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. My research requires me to interview refugees in Arabic. Customer service was fantastic in contacting me about early shipment for some paper that was out of stock. They were very kind.
The field journal was an incredibly useful tool in assisting me during my work travels. Here is why:
1) I administer interviews in Arabic and write from right to left instead of left to right. The field notebook makes it easy to write in either direction.
2) The straps on the bag create enough tension when worn around the neck and leaned against the abdomen that it creates a table when you stand up. I am rarely able to sit down and administer interviews so having a sturdy surface to write responses was a lifesaver for me.
3) 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.
4) The binder aspect of the field journal permits the user to remove pages and return them. I loved this feature over a traditional spiral notebook or looseleaf paper. It kept papers organized and in place (especially on blustery days) but also allowed me to easily remove pages for scanning when I returned back to the US and then transfer them to another small notebook for safekeeping.
5) Finally, the field journal notebook has been incredibly useful in my daily life, not just for research trips. When I attend college or department meetings or teach my lecture seminars I take meeting notes in the field journal and then place them in folders when I get back to my office. It has reduced the number of items I lug around campus. Also, I have turned it in to my everyday purse. I write my grocery list on the pages and then can easily check off items on my list while pushing my cart. The key fob in the front pocket holds my keys and i hook my Tom Bihn wallter in the interior of the bag.
As a professor, I am pretty frugal and think carefully about how I spend my money but I think that the Field Journal Notebook should be standard issue before research trips.
This is my first review for a product so I hope I was helpful. Have a great day.