Worldwide Shipping Rates
Travel bags, laptop bags, and backpacks. Tom Bihn has been designing and making bags since 1972. The best materials and innovative construction.

Field Journal Notebook - Tom Bihn Knitting Bags and Accessories
9 Photos

The Field Journal Notebook is a modern accessory for using a very old technology — pen and paper. Designed originally for biologists and geologists working in the wilderness, the Field Journal Notebook is a useful tool for artists, writers, and anyone who, for reasons aesthetic or practical, wants an alternative to electronic devices. Essentially, the Field Journal Notebook is a compact, portable, weatherproof, zippered notebook for note-taking, journaling, or sketching. The Field Journal Notebook is full of features in a sleek and compact form. The front zippered pocket has enough volume to hold a wallet, keys, a cell phone, or a not-so-thick book (example of its volume: it can hold three standard CD jewel cases). An included Key Strap snaps to an O-ring inside this front pocket. The flat back pocket can hold a few sheets of paper or a map. Two nylon webbing handles allow you to carry the Field Journal Notebook as you would a very small briefcase, while an adjustable/removable 1" nylon webbing shoulder strap is situated in such a way as to allow you to open the Field Journal Notebook flat to take notes or sketch and still have it sit on your shoulder. When removed, the shoulder strap leaves behind only two small, unobtrusive webbing loops — no bulky D-rings.

Inside the main zippered compartment, a bank of organizer pockets holds pens, pencils, and a flexible plastic TOM BIHN Logo Ruler, which is included (5" rule on one edge, 120 mm rule on the other); additional rulers may be purchased on this page and on the Field Journal Accessories page. One larger pouch holds an iPhone or iPhone simulacrum, a small calculator, or a miniature watercolor set. Three of the pen/pencil pockets are generous enough for highlighters; the two smaller ones will fit Sharpies, fountain pens, and writes-in-four-colors pens (Tom's personal favorites). Another O-ring is attached above the organizer pockets for a Guardian Light, Key Strap, Clear Organizer Wallet, or Organizer Pouches (Mini and Small sizes fit, but not the others).

The Field Journal Notebook is not a notebook cover: it is itself a small three-ring binder. The three-ring mechanism (made in Austria) is riveted to a rigid, die-cut, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) back plate. This plate is held in tension inside the Field Journal Notebook and can be removed and rotated 180 degrees so that, should you be so inclined, you can move the ring mechanism to the opposite edge of the writing surface; this is potentially useful for left-handed users or those writing in, for example, Arabic, Hebrew, or Chinese. The hard surface of this back plate is exposed so you can write directly on it, and because there is no fabric covering it you can happily use the very last sheet of paper. Additionally, a die-cut HDPE Plastic Leaf is included with the Field Journal Notebook (additional HDPE leaves can be ordered on this page) and comes clipped into the three-ring mechanism: it provides a hard surface so you can write on the back sides of the paper too. A further stiffening plate is located on the front of the Field Journal Notebook — you can remove it if you want to save weight, but your papers won't be quite so protected. You can remove all the hard plastic plates from the Field Journal Notebook for washing when the time comes.

The Field Journal Notebook is designed to accept three-punch 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" paper (that's exactly half of an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet). This paper is a standard size, though not terribly common — you can sometimes find it at a stationer's, or purchase it online; you can also have a print shop cut and punch (drill) it for you. However, to make things a little easier, we've included a package of 100 sheets of Neenah Conservation paper — it's 100% recycled and comes in your choice of college ruled or graph grid, both printed on both sides. We also offer, as a separate option, packages of 100 blank sheets of Crane's Crest 24# 100% cotton paper. This paper is quite beautiful and is suitable for letter writing, sketching, and even watercolor. We have it microperforated 3/4" from the left edge so you can remove the left margin with the punched holes: send the letter or frame the sketch. All of these papers are available from us as refills as well.

Just when it seems we've thought of everything, there's more: the 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" paper size is "Size 4" from Day Runner and the "Desk" size by Day-Timer, so you can use all the organization tools from those systems with the TOM BIHN Field Journal Notebook.

The Field Journal is the culmination of countless hours of design: cutting and sewing prototypes, field-testing, even inventing entirely new construction techniques. Many aspects of the design are proprietary, with many components die cut or laser cut to attain the exacting standards to which it is made. The zippers are YKK Aquaguard® water-repellent coil: #8 on the main compartment and #5 on the front pocket. And, of course, it all gets sewn together right here in Seattle.

The Field Journal Notebook will fit inside most of our larger backpacks, briefcases, messenger bags, laptop bags, travel bags, and knitting bags.


1000d Cordura exterior
420d HT nylon Classic Parapack lining
#8 YKK Aquaguard® water-repellent coil zipper on main compartment
#5 YKK Aquaguard® water-repellent coil zipper on front pocket
Tough HDPE removable stiffening plates


Made in USA
100% finished seams


Dimensions: 9.8" x 7.9" x 2.2" / 250 x 200 x 55 mm
Weight: 1 lb 1 oz / 470 grams
Accepts 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" paper

Videos and Customer Photos

Field Journal Notebook walk-through by maverick.

View customer photos on Flickr.

External Reviews

As reviewed by Notebook Stories :
"The bag is about the size of a large hardcover book (approx. 8″ x 10″ x 2″). It has small handles so you can carry it like a brief case, or you can use the detachable shoulder strap. If you have the strap on your shoulder or around your neck, the notebook can be comfortably propped up against your stomach in a convenient position for writing.” Read the full review.

As reviewed by Pens Paper Inks...Whatever! :
"Now, my thoughts. This is a very high quality product. It has ample space for pens, paper and other items that you might want to carry. I crammed it with pens, pencils, a small watercolor box and travel brush. I even zipped up an Exacompta sketchbook inside and one day my handbound leather journal. The materials are quality and extremely well put together." Read the full review.

Want to read more reviews? Here's our complete list of external bag reviews.

people who have the Field Journal Notebook say:

Field Journal Notebook Review
"I purchased the purple field journal notebook in early Spring 2012 in preparation for my fifth field research trip to refugee camps in the Middle East. As a small-framed woman, carrying a heavy backpack on my shoulders for several hours in the hot sun while administering interviews can be very taxing. For many years I hauled my GPS phone, writing tools, and cards in a backpack and carried around a clipboard. I was fumbling with all my items while trying to write down interview responses. The field journal notebook changed all this for the better. My shoulders are no longer sore at the end of the work day because the bag is light. The zippered exterior pockets held my passport and a small wallet (from Tom Bihn) and the interior pockets held my pens and phone. I used a small clip to attach my water bottle to the strap so that I could operate hands free when walking around the camps." — posted by nsh

Field Journal
"We recently took a trip to Lake Tahoe where I was able to put the Journal to the test. It was amazing. I use the Journal to collect the various bits of media I like to create. I do a bit of watercolor, photography, journaling, and general collecting of interesting detritus. I really love putting these collections together to create a story. The Field Journal is a wonderful platform that provides stability and flexibility." — posted by Jpenrod

Plastic Barbies OUT Field Journal IN
"My daughter loves to draw and write poetry. She's 10 and this past Christmas, we decided to forgo the typical Barbie complete with house, car and 7 fab outfits, for a Field Journal notebook in her favorite color- Red. I think we got the better end of the deal. (and also some super groovy color pencils) She has LOVED it! She drags it everywhere she goes, she's stuffed all the outside pockets with extra notes, and wildflower books. " — posted by lacyfinn

Read more customer reviews posted in our forums.

Post your review in our Forums, on our Facebook page, or email it to us.

Field Journal Notebook

The Field Journal Notebook has been retired: that means we don’t make it anymore. While it was once much appreciated, it has decided to step aside so that there’s room for the new designs that we are continually developing. Stay tuned…

Email this Share via... Pinterest Twitter Facebook Tumblr

Clear Organizer Pouches
Clear Organizer Pouches: $9.00 - $16.00
Key Strap
Key Strap: $4.00 - $6.00
Guardian DF Light Original Base
Guardian DF Light Original Base: $20.00
Field Journal Accessories
Field Journal Accessories: $1.00 - $16.00
Ultrasuede Screen Cloth
Ultrasuede Screen Cloth: $7.00
Packing Cube Backpack (Tri-Star/Western Flyer)
Packing Cube Backpack (Tri-Star/Western Flyer): $50.00
The Little Swift
The Little Swift: $80.00
Travel Stuff Sack
Travel Stuff Sack: $16.00 - $22.00