If you visit the Field Notes website, the first thing you should see is the latest edition. In the case of all the stationerds since March of this year, this is the Utility.
Of the reviews and talk I have seen on the Erasable Podcast, in episode 70, there is a resounding approval for the color scheme and thematic concept of the edition, which was released early while no one knew we were to get blasted twice more by winter weather (the office lost power for a day, hence no update last week). There was also a resounding “ew” for the book’s quality control, specifically the tears in the binding at the very top and bottom. I just tore the excess fraying off, like I do with my Lent and Advent devotional books, but Johnny from Erasable had some nasty spines on his pack. That is as watered down as the general consensus can be for this article. Personal preference prevails in the deeper reviews of this book.
The Utility is my first ordered Field Notes book set, period. Ever. The last time I had pocket notebooks was February 2016, from the company Word. The size was great, and so was the cover stock, which was flexible and a beautiful black. My only things were the lack of tooth in the paper and the wafer-thin pages that were inside.
Enter the Utility, which is the antithesis of the standard pocket notebook. It’s thick, gawdy, and rough as our Michigan weather. I was ecstatic when it came in the mail.
It is better experienced in person. I was not expecting the book to be so tiny, as I was spoiled by my gifted Roastery edition, but the fragrance and feel of the books was incredible to me. The belly band is extremely snug, but I want it that way. I specifically ordered this set as my first Field Notes because of the tooth, and because of the heavy paper. My spiral notebooks that come rough once in a blue moon can’t compete.
It is blown at the spine because of the thick pages, and the book gets even thicker and more floppy when you use it. My current book has been used up halfway in its first 24 hours.
The two words I would describe would be “ingenious” and “unique”. Despite the extraneous fold-out ruler (according to one reviewer), I think it’s adorable. If ever I need one, it’s there. Did I mention that the book just feels great in the fingers? It does. I’m bouncing around in topics here, but I love the book, and although stationerds may feel peeved at the tooth of the page, I love the smearing and the use and the soft 4Bs that are getting rubbed about on the back cover from my graphite-y paws.
I am extremely happy that my Field Notes experience was with the Utility. I’m using it as my drafting book for one of my larger projects, and I think I know what I will be using pocket notebooks for from now on.
Like the Utility, I will specifically be looking for heavy paper and toothy paper for the next little while, and if you like that gritty earthy texture in a notebook, then we should ride this train together. :3