Help me choose a notebook for hiking the Camino de Santiago!

by Stuart Lennon

With a 150 km hike across Northern Spain planned for later this year, I’ve been pondering over important equipment choices – like which are the best outdoor notebooks for hiking, and which writing implement should I take to track my journey?

outdoor notebooks for hiking

Why Mr Pocket Notebooks is hiking the Camino de Santiago

Last year, I lost a friend. Terry Anderson. I knew him in Prague. Another mutual friend (handily, also called Stuart) spoke to me at the funeral.

“We should do something to remember. Let’s do the Camino de Santiago and raise some cash for the hospice that cared for him.”

I nodded.

I didn’t have the first clue what the Camino de Santiago was; I assumed it was either a pub or a drinking game.

It isn’t.

There’s a movie called ‘The Way’ which is worth a watch, or let Google do the work. I recorded some thoughts.

The upshot is that I had glibly agreed to travelling from St Jean Pied de Port in southern France to Santiago de Compostela in north-western Spain. On foot.

There are many routes and many guide books, the most popular being the Camino Frances as described by John Brierley. 776km (482 miles) handily split into 33 days walking stages.

Somehow or other, I came to believe that hauling my not inconsiderable heft over the whole of northern Spain was a good idea. Buzzing with excitement, I told Mrs Pocket Notebooks of my plan.

“Five weeks away in Spain? Not a chance, sunshine.”

The other Stuart had received a similar, if more linguistically colourful response. (He married an Irish woman.)

Chastened, the two Stus came up with a revised plan, and gained spousal approval for a week a year, for five years. Last year, we walked from St Jean to Los Arcos. 135km (84 miles). This year, we’re off again, planning to cover 150 Km (93 miles) in six days, from Los Arcos to Burgos. As last year, we walk as a front row, the two prop-Stus joined by their hooker (stop it) Laurent, the belligerent Basque.

Researching the challenge, I got caught up in the minutiae of kit selection. Internet fora abound with lengthy discussions about the relative weights of t-shirts. Every ounce in the pack counts. (Not particularly true if you are carrying 75 pounds of excess weight around your midriff; but I digress.)

This year, I am faced with a whole new challenge.

What does Mr PocketNotebooks take on an all-weather hike across Spain to record his thoughts?

First. What’s the best writing implement to take hiking?


No. I’m not sharpening a Blackwing with my knife, nor am I carrying a sharpener. Besides, I’ll sit on it and break it.

My trusty Kaweco Brass Sport Fountain Pen

Possibly. But what if it rains?

How about a utilitarian Field Notes Clic Pen

Made by Bic. Value for money and works, and if I lose it, hardly a car crash.

Favourite pen for hiking must be my Field Notes Fisher Space Pen

Works in the wet and upside down. Tiny and robust. To be honest – perfect for the job. 

Second. What’s the best Notebook for hiking?

It’s worth pointing out here that North-western Spain is the wettest place in Europe. Really. Who knew? This year, we are largely in Rioja, so we are likely to get a mix of weather (and the occasional glass of excellent wine, I hope). 

Outdoor notebooks. Some choices here.

Field Notes Expedition

Yupo synthetic paper. Tear proof, waterproof and I suspect everything proof, this line went to the South Pole. Might the polar orange clash with the glass of Rioja?

Word. Adventure Log 

Great template. Hiking leaves little time for long rambling discourses. The format’s ideal. It’s not weather-proof though. 


The clue is in the name. This is waterproof, tear proof and like the Expedition above, pretty much bomb proof, I imagine.

What do you reckon? Got any favourite outdoor notebooks for hiking? 

As we had printed on the t-shirts:

“What could possibly go wrong?”