Field Notes + L.L. Bean 2017 Review

Video Review

Field Notes and L.L. Bean have partnered up for their second edition in the past 6 months. The Bean Boot edition was released officially this week, but some stores were stocking and shipping them before that. Some stores were told not to launch them until January 24th, according to a few people in the Field Nuts group who had tried to order them or find them in store. Who knows why, but they're out now, and some stores are already out of stock, due to the power of the Nuts. I ordered mine on Sunday morning from the South Barrington, IL store, and they arrived in 2 days. Of course, as with the first L.L. Bean books, you can only get them in stores, not online, which is a damn shame. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think L.L. Bean was the only brand-collab to do that last year, as you could get the Nixon and the Carhartt on their respective websites.

This belly is full.

The covers are 100# cover stock, white Kraft-tone, which has a little speckle to it, similar to the Kraft-tone text paper in the Workshop Companion. They are printed with 2 colors, to match the look of the famous Duck Boot, the often-copied, but never-matched stalwart of the L.L. Bean line. The Field Notes logo, the Bean Boot, and the faux-stitching are all embossed on the front, and to be honest, I'd like to see a video of the process here, because I'm not sure how they did such a good job at matching everything up, especially the stitching. Only the white parts are embossed. Their blog post says something about white ink, but the book specs don't say anything of the sort. 

Another thing about the covers: there's 3 books, but only 2 styles. The colors are flipped on the middle book, so instead of a brown top and dark brown bottom, strike that and reverse it. I'm purely speculating here, but I wonder if it was meant that way or just an awesome mistake, because everything else lines up the same.


2016 vs 2017.

Back cover embossing.

Wrapped and ready to go.

The inside covers are the color of the white Kraft-tone stock. It is there where you can really get a good look at the hairy speckling of the Kraft-tone paper. The Practical Applications are the same as a standard Kraft book, nothing special here. One interesting bit on the inside back cover where the Edition number usually goes is that it says "Exclusive for L.L. Bean, November 2016". Did Bean sit on these for a while? It makes these the first major Field Notes release in 2017, with the Tournament of Books coming shortly (according to FN Twitter, anyway).

This hairy paper needs a razor.

Coated white staples.

Practical Applications...same as it ever was.

The paper is the standard graph paper in the Kraft books, with the new standard weight of 60#. If you remember, the first L.L. Bean books back in July 2016 were the 80# cover, 50# paper. That makes these books more durable than the previous Bean release and slightly heavier than a standard Kraft, which still uses 80# cover.

White staples look like stitching.

They have white staples! The staples are normal wire, but coated with white. You can see it in the macro lens picture. I'm assuming this is to emulate the stitching in the boot. I love when they play with staples.

Overall, a solid release from the Field Notes / L.L. Bean collaboration. If this is going to be a continued series, I'm looking forward to what they've got planned for the next one. This one was a step up from the first, so hopefully number 3 is another step up.

Available in L.L. Bean stores only. $13.95