Rite in the Rain All-Weather Outdoor Journal
TEST SERIES BY LARRY KIRSCHNER
INITIAL REPORT - October 4, 2009
FIELD REPORT - December 13, 2009
LONG TERM REPORT - February 8, 2010
asklarry98 at hotmail dot com
5' 9" (1.75 m)
205 lb (92 kg)
I've been an intermittent camper/paddler since my teens, but now that my kids are avid Boy Scouts,
I've caught the backpacking bug. I typically do 8-10 weekend hikes per year, and have spent time over
the past few years backpacking the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico and canoeing the Atikaki wilderness of
Canada. I like to travel "in comfort", but I've shrunk to medium weight, and continue to work toward going
lighter and longer. With all of my investment into these ventures, I expect my wife and I will continue to trek
long after the kids are gone…
October 4, 2009
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: J. L. Darling Corporation
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Country of manufacture: USA
Manufacturer's Website: www.riteintherain.com
MSRP: $9.95 USD
Listed Weight: 3.2 oz (90 g)
Measured weight: 3.7 oz (104.4 g)
Page size listed: 4 5/8 x 7 in (117 x 178 mm)
Page size measured: 4 5/8 x 7 in (117 x 178 mm)
Journal size measured: 4 7/8 x 7 in (124 x 178 mm)
The Rite in the Rain product line is a line of notebooks and journals of varying sizes
designed for the outdoor enthusiast or for others that may need a weatherproof writing
surface. In other words, "Outdoor writing products…for outdoor writing people," as
written on the back cover. All of these products use "Rite in the Rain All-Weather
writing paper" to provide a weatherproof writing surface. The pages in this notebook are
4 5/8 x 7 in (117 x 178 mm), although both larger and smaller sizes are available.
The paper is definitely heavier than regular notebook paper, and has a slightly waxy
feel. The pages are spiral bound with a plastic cover to protect the sheets from damage.
The Outdoor Journal line is distinguished by a yellow plastic cover with a picture of
a backpacker on it. Other products in the line have different color covers with
On the first page of paper are spaces to write my name, address, and phone number,
as well as a few lines of space marked as "project".
On the back side of the first
sheet is a page labeled "contents", which is where I would put my table of contents
if I were inclined to annotate my journal entries.
After that, all of the pages are
the same, with heavy horizontal lines and lighter, dashed vertical lines which I could
use for making graphs, maps, and so on. This format can be seen on the right side page
of the photo above. At the bottom of each page is a blank space
where I could indicate the scale of each square. More likely, I would just use these
blanks to number the pages. All in all, there are 32 pages in the notebook, including
the page with the identifying information and table of contents.
No instructions were included with this journal, although I don't think any are
necessary. On the back cover of the journal, it says the following: "For best results,
use a pencil or an all-weather pen."
TRYING IT OUT
Before taking this out on the trail, I wanted to see what types of writing utensils
will work with this special paper. First, I tried, a Rite in the Rain All-Weather Pen,
which worked quite well. Next, I tried a pencil, which also did fine. A regular pen
wrote nicely on the paper, as did colored pencils (in case I want to do any sketching)
and crayons. As everything seems to write easily on the pages of this journal, I will not worry about
the need for specialized writing equipment.
EXPECTATIONS and INITIAL IMPRESSIONS
I was hoping for a journal that will not only survive the rigors of the field, but will also allow me to keep and record my thoughts. So far, I am impressed with the journal, since I can write on the pages just like normal paper. I will see how both the pages and the writing hold up as I take it out in the field.
THE STORY SO FAR
- A journal that will withstand backpacking with no special care? A great idea!
- Any writing instrument will do
- None--I can't wait to start testing
Back to TOP
December 13, 2009
So far, I have taken the journal with me on two weekend trips. The first was a weekend in mid-November to Ray, OH. It was clear and
cool, with overnight temperatures of 33 F (1 C). At the time I was writing in the journal, it was probably about 35 F (2 C).
The second trip was this past weekend, when I did some lodge camping in Delaware, OH. In addition to these trips, I have carried the
journal around in my work daypack for most of the past 2 months.
A good journal is really the type of camping item about which there is not much to say, unless there are problems. So far, I
don't have much to write about. I have used the journal as my camping log for the last two months, which has included the two trips
noted above. On these trips, I have written in the journal while "indoors," either in my tent or in the lodge. Thus, I have not
actually tried writing in the rain, although I have never in the past felt the urge to record my thoughts while getting wet.
In terms of how the journal has functioned so far, the simple word is: great! I have been using the Rite in the Rain pen, which
has a medium-sized writing tip which I prefer. As advertised, the pen writes both upright and upside-down, so that I was actually
able to write in the journal while lying on my back. Although I liked this initially, I found it somewhat tiring to hold my hands
up while writing. Because of this, my penmanship, which has never been great, was even worse than usual. This issue aside, the
journal was easy to write on. Also, there has been no smearing or smudging of anything I have written over the past two months. This
includes the fact that the writing on one page does not get rubbed off on the facing page.
In terms of size, I have found that the journal is just about perfect for me. It is large enough for me to write my thoughts for
the day on a single page. Of course, if I have a lot to say, I can cover two or three pages, but this is unusual. The lines are spaced at a
comfortable distance apart, so that my writing is reasonably organized.
WEAR AND TEAR
Although I have carried the journal around for about 2 months, it has not had any problems. The cover of the journal has
resisted any scratching or crushing. The wire binding is a little bit bent out of perfect alignment, but it does not restrict free
movement of the cover or the pages. Although the journal has been in my bag when carrying it around in the rain, I cannot see any
evidence that the pages are wet. Of course, it was among my other papers, so the whole group would have had to get wet for me to
see any effects
To be honest, although I don't have too much to write about, I really like this little journal. It's sturdy and weatherproof,
and just the right size for me. Over the long-term testing phase, I am planning to do more rigorous testing of these qualities,
even if it means resorting to some artificial environments for the test.
Back to Top
February 8, 2010
Over the long-term testing phase, I have continued to take the Rite in the Rain Journal with me on
my trips. These have included a weekend trip to Portsmouth, Ohio in mid January. This trip was one
night of cabin camping in a rustic cabin and one night of tent camping. Temperatures over the weekend
ranged from around 40 F (4 C) to 52 F (11 C) on mostly cloudy days, and it rained overnight when I
camped outside. It also accompanied me on two overnight trips for work. Although I didn't use it
outdoors, it got crushed down in my suitcase in much the same way it gets packed when I am on the
trail. I have also continued to carry the journal with me in my daypack for work. Additionally, the
weather here has been quite wet, with a mix of rain and snow. I took the journal out one day when it
was raining just so I could test it out under wet conditions.
Over the past 2 months, I have continued writing in my Rite in the Rain journal every time when I am away,
regardless if it is for business or pleasure (i.e., camping). The journal has held up amazingly well.
The plastic cover really resists rain and dirt and essentially looks unmarked. The wire binding has held
its shape remarkably well, too.
Since this journal is billed as an "All-Weather Outdoor Journal", I wanted to test how well it worked when
used in the elements. As described above, I have written in the journal in the heat and in the cold with
For this part of the report, I specifically tested the journal in the rain. Normally, this is not
something I would I would do, as I write almost all of my journal entries in my tent at night before
I go to sleep. Nevertheless, I took the journal out in a moderate drizzle to see how it would go. As
shown in this photo, the plastic cover did a nice job of shedding rain.
Next, I opened up the journal to see how things would go on the pages. Much to my surprise, the pages of
the journal also shed water. The only trouble I had writing was when my pen ran into a rain puddle on the
page, in which case there was a little smudging. Once the words were written, further rain did not do
anything to them.
After writing a bit, I turned the page over to see if any water was seeping through the page. The
underside of the page and all the pages behind were completely dry! I also tried writing on the page
with a pencil, which gave similarly excellent results as with the pen.
After sitting outside with the journal open for a while, I shut the journal and came back inside.
Despite the fact that I did not specifically air the journal, the pages were dry after 2-3 hours.
Although the pages were initially a little "wavy" after drying out, they have subsequently flattened
out. All the writing I did in the rain is still easily legible, and the writing I had done before taking
the journal out was similarly well preserved. It didn't matter if I wrote in pen, pencil, crayon, or
whatever-it was all fine. I even tried using my fingers to rub off some of the writing, but couldn't do
this. I feel confident that the journal will keep my thoughts for posterity.
All in all, I have to say that the Rite in the Rain All-Weather Outdoor Journal works GREAT. It is simple but sturdy, and the size is just right for me to record my thoughts after a day on the trail (of course, it comes in other sizes for more or less wordy hikers, too). Most importantly, the writing in the journal has not faded or otherwise changed over the four months of the test. My only dilemma is to decide if I want to continue using my current journal for my upcoming trips, or if I will buy myself a fresh one for future recording of my experiences.
Things I liked about the Rite in the Rain All-Weather Outdoor Journal:
Things I disliked about the Journal:
- Really works in all weather
- I can record my thoughts with any writing instrument
- Writing does not fade over time
- None-this is a great product
This concludes my report on the Rite in the Rain Outdoor Journal. My thanks once again to
JL Darling for providing this equipment for testing, and to BackpackGearTest.org
for allowing me to participate in the evaluation process.
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Read more reviews of Rite In The Rain gear
Read more gear reviews by Larry Kirschner