Geologist Field Notebook – Our TOP 5! If you’re a geology student (or already a full-fledged geologist), you will need a geologist field notebook as part of your arsenal. Part of your job will be to physically get down on to the field to see things for yourself. And you will then have to take notes on what you see. This post, it’s photos and table include links to products on other websites. If you purchase something through these links we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. CLICK To Our FULL Product Reviews Sure, it’s possible that you can just take any ordinary notebook for your notes. But that’s possible only if everything goes well and it remains a pleasant site on a sunny day. Notebook for Harsh Environment You need to take worst-case scenarios into account, because you will eventually have to go into rather harsher environments that your ordinary notebook won’t withstand. Rain and water elements are constant issues. These are just some of the things that a geologist field notebook is made to deal with a lot more easily. What To Put Down in Your Geologist Field Notebook While you may have to put down some graphs and tables in your notebook, here are some types of field data you should always include: Location That means you put the name of the place, the location date, maybe a short description about its general location, and then the coordinates. You need to do this so you can find it again, which may be problematic when you want to return after decades. By then, the roads, tracks, and paths may have changed or gone overgrown. You may have to rely more than just your old visual landmarks. You can always use an app for getting the coordinates. Sketches Yes, it’s true that with your smartphone you can easily take lots of pictures from many different angles. It’s also true that with some apps, you can easily add text and annotations to these pictures. But you should still back up your photographs with proper sketches. By sketching the field, you can add some of your personal interpretation of what a geological field looks and feels like. You’re also letting your brain understand and remember what you’re seeing more clearly. Just show the major features and annotate – you don’t have to be a Rembrandt -level artist. Descriptions Sure, a picture is worth a thousand words, but you should use words anyway. The words add to the sketches and pictures to really flesh out the site when others see your notes. Use lots of adjectives, especially for size, colors, textures. Describe possible relationships between site features. This is like describing a site for a blind person, which means you need to be accurate. You don’t have to be a poet. Thoughts and Conclusions With all that you’ve seen, write down your thoughts, hypotheses, and opinions as to what’s happening on the site. This doesn’t have to be dramatic, like saying “This volcano will explode in a few days”. These thoughts give you (or another reader) access to what you were thinking at the time. It can also indicate any possible biases you may have had during your visit. These thoughts are crucial when they’re read by other geologists or geology students. Added Tips Be factual.Mention the size and shape, along with the orientation, of the various features of the site.Make sure you put the right orientation—indicate where North is!Record structural data of the rocks themselves.Don’t forget the soil classification.Keep your notes organized and neat.When you’re taking photos, don’t forget to put in a scale.Try to do photomosaics of quarries and cliffs when you have extensive exposures.Bring a set of binoculars, especially for large areas.Include the incidental facts, like the weather and the birds and animals you saw. Geologist Field Notebook: Top 5 Reviews Here’s a list of the field notebooks you will need to jot down notes for the environments that you’re in: 1. Rite In The Rain Hard Cover Notebook, Geological Pattern “Water-Resistant—and Includes Cheat Sheets” Our Rating: 5.0 Buy From Amazon Rite In The Rain has a fantastic brand name that quickly tells you what their products are meant to do. They’ve generally made good on their brand name’s promise. That is why a lot of people quickly think of the brand when they want a tough notebook that won’t mind if a downpour occurs. This particular notebook is designed for field scientists (and geologists in particular). It comes with features and additional components that make life a lot easier for the note-takers. That’s why it says All-Weather Geological Field Book right on the cover. Dimensions This measures 4¾ inches wide and 7½ inches long (from top to bottom). This is generally considered near the standard size that you’d want for geological field notes and sketches. The cover is yellow, which helps you see it right away when you need to get it from a table or when you drop it on the ground. Cover It features a rigid “Fabrikoid” cover, which is basically an artificial type of leather that has been made by Dupont (same maker of Kevlar). This hard cover a proven material, as it’s been around since the 1920s and it’s been used for bookbinding and luggage. It’s even been used for the tops of convertible automobiles. That makes it very tough and certainly waterproof. Tough Archival-Grade Paper Here the notebook has 80 sheets, and 160 pages all in all, and the pages are all numbered for your convenience. We went with the graph version, which works nicely for sketches and other field notes. This is tough all-weather paper as well, as it’s designed to withstand all types or environmental issues. It repels water, sweat, and mud. In fact, this paper has been known to withstand being accidentally set into the laundry machine. This type of paper simply won’t stain, and your notes will last a lifetime. Put your notes in storage, and you will still be able to read your writing several decades later. Pen Requirements Unsurprisingly, Rite In The Rain also manufactures a special pen (in addition to a waist clip) that you can use for these pages even if they’re wet. You may also use something like the Fisher Space Pen, or a specially-designed all-weather pen. But you can always use a standard pencil if you’re dealing with wet pages to write on. Most of the other types of pens just won’t work on these pages when the paper is wet. If the paper is dry, you can use regular ballpoint pens and permanent markers. But you won’t be able to use writing utensils that use water-based ink, even when the pages are dry. Bonus Features for Geologists This comes with up to 20 pages of reference material that you can consult when you’re doing your notes. These include several rulers (English and metric field) so you can make your sketches with the proper scale. You also have tables on rock categories and grains size, and cheat sheets for geologic time scale. Eco-Friendly Most synthetic waterproof paper types aren’t all that eco-friendly, but this one is. This is wood-based and not synthetic, and you can recycle the paper as you would any other printer paper. What We LikeTough but highly visibleComes with cheat sheetsArchival paperResistant to environmentCompletely recyclable paperWaterproof coverNot So GoodPages look warped and wavy when wetA bit more expensive than regular notebooksNot easy to erase content 2. Dexter Publishers Geological Field Notebook, 8″ x 10″ “The Complete Geologist Field Book” Our Rating: 5.0 Buy From Amazon This is explicitly a Geological Field Notebook, as it says so right on the cover. The yellow cover also helps with visibility, and now it comes in a bigger size if that’s what you want. But if you want something smaller, Dexter also offers a 5×8 version. Lots of Geology Bonuses If you’re into geology, then you’ll love how this was designed. That’s aside from the conveniently numbered pages along with the 2 index pages to help you find what you’re looking for through the notebook. That starts with the handy checklist, which lists down everything you need to bring along when you go into the field. The pages come with smartly set cross-reference boxes. You can quickly fill out the data you need to set, and then you can also find the data you want later without any trouble. Variety of Pages There’s a sample log here, set in table form, so you have a template on how to set your log. Some pages are with graphs, so you’re able to put in your scaled sedimentary logs more easily. Other pages are for sketches. Best for Sunny Days You’ll probably notice that there there’s no prominent “all-weather” indication on the cover. That’s because this is for sunny days when rain isn’t going to appear. This doesn’t use water-resistant pages, and the cover isn’t waterproof either. What We LikeAmple sizeLots of handy pages meant for geologistsHighly visible yellow coverNot So GoodNot really water-resistantA bit expensive (for a non-waterproof notebook)Too big for some people 3. Elan Publishing Company Field Surveying Book “Graph Pages for Cross-Country Notes” Our Rating: 4.5 Buy From Amazon Elan has actually been around the notebook publishing industry for the last 50 years or so, which means they’re hardly newbies to the field. This particular field surveying book is available in packs, in case you’re buying for a class or if you want extras for your own personal use. This comes with the standard 4⅝ x 7¼ size, which is ample enough for sketches and graphs without being too awkward to carry. Stiff Orange Cover The cover is in bright orange, which is also quite visible even when you drop them to the ground. It’s also better than bright yellow at disguising any dirt on the cover. This cover is quite stiff, so it offers ample protection for your notes. It’s even waterproof, to keep your pages from getting drenched. You also get rounded corners, so you’re not likely to hurt anyone with the sharp edges. Waterproof, Long-Lasting Pages The pages inside are water-resistant as well. They’re made to be archival-grade, using white ledger paper for legibility. The special formula uses 50% cotton for the paper, keeping your notes legible even after years. The binding is quite tough, and you get a great finish on the pages. This notebook can survive just about anything. Some people are attesting that their Field Surveying Book made it through despite constant exposure to sand, dirt, rain, and even ocean dunkings. Graphs This comes with 2 types of graphs on the pages. The pages on the left side have larger boxes, with the horizontal lines in blue while you get red vertical lines. On these pages, you have 6 vertical columns all in all. Then you have smaller boxes for the right-side pages. Extra Pages You have 160 pages all in all here, but you also get 15 extra pages with tables and other cheat sheets that geologists can consult. What We LikeExtremely toughDurable coverArchival paperConsistent graphs on pagesLots of handy tablesNot So GoodPages aren’t numberedNo scale in the pocketCover is held by very thin paper 4. Field Notes Kraft 3-Pack, Ruled, 3.5″ x 5.5″ “Popular All-Around Memo Book” Our Rating: 5.0 Buy From Amazon So far, we’ve listed three field notebooks that may seem a bit too pricey for some people. That’s because you do have to pay for geology reference pages with ample waterproofing. Just want general field notebooks and you’re not likely to write in the rain? You can get a versatile Field Notes that will meet your needs without destroying your budget. Also, they’re a lot better than spiral notebooks. Affordable This purchase costs about the same as the price of the Elan Publishing Company E64-8×4 Field Surveying Book. Moreover, Field Surveying Book is the cheapest compared to the Rite In The Rain and Dexter notebooks. But this time, your purchase is a 3-pack, which is a standard feature with Field Notes notebooks. These are memo books that can suit a wide range of purposes and needs. This is meant for general use, like for custom calendars, reminders, and notes for ideas, literary phrases, and sketches. But you can also use it as your geologist field notebook. Size This stapled notebook measures 3.5 inches wide and 5.5 inches long. The cover is bendable, so you can easily set this inside a pocket or in a bag (or an EDC pouch). Kraft Brown Cover Like most Field Notes memo books, this comes with the standard Kraft brown cover. The card stock is still thicker than usual paper, so you get some protection for the pages even when it starts to rain. This also comes with rounded corners for extra safety. Pages You can go with the graph paper if you’re a geologist, but you do have other options for the pages. There’s the lined paper for straight sentences, with the lines subtle enough so they won’t distract if you decide to put in sketches too. But if you’re mostly into drawings, you may instead opt for the unlined pages. Here you have 48 pages per memo book, which gives you 144 pages total with the purchase. Uses and Limitations This is a memo book for general purposes, and not specifically for geologists. You therefore can’t fault it for not having geologist-specific features. The pages aren’t even waterproof, though Field Notes does offer the Expedition line of memo books which uses waterproof pages. Why This Option? So why didn’t we go with that option? That’s because those are just as expensive as the other geologist field notebook options where you don’t get the special geology cheat sheets. They’re also tiny at 3.5″ x 5.5″. What all this means is that you can go with the geology-specific notebooks, or pick this all-around version that’s much cheaper. This is what you want to get when you’re not actually a geologist, or if you’re a geologist and you need a memo book for other purposes. What We LikeExtremely affordablePocket-sized and portableGreat quality (made in the US)There’s a graph version availableNot So GoodNot water-resistant at allFewer pages per memo bookA bit too small for geologist field notes 5. Elan Field Notebook, Dot Graph, 5 Pack “Budget Field Notebook for Geologists” Our Rating: 4.5 Buy From Amazon This is the other Elan journal on this list, but this time this is an all-rounder like the Field Notes and not specifically for geology field notes. This is like the Field Notes memo books, except this time you pay the same price but you get 5 memo books with 48 pages each. What’s the Same with Field Notes? The size is the same at 3.5″x5.5″ and with the soft cover you have something that you can just slip into a pocket. You have the same 48 pages with lines, dots, and graphs on the paper. Just pick the graphs on the paper if you’re planning to use this as your backup geology field notebook. This uses high quality 80-gsm paper, and again these pages aren’t water-resistant. Multiple Cover Options This time, you do have more cover color options than with the Field Notes Kraft. Sure, you can also go with the Kraft cover or even with an outdoorsy woodgrain cover. But you can also go with black, orange, yellow, or green. In fact, you can get 5 different colors (all but not the woodgrain) for your 5-pack. The cover thickness here is at least as thick as the one in the Field Notes, and some say they feel a bit thicker. What We LikeComes in nice packaging; excellent as a giftIncludes a notebook that is fountain-pen friendlyTwo elastic bands for fasteningGood value for moneyNot So GoodMade of animal leather; may not be suitable for animal loversLeather quality isn’t that great Geologist Field Notebook: Conclusion If you’re into geology, putting down notes in your journal as you survey a field is a crucial part of your job. You need to put in vital information about what you see, such as the location, descriptions, sketches, and maybe some graphs. Fields can change over time, and your field data can provide an accurate snapshot of the features of an area for a specific time. With the right geologist field notebook, you can jot your notes in the rain, and expect your data to survive even after years!