Field Notes has recently released their Summer 2017 quarterly, pocket-sized notebook - the Campfire Edition. This smoking hot design includes a three-pack of different notebooks based on the theme of a summer campfire, and each pack includes a cute Campfire Master sew-on badge. I love the design of these books, including the differences that make each unique and I enjoy the theme. It reminds me of those childhood summer campfires, of a simpler time and a relaxing vacation pastime.
Field Notes in Canada
Luckily Field Notes are often available in local fine stationery stores. Local (to me) stores that carry Field Notes include Nikaido and the local University Bookstore. Single packages can be purchased directly from the manufacturer as well. However, the limited edition, quarterly releases often sell out quickly, especially when as desirable as this version. Keep in mind that the secondary market (such as eBay) can command a sizeable premium for purchasing past quarterly editions.
I recommend the Field Notes Annual Subscription to Canadians interested in collecting the Field Notes quarterly releases. Field Notes is the ONLY stationery product subscription service that I do subscribe to - mainly because Field Notes do an excellent job of keeping the additional shipping and handling costs down on a Canadian subscription. In addition to two packs of each quarterly release, subscribers usually receive extras throughout the year. These can be simple, but often fun items, ranging from Field Notes pens or pencils to the infamous Bands of Rubber to subscriber-only gifts not available to retailers. Subscriptions cost $97 USD with an additional and reasonable $7 USD shipping fee to Canada - excellent value in my opinion.
Campfire Edition Design
The Campfire Edition notebooks are printed using photographic halftones printed over solid colours. This printing process, common before modern techniques, represents a colour photograph. This retro-look adds to the charm of the covers. The covers are coated on the outside to provide additional protection. The three books illustrate the stages of a campfire from building to burning to ashes and Field Notes calls them “Dusk,” “Night,” and “Dawn.” All staple-bound books have 3/16” graph lines printed on their 48 pages, and each printed design is colour coded with the theme of the book - “Dusk” is a light blue-grey, “Night” with the roaring campfire is a fiery orange, and “Dawn” is a light brown colour. The inside covers are also colour coordinated, making each book a unique pleasure to use. As pocket-sized books, these are 3.5” by 5.5” tall.
Field Notes Campfire Edition contains 60# T paper (60 lbs Text Weight) which converts to 90 GSM. It is a good overall paper, but not specifically designed for fountain pen inks. The paper has a little tooth to it and gives a little feedback to the writer (unlike, a much smoother Rhodia, for example).
A selection of pens, pencils, and inks was used to test the page in the attached image. There was some feathering (ink spreading out as it absorbs into the paper) with wetter inks and wider fountain pen nibs, but dry time was quick. I recommend using a fine nib or narrower fountain pen with this notebook. Gel ink pens wrote very well. A soft Blackwing 73 Pencil was smooth and black while a harder Ticonderoga HB performed adequately, though with more feedback.
Ghosting was visible with the thicker and wetter fountain pens, but not a significant problem. With narrower nibs and gel pens, this is hardly noticeable.
If you have ever been to a campfire, particularly at a lake or beach, this edition will bring back those memories. It is attractive, unique and fun. As well as being a beautiful edition, the paper performs very well. I recommend that you pick up some of these notebooks before they sell out. Or even better, start a yearly subscription with this beautiful, fun quarterly edition.