Field Notes Ambition Notebook Review

Field Notes Ambition

“Ambition” is the 25th release in the Field Notes Colors series of limited edition notebooks.

Field Notes Ambition

The three pack contains a datebook, ledger and memo book.

Field Notes Ambition

Let me say right off the bat that I do not have any use for a datebook or a ledger and I would have liked more memo books in any of the standard formats (dot grid, blank, lined, etc…).  That aside, I think this is one of the very best Colors editions.

Field Notes Ambition

I love the subdued covers with gold embossed logos, gold colored staples, and gold leaf gilded edges.  These books are nice.  Field Notes Ambition

The paper holds up to fountain pen ink quite well though thicker and juicer pens will bleed through.

Some bleed through and ghosting but not bad at all by Field Notes' standards.
Some bleed through and ghosting but not bad at all by Field Notes’ standards.

I hope the Field Notes decides to make the Ambition memo book part of their permanent line.  I would happily pay a premium for it over the standard memo book.

 

 

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Field Notes Unexposed Edition First Look

Field Notes Unexposed Edition

Here is the top secret outer cover of Field Notes’ most recent limited edition….plain black and nondescript.

Field Notes Unexposed Edition

I opened the package and MY EYES!  So bold! So intense!  They are all color wheel near opposites.

Field Notes Unexposed Edition

The interiors feature a reverse color scheme which is even harder on my eyes to look at than the covers.  My first impression is negative…the covers are just too bright.

Field Notes Arts and Sciences Edition Review

Field Notes Arts and Sciences Edition

The Arts and Sciences editions are special because they are much larger than all past Colors editions. Instead of the normal package of three 3.5″ x 5.5″ notebooks you get two large 4.75″ x 7.5″ notebooks with 64 pages each.

The Arts Field Notes notebook next to a normal sized Field Notes
The Arts Field Notes notebook next to a normal-sized Field Notes.

The covers feature the normal Futura Bold typeface but unlike past editions “Field Notes” is debossed into the covers as are the little Arts and Sciences logos on the back cover.

Field Notes Arts and Sciences Edition

This edition came with two pins.
The back covers feature debossed logos show here with matching buttons.

The Arts notebook has a “chili” colored cover and features art related references on the inside covers:

Arts inside front cover.
Arts inside front cover.
Arts inside back cover.
Arts inside back cover.

The Sciences notebook has an “urban grey” colored cover and features science related references on the inside covers:

Sciences inside back cover.
Sciences inside front cover.
Sciences inside front cover.
Sciences inside back cover.  Notice this one has a metric ruler where the Arts has an imperial ruler 

The pages in the Arts notebook are lined on one side and blank on the other.  The Sciences notebook is a bit more interesting. It features “Engineer’s Graph Lines” on one side and blank pages on the other.  The thickest grid lines are the 1″ followed by 0.5″ and 1/10″.  I love these graph lines.

Field Notes Arts and Sciences Edition
Arts on the left and Sciences on the right.

The paper in both of these notebooks is the same and like most Field Notes they don’t hold up well to fountain pen ink.  There was a good amount of bleed.

Lots of bleed...the thicker nibs bled onto the opposite page!
Again Arts on the left and Sciences on the right.  Lots of bleed…the thicker nibs even bled onto the opposite pages!

Of the two, the Sciences notebook is my favorite.  I really like what they did with this edition.  I am not sold on this larger format at the moment but I need to spend more time with them.  My initial reaction is that they are too big.  You can’t put them in a pants or coat pocket.

Field Notes Cold Horizon Edition Review

Field Notes Cold Horizon

Cold Horizon is the latest edition in Field Notes’ Colors series.  When the covers are lined up you can see a blue gradient.  The blue gradient is continued in the font on the inside of the front and back cover.

Font in blue gradient
Font in blue gradient

In the set each notebook features a different paper color, blue, green, and grey.  Each notebook has grey grids.

Top to bottom: grey, green, blue
Top to bottom: grey, green, blue

Overall, I love the design; it is clear that they really put some thought into these notebooks.

On to the bad:

The covers are unpleasant to touch; they have a bit of a grainy feel which seems odd on a glossy cover.  Most Field Notes are not considered fountain pen friendly and the Cold Horizon edition is no exception, in fact, the paper actually seems to resist fountain pen ink.

Notice the fountain pen ink resisting the paper.
Notice the paper resisting the fountain pen ink.
Bleed through
Bleed through

While I like the look of these Field Notes I don’t think I will be purchasing another set.

Field Notes Cold Horizon

Field Notes Expedition Review

Field Note Expedition

The Field Notes Expedition was not well received as the paper does not agree with many pens.  The Expedition edition uses a synthetic plastic paper and cover which makes the pages and cover tear resistant and waterproof.  The pages have a grey dot pattern.  I haven’t used any other waterproof papers so I don’t have anything to compare it to but I really like these Field Notes .

As you can see below, this paper is not the most pen friendly.  I have found that regular (non-gel) ballpoint pens and pencils work the best. Writing in the notebook feels like writing in cold butter; it is so smooth and pleasant that even the finest points feel great on this paper.  I dipped the notebook in water after doing a smear test and the plastic pages were completely fine, however, most of the ink was not.

Smear test followed by water test
Smear test followed by water test

1. Zebra Arbez Piitro Ballpoint – Smeared but not affected by water

2. Field Notes Brand Bic Clic Ballpoint – No smear no issues with water

3. Pilot G-Tec-C3 Gel Pen – Smeared but not affected by water

4. Caran d’Ache Technograph HB Pencil – Lightly smudges but is comparable with regular paper

5. Uni Woodnote Gel Pen – Very slight smear but not affected by water

6. Marvy Le Pen Drawing Porous Tip Pen – Smeared and affected by water

7. Pentel Energel Rollerball – Smeared and affected by water

8. Noodler’s Konrad w/ J. Herbin Eclat de Saphir – Smeared badly, ink completely gone with water

9. Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen – Smeared badly, ink completely gone with water

10. Platinum Preppy Sign Pen – Smeared badly, ink completely gone with water

11. Stabilo Bionic Worker – Smeared badly and affected by water

12. Staedtler Triplus Fineliner – Smeared badly and affected by water

13. Morning Glory Mach 3 – Slight smearing, ink completely gone with water

14. Itoya Paperskater – Smeared badly and affected by water

15. Ohto Graphic Liner – Smeared but not affected by water

16. Sakura Pigma Micron – Smeared badly and affected by water

In addition to the Field Notes Bic Clic pen below I have found that the Pilot Down Force, Lamy Dialog 1, and the Parker Jotter all worked well on this paper.

Field Note Expedition

Here are some great reviews of Expedition Field Notes:

(I have no affiliation with the sites linked below)

Pocket Philosophies – Finding the Right Pen for the Field Notes Expedition Notebook

Pencil Revolution –  Field Notes Expedition Edition: Smeary? 

The Well-Appointed Desk – Expectations and Expeditions, Field Notes that is.

The Pen Addict – What is the Best Pen for the Field Notes Expedition Edition

Field Notes Notebooks Review

The new Field Notes Drink Local Edition
The new Field Notes Drink Local Edition
The new Field Notes Drink Local Edition Back Cover with Coasters
The new Field Notes Drink Local Edition Back Cover with Coasters

As I have stated before in my Field Notes Calendar Review I didn’t like Field Notes right away because the paper was not fountain pen friendly.   Not too long ago I saw a friend’s collection of limited edition Field Notes and I stopped caring so much about the paper.

Let’s talk about the paper; it’s okay, not great.  I use my Field Notes with fountain pens and and there is some bleed through and very minor feathering with juicy pens.  Some editions have slightly thicker paper than others but in general Field Notes do not do that well with fountain pens.

Field Notes

As you can see there is quite a lot of bleed through from the Montblanc and some minor spotting with both of the Auroras.
As you can see there is quite a lot of bleed through from the Montblanc and some minor spotting with both of the Auroras.

I love the Futura typeface and all of the interesting and amusing things that they print onto the covers.  I also really like that they list how each Field Notes was manufactured and what materials were used.  Here is the cover of the California County Fair Field Notes:

Field Notes County Fair

Field Notes County Fair

Field Notes County Fair
Practical Applications : #16: Animal Husbandry Techniques

Field Notes County Fair

Field Notes measure 3.5″ x 5.5″ and come with 48 pages of blank, ruled, or graph paper.  There are more variations in the limited editions, for instance, the Drink Local Edition has an amber colored grid paper and the Night Sky Edition used a reticle graph paper.  You can subscribe to their Colors Subscription for $97 a year and you will get 4 quarterly shipments with two three-packs of the most recent limited edition as well as two three-packs of the standard Field Notes for a total of ten three-packs per year.

This is my modest collection of Field Notes
This is my modest collection of Field Notes…no Butcher Blue here

There are not many collectable paper products out there and certainly none that have been executed as well as Field Notes.  If you are into pens and paper Field Notes are pretty hard to resist…I am contemplating a second Colors subscription.

I usually carry at least one Field Notes in my Midori Traveler’s notebook as they are really easy to slide in an out when I don’t need all the other notebooks in my Midori.

Field Notes in Midori

Here are some great Field Notes reviews:

(I have no affiliation with any of the sites linked below)

A Penchant For Paper – Field Notes Memo Books

Not Enough Bits in This Byte –  A Review: Field Notes vs. Moleskine

Inkophile – Field Notes Journals or Moleskine Cahiers

Pencil Revolution –  Field Notes Review, Part II: The Notebook.

Stationery Review – Field Notes – Squared Memo Book

Field Notes 18-Month Work Station Calendar Review

When I tried Field Notes journals a few years back I didn’t like them; the paper wasn’t fountain pen friendly so I gave them away and that was that.  Recently, I saw a friend’s vast collection of limited edition Field Notes and realized that I couldn’t live without them.  Beyond the journals I have ventured out into some of their other products which brings me to the Field Notes 18-Month Work Station Calendar.

The calendar features the same Futura Bold font as the journals and the chipboard backing has the typical sort of campy/amusing signage you expect from Field Notes.  For example, it states “No maintenance or special tools required.”  As the name suggests this calendar has 18 months starting November 2013 and ending with April 2015.

Field Notes 18-Month Work Station Calendar (front)
Field Notes 18-Month Work Station Calendar (front)

The back of the chipboard features a list of “Real Big Days” including major holidays and the dates of (random) historical events; here is a sample of the dates:

Mar 22: “Leonard ‘Chico’ Marx, hat-wearing comedian (b. 1887)”

May 1 : “1982 World’s Fair opens in Knoxville, Tennessee (1982)”

Jun 12 : “Dr. Cyclops begins filming in three-stage Technicolor (1939)”

The back also lists details about what was used in the manufacturing process.

Field Notes 18-Month Work Station Calendar (back)
Field Notes 18-Month Work Station Calendar (back)

The calendar itself is very simple; the only real features are moon phases and holidays.  There isn’t much space to write in the date boxes so like the Field Notes journals you would buy this more for looks than for function.  The Field Notes 18-Month Work Station Calendar looks great and I am excited to use it at my desk.

fieldnotesbrand.com