Some prayers have been answered from my 2017 Wish List: The Palomino HB was re-released and now Field Notes has released a a bigger version of their notebook. They chose to re-design the Pitch Black from the ground up, even making a special duplex cover stock with French Paper Co., exclusive to Field Notes.
The Pitch Black now comes in 2 sizes, “Memo” and “Note”. Memo is the classic pocket notebook size and Note is the bigger Arts & Sciences-sized journal. Each size comes in 2 rulings, the Dot-Graph of the original Pitch Black and ruled. The ruled is the same as the standard Field Notes ruling, except in gray instead of tan lines. This looks a bit odd against the Kraft inner covers, but that's only when you're on the first or last page. As far as differences go, there aren’t many for the Memo size: the new duplex cover, a few changes to the inside covers, and the new Pitch Black logo on the back cover. The Note size has all the new stuff.
Let’s talk about this duplex cover. Black on the outside, Kraft on the inside. It totals in at 118#, which seems like a weird number. I’m thinking the black side is bigger and maybe 100# and the rest is a thin veneer of Kraft on the inside. I could have that backwards. You can’t really tell, but the look is awesome. They changed the belly band to a Kraft one as well.
The bigger the size, the more room for Draplin & Co. to play around with the inside covers. There is some cool stuff in the Pitch Black Note Book, including a daylight vs. darkness scale and some tips and tricks to fight insomnia or stay up all night. There is also a centimeter ruler on the front inside cover and the inch ruler in its standard place on the back inside cover (which is how Utility should’ve been done).
The paper inside is the same standard 60# Finch Paper Opaque Smooth Bright White as the old Pitch Black and the Kraft. It performs the same, so there is no need for me to test it. The Memo is the standard 48 pages and the Note comes in at 64. The Memo is still 3 packs for $9.95 while the Note clocks in at 2 packs for $12.95.
This brings me to one of the issues I’ve been having with Field Notes lately: price. Recent quality issues aside, the price thing has stuck in my craw for a while now. I’m happy to see that they are keeping the Memo size at $9.95, and I would understand the Note size being $12.95 if it were for 3 books, but for 2? Seems steep, especially considering this is the smallest of all the entries of this size from their competitors. Baron Fig sells 3 Vanguard in their Flagship size for $12. They are bigger and the paper is more friendly to more writing instruments. Doing a little math, the Baron Fig costs 0.13¢ (that’s zero point 13 cents, not 13 cents) per square inch of paper while the new Pitch Black Note Book costs 0.28¢ per square inch of paper. Just to be fair, Write Notepads sells their Paper Journal in 2 packs for $15.99...but it's also 80 pages and bigger than A5, coming in at 0.21¢ per square inch. Field Notes: I love these, but why so high? Or rather, why not three?
In the end, if you're a Field Notes fan, like I am, these are a welcome addition to the lineup. The addition of ruled also make this a little better, though I imagine graph paper fans are a little miffed. When these first launched, I thought maybe Pitch Black was a mistake and they should've stuck with the regular Kraft and done a big size there, but now that they're in hand, I really think this was the better pick of the two. I'd like to see them play in this size again in the Colors series.