Rite in the Rain All-Weather Memo Book No. 374-M

Reviews

3

I have been using these memo books for years for work…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $5.95

Summary

I have been using these memo books for years for work and as a trail journal. The book is bomb-proof as far as weather and wear/tear are concerned, and just the right size for your belt or back pocket. For those who still like to jot notes on the trail or at camp, I can't recommend any other field journals more, and I have used many.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Extremely durable
  • Useful scales and conversions
  • Flexible cover
  • Perfect size for pocket, notes, and musings

Cons

  • Slightly heavier than non-waterproof notebook
  • Binding a little inflexible
  • Small pages may not be enough for essay writers

I like to take notes as I walk in the woods: random thoughts, notes on gear for my next Trailspace review, brilliant ideas (well, at least they seem that way at the time), things I need to do when I get back, things I could do better next trip, or just miles, times and temperatures.

Being in the natural resources profession I have carried field books on a regular basis since around 1990. The Rite in the Rain series, and specifically this All-Weather Memo Book, is by far the best I have owned for backpacking.
20160820_191150.jpg
Manufacturer's Specs

Rite in the Rain has this memo book at 3.5 by 5 inches and 0.15 lbs (2.4 ounces). It has a "Field-Flex" cover and 56 sheets (112 pages) of waterproof paper. Binding is "side perfect bound", which based on their description means grinding the edges off folded sheets and using durable glue to attach these to cover stock. The Field Flex cover is paper based and recyclable.

My measurements correspond pretty well with the specifications, except the weight was a little higher (2.6 ounces), but I have no idea how much about a half book full of pencil writing weighs! This book weighs a little more than some notebooks I have used in the past, but they were not waterproof. I would gladly take the extra ounce to have the weather proofing.
20160820_191400.jpg

20160820_191411.jpg

20160820_191108.jpg

Functionality

In my opinion, the basic function of a field journal is to be easy to write on, weather proof, and hold up over time (especially the legible writing). I'll deal with weather and durability later. The Rite in the Rain All-Weather Memo Book is flexible, but stiff enough to be able to write on it without needing support. The paper is waterproof but takes both pen and pencil (my recommendation) very easily.

I have taken notes on both sides of each sheet of paper for years and never had bleed-through issues or tearing. If there is a lot of water on the page (i.e. in the middle of a rain storm) it is slightly more difficult to write. I have only done that for work, and used pencil, and it still took and was legible. On the trail I usually wait out any torrential rain to take notes.

The pages are lined (you can get graph version and others) and have dotted vertical lines if you need them.  Very useful for lining up data, although I don't use it much on the trail.  I would show you a page with text, but these are my personal journals that I would prefer not to release to the internet!
20160820_191520.jpg
Flexibility

The Field Flex cover is very tough and holds up well. I have used individual notebooks regularly for over a year and have not experienced any significant degradation of the cover. The books have lived in my back pocket, and in my backpack belt pocket, for many days at a time and the flexible cover is very forgiving and comfortable. 

The binding edge is a little inflexible, but that is expected and a positive quality as the glue is sturdy and the pages do not fall out. The only down side of the flexible cover is if you really abuse it and have a small pencil tucked inside, the lead might break.

20160820_200941.jpg
Durability

Each memo book I have owned has, as I mentioned above, held up extremely well through a lot of abuse until it is full (anywhere from a few months to a year). I probably abuse them more for work, keeping them in a sweaty back pocket, writing in rain and smearing with dirt. I have not had one fail on me, rip, tear, or come apart at the binding.

Weather Resistance

The Rite in the Rain series of books and journals lives up to its name. I have personally used these books in the rain and written on them while the pages are soaking wet. I will admit I use pencil on these so can't attest to how well a pen would do on a wet page. Some folks worry about pencil fading, but mine have not yet and some of the books are over 10 years old. To give you an idea of the weather proof ability of these little gems, here is a series of photos:

20160820_191915.jpg
Here is my test writing just before the water test (I don't know why I took this sideways).
20160820_191954.jpg
Difficult to see the water hitting the text, but I held the book under running water for approximately 30 seconds.
20160820_192010.jpg
Just after the water you can see that there is no running of the new pencil text and the beads of water are still there.
20160820_192054.jpg
With water still on the page I re-wrote the test text (below the initial text). You can still see beads of water — the page was wet! (Again with the sideways photo!)
20160820_192237.jpg
Without waiting, I wiped all the water off and found no real smudging of the writing.  This is consistent with my experience on the trail. I don't usually write in a monsoon, but I can sweat a similar amount and still take notes!

Other Features

The All-Weather Memo Book is one of many options in the Rite in the Rain collection. You can get different sizes and page numbers, hard or soft covers, lines or graphs or combo, glued or spiral binding, etc. This style is my favorite due to the size, binding, and flexibility.

It also has several other features I prefer including a metric scale on the back cover (I am sure they could have come up with some more useful stuff than advertising for the rest of the back cover but nothing is perfect):
20160820_191426.jpg
English scale on the front cover along with common conversions:
20160820_191444.jpg
And the ever useful map scale on the lower front cover:
20160820_191453.jpg
Overall, this Rite in the Rain All-Weather Memo Book is the best pocket journal I have found in over 20 years of use for work and backpacking. I can't recommend it any higher, and think it would satisfy most trail journalists with the exception of longer essay writers.

FlipNC

I stuck this in the Navigation category as another type of journal was there. Thought notebooks might be under books and maps, but it didn't fit those categories.


1 year ago
Alicia TRAILSPACE STAFF

Great review, Phil! Thanks for sharing it. I agree that Books/Maps makes sense for these, so I've put this and the other journal under that.


1 year ago
Phil Smith

I've been using these since my army days (almost 30 years now) and agree 100% with Phil. I used spiral-bound pads in a nylon case with pen/pencil slots, and made a neck lanyard out of paracord so I could carry it inside my shirt or body armor while on field exercises, so you know it holds up to sweat. (The nylon case would really stink after a while, though LOL.)


1 year ago
Bill S

I have also been using Rite in the Rain books for years (actually decades). About half are spiral, with the rest half staple and half "glue". I mostly use waterproof pens from Fisher Space Pen (who also make pens sold by Rite in the Rain). I have found that pencil leads (esp the 0.5mm leads) tend to smear under some conditions). The Fisher and Rite in the Rain ink pens work well enough on wet pages. Under some conditions, though (leaving the ballpoint exposed when putting the pen in a shirt pocket), you can get a little ball of the ink that you have to wipe off the pen tip. My preferred version is the Expedition Journal #512, which was designed by a friend - the layout is very well designed for expeditions and expedition planning. I have a few of the "grid" layout version that may be good for sketching, but are not as good for written logs.


1 year ago
FlipNC

Bill...I looked at the 512 a while back and it seems like an excellent design especially for longer trips and those who write more. The smaller memo book is my preference for the back pocket when on short trips. I use several styles of the hard cover versions for work. There is a little smear in some conditions especially over time but on all their products that is to be expected. I use a .7 mm pencil and it is a minimal issue. I just had a work log used in a court case documenting some field work I did in 1998...still perfectly legible and kept me out of being deposed. Priceless!


1 year ago
Waldy

I've used the Rite in the Rain notebooks (top spiral bind such as Phil uses) since the late '70s for notes while hiking. While regular ink can run if the book gets wet (translate that to soaked), I've had very good luck using the Fisher "Space" pens. I just keep the pen and pad in a small zip lock bag.


1 year ago
Rite in the Rain BRAND REP

@Phil this was an extraordinary review. Glad you thought so highly of our gear, and great to see it put through its paces.


12 months ago
Alicia TRAILSPACE STAFF

Welcome to Trailspace, Rite in the Rain!


12 months ago
FlipNC

Thanks Rite in the Rain. Reviews on quality products like this are easy...almost write themselves!


12 months ago
0

A notebook that is tough enough for trail use. It…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Just a few bucks.

Summary

A notebook that is tough enough for trail use.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Rugged

Cons

  • I messed up a coil or two of the spiral binding on mine, my fault trying to jam a pen in there. It fixed easily.

It held up to a day and a half of rain on the Ice Age Trail, all the while I was taking notes. Instead of hauling field guides (only ONCE did I do that, never again) I draw and measure and note the bits of nature that I will look up at home.

FlipNC

I avoid the spiral bound ones for exactly that reason Curtis (I tend to jam the pen/pencil in there at every opportunity!). The glue binding type I reviewed seems to hold up well.


1 year ago

Where to Buy

sponsored links
Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support Trailspace's independent gear reviews.