Field Notes Expedition notebooks

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For quick note taking in hostile environments, nothing beats a nice pencil and a Field Notes Expedition notebook.

The expedition is made from synthetic paper, making it waterproof and extremely durable. It’s small enough to keep in a pocket, and tough enough to stay there for months - and if it ever falls out, its high visibility finish makes it easy to spot.

Note, however, that the Expedition’s synthetic paper doesn’t play particularly well with ink - but writing on it with pencil is an absolute, silky, pleasure. For portability, we recommend Kaweco Sport mechanical pencils; for desk use we recommend either Rotring 600s or theprepared.org’s own FSC-certified cedar pencils (paid subscribers only).


Benchmade Mini Griptillian


The Benchmade Mini Griptillian 557 - with its utilitarian finish, its excellent ergonomics, and its absolutely fantastic locking mechanism - is one of the most handy and versatile pocket knives on the market.

Patented in 1996, Benchmade’s AXIS locking system is sturdy and reliable. It utilizes a cam shape ground into the knife’s tang and locking pin which slides along the cam’s surface. A pair of custom wound torsion springs embedded in the knife’s outer plates provide preload to the locking assembly, and result in a knife that’s easy to flick open and is nearly impossible to close accidentally.

At a little over $100 (depending on configuration), the Mini Griptillian is far from the cheapest knife on the market. But its reliability, balance, and ease of use make the cost worth it. Benchmade makes it in a variety of blade materials and shapes; we prefer the serrated tanto edge for its combination of durability (the serrated section makes quick work of anything fibrous) and ease of service (tanto edges sharpen quickly with even the most rudimentary setups.