Tom Bihn Field Journal Notebook

A Classic size which hold 8-1/2" x 5-1/2" paper.

3 premium, environmentally friendly papers to choose from, Harbor 100 60# from Gray's Harbor Paper in Grid or College ruled and Crane's Crest 24# 100% Cotton Paper.

The notebook itself is a 3 ring binder made of U.S. 1000d and 500d Cordura with water resistant zippers.

I see it as a great alternative to leather organizers.

I can see myself get 3 of the 7 colors: Conifer, Crimson, Plum, Navy, Black, Steel, and Cocoa.

I don't work for Tom Bihn but own several of their bags with much satisfaction.

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Looks great, but...

$75 !!?
A bit too pricey for me.
I got all my Levenger zip folios from eBay :)
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson) ***

My enthusiasm stems from the

My enthusiasm stems from the fact that this product is, for me, the answer to a 2 decades long quest for a product that would be just right for me.

If it works for you, go for it.

If you are going to get one, would you post some detailed pictures of it ?
I am curious about its construction and features.

Actually found some answers on my own -- There is a demo video on the web page you would order from -- Link
This is a well designed notebook. If I could hold one and examine it personally, I might be willing to drop the $$$'s for it.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson) ***


A decade ago, I decided to move away from leather goods, but finding anything nice looking was a challenge.
In 04, I found an Itoya organizer in PVC but despite holding a Classic size notepad, the rings only fit Pocket size paper, not enough space for me.

So the search was on again.

Last year, I saw the Filofax Mode made of vinyl but it is only available in Personal size and has no zipper.

So it was back to square one, again.

There are many non-leathers

filofaxusacom has any number of non-leather options. However, if you want something larger than "personal" you their only choice is A5, which is not the same as half of US letter size.

Franklin Covey and Daytimer both have great-looking non-leather binders (also available on amazoncom. Try searching "Fresco" on daytimercom and look at the desk size (in many other sizes, too). Here are flickr photos of someones Fresco:

One of the problem is that

One of the problem is that they all seem to get their clue from the Ford Model T, one has choice of color as long as it is black. ;)

I did go back to the Frankln Covey site using the color choice sub menu and did came up with a couple of options, one has pages which are too small, the other has no inner view option.

I have checked many websites, went to numerous stores...

I am glad the search is over.


In the literature, I seem to be suitable for outdoor use.

In the item description, I found it is weather-proof, it is important in the field.

Review from the Whatever blog

The owner of the Whatever blog, Julie seems
to have an issue with the Gray Harbor paper
performance with her fountain pens.

Tom Bihn tested the Gray Harbor and Crane paper, which are offered in his website, using a Lamy Studio fountain pen.

I don't know what the nib width of his pen is, and I don't know what ink what used.

The Pen Addict blogger had no problem using his Lamy Nexx with any of the papers.
Again no information on nib width or ink used.

For fountain pen users, the best in smooth paper is Clairefontaine Triumph paper closely followed by Rhodia Notepads paper.

Below Julie from the Whatever blog explains her frustration with Rhodia paper.

As a lifelong fountain pen user, I have experienced ink feathering many times and realized that its presence depends not only on the type of paper, but on nib width and flexibility, brand of ink and more surprisingly on humidity level in the environment.

I am looking forward to experiment with my fountain pens using Gray Harbor grid, Ampad recycled lined, Rhodia notepad grid and blank printer paper.

I also plan to use other writing instruments.

There will be a slight delay until I get everything together.

I don't think the journal

I don't think the journal itself is worth any huge amount, but I think the size is good and the idea of a strap that allows the book to be opened while slung over the shoulder is a great design point.

I also have a tendency to make my own binders, so I would probably tend to get a sewing machine and make my own cloth binder with a carrying strap rather than buy one for $75.

However, it's a very nice-looking design.

I got one and slowly D.I.Ying it.

I got my Field Journal Notebook in May of this year, it is Plum.

Due to severe weather, think thunderstorms and tornadoes, as well as lots of stuff to deal with I have only started to D.I.Ying its organizational setup.

I do not work for Tom Bihn nor any of the makers of the products I use in the Field Journal Notebook.

I researched every item thoroughly before purchasing it, hence the space between purchases.

I have been exited since it came out in September of last year.

I love the size, the weight, the handles, the strap, the water resistant zipper and the pockets in the inside and outside enabling each person to customize it for their own good purpose.

It holds my Junior Ampad recycled notepad (years ago I bought several packs and I am using them up).
2 lovely sets of Avery dividers Junior size and I just got a Franklin Covey hole punch.

I will be searching for Junior size paper and using some templates to make that beautiful and useful object, truly mine.

Rite in the Rain

For your extreme weather conditions, you might try buying some of the Rite in the Rain copier or ink jet paper. One cut and you'll have the right size. (Pity they don't have half-letter paper precut though)

Suitable paper include D.I.Yed letter size or Junior notepads.

Thank you for the suggestion of Rite in the Rain, I might get a ream when budget allows.

I have Junior notepads, I write while the page is in the notepad and remove the notepad when it is full which will give me instant reference notes.

I also removed a couple of pages from the notepad and punched them to fit in the Field Journal Notebook.

Pages containing reference information which had been hard to get to quickly inside the notepad, were removed and placed in Junior size page protectors.

I found the Junior/Classic size page protectors, on sale, at the local Franklin Covey store. They are lightweight and semi-clear. They were held on the sales rack which I did not walk to (big mistake).
They are still available on the website (2 per pack for 3.95).
The very nice store people told me that they will be replaced by color page protectors.

Examples of their use are.
Lists of room temperature, fridge and freezer must haves for each grocery store I shop in.

Important addresses and phone numbers.

List of things to know when going to a healthcare provider...

Those lists are always needed but the pages get very worn out and ugly looking after heavy use.

I found the page protector solution ideal in letter size binders and expect the same result in Junior size.

I usually print a yearly calendar on one page, portrait orientation, letter size paper. It is folded in half showing six months at a time and the reverse is used to write info.

With the new system I might print two version, one folded and left intact in a page protector for reference and one punched on the left side and folded blank side up for notes.

I need to check the Container Store and a locally owned stationary store for more goodies.

I have been researching the website of the local store for a couple of months to locate items which will help the above D.I.Ying process.

So far a ream of quadrille filler paper and a cutting mat are on the list.

Every time I set a foot in a stationary store, I have to remind myself that I don't need more items except letter size printer and filler paper that can be cut into Junior size.

The Container Store visit will include getting an item that will turn two set of drawers into an analogue writing desk.
I have planned the transformation for a long time but it might need some more brainstorming.

Update, 5 years later. I

Update, 5 years later.

I bought a second Field Journal Notebook. It is used as an, on the go, planner (one page per day), note taker, list maker, brainstorming helper, etc...

Last year, I took a class at a local college and picked up a free, school year planner.

Well... this is the perfect two pages per week, layout and color and it fits like a glove, inside my Field Journal Notebook!

I have replaced the cheap notepad paper by quality printer paper for quick notes and all other everyday writing.
Important items are written, in fountain pens, on Rhodia paper.