Tag Archives: level book

Review and Giveaway: Elan Pocket-Size Field Book

I’ve been rather fascinated by field books lately. I first owned one when I was in college– I forget where I bought it, but I stumbled on it in a store, thought it looked cool, and ended up using it for some art classes where its durability came in handy.

I hadn’t thought about it in years and then was reminded of it while going through boxes of notebooks and realized I actually owned a notebook that had the same interesting paper used in the work of David Fullarton:

I poked around and found these notebooks for sale at Engineer Supply: Elan Field Books. The standard field book size is about 4 1/2 x 7″, which is not a size I used very often any more, but I got all excited when I saw that Elan offered a smaller “pocket size” field book. At 4 1/8 x 6 1/4″, it’s not for very small pockets, but I couldn’t resist– I had to buy some. And yes, I really did have to buy “some.” Unfortunately, Engineer Supply only sells these by the 6-pack, and at $8.25 each, that ended up being a bit of an investment. But it’s all for the good of my readers, and means I have some extras to give away!

So let’s take a look at what I got:

I have to say, I was disappointed at how large the notebook ended up being. The actual exterior measurements are  4 5/16 x 6 13/16″ and the page dimensions within are 4 1/8 x 6 1/2″. That’s a pretty big discrepancy with what was promised. The Elan field book is shown below with a pocket Moleskine for comparison.

And boy is that cover a bright orangey red! I guess it makes sense, though, as my old muddy brown one could easily get lost in the woods, but this one never would!





You’ll also notice my other major disappointment: a HUGE cover overhang. Yuck. My old field book had almost none.


But inside is where we get to the good part. Inside the front cover, there’s a space to write your contact details and the contents of the book. On the inside back cover, you get a few fun bits of mathematical information that most of us will never use. The pages within are a nice red and blue grid pattern, which is a good compromise between line and graph. The columns would be handy for jotting numbers. The page layout I chose is actually called a “Level Book” but you can also get a “Field Book” that has this page style on the left, and a smaller grid pattern on the right, similar to in the Fullarton image above.


The notebook opens quite flat, due to a somewhat loose binding. The paper has a smooth feel and fine point gel pens feel great on it. Fountain pens worked well, though my Uniball Vision Micro feathered out a bit. Show-through is not all that great, though bleed-through is better than average. The paper is acid-free.


From the Engineer Supply description:



  • High visibility, extra stiff orange hardbound cover
  • Completely protected by a waterproof barrier with blind embossing
  • White ledger paper has a 50% cotton content and is specially formulated for maxiumum archival service, ease of erasure and protected by a water resistant surface sizing
  • Ruled light blue with red vertical lines


  • Number of pages — 160 pages (80 sheets)

  • Page size — 4 1/8” W x 6 1/2” H

  • Grid layout on the left — 6 vertical columns

  • Grid layout on the right — 6 vertical columns

So for the bottom line, I definitely didn’t find this the field book of my dreams. I would really love a smaller one, with no cover overhang. Then I’d buy them by the half-dozen, or dozen, or gross, maybe! But as is, they’re still pretty good, depending on your needs, and they’re not too expensive. As noted above, you can buy them online in packs of 6 from Engineer Supply, or one by one via Amazon.

And I have a few extras to give away! I’ll select 3 lucky winners from entries received in these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Elan Field Book” and “@NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories.

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page, and post something containing the words “Elan Field Book” on the Notebook Stories wall.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Elan Field Book” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this blog.

The deadline for entry is Friday Feb. 8 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner.