My university bookstore has a fairly wide selection of Rite in the Rain notebooks; I'd been looking at them for a while but finally purchased one last week. Rite in the Rain paper is a great product that allows you to write in all weather conditions, and is available in many formats: loose sheets of paper, stapled notebooks, spiral-bound, hardcover, lined, graph, columns, and more. They are targeted at people who are working outdoors and need a notebook that will stand up to any sort of weather. I chose a stapled notebook, as the hardcover books cost a bit more than I was willing to spend.
The stapled notebook feels very sturdy and durable. The logo and name of the book are boldly displayed on the front cover; while some people may not care for this, I rather like it, as I feel it adds to the character of the book. The inside front cover has space for you to write your personal information, as well as a description of the project you are working on, if you are using the book for a particular project. The edge of the inside front cover has a 6-inch ruler, the back cover a metric ruler - a practical touch for people working out in the field.
The pages are numbered and the first page has space for you to create a table of contents. As someone who frequently numbers the pages in my notebooks by hand and creates tables of contents for them, I wish more notebooks came with this feature. The white pages are ruled with blue lines and have a slightly waxy feel.
The back cover bears the motto, "Outdoor writing products...for outdoor writing people," and reminds you to use a pencil or all-weather pen when writing in your Rite in the Rain notebook. Not being sure what exactly constituted an "all-weather pen", I decided to test a variety of pens in the notebook to see how they behaved.
I tested 0.9mm pencil, a ballpoint pen (I'm afraid I don't know what kind it was), a Sharpie pen, two gel pens (a 0.7mm Uni-ball Signo Gel Grip and a 0.4mm Pilot Hi-Tec-C), and a liquid ink pen (a Pilot Hi-Tecpoint V5). All of the pens, except the ballpoint, took a long time to dry, with the liquid ink pen and the Uni-ball Signo being the worst. To simulate rain, I sprayed the page with water.
The Hi-Tec-C virtually disappeared, the liquid ink pen turned into a puddle of blue, and the Signo and Sharpie Pen also seemed to dissolve a bit into the water. The ballpoint seemed to stand up to the water fairly well (and the pencil did as well, of course). I blotted the water away:
To my surprise, all of the pens but the Hi-Tec-C were still readable. However, probably in conditions of sustained rainfall, all pens would eventually wash away. Ballpoints could probably be used if you were only expecting slight or occasional rainfall. Even if the book was not going to be getting wet, the slow drying time involved would render use of any pen other than a ballpoint impractical. Probably best to stick to a pencil.
I had used Rite in the Rain paper in the past, and thought that I could recall pencil lines being difficult to erase on the paper. So I tested it out:
Not great erasure, but not terrible either.
If you write outdoors in wet weather frequently, then a Rite in the Rain notebook could be a very useful item to have. Being a natural resource science student, I can certainly foresee myself needing to make notes or record data outdoors, so having a notebook that I will not have to worry about getting wet will be helpful to me.
Related reviews: Pencil Revolution, East West Everywhere, Gourmet Pens, The Pen Addict, Black Cover