BushLife - Rite in the Rain Notebooks Hero

Unleash the Power of the Rite in the Rain Notebook

Do you work or play hard in the outdoors? I’m sure you do, as you would not be reading this blog. 🙂 Have you ever tried to write something down or refer to a note made on your phone or notepad in the rain? Then you know HOW ANNOYING it is to have your work smudged or destroyed by the elements. So, if you’re tired of soggy notes and illegible scribbles, it’s time to unleash the power of the Rite in the Rain notebooks. Laugh all you want, but I’m about to show you that they really do work. So, without further ado, let’s get on with this Rite in the Rain Notebook review.

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Rite in the Rain Notebooks

Size: Choice of 3″ x 5″, 4″ x 6″, 6″ x 9″ and 8.5″ x 11″
Colour: Up to 3 colours to choose from

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Features of the Rite in the Rain Notebook

Spiral-Bound RITR Universal Notebook

Rite in the Rain has various-sized notebooks, loose paper, card stock, etc, for note-taking, drawing, mapping, sketching, journalling, calculating, and so on. Whether working outdoors, around liquids, hunting, hiking or taking in nature, the Rite in the Rain notebooks will preserve your observations and ideas.

Paper

What sets Rite in the Rain apart from other brands is their patented paper, specially formulated to repel water. Made from wood and recycled paper, the Rite in the Rain notebooks are eco-friendly, meaning every piece is recyclable. The paper is coated, which protects it from disintegrating, thus allowing accidental laundering or journalling in heavy rainstorms.

Rite in the Rain notebook pages are also tear-resistant, ensuring they withstand rough handling and outdoor adventures. You can flip through the pages multiple times, refer back to your notes, and even remove pages without worrying about them falling apart.

The RITR paper also works well with all-weather pens, paints, markers, pencils, etc. Using the appropriate writing instruments prevents smudging or fading.

One last note about the paper – depending on the notebook, you can find lined pages for writing and light-gridded or dot grid lines for sketching or mapping.

Cover

Depending on the notebook type, the cover is either made from Polydura or Field-Flex material, which ensures your notes stay safe from the elements.

The Rite in the Rain notebooks perform well in extreme temperatures. Whether venturing in freezing temperatures, humid conditions or scorching heat, the paper remains intact, allowing you to write without issues. The spiral-bound books feature a rust-resistant coil, making them ideal for military use, field ops, farming, camping, off-roading, water activities, hunting, prepping, etc.

Benefits of Using a Rite in the Rain Notebook

We have all been in situations where it would be nice to jot something down or refer back to a previous note. In wet weather, traditional notepads are useless.

You can try to use your phone, but we all know what happens when you do. Isn’t it fun trying to type on your phone and the raindrops interfere? Or try using your phone when your fingers are cold or wet. There is also the problem of the cold. Store your phone in the wrong pocket of your snowmobile suit, and you’ll quickly find out how useless your phone is. 

That’s where the Rite in the Rain notebook shines and has become our trusted companion. 

We camped in the rain, hunted in mucky conditions, off-roaded in wet weather and tried to entertain our kids with activity books, only to have the ink smudge, paper curl or turn mushy, and throw out what wasn’t salvageable.

When we finally broke down and bought a few of these RITR notebooks, we noticed the notepads repelled water even in harsh conditions. Writing in the rain with the proper all-weather pen allowed for smooth writing without smudging, even with wet, sweaty and greasy hands! 

Who Uses Rite in the Rain Field Books

Made for those who refuse to be limited by rainy weather, the Rite in the Rain notebook is the ultimate companion for preppers, explorers, hikers, and nature lovers alike. Whether referencing your notes during a backcountry trek or documenting your epic hiking trails in the wilderness, this notebook will keep your words safe, legible and smudge-free. A notebook is a must for any land navigation function – meaning it’s also a very critical survival tool.

Further Reading: Land Navigation Survival How To’s that You Need to Know

Real-life Examples of the Rite in the Rain Notebook in Action

BushLife - Rite in the Rain Notebook Uses

The versatility and reliability of these notebooks are tested daily by researchers, military personnel, and outdoor enthusiasts just like you and me. Here are a few real-life examples of how people have used this notebook to document their adventures:

Hiking and Backpacking

These notebooks are essential for long-distance trekkers, hikers and backpackers. They rely on the Rite in the Rain notebook to record trail conditions, document flora and fauna sightings, and map and track vital information during their journeys.

Field Research 

Scientists and researchers conducting field studies in various disciplines, such as ecology, geology, or ornithology, use the Rite in the Rain notebooks to record data, sketch observations, and document their findings.

Survival and Emergency Preparedness

Preppers and survivalists turn to the Rite in the Rain notebook to create survival kits, jot down emergency plans, and record essential information for disaster preparedness and land navigation purposes.

Further Reading: Backpack Survival Gear: Secrets of the Ultimate Bug Out Bag!

Art and Nature Journaling

Artists and nature enthusiasts appreciate the Rite in the Rain notebook for sketching landscapes, drawing botanical illustrations, and capturing the beauty of the natural world.

Military Operations

Military personnel greatly benefit from the Rite in the Rain notebooks for conducting research, sketching out field operations, jotting down training notes, mapping and recording vital observations. When you see an NSN number on your specific product, it’s a Nato Stock Number. In other words, that item is a standard military issue item – and that speaks volumes to its quality.

Rite in the Rain has produced a product that withstands harsh conditions and preserves crucial information in the field, no matter your intent. It has become an absolute favourite and must-have item. Not just that, the versatility of the pages is remarkable. Transitioning from writing to mapping or sketching is made simple!

How to Choose the Right Rite in the Rain Notebook for Your Needs

Rite in the Rain Mini Universal Notebook
Rite in the Rain Mini Universal Notebook

Rite in the Rain has several versions of notebooks, each made with a different intent. These versions include a universal, tactical, memo, field and simple notebook. To ensure you are making the correct selection, consider these factors:

  1. Size: Think about how you plan to use the notebook. If you need something portable, opt for a pocket-sized or compact notebook that can easily fit in your backpack or pocket. If you require more writing space, consider a larger-sized notebook. Depending on the style of binding, there are four approximate sizes: 3″ x 5″, 4″ x 6″, 6″ x 9″ and 8.5″ x 11″.
  2. Binding: There are various binding options for the RITR notebooks, such as spiral-bound, perfect-bound, staple-bound or hardcover. Spiral-bound books are fantastic for brainstorming, sketching and quick note-taking. Staple-bound books are light and much easier to carry when trekking. For archival purposes, memories, writing or journalling, consider a perfect-bound notebook.
  3. Specialized features: Some Rite in the Rain notebooks offer functional features, such as conversion charts, rulers, reference charts, mapping or vital field information. Consider if any of these features are essential for your intended use.
  4. Quantity: Think about how long you plan to be outdoors or how frequently you’ll use the notebook. Rite in the Rain notebooks come in various page counts, so choose a quantity that aligns with your needs.

Tips for Using a Rite in the Rain Notebook Effectively

Through our experience, the Rite in the Rain all-weather pen works phenomenally in dry and wet conditions, as do pencils, crayons and markers. Rite in the Rain suggests using oil pastels as well. Not all ballpoint pens are equal, but a higher-quality pen works just as well. In dry environments, you can use permanent markers and standard ballpoint pens. Note that water-based inks such as highlighters, gel pens, acrylic paint, watercolours and fountain pens do not work. These inks will wash away.

Our Experience with the Rite in the Rain Notebooks

Rite in the Rain Field Kit
Rite in the Rain Tactical Field Kit in Tan

Top Spiral Bound Notebook

Our intent for the notebook was to use it for note-taking on land navigation tasks. Basically, survival functions anytime we venture into the woods.

Being new to Rite in the Rain, we ordered the spiral-bound notebook on a whim. It has proven itself to be fantastic for backcountry expeditions. Jotting down a quick note is simple, and its size is small enough to slip into a pocket or backpack. What is most impressive about this type of notebook is the pages stay intact. Place a standard spiral-bound book into your pocket or pack, and you’ll end up tearing out a page or two. If you are lucky enough not to, there is always the possibility of accidental tearing while flipping through the pad. After YEARS in our pack, our notebook has held up flawlessly!

RITR Spiral-Bound Universal Notebook
Spiral-Bound Universal Notebook in Yellow
RITR Spiral-Bound Universal Notebook Inside
Inside Pages

All-Weather Tactical (No 980T) Field Kit

Impressed by the spiral-bound notebook, it was time to order something that could take serious notes. Like precise brewing instructions for the coffee press, ham radio frequencies, declination values for land nav, favourite cartridges for hunting, and so on.

The field kit came with a 4.25″ x 7.25″ Soft Cover All-Weather Tactical (No 980T) Notebook, a fabric zippered cover and a RITR All-Weather Pen. A popular alternative to the RITR pen is the Fisher Space Pen.

Inside the Tactical Notebook

Besides its measurements, this notebook differs significantly from the above spiral-bound notebook. The inside cover features a ruler and a measurement conversion chart. The first page of the Rite in the Rain field notebook is for your personal information, and the second is a table of contents again for quick reference. Within the book are 128 tan-lined writing pages.

Head to the back of the notebook, and you will find several reference pages. Remember, this is a tactical notebook. These pages are a reference point for military personnel in the field, especially those still in training, which gives them quick access to operational graphic charts, sector sketch prep, range card prep, troop leading procedures, CBRN/UXO/SPOT reports, Under Fire Management Plan, and Game Plan Briefs. The inside back cover features the ever-important azimuth conversion chart, vital to anyone navigating unknown areas.

The Tactical Book is our everyday go-to book. Being a large book, we find it super easy to write in. For anyone looking for an “outdoor journal,” this is for you! The zippered cover is amazing. It protects everything well and has three slots to add spare pens or pencils.

Surprisingly, after constant opening, closing, folding and bending, the cover and pages still lay flat on all the books. The pages in the Tactical Notebook are perforated, allowing for tear-aways. It is not an easy tear, which is a huge plus. It explains why we haven’t had any fly-outs with the heavy use of this notebook. So, yes, when flipping through the book, pages are tear-resistant. Once torn out of the book, the page tears quite easily. The small staple-bound books and spiral-bounds are not perforated.

RITR Tactical Field Kit Notebook
RITR Tactical Field Kit
RITR Tactical Field Kit Opened
Inside View
RITR Field Kit Notebook
Reference Pages

Mini Stapled Notebook

We were getting hooked on these notebooks, so we ordered the 3.25″ x 4.625″ All-Weather Universal (No 971FX-M) stapled notebook. It’s small, inexpensive, and it comes in a 3-pack. The Universal notebook features 24 lined green pages. The inside front cover presents an area for your personal information as well as the title of your project. Following the cover is a table of contents for quick and easy reference to your notes. Printed on the back cover is a handy ruler for measuring.

The mini notebook is our least favourite. It’s minute and perhaps tedious to write in due to space. On the plus side, it’s a small book with phenomenal paper. Since its use for us is random note-taking, it gets tossed into the hunting bag, camera bag, and so on. For this purpose, you can’t go wrong as it’s about $5 a book.

RITR Mini Universal Notebook
Mini Universal Stapled Notebook

The Water Test

RITR Spiral-Bound Notebook Paper Test
Water Testing the Rite in the Rain Spiral-Bound Notebook Paper

All three notebooks have been in the rain, thrown into the lake and exposed to the elements and children. In heavy rainstorms, the water sits on the page. As it sits, writing on it is not a problem. The all-weather pen does not fade. Use a quality standard ballpoint, and the ink is not as vibrant. While writing, the ink does not smudge or bleed, nor does the paper disintegrate! Our notes were perfectly intact.

We let the water sit, and after wafting it off with my hand, there still were no smears. Being intrigued, the children opted to toss the page into the lake. The water ran off the page, and while wet, the page succumbed to endless crayon scribbles. Throughout this test, there were no tear-throughs, smudges or curling of the paper. Once the paper is dry, there is a bit of a crinkle. All-in-all, it has fared well thus far!

Maintenance and Care for your Rite in the Rain Notebooks

Like everything in life, notepads need to be maintained and cared for if you wish to preserve their longevity. If not, skip this section.

  1. When not in use, store your Rite in the Rain notebook in a dry location to avoid exposing it to excessive humidity.
  2. If the cover of your notebook gets dirty, gently wipe it down with a damp cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the waterproof coating.
  3. While the Rite in the Rain notebook is durable, excessive bending or folding can weaken the binding and compromise its integrity. Handle your notebook with care to prevent any unnecessary damage.

Rite in the Rain Notebook Kits

RITR Tactical Field Kit
Rite in the Rain Tactical Field Kit

To further protect your notebook, Rite in the Rain sells a few of their various-sized notebooks as part of a kit. Within the kit is a zippered Cordura Fabric Cover and an All-Weather Pen. The lightweight fabric cover features a notebook pocket, one or two general pockets (depending on cover size) and four writing instrument pockets. As to colour selection, it also depends on the size of the notebook. Some cover sizes come in tan, camo, or black.

The All-Weather Pen included in the kit is a black-based ink colour that performs in temperatures ranging from -34°C to 121°C (-30°F to 250°F) and performs underwater to a depth of 35 ft. Incredibly, it even writes through water, mud, sweat and grease!

The field kit is ideal if you are someone like me who likes to be well-organized. Or if you misplace things, this kit will keep things together.

Where to Buy Rite in the Rain Notebooks

Since we are in Canada, Rite in the Rain notebooks are challenging to find in person. At the time of writing, several Lee Valley stores only carry the top spiral-bound 4″ x 6″ notebook. And in hindsight, we have seen a Rite in the Rain product on a store shelf twice. You may be lucky and find a broader selection at your local outfitter. US residents should find Rite in the Rain products more readily at local stores. Online stores like Amazon have a wide selection of Rite in the Rain products.

Alternatives to the Rite in the Rain Notebook

While Rite in the Rain notebooks is an extraordinary product, there are similar alternatives that are worth considering, such as:

  1. Field Notes Expedition Edition: These notebooks feature a waterproof and tear-resistant cover, making them suitable for outdoor use. It also contains waterproof and smudge-resistant pages, ensuring your notes stay intact in wet conditions. We have no experience with field notes, but they are well-known and reviewed online.
  2. Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook: The Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook combines the classic Moleskine design with the ability to digitize handwritten notes using the Evernote app. While it’s not fully waterproof, there is some resistance to light water exposure.
  3. Although we can not speak to the Evernote notebook, we have utilized several Moleskine products. Frankly, a cheap Walmart notebook by Cambridge came with thicker paper than Moleskine. The covers on our Moleskines hold up well, but the paper is see-through and really disappointing. Hopefully, Moleskine has corrected this issue in the Evernote.
  4. Rite in the Rain Tactical Field Binder: If you prefer a more structured approach to note-taking, the Rite in the Rain Tactical Field Binder is a great option. It features weather-resistant pages that can be easily removed, rearranged, and replaced, making it ideal for organizing field notes and documents.

These alternatives provide different features and functionalities and may fare better to suit your needs. In particular, Field Notes is more of a competitor to Rite in the Rain than Moleskine.

Conclusion: Embracing the Versatility of the Rite in the Rain Notebook

For us, the Rite in the Rain notebook is an absolute game-changer and worth every penny! From durability to being impervious to water, combined with smudge-free writing capabilities, it has become the ultimate companion. 

With a wide range of options available, there’s a Rite in the Rain notebook to suit your every need. Whether hiking, conducting field research, or simply journaling your outdoor adventures, this notebook series ensures that your thoughts and ideas are safeguarded and ready to be shared.

So, don’t let rainy days or extreme conditions dampen your writing abilities!

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Katherine Widziak
Katherine Widziak

Fuelled by the boundless energy of my two adventurous children, my diverse repertoire extends beyond the realms of an ordinary mother. As a seasoned graphic designer, master of social media content, and savvy marketing strategist, I've sculpted my own entrepreneurial journey. My passion for the great outdoors defines me - from igniting fires to setting up camps, my skills are diverse and practical. Skilled in ATV riding, possessing sharpshooting accuracy, and a knack for out-fishing just about any man - even my husband, though that's our little secret.

When not working away at something creative, you'll find me enjoying the outdoors in one form or another. Hopefully, I can inspire many women and men alike to pursue their outdoor goals and embark on new adventures.

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