Pen and Paper

Field Notes ‘Shenandoah’ Review

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Since I already reviewed the original Kraft graph Field Notes, I won’t be going into too many details for this review. However, since there are differences, I will take note of my experience with them.

The ‘Shenandoah’ edition is the 28th Field Notes ‘Colors’ edition. Since the winter of 2008, Field Notes has released a limited-run ‘COLORS’ edition quarterly. These editions usually involve unique covers and interiors and for the Shenandoah edition, they made their own duplex covers for the first time. (Duplex paper is two papers fused together using brute force and adhesives.) In addition, they introduced their new 60lb paper, which will be their new standard paper.

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The Shenandoah comes in a 3-pack of 3.5″ x 5.5″ notebooks. The paper inside is a 3/16″ x 3/16″ (4.7mm x 4.7mm) light green graph grid printed on their new standard 60lb “Bright White” Opaque Smooth Finch Paper. Each notebook represent three different trees found in the Shenandoah forest. The exterior and interior color represents their leaves in the summer and fall, respectively.

The idea is ingenious and well-executed. The contrast of the leaf colors is also very lovely. The back of each notebook gives details about the tree it represents and the band around the books is a thin slice of wood which matches the theme perfectly. I personally love the aesthetics of this edition. Green is my favorite color and I love trees, so this one is definitely high on my list.


Field Notes are known for not having the most fountain-pen friendly paper and honestly, I understand their reasoning for it. In order to be ink-friendly, the paper must be ink-resistant and/or thick. Thick paper is costlier and increases the weight. Ink-resistant paper, like Clairefontaine and Tomoe River, will prolong the drying times, which means smudging and/or ink transfer.

For whatever reason, Field Notes chose to upgrade to 60lb paper. It is slightly more ink-friendly in that there is less bleedthrough. However, the ink is still rather absorbent so you will see feathering and bleedthrough. No, I won’t use my fountain pens with my Field Notes, but that is fine with me. I personally prefer multipens with ballpoint refills for quicknotes.

As far as the writing experience goes, the Shenandoah is okay. I personally liked the thinner 50lb paper because of how crinkly it gets after being written on. the 60lb paper just isn’t the same. However, it is fine because I still get that no-frills experience that I love.

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I love the design of the Shenandoah. It is simple and clever at the same time. The colors are lovely and the duplex covers feel so substantial. The tree description in the back is such a nice touch. I enjoy the details that went into this edition and I am glad they went back to basics for this edition. Since they printed a lot for this edition, I anticipate it being around for a while. That being said, don’t wait around too long. If you want to try this edition, you can buy it at the Field Notes website.


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