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Reviews > Books > Blank Journals and Writing Implements > Rite in the Rain Outdoor Journal > Test Report by Andrew Buskov


Large Outdoor JournalRite in the Rain
Outdoor Journal
When having clear readable notes is necessary in all conditions, the All-Weather outdoor journal is a must.
Andrew Buskov
Initial Report: September 28, 2009
Field Report: December 8, 2009
Long Term Report - February 09, 2010

Tester Biographical Information

Name: Andrew Buskov
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 223 lbs (101 kg)
Email: Rescue(at)Corridor9(dot)net
City, State Zip Madisonville, Kentucky  USA

Backpacking Background:

I’ve been backpacking for years now, and have slowly started developing my ideal style. I’ve gotten my pack weight down to roughly 25 – 30 lbs (11.3 - 13.6 kg) before water, and am whittling it down every hike. Day hiking is nice, but getting out over multiple nights is really what I enjoy. I like to take my time and enjoy the scenery as opposed to hiking hard. I also like being comfortable and insist on an air mattress. I usually tent or hammock, but stay in shelters when needed.

Front PouchProduct Information:

Item: Outdoor Journal Kit
Manufacturer: Rite in the Rain
Website http://www.riteintherain.com/
Year of Manufacture: 2009
MSRP: $34.69
Listed Weight: .4 lb (.18 kg)
Actual Weight: .4 lb (.18 kg)

Product Overview:

This product arrived to my door in complete condition, without any items missing, and as described. In this package I received an outdoor journal kit (1701-KIT) which included one 4 x 6 in (10 x 15 cm) All-Weather Outdoor Journal, one All-Weather black pen, and one canvas carrying pouch. I also received another larger 4 5/8 x 7 in (11.75 x 17.8 cm) All-Weather Outdoor Journal.

Other than size, the spiral notepads are only slightly different. The smaller notepad has the spiral wire on the top of the pad while the larger notepad has the spiral wire on the left side. Both appear to be of the same paper, and plastic material. The pouch is made of a durable-looking canvas material, and the pen appears to be a metal stamped pen with a replaceable ink cartridge that is sealed on top.

Initial Impressions:

PenThese are not your typical spiral binders, but are a double loop wire binding. The front and back cover are made of a thick yellow plastic with printing on both the front and back covers. The yellow definitely makes it easier to see in the dark. The pages, as well as the covers, have a rectangular stamped hole in them for the wire binding, and all fit nice and tight inside the covers without dangling over the edge. This is nice as I have had journals with dangling pages, and the pages always seem to get ruffled in my pack. The paper itself is block lined. The horizontal lines are blue and solid while the vertical lines are blue and dashed. Down in the lower right corner is a "square =" definition box. This is a great feature as I now have a way to remember how many feet each square is when I'm graphing something. Also, even though the paper is designed to be used in poor weather, the paper doesn't feel rough, greasy, or different in texture from standard notebook paper. The only difference that can be noticed is the weight of the paper; it appears to be a heavier paper which is nice for tear protection. Since both of the journals appear to be relatively the same except for size, it should be assumed that whatever is mentioned within this review applies to both journals.

Pouch The pen is a click style pen as opposed to a twist style. This was a bit surprising as it appears upon opening that the pen would be a twist style. I found out rather quickly though that I wasn't operating it correctly when the pen cane unscrewed and the internal cartridge was exposed. It is a matte black pen with a small shirt pocket clip on the top. There is no other writing on the pen and the top is a blunt end.

Small Pad BackThe canvas pouch is composed of a long piece of canvas that is folded over twice to form an envelope shape. The sides are sewn together with a ribbon material. Inside the pouch are two elastic bands that hold the pen, paper, and other items effectively. The bottom elastic is also sewn in such a way to create pouches so as to separate pens, pencils, flashlights, or other long items that could be slid into the pouch. Having these pouches keeps the pen and pencil that I have in there now from sliding sideways or diagonally. On the exterior of the pouch is a plastic clip that holds the top of the pouch closed. There is enough extra material through the clip to allow for the pouch to be stuffed full of equipment and still allow the clip to secure the lid of the pouch.

Being as how this item is designed to be used in poor conditions, I thought it wise to test it out at home prior to needing something to write on in the rain on the trail. I myself prefer using a pencil as I often find it easier to write with. Using any standard pencil that I tried was just as easy and simple as with regular paper. Erasing spelling errors was quick and easy, and didn't leave any marks. I also tried writing in pen and found the same results; it's a smooth writing surface.

After writing on the paper for a while I tried dunking it under running water. I was simply amazed that the ink nor the pencil faded in any manner. I even took my finger and started rubbing the paper to see if I could smear the ink or pencil marks. After a few seconds, I found no smear marks or smudges; simply amazing! It really has lived up to my expectations so far.

Field Report: December 8, 2009

Field Conditions:


During this testing phase, I was able to use this a variety of times in inclement weather. Conditions ranged from 10,000+ ft (3000+ m) with snow and icy rain, to 450 ft (130 m) with hard, driving rain. Temperatures ranged from 20 F (-6 C) to 70 F (21 C) over the testing period. Windy conditions were experienced a few times, but these really didn't have an impact on the test, or my use of the materials.

Performance:

The Rite in the Rain Outdoor Journal held up really well over the course of the testing period. I was able to able to take a lot of notes in rainy, wet conditions. This simply would not have been the case with my old style journals. As I prefer pencil to ink, I was very pleased with the fact that my fine point pencils were not gouging through the paper as they would with my standard journals. Even in completely wet conditions, I was able to write easily and neatly in both ink and pencil.

One of the things that I noticed during this testing phase was how well the paper seemed to deal with "long term" wetness. When using this journal in icy conditions some of the icy rain froze on the paper. I ended up having to stick it into a plastic bag prior to putting into my pack. Because of this, the moisture didn't evaporate as well as it did when I was able to use the included pouch in rainy conditions. However, the paper performed wonderfully. It didn't wet out at all, nor did any of the pencil or pen marks run.

I did tear out a few of the journal pages over the testing phase for various reasons. I was surprised that there were no paper flakes at all. The paper seemed to be thick and heavy as to rip uniformly and thus not have little paper pieces floating all over. I used to prefer bound journals that didn't have perforated sheets or spirals just so I wouldn't have to deal with paper pieces all over.

As for the pouch, I found it to be more of a hassle than anything. However, I do realize it was designed to be used with a belt and not necessarily with a pack. There were only a few places to attach the pouch to my pack, and none of them proved to be very easy to reach while hiking. It did store a few extra pens and some brochures during one of my day hikes. While it is nice to have if I just need to take the journal with me and don't want the pages damaged, using it during a hiking trip with a pack didn't work out that well in my opinion.

The pen handled all tasks I threw at it with no problem. I was able to write in the rain, snow, sleet, and freezing rain with no problems. I even wrote with it underwater once just to see how effectively it worked. I did find that it started writing more cleanly the more I used it. I don't know if there was a buildup of dry ink near the tip when I first opened it, but I was a lot more pleased with the operation of the pen after some time.

I'm still pleased with the operation of all items during this test. I haven't found any aspects that I don't like, nor have I found any problems that need to be addressed.

Long Term Report - February 09, 2010

Field Conditions:

During this testing phase I used the Rite in the Rain Outdoor Journal an additional 10-12 times. While a few of the uses were on the five day hikes I took in two different recreational areas in Western Kentucky, a majority of the usage was for keeping notes and jotting things down during meetings and training exercises. Temperatures that I experienced during the outings ranged from 35 - 55 F (2 - 13 C). All trips were during overcast skies, but only one day hike had any precipitation: a bit of misty fog. As mentioned, I have used these in training exercises as well. Being a fire fighter, training exercises generally include a good deal of water, mud, and sometimes foam. In all, I've used the Outdoor Journal about 25 - 30 times and have gone through over ten sheets of paper.

Performance:

The Rite in the Rain Outdoor Journal has server me very well during both wet and dry conditions. Having the ability to take along some paper and pen that I can use whenever and where I need is definitely a plus. I've even had the opportunity to dribble come coffee on the journal during one of my business meetings, and still the paper didn't stain and the ink didn't run. It was very nice to be able to keep my notes in order even though I had problems keeping my coffee where it should be.

The paper continues to remain nice and clean even after being exposed to dirt and grime. The edges are not rolled or folded at all, and the metal binding continues to be evenly spaced and durable.  None of the blue ink has faded to the best of my knowledge, and the cover remains just as bright and yellow as the day it arrived. The plastic is not creased even though it was repeatedly bent during this testing phase due to being stuffed in a small pouch of my every day pack when being transported back and forth to work.

The pen, which worked flawlessly during the entire testing phase, continued to do so till it dropped out of my pack earlier this month. I was on the way to another meeting for a web design client and threw both it and the journal in a large compartment of my laptop pack. When I arrived at the meeting, the pen was gone. However, I can say that up until two weeks ago, it was one of the smoothest pens I've used. The ink just flowed out without much pressure or work, even in the harshest conditions. I've already looked into getting a pen like this from a local office supply store.

The cargo pouch didn't get much use this phase. It's primary job was to keep everything together when I stored my materials in the desk. I didn't need it during my day hikes as I was testing the durability of the journal itself in foul conditions, and I simply didn't have enough room for it in my daily laptop pack. I did like the fact that it kept everything together and nothing got lost in my desk, but field use was not something that I needed it for.

Overall, I've been exceptionally pleased with the Rite in the Rain Outdoor Journal and associated products. I had been looking at purchasing one of their journals prior to my experience testing, but didn't know how well they would hold up. I can now say without a doubt that these will work wonders for me at work, even in environments that include foam and mud.

I'd like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and Rite in the Rain for allowing me to participate in the Outdoor Journal test.

Read more reviews of Rite In The Rain gear
Read more gear reviews by Andrew Buskov

Reviews > Books > Blank Journals and Writing Implements > Rite in the Rain Outdoor Journal > Test Report by Andrew Buskov



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