Field Notes Pitch Black Note Books Review

Field Notes Pitch Black Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

The Field Notes Pitch Black Note Books are so simple and so plain. There is absolutely no logical reason for why these delight me as much as they do, but I love these notebooks. They are one of my staples--I used one for my first ever writer's conference notes, and now they're a conference tradition. I have to have one with me for my notes and diary for such events. I associate them with adventure, enrichment, and bonding with distant friends. And now--I can have them in the larger 7.5" x 4.75" size, which I adore and my life feels so complete now.

Filed Notes back cover

The notebooks sport a soft cover of duplexed black and kraft cardstock, so they're flexible but sturdy. They have the dusty charcoal outer cover with the Field Notes logo in matte silver, and the inside covers have all the delightful cheekiness that Field Notes specializes in. Reading through them is one of the highlights of cracking a new notebook. I mean, there are gender neutral labels and Ray Bradbury references. There are tips for getting better sleep...or staying up all night. I open this book and know that the people who made it are my people, and I feel their influence on the work--they're bridging a connection between the designer and the user that feels like friendship.

I think that's one of the things that sets Field Notes apart--I don't feel like I've received a product, I feel like I've been passed a lovely note.

But I digress, because notebooks have to be useful, too. And huzzah, it is.

Field Notes Staples

Between those fabulous covers are 32 sheets of 60 lb acid-free paper. They're printed with unobtrusive 6.5 mm lines in light grey. It is all held together with staple binding--the staples are a lovely shiny black.

Field Notes Writing Sample

As with many Field Notes, the paper isn't the best for fountain pens, but it really didn't do too badly. Broader pens and darker inks showed through, and one particularly wet ink bled a slight bit. There is some faint feathering. But overall, it performed well enough that I'll have no qualms using fountain pens in it. I don't mind show-through, or even slight bleeding, so long as I can still read the text. And of course it works wonderfully for pencils, ballpoints, rollerballs, fineliners, and gel pens.

Field Notes Writing Sample Back

So, while it isn't flawless, it's still perfect. And I'm so glad this is a part of the signature line--that way I can stock up over time instead of ordering an unseemly amount immediately. Which I am tempted to do anyway, frankly.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Field Notes Belly Band
Posted on July 5, 2018 and filed under Field Notes, Notebook Reviews.

The Pen Addict Podcast: Episode 315 - This Orange Doesn’t Exist

Not for Sale

After last week’s show we went on a hunt for Lamy Orange ink. And we found it. I’m just not sure if we are supposed to be happy about this, or not. We had fun with it though, as we always do. I also gave my thoughts on another orange ink - the newly released J. Herbin Cornaline d’Egypt - plus the Kosmos fountain pen, and the 2018 Pilot Vanishing Point Limited Edition.

Show Notes & Download Links

This episode of The Pen Addict is sponsored by:

Pen Chalet: Click the ‘podcast’ link at the top of the website and enter the password ‘penaddict’ for this week’s special offer, and to get your code for 10% off.

Blue Apron: A better way to cook. Get 3 free meals, with FREE SHIPPING.

Posted on July 4, 2018 and filed under Podcast.

Zebra Zensations 0.6mm Fountain Pen Review

Zebra Zensations Fountain Pen Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

The Zebra Zensations fountain pen is a recent addition to the disposable fountain pens category at JetPens, and one that I'm happy to recommend. It's been a while since I experimented with the disposable fountain pens category, and the Zensations pen just solidifies my opinion that just because a pen costs less than $5 does not mean it performs poorly.

Similar to the Pilot Varsity, the Zensations fountain pen is a disposable, non-refillable fountain pen that costs only $3. This is the same price as the Varsity and I would say they are perfectly comparable. The Platinum Preppy is another popular choice in the disposable category, but they are different from the Varsity and Zensations pens because they feature a cartridge system. When the ink runs out, you can simply replace the cartridge with a color of your choice.

Zebra Zensations

The Zensations pen features a slip cap design and an all-plastic body (except for the nib, of course). Despite the materials, this pen is rugged and can take normal bag and transit abuse just fine. The clip isn't the strongest clip I've encountered, but it does the job well. The plastic clip is a tad springy, but it provides plenty of gripping power on clothing, bags, cases, and other objects. If you like to post the cap while writing, the Zensations pen will handle that well. The cap posts securely and adds very little weight to the end of the pen while writing.

Zebra Zensations Grip

As an added bonus, there's a convenient ink window on the side of the barrel so you can easily see how much ink is left in the reservoir. The pen barrel is mostly black, but there's a lot of accent color thrown in, as well as a gray/silver trim for the clip. The ink feed section is visible through the grip, which can also be helpful when the ink is close to running out.

The nib on the Zensations pen is fantastic considering the cost. It's smooth, dependable, and has excellent flow. Straight out of the box, it wrote well and without any hiccups. This is important with any fountain pen, but it delights me to see this level of performance with a three-dollar pen. In a lot of cases, this pen may be someone's first exposure to a fountain pen, and I expect that to be a good representation of the nib and feed mechanism. These are perfect to hand out as a "try it" challenge to friends, coworkers, etc.

Zebra Zensations Nib

The steel nib is fairly stiff, and you won't notice much line variation as a result. The 0.6mm sizing roughly equates to a Japanese medium or European fine. It's a great size that most people are familiar with if they're coming from a bold ballpoint or 0.7mm gel pen.

The unit I have is the blue variation, which corresponds to the ink color inside. Where most pens seem to favor the darker blue hues in the standard lineups, the Zensations pen has a beautiful lighter blue that I absolutely love. It's more of a medium turquoise than a standard blue, and that makes me incredibly happy. Although, if you're expecting a darker blue or even a blue-black, I'd recommend looking at the other color options.

Speaking of which, there are seven total colors to pick from, and you can also pick up a pack that includes one of each color. At $3 per pen, and $17 for the seven pack, these pens are a fantastic deal. Throw some in your cart next time, and enjoy this newest player in the entry-level experience that give fountain pens a good name.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Zebra Zensations Writing
Posted on July 4, 2018 and filed under Zebra, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.