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Field Journal Notebook

Regular price $90.00
We've retired the Field Journal Notebook to make way for new designs. Stay tuned for what we come up with next!
  • Everything you buy from us here at TOM BIHN is satisfaction guaranteed. We’ve been in business for over 30 years and we stand behind what we make.

    If something goes wrong and it's our fault, we'll fix it for free. Repairs due to normal wear and tear or due to other things that are not our fault will be performed, when possible, at a reasonable charge right here in our Seattle factory where your bag was made. Defects in materials or workmanship are uncommon and almost always evident while the product is still new. Keep in mind that bags and packs are often subject to extreme wear in everyday use: do not expect them to last forever. Only true love lasts forever! You can expect a TOM BIHN product to give years and years of hard service.

    Face Masks
    Our masks are satisfaction guaranteed. Please if you're happy with your mask *or* there's something that doesn't work for you. We want to hear from you!

  • Our bags and face masks are designed and cut & sewn right here in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

    That allows us to be control freaks in the best way possible; we have direct control and oversight of the quality of our materials, our products, and the jobs and working environment that we help create. It also offers us a unique spontaneity: when we have an idea for a new product or accessory, we can design it, figure out how to build it, add it to our website and be ready to ship it out our front door all within just a few weeks. How cool is that?

    Intrigued? You can more about the unusual way we do business on our Company Philosophy page.


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 Duraflex®, Nexus, and Woojin buckles and related components
Tough HDPE removable stiffening plates


Sewn in USA with globally sourced materials
100% finished seams


Dimensions: 9.8" (w) x 7.9" (h) x 2.2" (d) / 250 (w) x 200 (h) x 55 (h) mm
Weight: 1 lb 1 oz / 470 grams
Accepts 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" paper
Want to see the specs for all of our bags?

Plan, sketch, doodle, dream.

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 a deck of cards). 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 the 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.

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