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Reviews > Books > Blank Journals and Writing Implements > Nomad Adventure Journals Camp Journal > Test Report by Dawn Larsen

Nomad Adventure Hiking-Camping-Backpacking Journal

Initial Report
- 1 November 2009
Field Report - 12 January 2010
Long Term Report - 20 March 2010
Name: Dawn Larsen
Age: 49
Gender: female
Height: 5' 4" (163 cm)
Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
Email address: vicioushillbilly AT gmail DOT com
Florence, South Carolina USA

Backpacking Background:

I used to backpack in college a zillion years ago and just in the last few years have backpacked some private trails in Tennessee, Missouri and most recently South Carolina. I have been an avid car-camper for eleven years and I have kayak/canoe camped for four years, both in South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. I use a lot of the same equipment for both. I hike hilly/rocky trails especially in Missouri (my home state) and Arkansas. I live in South Carolina and am busy checking out the terrain here with my sixteen year-old son.

Product Information
Manufacturer:  Nomad
Year of Manufacture:  2008
Listed Dimensions of Journal:  5 x 7 in (127 x 178 mm) journal, 6 x 8 in (152 x 203 mm) with case
Actual Dimensions of Journal:  same as listed

Listed Weight:  n/a
Actual Weight:  9.1 oz (258 g)
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: $27.00 with case, $15.00 journal only US
website image
 picture courtesy of  Nomad website

Product Description
The website lists this "3-in-1" journal as the "most comprehensive outdoor logbook available."  It comes in its own water-resistant zippered case with an inside pocket.  There are 120 pages that allow for 29 daily entries.  There are entry areas including: trail information (terrain, conditions, difficulty, distance & more), recommended maps and guidebooks, campground information, hiking and driving directions, people you might meet along the way, weather conditions, food, as well as room for extra notes.
Initial Report
1 November 2009

Initial Impressions
Though the website and title say that it can be used as a backpacking journal, it is rather large.  I think they mean "backpacking in Europe" like they describe on the website, rather than backpacking on a trail.  I like the information that I can record in the journal.  Nomad seems to have thought of everything that I would want to remember about a campground or trail.  I have used other journals, but none of the ones that I've used are organized as well, nor do they provide spaces for all of the things I want to record. For example, campground fees AND trail information are entry areas.  Most journals are "either or."  I also really like that there is a pocket to keep receipts and campground tags.  Nice idea.
The case is water resistant as I held it under a running faucet for about 3 seconds and the insides remained dry.

 inside  sample page page picture courtesy of website

I think this journal, though big, will be a good journal for car camping and day hiking.  I look forward to using it.
What I like so far
It is organized very well
Provides listed spaces for all the things I would want to record
What I don't like so far
Big and bulky.

Field Report
12 January 2010

Field Conditions

Camping at Dreher Island State Park, Prosperity, South Carolina: There are several hiking trails at this park.  The park is on an island surround by a big lake.  The wind from the lake carries a lot of moisture into the campsites and trails.  I carried this journal when hiking and kayaking.

Nature Trail in Wallace Woods, Florence, South Carolina:  I hiked this .75 mile (1.21 km) nature trail at least five times and journaled the first time.  I usually carried a small daypack.

I backpacked a trail along the Buffalo River, Arkansas: Trail was hilly, rocky, slushy with snow and mud.  This trail was 12 miles (19.3 km) that generally wound around and followed the Buffalo River.  Temperatures averaged about 35 degrees F (2 C) during the day and below freezing at night. There was some sleet and snow when we were hiking, but not much.  Mostly, it was just cold.

Harbison State Forest, Columbia, South Carolina:  I hiked about 2 hours on the first warm day in about a week.  Temperature was 47 degrees F (8 C), clear and sunny.  This produced ice melt from frozen rain earlier in the week.  This was a 3 mile (5 km) trail with about .5 miles (.8 km) worth of off-trail paths.  The trail was fairly rough and ascended about 150 feet (46 m).  I carried a daypack.

Field Observations
Because this journal is so large and heavy, I used it primarily to record notes that I'd recorded on the trail in a small journal.  I tried taking it out on a short trail, but it was cumbersome getting it in and out of my daypack.  It is also not water or tear proof and so does not work well for me on the trail.  I used it at home and in camp, under shelter.  

I like that the small Nomad Waterproof Journal fits inside the inside pocket of this larger one.  However, when I put the small journal (or notes, maps, etc.) in the pocket and then set it on my lap and tried to write in the journal, the paper in the pocket fell out on the ground.  That was annoying. I almost needed a table to use it.  That could have been prevented by putting the pocket opening on the side or using some kind of closure for the pocket.

The case is very nice and keeps the journal clean and protected. The case is water-resistant.  The zipper always worked well, no matter the temperature or whether it had sat outside all night in the humidity.  The case also protected the pages from dampness, when I left the journal out on the picnic table all night.

I like the spaces for information that the journal provides, but it was almost overkill.  There seems to be a lot of wasted space for information that I would not use, especially since this is not a backpacking journal.  For example:  "Grub & Grog, Local Knowledge would be something I would rather record on the Observations/Notes pages.  That seemed like wasted space to me.  I wished there was more space for campground notes instead of the two lines provided.

I like the idea that there are refills available and that I could actually keep the journal itself cataloged.

This is a nice journal for recording information after I get off the trail of if I'm car or base camping.  

What I like so far...
The case protects the pages very well.

What I don't like so far....
Things fall out of the pocket.
Too much wasted space for information I wouldn't record

Long Term Report
20 March 2010

Field Conditions and Use
Two hikes at Wallace Woods, Florence, SC - One in February, conditions were cold, 40 degrees F (4.4 C) and clear. One in early March, conditions were temperate and misting, 50 degrees F (10 C).  This is a .75 mile (1.21 km) nature trail and I carried a daypack. I used the journal to record information in after my hikes.

One hike on the Florence Rail Trail, 3 mile (4.8 km) section, mid-March. Conditions were chilly and clear with temperatures around 47 degrees F (8 C).  I carried a daypack, but used this journal to record information in after my hike.

Two camping trips on private land near Sumter, SC - Both were over weekends. First was a car-camping trip in February, very cold and clear, 40 F (4.4 C) degrees during the day and 30 degrees F (-1 C) at night.  The second was a backpacking trip in early March, conditions were chilly and wet, 45 (7 C) degrees F during the day and 35 (1.7 C) degrees F at night. I took this journal and kept it in with my gear in my tent on the first trip and stuffed it in my backpack on the second.  

I did not hike with this particular journal on any of the listed hikes because it was too big.  Instead, I used it at camp after the hike to record information that I had previously noted on a smaller journal that I carried in my daypack.

Like before, this journal is really too big and heavy to backpack or dayhike with, even though I took it backpacking once during this reporting section. This journal works best when I recorded information that I had previously recorded in the smaller Nomad Waterproof Trail Journal on hikes.  When I got back to camp, then I would transcribe the information in more detail in this journal.  

I like to use a journal when camping because I don't always use the same gear.  So, for example, our 2-burner stove had leaked on a previous trip.  I had forgotten that until I reread the journal entry for the last time we car camped.  Then, I didn't bring a piece of equipment that wasn't working. However, I wish this journal had more blank lines versus entry spaces for information that I would never use.  It seems to be more geared for backpacking, but too heavy to carry...weird.

Because I used this as more of a base camp/car journal, I really like that it is zippered.  When I left it in a chair, one night (because I was using a sleeping hammock), the case protected it from the moisture and junk that fell from the trees.  I don't think I would leave it out in the rain, but it worked quite well in the normal very wet overnight humidity in South Carolina.

The inside pocket is frustrating.  I wish there was a hoop and loop closure or snap or something so that the papers wouldn't fall out when I tried to write holding the journal in my lap.

The pages took ink and pencil very well.  I did not have a problem writing in it even if it was very humid and the pages were a little dampish.

I will continue to use this journal and like it.  I will most probably buy the refills when this pad gets used up.  

What I liked
I really liked the water resistant case.
I also liked that I can buy refill pads for the case.

What I didn't like
Paper falls out of the inside pocket when I try to write with the journal in my lap.
Entry spaces for information that I wouldn't use. I wish there were more blank lines.

This concludes my long term report.  Many thanks to Nomad and for allowing me to test the Nomad Adventure Hiking-Camping-Backpacking Journal.

Read more reviews of Nomad Adventure Journals gear
Read more gear reviews by Dawn Larsen

Reviews > Books > Blank Journals and Writing Implements > Nomad Adventure Journals Camp Journal > Test Report by Dawn Larsen

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