Gear Review -- J.L. Darling Rite in the Rain paper

The Gear Junkie: Rite in the Rain paper
By STEPHEN REGENOLD

Last fall, on a trip to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, I prodigiously journaled and took notes for two days, only to have my pages soaked on a kayaking trip into the jungle.

Lesson learned.

So for the past six months I’ve left regular notebook paper in the office, relying instead on Rite in the Rain “all-weather writing paper,” which eschews water like a duck’s back.

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The paper, which has an acrylic-based coating, is made by J.L. Darling Corporation, a Tacoma, Wash., company whose founder, Jerry Darling, first developed rain-resistant paper for the Pacific Northwest logging industry in the 1920s.

It has a waxy feel to it, though the paper is crisp and clean. Pages in a Rite in the Rain notebook never cling together. Ink or pencil lead easily transfers written word to page.

Put the paper under a faucet and water runs right off. The ink doesn’t smudge, and the paper stays strong.

The company (www.riteintherain.com) makes loose leaf paper, notebooks, bound journals, and logbooks for specific scenarios, including activities as far flung as geocaching, birding, avalanche forecasting, and police work.

Artists can go with the company’s All-Weather Sketchbook ($14.95), an 8.5×11-inch spiral-bound pad with 85 blank pages.

For a small journal on a backpacking trip, I like the Sportsman’s Outdoor Log, a simple lined notebook with 50 pages that are 4×6 inches in size. It costs $6.95.

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Notebook covers for the company’s various products are made of flexible plastic or a cardboard-like hardcover material. Pages are bound and sewn, stapled, or held on wire spiral.

I got J.L. Darling’s All-Weather Tactical Black Clicker Pen to accompany my weatherproof notebook. The $9.95 pen can write on wet paper, upside down, and in temperatures from minus-30 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (just in case you land on Venus.)

On Earth, Rite in the Rain products are used in situations ranging from Mount Everest basecamp to gorilla research encampments in the Congo. That’s according to J.L. Darling literature at least.

But I don’t doubt it. This stuff works. It’s simple and effective, letting you write, draw and record in the great outdoors with no real regard to the elements overhead and passing by.

(Stephen Regenold writes The Gear Junkie column for eleven U.S. newspapers; see www.THEGEARJUNKIE.com for video gear reviews, a daily blog, and an archive of Regenold’s work.)

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