Outdoor Journals

11:44 p.m. on March 24, 2012 (EDT)
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What do you good folks use for an outdoor journal?

  • Rite in Rain
  • Notebook in ziploc
  • Something else?


Looking for something 5x7" or larger
Thanks!

6:12 a.m. on March 25, 2012 (EDT)
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Spiral pad in plastic bag.  Never larger than 5X7.

Ed 

2:09 p.m. on March 25, 2012 (EDT)
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RnR

7:55 p.m. on March 25, 2012 (EDT)
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Which RnR Callahan?  

9:10 a.m. on March 26, 2012 (EDT)
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I picked up a small digital recorder and am planning on using that when I have time to hit the trails again.   I found it to be much lighter then paper and pen and I am often too tired or not in a good position to write.  With the recorder you can take notes as you hike and then recount your day as you cook or lay-down to sleep.   The one I got will last for about 50 hours of record time and takes 2 AAA batteries so extras are easy.  (Same as the head lamp and other gear)

It will also play music and has a slot for a micro sd card, but so far I have not quite figured that all out yet. :)

Before that I was carrying around a 5 x 8 or so, journal that I picked up from a book store.  I just keep it in a zip lock bag, it was about 5/8" thick.  Nice, but I hardly used it, never seemed to have the time or was too tired to dig it out.

Wolfman

2:03 p.m. on March 26, 2012 (EDT)
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I've kept a dedicated journal to record my outdoor adventures since 1990 and I'm glad I have.
I record details of weather, gear and food, impressions of the area, mood of myself and companions if any, incidents, accidents, anecdotes, I add receipts, doodle sketches, and whatever strikes me at the time. I write during the trip and / or right after the trip at home.

Many of the practical details are quite useful. Planning a week backpacking trip and need a menu? I grab my journal and see what I did for food last time and if I left any comments about it being insufficient, hard to cook or just plain nasty -
How about a canoe trip at Priest lake in late march?
I look up my last such trip and see the lake was still frozen, and decide to wait another month!
What was the weather like on the Long Canyon Loop in 2003? 2001? Was I miserable from cold and rain?

So it has it's practical uses, and for this it could probably be left at home. Details of equipment and menu can be made before hand and updated with the results of how well things worked out right after the trip. Over the years you'll collect a data base quite useful for planning future trips.
But the real reason I keep the journal and carry it along on most trips is to remember -
I haven't been 100% reliable recording my trips but going back through my journal I find entries of simple weekend overnight trips that spark warm memories of what would otherwise have been completely forgotten trips, as well as first hand details of my longer trips that otherwise the years would have worn smooth the memories of till only a general impression of the trip remained.

My first journal was a military notebook. It's very stout and easy to write in. The tradeoff is it's a bit on the heavy side for long range backpacking trips, but I've carried it anyway.
Smaller journals can be difficult to write in, especially for folks with sloppy, bold handwriting like me!
I'd weight it but I don't have a postal scale. The NSN is 7530 - 00 - 222 – 3521  "Book, memorandum, 5-1/2 x 8" and they can be found on-line.
I may just get myself another one since the first worked out so well.

Another journal I've tried is a tiny spiral bound book by Journals Unlimited which I purchased last time I was at Yellowstone. They can be found at www.customjournals.com
This was a custom order and is not found on their web site but they make a number of blank journals with "Resilient Archival Quality Smyth Sewn Binding" and "Superior Acid-Free Archival-Safe Paper" which sounds good to me because I've had journals purchased at book stores fall apart in only a year or two.

This "hikers journal" is small but well made with heavy covers, looks like it should last a long time and fits in a shirt pocket.
It is designed for two page entries. One lined page is titled "Notes / Experiences / Happenings / Events and the other page has spaces marked with the following categories -
City / State / Country:
Date:
Weather / Elements:
Hiked with:
Location ( trails, route, etc, )
Sightings / terrain:
It's a nice book but I find the two page format to limiting for me. My entries can ramble on for pages at a time, or take up only a sentence or two.
Still, it's a handy book for jotting down notes while on the trail.

Recently I discovered what looks to be a perfect little journal quite by accident when visiting a local Wal-Mart.
This inexpensive little book by C.R. Gibsons ( www.crgibson.com ) has a black bonded leather cover ( 20% man made material ), 192 acid-free pages ruled with a light green soy based ink, an attached ribbon book marker, an attached elastic band closure and a gusseted pocket inside the back flap that is perfect for hiding your driver’s license while out on the trail or maybe a small map or sheet of fine sand paper to sharpen a knife with.
It seems every attempt was made to make this as attractive a little journal as possible, and I certainly couldn't resist it!
I usually do use a rubber band to close my journal and I'm always sticking tickets and receipts inside it so I really like the elastic closure and pocket in the back cover.
I don't know if it has "Resilient Archival Quality Smyth Sewn Binding", but it does seem well made, and it's just big enough to write in easily enough.
I hope it lasts well because I am going to give this book a shot at being my next backpacking journal!

 


SANY0617.jpg

3:41 p.m. on March 26, 2012 (EDT)
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My journal is simplicity itself, as below---


TRIP-107-004.jpg

First off, I start with decent 8.5x11 inch resume paper (typing paper) at 24 lb weight---thick enough but not too heavy.  Fold it into fours and you have eight sides to write on.  1-2-3-4, then turn it inside-out and start again.  Number each sheet of paper and add a * when turning inside out, etc.

I used to use the Fisher space pen but found something even better, Pilot gel cartridges as above.  I use fabric band-aids, one on top for the hairtie and one on the bottom for grip.  The gel refill pens are great in all weather, esp with the fine or medium tip.  The hairtie keeps the pen from rolling away and keeps it inside the paper when closed with a rubber band.

3:44 p.m. on March 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Here's a fotog of the journal rolled up (NOT THE BURRITO WHICH IS TO BE EATEN!!)


TRIP-104-107.jpg

Burrito from Tomato Head restaurant, Maryville TN.  Excellent.

3:44 p.m. on March 26, 2012 (EDT)
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I carry a 3x5" notebook and pencil stub just to records figures such as elevation gain off my altimeter, and to do a sketch of the trail configuration.I will also have a printout of the event details and participants, so I can keep track as I go. Also handy to leave notes. I then record everything in a more complete format when I get back to camp, while it's still fresh in my mind.

But my best record is the photos I take all along the route, usually around 30-50 for a dayhike (and 900 in one notable 8-peaks-in-8-days week!) which is enough to bring back any details that might have slipped my mind.

6:11 p.m. on March 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Have been using the 3 X 5 spiral pads, with obligatory rubber bands (the best ones are from asparagus bunches at your grocery).  Pencils, instead of pens.   Sometimes  short carpenter's pencils.   Easy to sharpen (with knife), and they don't roll.

HOWEVER ....

I am going to "bite-the-bullet", and try to tote my iPad2.   This device is truly revolutionary.  Soooo many apps!   Maps, G.P.S., clock, weather conditions and forecasts, camera, news, Kindle replacement (if you want to read a book), FM radio (some great jazz!), online magazines.    Now -- I just learned it can  be a phone (GoogleVoice) and texting device.

All free (!) ... including the phone connection and service !

I went out for a short (7 mile) hike today, wanting to put some miles on a newish pair of Scarpa's,  and carried it in my daypack.  It weighs a bit over 3 lbs.

Sent and received a couple messages.   Typed some field notes.

And, NO, I'm not going to drill holes in it, to shave a few grams.

                            ~ r2 ~

                 former techno-Luddite

4:04 p.m. on March 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Robert Rowe said:

  It weighs a bit over 3 lbs.

And, NO, I'm not going to drill holes in it, to shave a few grams.

                            ~ r2 ~

         

 0ooops !!

Error !

BIG MISTAKE.   The iPad2 weighs 652 grams (1.44 lbs).

                                  ~ r2 ~


12:45 a.m. on March 28, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm not much of a journaler, but I wish I were.  Thought I'd chime in here, though, and share a related item - the pen!  Pen/pencil selection is a very personal and oft debated thing.  Some people swear by gel pens, others by the pencil.

When it comes to carrying a pen that I want to write 100% of the time, without having to scribble to get it going, for me, there is only one choice - the Uni-Ball Power Tank RT.

This pen has a charged cartridge (like the Space pens do).  It will write upside down, on wet paper, when it's below freezing, or over 100 degrees.  I tested the pen once by putting it in the freezer for an hour.  It wrote immediately, without leaving a blob or skip in the ink.

They are hard to find in stores, though.  I get mine on Amazon by the dozen.

Here's a link.

8:52 a.m. on March 28, 2012 (EDT)
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There's also another consideration---always bring a back-up pen.  On my normal 2-3 week trips I always take out three pens, one in the journal which will be used up during the trip, one in my ditty bag, and an emergency back-up lodged in my tent repair sleeve, as below---


Ink-Pen-001.jpg

The repair sleeve with the band-aid end caps.


Ink-Pen-002.jpg

The spare ink cartridge ready to go.  Notice the new ink pen has its protective "nub cap" on.  This is helpful and keeps the pen from "draining" or seeping out until ready for use.  Useless minutiae but it's the kind of crap I think about.


10:13 a.m. on March 28, 2012 (EDT)
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I actually carry an Olympus Voice Recorder for this purpose. Its really easy on batteries(hundreds of hours on 1 set) and everything is stored on sd cards.

It works out well. Helps tremendously with gear reviews as well. Nice little set-up. Pen and pad is definitely old reliable though.

Tipi- I thought that was a Hille repair sleeve. Kinda cool that ya came up with an option to make it a multi-purpose item.

Any suggestions on what to do with the spare pole section? Harpoon/blowgun maybe?

10:37 a.m. on March 28, 2012 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

I actually carry an Olympus Voice Recorder for this purpose. Its really easy on batteries(hundreds of hours on 1 set) and everything is stored on sd cards.

It works out well. Helps tremendously with gear reviews as well. Nice little set-up. Pen and pad is definitely old reliable though.

Tipi- I thought that was a Hille repair sleeve. Kinda cool that ya came up with an option to make it a multi-purpose item.

Any suggestions on what to do with the spare pole section? Harpoon/blowgun maybe?

 Idiot here.  Do you have software to transcribe the voice recordings into text??  Trail author Johnny Molloy swears by the voice recorder too. 

Spare pole section?  I never take one out with me, and figure if a pole breaks I'll just use the repair sleeve until the end of the trip.  It would be possible to "permanently" tape a repair sleeve on a pole section and leave that section connected thruout the trip and have it stored on the pack vertically.


49-9.jpg

This is an example.  (Not Hilleberg poles).  A crappy Mt Hardwear Light Wedge Atlas tent pole snapped and I didn't have a repair sleeve so I used cordage and sticks and fashioned a permanent length but it had to stay long and so I packed the whole wad vertically on the side.  It's the only system (using a sleeve instead) which works for the rest of the trip as once the sleeve is taped on (using repair tape or duct tape) it's best just to leave it on.

When I got home I called Mt Hardwear and they sent me a new pole section free of charge but I was finished with the Atlas crap and used an old Iron Mountain tent with 11 or 12mm poles and used a hack saw and new shock cord and made my own dang poles for the little Light Wedge. 

10:54 a.m. on March 28, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm not that "high tech" lol. I actually just play the data back and go from there. I can store multiple files on it so say for instance I am on a trip and I am reviewing an item. I can just create 2(or more) multiple files. 1 for the trip, and 1 for the review and then when I get home I just type away and rip out intricate details from the data I have stored from when I was in the field.

Voice recorders are pretty cheap and very small nowadays. The Olympus one that I have is a tank(its was very expensive in its time.)

Sort of like when the Betamax, cd players, etc 1st came out.

I always carry the pole section. Guess I just figure it doesn't weigh much(that packmule thing) and it doesn't make much difference if its in there or not.

Plus if I get caught above treeline in a meteor shower if nothing else I can fix my poles and go Man Vs Wild and build a make shift shelter from the framework lol.

Lol, I just "not helpfulled" myself.

12:43 p.m. on March 28, 2012 (EDT)
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5723_49342_d1.jpg

12:46 p.m. on March 28, 2012 (EDT)
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well that didn't work.

 

r n r poly bound to fit back pocket, 4 bucks at forestry suppliers or ben meadows. 4 5/8 x 7

2:48 p.m. on March 28, 2012 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

There's also another consideration---always bring a back-up pen.  On my normal 2-3 week trips I always take out three pens, one in the journal which will be used up during the trip, one in my ditty bag, and an emergency back-up lodged in my tent repair sleeve, as below---


Ink-Pen-001.jpg

The repair sleeve with the band-aid end caps.


Ink-Pen-002.jpg

The spare ink cartridge ready to go.  Notice the new ink pen has its protective "nub cap" on.  This is helpful and keeps the pen from "draining" or seeping out until ready for use.  Useless minutiae but it's the kind of crap I think about.


 That's a great idea!  I like a retractable pen, which protects the tip.

3:14 p.m. on March 28, 2012 (EDT)
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I mostly use the Rite in the Rain 1773 (spiral bound- because I can keep the Fisher "Space Pen" red Stowaway in the spiral). The 1773 is a plain lined notebook. I have used a different version that has a grid - good for making sketches to scale.

For expeditions I use the Expedition Journal 512 (stapled back). This was designed by Conrad Anker and has some expedition-specific forms (planning, scheduling, weather recording, expenses, expedition member data) and a lot of useful data (helicopter signals, conversions, map scales on the back cover, wind chill, and a photo scale to include in photos where you need a scale indication).

I also have used one of the Fisher "bullet pens" 400BCL which has a clip and Rite in the Rain waterproof pens. The waterproof pens are really needed when writing in wet weather, which I do a lot. The Fishers are pressurized so they write at any angle.

The stores don't seem to carry very much of the RnR line, so I order direct from their website for the ones I want. They have a huge variety in the online store.

I tend to dedicate a single notebook to each trip.

4:23 p.m. on March 28, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey Bill S---thanks for the 512 Journal link as I linked to All Weather Paper website and found some interesting pen refills and regular typing paper in outdoor grade.  Neato.  One reason I use the Pilot Gel pens is because I can get them at Walmart---availability.

9:47 a.m. on March 29, 2012 (EDT)
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I just won a new Ipod, but it hasn't arrived yet. I understand you can get all the apps for it that you can get for an Iphone, so I'm thinking GPS might be nice. I'm assuming it has some mapping/tracking/compass/altimeter apps as well.

I don't know if I'll be able to get voice recording but that might make a nice addition to the pencil, paper and camera I usually use. If anybody knows anything about them, or has any suggestions of what to get, I'd appreciate the advice.

2:28 p.m. on March 29, 2012 (EDT)
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I use a 5x8 Daytimer atache journal in a zip lock bag now.  I use to use a rite-in-the-rain pocket flip pad.  Didn't like writing on something that small.  I also put my planning information into the journal pages so that I have my planning information with me.

4:44 p.m. on March 30, 2012 (EDT)
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Also check out Forestry Suppliers for Rite in the Rain products as well as a whole slew of professional outdoor products.

I use the spiral bound RnR with a string tied to my pen. I carry a second pen plus a short pencil with my map & compass.

Mike G.

5:04 p.m. on March 30, 2012 (EDT)
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   * Update *

As a follow-up to my earlier post here, I have learned there are a FEW apps ("applications") for the iPad2, that will perform as a paper-pad and pen / pencil.

One just was announced yesterday.   "Paper".

Launched by ex-Microsoft engineers.  It is free, including a special felt-tipped pen.   Further; one may purchase (@ $1.99) a pencil, a marker, a paint-brush, and a tiny-tipped pen.   Each one in 9 different colors.

The app can be used as 3-separate interactive sketchbooks, with an option to create others.

How 'bout 'dem Apples ?

                       pax vobiscum

                           ~ r2 ~

                  former techno-Luddite

October 1, 2014
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