This is a thing of beauty!
As some of you might know, I'm a writer. You might also have spotted in my ramblings that I prefer to holiday in wide open spaces with a combination of walking and writing... more writing when my photographer husband is waiting for the right kind of clouds for his pictures (there's almost a book title in there...). Whenever we're out walking, I have a notebook with me, usually an A5 or thereabouts (B5 being a tad too large, even though at my desk a B5 is my preferred option). These notebooks get tossed in my rucksack and have to hold their own. If only there were some sturdy, lightweight cover I could put them in... one that wouldn't add much weight to the bag but which would keep all sorts of bits and bobs together, including the notebook, a pen and various other random odds and ends...
Enter the Lochby Field Journal!
The case is made of a waxed canvas so will keep things dry. There are oodles of pockets for keeping things tidy and it can be used either as a Traveler's Notebook style cover (as there are vertical elastics on which to put slim notebooks), or, since there is a vertical slip pocket in the back cover, you can tuck the back of a notebook in and use it as a more conventional case. Or (if your notebooks are slim) a bit of both! And it only weighs 205g! There are plenty of other bells and whistles too. Let me take you on a more detailed tour.
There is a small Lochby label at the top of the cover and an aluminium hook that slips into a webbing loop. I found this a little stiff and tricky at first, but after a few open/close cycles I'm finding it fine now. The waxed cover will show scuffs, though if you were overly concerned about them you could buff them out. I think they add to the look. I'll probably re-wax it if is gets too scuffed.
The back has a velcro-fastened slip-pocket on the outside. If I'm being brutally honest, I probably won't use this, but I know many people will find it useful. There's the start of the webbing of the closure. I thought this would make it bumpy to lean on and write, but as long as the aluminium hook part is out of the way, it's fine and doesn't interfere at all, even with soft-cover notebooks.
This is where all the magic is, at least as far as I'm concerned!
(My photo is making the brown canvas look blue. Rest assured, it's brown with an orange fabric, not blue and yellow. Blame it on Scottish sunshine.)
On the left, there is a vertical slip pocket that runs the full height of the cover. In front of that are 4 more pockets: a larger mesh pocket that closes with velcro and 3 others. The lowest 2 are fairly shallow (~5.5 cm) but the one just below the mesh pocket is ~12.5 cm deep - plenty of space to slip pens and pencils in. The mesh pocket is ~9.5 cm deep (it runs to approximately where the top of the pocket below is).
In the centre of the cover are 4 elastics for carrying notebooks Traveler's Journal-style. There are also 2 ribbon markers.
In the back cover is a full-height slip pocket that can easily accommodate the cover of an A5 notebook. There is also an elastic pen-loop that's designed for chunkier pens than a biro/pencil. Slim pens and pencils can always go in one of the inside pockets.
Along the spine of the cover is a handle made of the same webbing as the loop.
Included with the Field Journal is a Lochby dot-grid notebook, made with 72 pages of white 68 gsm Tomoe River paper (making both sides more usable, as there is less show-through than with the 52 gsm Tomoe River paper). Refills are available in plain, lined and dot-grid. The notebooks have stitched binding, making them able to lie flat.
This is a well-designed and beautifully executed cover. It's lightweight, but with plenty of pockets and features, and will give robust protection to notebooks while being easy on the eye and without adding masses of mass to your bag. I love it!