Field Notes and Carhartt are a lot alike; Both companies are headquartered in the Midwest. Both companies appeal strongly to the blue-collar and the hipster demographics. And both companies exude pride that their products are manufactured in the U.S.A. It was only a matter of time before the notebook company and the apparel company got together to create a custom set of Field Notes pocket notebooks.
Each pack contains three 3.5” x 5.5” notebooks, and each has its own theme. There’s the orange book for hunting, the green book for camping, and the blue book for fishing. The covers feature a slick two-tone version of the Carhartt logo (a zoomed-in curlicue “C”), and the back cover tells a short history of the Carhartt company, as well as some general tips for using Field Notes notebooks.
These notebooks use 100# cover stock and 60# white inner-paper with a brown, lined ruling. In concept, these books seem very similar to the Campfire Edition, though the Carhartt Field Notes seem much simpler overall. And, honestly, I prefer this simpler look. It’s a clean cover design, yet it still pops, and the graphics on the back feel very 1950s retro.
As long as you’re okay using lined paper – I know, I wish they used graph paper too – I definitely recommend grabbing a pack. Most of the time these Field Notes editions are long sold out by the time I write about them, but luckily, these Carhartt books are still available on their website. It’s like a Christmas mini-miracle.
- Each of the three notebooks have (mostly) their own themed “practical applications” list. From the camping book, my favorite is, “06. Sasquatch Composite Sketch.” From the hunting book, my favorite is, “25. Wild Boar Attack Formations.” And from the fishing book, my favorite is, “02. Old Fishermanisms.”
- Carhartt used to make old-school “field notes” notebooks, apparently.
- You know who likes lined ruling? Leadfast does. Check out the review of Carhartt Field Notes over there.
On one random Wednesday – July 26, 2017 to be exact – the Field Notes blog announced a “buy anything and get a special ‘Blue Wednesday’ 2-Pack free” promotion. There was no rigmarole or hurdles. It was just, buy something on this particular day and a special edition 2-pack of pocket notebooks will be thrown in with your order. It’s things like this that make me really like the Field Notes brand. So, I went ahead an ordered a steno book, partially because I needed one and partially because I wanted to get my hands on this Wednesday edition.
Aside from their 80# blue covers, these books don’t hold anything out of the ordinary. The innards are exactly the same as the standard Kraft edition; 60# white paper with a brown, graph ruling. Even the “practical application” list is standard. However, as an extra freebie item, it’s impossible to complain. And I’m sure it was a pretty awesome surprise to those people who just happened to place an order that day, unaware of the promotion.
Please, if you want to get your hands on a set of these notebooks, don’t pay a premium price for them on eBay. They are super-fun as a bonus item, but not worth purchasing when there are plenty of other great editions still out there. Besides, I’ve heard rumors that this wont be the last time we’ll be seeing the Wednesday edition.
Field Notes released the Campfire Edition, the company’s 35th quarterly edition of their popular pocket notebooks, they imbued the product with a lot of sentiment and symbolism.
Here in North America, a campfire isn’t always just a campfire. For a lot of people, campfires are wrapped up in childhood memories of summer camp, family vacations, and scouts’ outings. As a result, the humble campfire has taken on deeper meaning in American culture, and it’s been wrapped up in its own set of mores and traditions. So, when
The Campfire Edition comes as a set of three notebooks, each with a different cover. The first is the Dusk/Geometry book, which represents (and explains) the construction of a proper campfire. The second is the Night/Community book, which advocates the virtue of sitting around a fire, telling ghost stories, and listening to someone playing an off-key guitar. The third is the Dawn/Responsibility notebook, which depicts an erstwhile Campfire and implores us to be a responsible campfire master. These notebook covers are printed using a photographic halftone technique that give them a nostalgic 1950’s look.
If it sounds like these notebooks are among Field Notes’ more conceptual editions, then you’re right. A lot of thought clearly went into their production. Field Notes even thought to include a merit badge with every 3-pack. Practically, however, there is nothing that sets this edition apart. Beneath the glossy covers, you’ll find what you usually find: 60# paper with a graph ruling.
Of course, Field Notes doesn’t have to go crazy with every quarterly edition, and, frankly, some of my favorite editions have nothing more than particularly cool covers. But for anyone who doesn’t count camping as a hobby or tradition, these notebooks are unlikely to inspire much enthusiasm. Personally, I don’t count Campfire among my favorites, but anyone who loves to camp will probably feel differently.
- Of the 30 “Practical Applications” listed in the notebooks’ inside-back cover, my favorites are the following: “04. Clean Camp Songs;” “05. ‘After Hours’ Camp Songs;” and “13. Miles to Go Before Sleep.”
- I love this note that’s printed on the back of each book: “In a pinch, this memo book can be used as kindling.” Though, at $13 per 3-pack, that’s some expensive kindling.
- Check out this review at Leadfast from someone who has spent a lot of time around the campfire.
It’s seems like an odd marketing choice for Field Notes to create a special edition “just for kids,” but that’s exactly what they did with the Neon Ice Pop edition in early 2010. Rather than the standard Kraft brown cover stock, Field Notes and Crewcuts (J. Crew’s children’s line) partnered together to give the children something a little brighter in the form of fluorescence; each 3-pack contains one green, one yellow, and one orange notebook.
Inside each notebook there are 48-pages of 50# white paper with a bright “Summer Sky” blue graph ruling, and a kid-friendly “Practical Applications” list that includes some uninspired items such as “Chores,” “Addresses,” and “Wish Lists.” Besides that, these notebooks aren’t any different from your typical pack of Field Notes.
If you’re looking for a bright set of Field Notes or just looking to collect one of their older editions, then you’re in luck. Though these Neon Ice Pops have been out of print for some time, they tend to show up frequently in secondary markets (like eBay or Facebook). And, often, I’ve seen them available for little more than J. Crew’s original $14.50 price tag.
The Neon Ice Pop edition isn’t among the best that Field Notes has created, but it’s hard not to like them anyway. They are simple and fun… even for an adult.
- As I mentioned above, the Practical Applications list is a lot less clever and wry than typical, but if I had to choose the best ones, I’d say “02. Parent Traps;” “04. Tomfoolery;” and “27. Mysteries Investigated.”
- At some point, late in 2010, Field Notes also made this edition available on their website for $11.95, and they also included a set of matching pencils!
- Is it the Neon Ice Pop Edition or the Neon Ice Pops Edition? Their website has used both – with and without an “s.” Well, according the the inside-back cover, on the very bottom, it should be the “Neon Ice Pop” edition. No S.
When Field Notes released their Chicago Edition pocket notebooks in 2016, they weren’t marketed as the first in a series. Because the company is based in Chicago, it seemed more like something the Field Notes employees made as a fun little side-project. But fast forward a year, and now we have the Portland Edition, which is the second in what Field Notes is now referring to as the “Hometown Series.”
This Portland edition, like the Chicago edition before it, uses the same 80# cover stock and 50# graph-lined inner-paper as the standard Kraft edition. The only significant difference is that these notebooks have Portland’s municipal flag printed on the cover, adjusted so that the four-pointed star is centered underneath the Field Notes logo.
Portland has a really great flag design, so I like these pocket notebooks for that reason alone. But they’d mainly be great for anyone who likes the standard Kraft Field Notes, yet wants something a little more interesting than the “packing paper” brown cover. So far, the notebooks in this Hometown Series aren’t “limited” and don’t cost any more than standard Field Notes. So even for someone with no personal connection to Portland, they still might be worth buying over the Kraft books. And for any proud Portlanders (or Portlandians?), these notebooks are literally made for you.