I worry that somewhere along the line, what made the original Field Notes so great is getting lost in the recent craze over the limited "colors" editions, which seem to be getting ever more exotic in the form of the Shelterwood and the like. Disclaimer: I have all of the colors editions since Night Sky, and have not tried the Shelterwood yet. I am sure the notebook is as nice as the gorgeous paper looks, and I am certainly not trying to hate on Field Notes for embarking on these artistic endeavors which no doubt take them a lot of time and give their customers, me included, countless hours of enjoyment. That said, for the first time this week, I cracked open a pack of these beauties.
I had watched them languishing on my office bookshelf at work for months, while I filled up two Drink Locals, a Night Sky, and two Doane Paper utility journals. All of those products were excellent, and I have multiples of each. But for reasons I can't really explain, this plan ruled craft notebook has been my favorite. I've filled up a third of it in four days, a pace nearly unheard of for me, in a combination of gel pen, pencil, rollerball, ballpoint, and even fountain pen, all of which the ruled paper takes surprisingly well.
Aaron Draplin's beautifully simple original design, with its unadorned Futura font, is what made this product great from the get go, and the sturdy, functional construction and just flat-out nice paper makes you want to write in it. Sure, you can't draft a novel with a 1.5mm stub nib fountain pen filled with Noodler's Apache Sunset, but who would do that anyway in a pocket notebook?
After buying (and using) Field Notes regularly for almost a year, I think I'm ready for a colors subscription, and not for the reason you might thing. I had been hesitant because I didn't know what I would do with two free packs of original craft, but now, I view that as a true bonus.
And here's to hoping that Field Notes issues some more colors editions similar to their first, for those of us who missed out on Butcher Blue, Orange, and Grass-Stain Green.