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Reviews > Books > Blank Journals and Writing Implements > Nomad Journals Waterproof Trail Journal > Test Report by Dawn Larsen

Nomad Waterproof Writing Journal

Initial Report - 4 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:  4 x 5 (102 x 127 mm)
Actual Dimensions of Journal:  3.75 x 5 (95 x 127 mm)

Listed Weight:  n/a
Actual Weight:  2.2 oz (62 g)
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: $8.50 US
website image
picture courtesy of Nomad website
Product Description

This small spiral-bound journal is waterproof and tearproof.  There are 82 pages that allow for 36 daily entries.  There are entry areas including:
  • Trail location and type
  • Trail conditions
  • Distance traveled
  • Destinations
  • Pack contents and weight
  • GPS coordinates
  • Weather conditions
  • Plenty of room for extra notes
Initial Report
4 November 2009

Initial Impressions
The Nomad hiking-trail journal seems just the right size to stuff into a backpack or daypack.  It does not have a closure, however, and I will test to see if the pages get routinely bent because there is not way to keep it shut.  The first thing I wanted to see was what kind of media would write on the waterproof pages as I was concerned that waterproof paper would not take pencil or ink well.  See the picture below. It not only accepts pencil and pen, but marker and colored pencil too!   Additionally, it would not tear, but did bend, although the crease mark was not very noticeable.  It tore away from the spiral. I also held the page under a running faucet.  It held everything but the marker.

mypage wet page

The only drawback for me personally, is that I sort of like to keep all my camping/hiking information in one place at home.  Because this journal is so small, I would probably feel like transferring the information to a bigger journal, just because I'm afraid I might lose it.
I think this small journal really might be just the right thing for backpacking because it is so small and durable.  I look forward to trying it out soon on the trail as it seems to be a very wet fall here in South Carolina.
What I Like So Far
It is tearproof
It is small 
What I Don't Like So Far
I'm afraid that I might lose it after I get home because it is so small.

Field Report
12 January 2010

Field Conditions

Camping at Dreher Island State Park, Sumter, 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.

Camping on private land near Sumter, South Carolina in November:  Termperatures about this same as above.  No bathhouse or running water.

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 0.5 miles (0.8 km) worth of off-trail paths.  The trail was fairly rough and ascended about 150 feet (46 m).  I carried a daypack.

Field Observations

This is a great journal to carry while on the trail.  It is small, lightweight, and doesn't rumple when crammed in a backpack or drybag.  I found that this journal was most helpful when I used it to record notes while on the trail. I would then transfer the notes to a larger journal when I got back to camp or home.  I used a regular ball point pen. Though I never had it out in the pouring rain, there were times, especially at Dreher Island, where there seemed to always be mist or moisture in the air.  The journal performed beautifully with no smearing or tearing.  I also left in out one night on a table in the weather at Dreher Island and it was fine the next day.  

I like its shape and that it is bound on the top side instead of on the side.  It makes it much easier to write on it while walking than a side-bound journal

I also like that this journal fits inside the pocket of the larger Nomad Hiking-Camping-Backpacking Journal.  That way, once I get back from the trail, I can keep it in the larger journal for storage. 

Though it really performs well, it is very expensive for a little bitty journal.  

What I like so far...
The pages really do resist moisture and tearing.

What I don't like so far...
 It's expensive.

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. 

One hike on the Florence Rail Trail, 3 mile section, mid-March. Conditions were chilly and clear with temperatures around 47 degrees F (8 C).  I carried a daypack.

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 degrees F during the day and 35 degrees F at night. I took this journal on day hikes and kept it inside a larger Nomad Adventure Journal off trail with my gear in my tent on the first trip and stuffed it in my backpack on the second.

I used this journal on the trail in conjunction with a larger Nomad Adventure Journal after my hikes.  The two journals work very well together as this smaller one zips up into the larger journal's case.  This journal is light, compact, and waterproof.  I like that it does not ask for specific information, but rather is lined so that I could record what I needed to in whatever way I needed to.  I often use a weird kind of shorthand writing that only I can read in this journal, then transfer that information to a larger journal.  

I found this journal especially helpful for recording notes about gear that I am testing on the trail.  It is very convenient.  I usually carry a cheap paper notebook in a zipper lock bag. This journal is so much easier to use because I can just stuff it in a pocket, even if it's raining.

The pages take pen and pencil very well, even in the rain.  I found that if it was misting, I could hold it under the brim of my hat and write on it just fine with pen and pencil.

I will continue to use this smaller journal to record on-trail notes and especially to record information about gear that I am testing.  I don't know if I will fork out the $8.50 for another once this gets used up.  It is much more economical, but I'll admit, not as convenient, to get a regular notebook and keep it in a zip-lock bag.  

What I liked
The waterproof pages really work.
I liked that the pages are lined and let me write what I wanted to.

What I didn't like
It is too expensive.

This concludes my long term report. Many thanks to Nomad and for allowing me to test the Nomad Waterproof Writing Journal.

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

Reviews > Books > Blank Journals and Writing Implements > Nomad Journals Waterproof Trail Journal > Test Report by Dawn Larsen

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