Sure, there are plenty of phone apps that allow you to create a calendar of upcoming plans, send yourself reminders, and keep track of a 'to do' list. But nothing beats putting the pen (or pencil) to paper and keeping a physical list. There is just something classic and literary about physically writing that gives whatever is on that list a sense of priority. That's why we keep a small notebook in our EDC bag with us at all times - you never know when inspiration will strike and we want to get those ideas down as quick as possible before we forget.
Now you could go with a basic notepad or notebook from the school supply section of your local store, or you could give your ideas the platform they deserve by preserving them in a high quality book with paper that lasts, ensuring you never lose any of your million dollar ideas. That's why we searched for the best EDC notebooks and notepads. Here is what we found.
Moleskine notebooks seem like they have been around forever and that's probably because they last forever. We have one that we have been jotting ideas into for several years and it's just starting to show some wear. The company sells millions of notebooks every year so they must now something about note taking. In fact, Moleskine books have been mentioned as the preferred note taking method of scholars, tech-company founders, and high-achieving entrepreneurs who recommend them based on the simplicity, efficiency, and durability you get for the price.
Available in a whole range of sizes, both hard and soft bound, we prefer the 3.5x5.5 size because it easily fits in a pocket. Moleskine also offers special editions that feature your favorite cartoon characters and special designs that often sell for a premium to collectors once out of print. All the notebooks and notepads feature heavy weight paper that lasts and keeps ink from bleeding through. You cant go wrong with a Moleskine.
Field Notes are probably the biggest competitor to Moleskine, though their target audience seems to be a bit different. Field Notes sell a lot of smaller notebooks that are sold in packs and are easily replaceable. Users report that they are not quite as durable as Moleskine, but if you are looking for a lower priced book, or use a cover to protect them Field Notes are a good choice. You could also break up your lists and ideas by color, and grab the book your needing when inspiration strikes.
Speaking of colors, plenty are available as well as special editions that include tips and information related to the theme of the books. We like the editions that have pictures on the front like the NASA themed set called 'Three Missions'. A cryptographic edition called Clandestine included information on code breaking. Usually, special editions sell out which is why the Field Notes subscription service is so popular - you're guaranteed to get the latest release as it comes off the press. Field Notes also offers a weatherproof version with pages that do not tear called the Expedition series. We found it does hold up, but when looking for a notebook that is made for hard use, we look to our next maker.
Rite in the Rain is a notebook we are sure you have heard of if you're the outdoorsy type, or someone who works in harsh conditions. These notebooks have earned their reputation as the best you can get for outdoor situations. Featuring a special type of paper that repels water, sweat, grease, and mud you may need a special all weather pen to use them. Most people report that a regular pen works just fine in dry conditions. We can vouch for that: we have a RITR in everyone of our hiking bags and have never had any issues writing with a plain ole Bic pen.
Rite in the Rain notebooks will take what ever you can throw at them, which is why a lot of people who work in the oil, natural gas, and sciences use them. When you're outside and need a note to stay put there is no replacement for the number one outdoor notebook. They are available in a couple of sizes, including notepad shape, and specialty hard back versions for the fields of work we mentioned. By the way, we have accidentally washed our RITR in the laundry and didn't lose any notes.
Word Notebooks are a newer entry to the EDC notebook scene, and though we have not tried them, we list them because they are super popular among people who prefer to bullet journal: keeping short to do lists and reminders in compact form. Word notebooks are perfect for birthday lists, inspirational quotes, keeping a budget, affirmations etc. because each line includes a 'bullet' or dot that you can check off as the task is competed. Sure, you can do that in any notebook but if you are looking to save a few seconds these may be perfect for you. The price is right, so giving them a try isn't going to break the bank.
The Rocketbook Everlast claims to be the last notebook you will ever need: each page is erasable and notes are uploaded with a special app that is included with purchase for later reference. The app allows you to upload to cloud services like Google drive, Dropbox, Evernote, box, OneNote, slack, iCloud or send to your email. You could also share notes or ideas on the fly with classmates and coworkers. After sharing, you then erase the note and have a blank page to write on again.
Pretty cool, but there are a few limitations - you must use a specific writing instrument (Pilot Frixion pen, marker or highlighter) and ink takes 15 seconds to dry on the special paper. So this is not the notebook for someone outside or who needs to write quickly. This lifetime notebook says that it is equal to 1000 regular notebooks, so you would recover the initial costs rather quickly - making it a great choice for the frugal EDC'er. A couple sizes are available including a small 3.5x5.5 notepad and a full sized notebook. We plan to give the Rocketbook Everlast a try and will report back on what we think of it.
So what EDC notebook or notepad should you choose? If classy and simple with long-term durability are your thing, a hardback Moleskine will serve your writing needs for years to come. If you prefer a splash of color or something to look at, the Field Notes with their variety of styles will suit your tastes. Heading outdoors? Then it has to be a Rite in the Rain. Nothing else has matched their durability in hostile conditions. Bullet journalers will like the layout of Word. notebooks, and the frugal writer who hates the replacement costs of notebooks and is tech savvy will love the blank slate that the Rocketbook Everlast offers. But the truth is, you can't go wrong with any of the notebooks we mentioned.
Click on one below and order yourself a new notebook from Amazon. Items Mentioned in the Article:
Field Notes Notebooks
Field Notes Expedition Series
Rite in the Rain Notebooks