This is my other writing companion: the Duluth Pack leather journal! I keep it at the camp and use it daily to write down my observations. I took my first spontaneous record of our travels in 2009 and made it a regular practice since we have been living on the road full-time. Besides feeling an urgent need to record our adventures (so much happens I couldn’t rely on my mind alone to remember), I enjoy my reflective time at the end of each day. Also, it’s a lot of fun to look back on our adventures and misadventures!
I used to buy a journal for each season, until I came across this beautiful Duluth Pack leather journal last year. All I need now are inexpensive refills. The journal’s superior craftsmanship enhances my whole writing experience! The leather feels soft to the touch. A smooth, sliding tab closure adds to the journal's simple and practical design. The stitching is done very meticulously and I love the Duluth Pack logo handsomely embossed on the cover’s corner. The journal is rugged yet refined. Duluth Pack offers gold edged refills on their website but a quick search lead me to more affordable options at Barnes and Noble.
Kurt shared with me that a pencil is the best tool to use if I aim for long-term preservation (he used to be an autograph hunter in the early 90s). So, I have been using my treasured Graphgear 1000 0.9mm mechanical pencil to chronicle our travels! For me, a Duluth Pack leather journal and a Graphgear 1000 0.9mm is journaling at its best!
I am a long time user of the Rite in the Rain notebooks. When Kurt and I started to travel for our project, I needed something small and durable to write down notes in the field.
As much as Kurt appreciates good quality writing tools, I do appreciate good quality notebooks, it makes writing even more pleasurable! The notebook's small size allows me to carry it in my cargo pocket along with a pen (more about the pen in another post). I appreciate having spirals at the top so the pages lay flat when I write. Although the brand has a reputation for performing in bad weather, I never had to put the notebook through anything more than a light rain.
The notebook comes in different colors, sizes and for different activities. So far, the model I have been using works great for me but it's not to say I won't try other Rite in the Rain styles in the future!
I really appreciate good quality writing tools and I currently have a small collection of them that I enjoy using to write field notes. I wasn’t looking for a new pen but the Monteverde One Touch Tool caught my attention. I placed it on our Gear To Get list about 6 months ago but just couldn’t justify it as a top priority item. Well, I finally purchased one and it has replaced my TOMBOW AirPress Pen as my favorite writing tool!
The Monteverde One Touch Tool Pen has nine tools: Soft-Roll ballpoint at one end and an ultra sensitive touch screen stylus at the other. Unscrew the stylus to reveal a small phillips and flat head screwdriver. The heavy weight, 6-sided barrel has a built-in level, ruler and 3 different scale functions.
Even with all of these functions, the One Touch Tool does not come across as pretentious (like some cheap swiss army knife). All of the components are of high quality and actually very useful. For example, I frequently use the flat head screwdriver for tightening the screws on my eye glasses. The stylus is helpful when I text and email from my iPhone. I can write emails faster and more accurately without my thumbs getting in the way. Some people may find it a little heavy when writing for long periods of time but I use it for taking notes and never experience hand fatigue.
Sadly, smart phones and tablets seem to be replacing the pencil and paper. If writing tools are becoming a bit antiquated, this pen just might inspire a person to write more often!
This page is all about the gear and clothing that we use while in the field. To be honest, any product that gets posted here is pretty darn good!