s just a regular pocket notebook, but no. Nonononono. It’s the Chuck Norris of pocket notebooks.

One look and touch at the paper and you’ll know it’s got a different texture. I tried to rip off the belly band and it wouldn’t budge, but it did not register to me at first that the belly band is made of the same paper as the notepad. So yeah, this paper is practically tear-proof. The tensile strength is impressive. Very Chuck Norris-y.

It’s my first time to try any kind of Field Notes, and I found the front and back covers to be very useful. I find the cover very utilitarian, and sometimes there’s an appeal in that. A kind of uniformity that helps you find what you need in a stack of identical notebooks.

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The front cover is a bright orange, what Field Notes call Antarctic Survey Orange. I believe that it’s in this color so that it will be easy to spot even in low visibility situations. It’s similar to the orange color on life vests. Inside are details about the contents and contact information of the owner.

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The back has a ruler (in centimeters) printed on it, and specifications of the notebook itself, from their history to the kind of ink they used to print the dot grids on the pages.

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The paper used in this Field Notes is Yupo synthetic paper. It’s my first time to use waterproof paper so I really didn’t know what to make of it. I honestly did not even know that there’s such a thing. Anyway, so I tried all of my inked pens on it, starting with my Cross Century II inked with J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor (photo above). It shows off the sheen pretty well, but it takes a long time to dry. I realized that with specialized papers such as this synthetic, water-proof paper, you have to set your expectations that not all kinds of pens will work well with it.

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I would suggest fine and medium nibs with dry-flowing inks. Yupo paper is non-porous, so you can expect your ink to look different on it. The shading will look different too. As long as you let the ink dry properly on the page, it won’t smudge after. Taking it to extreme conditions, however, is a different thing altogether. Water-based inks will definitely wash away. What I found to work well are ballpoint pens, pencils, pigmented drawing pens, and water-proof fountain pen inks.

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Here’s a video of a writing sample made with De Atramentis Document Ink. Before I shot this video, I had already soaked this part of the notebook in water. I thought I’d do it again and see if it still holds up well. You can see that when I dabbed the water off, the paper and ink still held up excellently. In fact, it seems like it hadn’t been soaked in water. There’s no change in the paper’s texture at all.

That is pretty awesome. I can think of a few things I would enjoy doing with this notebook. Like getting caught in the rain haha. Seriously, this is one notebook you don’t need to worry about ruining. Field Notes even conducted a bunch of scientific tests to see how resilient this paper is.

The trick is finding the right writing implements to use with it. People who want their notes to last and who often take down notes in harsh conditions will find this extremely useful.

Technical specifications:
Dimensions – 3.5″ x 5.5″
Pages – 48
Paper type – dot grid (light grey colored dots)

I bought regular Field Notes (with the brown cover) and that will be another notebook review soon. 

Field Notes is distributed in the Philippines by Everything Calligraphy and will be available for sale starting tomorrow (October 9, 2015).

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