I love orange and black as a color combination. Year-round, too, not just during Halloween. I'm also a huge fan of dot grid paper. So it's natural that when I saw the Field Notes Expedition edition, I fell in love with the look of these notebooks immediately. The Expedition edition ended up being one of the first Field Notes Colors editions I purchased, when I really got into this hobby in earnest a couple years back. Practically speaking, however, I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with these things.
The Field Notes Expedition notebooks are made from Yupo Synthetic Paper, which is described as "100% recyclable, waterproof, tree-free Synthetic Paper" that is "extruded from polypropylene pellets." In other words, it's plastic. This stuff won't tear, it's completely waterproof, and depending on what kind of ink you use with it, you can wipe it clean and reuse it. This last part is what makes Yupo Synthetic Paper a difficult choice for an everyday pocket notebook. Because the paper is completely non-absorbent, any ink that's remotely water-based or too wet doesn't work at all. Fountain pens, rollerballs, and gel pens simply disappear off the page. You're pretty much limited to writing with a ballpoint pen or a relatively hard pencil. (I've heard fine-tip Sharpies also work, but have not tested this.) Soft pencil lead has smearing and ghosting issues. For me, this limits the usefulness of the notebook, but I'm not the target audience for this product.
Why don't they work for me as a daily user? There's too little flexibility regarding the kind of pen or pencil you can use. With pocket notebooks, I like to be able to jot things down on a moment's notice with whatever pen or pencil that I can find lying around. While I've been carrying the Expedition edition, there have been times when I had to search around for more than a minute or two in order to find a pen that would work on the Yupo Synthetic Paper. What's been the winner? This.
Regardless of whether or not it fills a need for most people, the Field Notes Expedition edition apparently has staying power. It's still a part of the Field Notes regular lineup three years later, though I'm not sure whether this is due to its popularity, or because Field Notes had a large minimum order requirement on the Yupo Synthetic Paper and therefore has a TON of these things lying around. Because I don't work "in the field," I probably won't go out of my way to purchase more of them unless things change and I decide to haul my "lawyerly" physique into the Himalayas or Antarctica. That said, it's a cool product, and I'm glad I have a three-pack.
A lot of people reviewed the Field Notes Expedition edition when it first came out. I haven't seen any recent reviews, so I thought it would be fun to write one up. If you're interested in other people's reactions to this product, check out these reviews. Most people did far more extensive tests than I did, using different pens on the paper.
- Brad from the Pen Addict tests out the Expedition edition, and looks at how various pens work on the Yupo Synthetic Paper.
- Johnny from Pencil Revolution tests out the Expedition edition with various pencils. If you're a pencil user, he gives you the run down on what graphite works best.
- The Unroyal Warrant does a thorough review, and also links to a bunch of other write-ups.
You can still purchase the Field Notes Expedition edition from Field Notes directly, as they are part of the standard lineup. They are also available on Amazon with Prime Same Day Delivery.
So what's my favorite Field Notes edition? For now, it's still the original Kraft paper notebook, and I expect it to remain that way for the foreseeable future.
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