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Review: Field Notes Brand Memo Books — They’re a Must Carry

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Ever since I went full-time on Chiefist last year, I wanted to find a small, easy-to-carry notebook to record thoughts, jot down ideas, and keep my To-Do list in. Reading the Art of Manliness site, I ran across Field Notes Brand products and have used them ever since.

The small size allows easy carrying, in a coat or pants pocket, or in a travel bag. I almost always carry mine with a pen clipped to the cover:

Each Memo Book has 48 pages, which takes me 10-20 days to go through. Given their appropriately sturdy construction, they hold up well across that time. To date, I’ve numbered my books (#1, now at #11) for easy retrieval, if needed. At the pace I go through them, the numbering could get high relatively quickly, so I may switch to a calendar based system, e.g., 2012-1; 2012-2, etc.

I’ve become a bit of an addict. Starting with the regular Memo Books, I’ve bought the last three special editions (American Tradesman; Fire Spotter; Northerly), plus a few of their County Fair books.  The Tradesman and Fire Spotter editions were inspired; I really enjoy using them. The glossy white cover on the Northerly (pictured above) doesn’t strike my fancy as much. It feels odd on my fingers. Last month, I broke down and subscribed to COLORS, and I eagerly await the announcement of the season’s edition, followed by even greater anticipation of them showing up in my mailbox. As a result, I have about 30 books in reserve, and just ordered The Kit, when the company offered an extra 3-pack with any order placed last Thursday-Friday.

In addition, I use an original Memo Book as my fly fishing journal:

The only suggestions for improving the Memo Books:

  • On the inside back cover, they include information on the books, the ink, paper and so on. They also include a list of “Practical Applications” for the book which are often humorous. Regardless, I’d like to use that space. Or, including useful information, like on the inside covers of the Steno Pad, would also help.
  • The dot matrix is my favorite paper. Field Notes guys and gals — please make that a permanent edition option.
  • A pocket in the inside back cover would be useful. Before finding Field Notes Brand, I used a couple Behance Action Cahier books, and found the pocket surprisingly useful.

At one point I bought the Field Notes Road Trip Kit, which included a Steno Pad. Now, I haven’t used a steno book in years, and didn’t expect to use this one. But, I’ve found it very nice to use as a light notebook when I need something more than a Memo Book — in meetings or to sketch charts. The front and back covers are extra-sturdy, which makes for a stable writing surface. And, as noted, the covers contain helpful information, facts and tidbits.

In short, these are fantastic note books for everyday, all-day use. I carry one with me almost everywhere I go — even walking the dog, in case an idea strikes me. Plus, as you’ll see when you check out the website, the Field Notes team brings a huge level of passion to what they do, and a smart, appealing marketing touch — both of which I admire in companies, and want to reward with my business. They’ve earned it and I plan to use their products for years to come.

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Written by Russell S.

December 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm

One Response

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  1. […] traveling with smaller, lighter, journals (including the Col. Littleton No. 23 Pocket Journal, and Field Notes memo and steno books) to meetings around town to jot down notes. When on overnight travel, by car, train or plane, […]


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