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9 October 2016

REVIEW: Field Notes Sweet Tooth memo books

by Steven B. Combs, Ph.D.
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Rhodia has replaced the Moleskine brand as my new favorite notebooks. I currently use a Rhodia Black Webnotebook 5.5 inch x 8.3 inch Dot Grid. I enjoy the Rhodia because of its high quality assembly, thick/no-bleed/gloss paper and soft feel of the cover. It’s a joy to use my favorite Pilot Precise V7 RT pen to write notes and craft ideas in this journal.

While I enjoy the Rhodia notebook’s 5.5 x 8.3 inch size for meetings, it’s too large to take to social events or drop in the cargo pockets of my pants. I need a small notebook for these applications. For quite some time I’ve heard Myke and Brad on The Pen Addict podcast extoll the virtues of Field Notes. I decided to give the Field Notes brand a try and purchased three items:

  1. Set of three perforated Sweet Tooth 48-page memo books
  2. 2 sets of two Byline reporter’s notebooks with receipt pocket
  3. One unnamed set that will be a 2016 Christmas gift for a family member

In this post I review the Field Notes Sweet Tooth 48 page memo books.

Pretty colors

The first thing you notice about the Sweet Tooth pack are the colors. Field Notes describes them as “candy colors.” Unlike plain Field Notes, the Sweet Tooth memo books come in orange (Tangy Orange), blue (Blu-Raspberry) and yellow (Banana Split) as shown in the image below.

You can use these colors to code the contents of each memo book, but I threw caution to the wind and grabbed a yellow pad to my first formal event; my nephew’s wedding.

I took the yellow memo book out of my pocket during the wedding dinner and my sister in-law immediately asked what it was as I scribed a note. The foil embossed Field Note title on the front was likely to have caught her eye.

For the rest of the event, anytime I brought out the notepad, my brother would proclaim, “He just thought of something!” Why yes I did and I finally had a place to capture my thoughts quickly while suited up and separated from my larger notebook.

Quality

Upon first inspection, I did not believe these 3½” × 5½” memo books would hold up over time. The front and back covers are made of the same paper as the pages inside except they are thicker at 100-lb versus the 70-lb interior pages. My concern was unfounded.

I’ve used the yellow memo book for over a month now and it has held up nicely. No torn pages, scuffed cover or noticeable wear despite being thrown into cargo pants pockets and suit pockets on a regular basis. The embossed front cover title has some scratches as shown below; however, I’m quite pleased with how well the memo book has held up; including the spine, which was another concern of mine.

For the on-the-go use these memo books are designed for, they perform admirably. I look forward to using both the red and the blue once the yellow is full.

Writing experience

I knew the writing experience would not match that of the Rhodia I use daily; however, the paper is thick enough that most pens will not bleed through the page. The writing experience is pleasurable. I never dread pulling the memo book out of my pocket to capture notes as I do with small cheap spiral bound pads.

The page absorbs the ink, without spread, and dries quickly. As mentioned earlier, pages are thick enough that I don’t have to worry about bleed. Disclaimer; I use the Pilot Precise V5 RT exclusively for my writing. It is a perfect match with the Sweet Tooth memo books in both size and ink quality. If someone has experience using a fountain pen with these memo books, drop a comment below.

That extra touch

I like the extra touches found in the Sweet Tooth memo books. The inside front cover includes information areas as shown in the image below:

Inside the back cover is a brief history of Field Notes, examples of “practical” notes to include, a very detailed specifications area, feedback instructions and my personal favorite; a ruler along the right-hand side of the page. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this ruler. These features are shown in the image below:

Lastly, each page is perforated. Each page can be torn out of the memo book to share or begin an origami project. I can’t bring myself to tear pages out of the book, but it is a nice option in the event I find a need to do so. Unlike some perforated books, I don’t get the sense that these pages will easily remove themselves from the book. As a matter of fact, if you didn’t know they were perforated, you might not even notice this feature.

It’s a culture of products

As I research Field Notes, I find that much like Moleskine, there’s a brand culture. The Field Notes culture is fun to follow and I recommend you visit the Field Notes web site to see what I mean.

Each quarter of the year, Field Notes releases a new themed notebook. As of this writing, the fall 2016 notebook is Lunacy, which is a moon themed notebook. See their roll out, including a snazzy video, here. “It’s just a phase they are going through.” Nice!

I can see why there are Field Note enthusiasts who never miss a quarterly release. Field Notes makes it easy for these enthusiasts and provides a yearly subscription plan. Below is a description:

Four times each year we create a new Quarterly Edition and they tend to sell out pretty quickly. To avoid missing one, and to save some cash, you can purchase a year-long subscription to receive two packs of the current Quarterly Edition, plus two each of the next three, as they are released.

Frequently, you’ll receive subscriber-exclusive items and other goodies with your shipments. Occasionally, you’ll also receive an extra shipment (like this, for example) when we have something special to share.  We’ll also include two 3-Packs of our classic Kraft Memo Books with your first shipment.

Subscriptions are $97 and all shipping to USA destinations is included. When Editions are released, subscriber packages ship first.

I am so tempted to purchase an annual subscription! If you like your paper products to have personality, look no further than Field Notes. They’ve even teamed with other brands to create customized products.

Did I mention that these memo books are friendly? The minute you remove them from their cellophane wrapping, you are greeted as shown in the image below:

Gallery

I’ve included many images in this review; however, some didn’t make the cut. You can view more images in my Field Notes - Sweet Tooth Google Photos album.

To buy, or not to buy

Buy, these things are SWEET! Sweet Tooth Field Notes may be a bit more expensive, $9.99 for a pack of three, than other cheap paper note pads, but the quality, fun tricolors, rugged look, handy extras and superb quality will more than make up for the added cost. If you have a paper product fan on your holiday shopping list, these will make great gifts. Grab them before they are out of stock!

Might I also recommend the Field Notes Byline edition, before they sell out, for your journalist/reporter friends? I’m not a reporter, but I couldn’t resist these limited edition notepads. Look for a review in the future.

Are you a Field Notes fan? Drop a comment below and tell me which products you use. I would love to learn more about how these products are used and collected.

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