Review | Buffalo Jackson Field Journals

January 25, 2018

For the past several years, I’ve always kept some sort of small notebook close by. Whether it’s in the glovebox of the car, in a backpack, or in a back pocket, I always thought I should have something close at hand to jot down ideas that came to my mind…so I didn’t forget it. Usually it was just a cheap, inexpensive notebook, but there is something about a good, quality product that does indeed outlast the cheap alternatives. So, when I first came across the Field Notes notebooks, I was very impressed. Their paper was decent thickness, the covers a good, sturdy cardstock, and they just seemed to outlast their cheap counterparts. I’ve got some that are worn, creased, and tattered, but they still hold up. Quality does come at a premium though, as these aren’t necessarily the least expensive little notebooks around. But I knew I was paying for something that would last.

Recently I came across another notebook made by Buffalo Jackson. If you’ve never heard of them, definitely check out their story. Their site is filled with all things manly, classy and rugged. From leather briefcases, backpacks, and messenger bags, to wallets, hats, and clothing, their product line has something for anyone who loves the outdoor life. The products that interested me were their Field Notes style Booklets, which they sell in the typical smaller pocket size (3.5″ x 5.5″/48-pp/3-pack) as well as a larger journal size (5″ x 8.25″/80-pp/2-pack). I liked the vintage, distressed design, so I thought I’d check both of them out and ordered a pack of each. I placed an order on a Thursday, and received them exactly a week later using their least expensive shipping option.

What I received in the mail was very impressive packaging and presentation. As a graphic designer by trade, I was impressed from the start. It felt rugged and rough, like a pony express rider could have ridden past my house and handed it to me as he rode off. The whole presentation fit perfectly with their style. Nice job, guys!

Needless to say, I was excited to tear into the packaging to see what was inside. The excellent presentation continued.

I felt like I wasn’t just receiving an order, but being presented with a well-composed promotional package. The Invoice was a “Field Guide” that thanked me for my purchase and detailed my order. Very nice touch. A “Welcome to the Family” letter told a little bit about the company and definitely made me feel like I was buying something very special. A worn copy of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” was included, and transported me back to my elementary school days when I had to memorize that poem. After I read the first few lines, I closed my eyes to see if I could recite the reset without prompting. Surprisingly I got through the first couple paragraphs before I really needed to take a peek to recall the words.

Oveall, I was impressed with the quality of the notebook and journals. I always look at Field Notes as the high standard when it comes to higher-end pocket notebooks. Buffalo Jackson offers a suitable alternative, with some nice touches, like the threaded stitching on the larger journals (pocket notebooks have 3 staples). Quality of the paper was nice and smooth, but there was some shifting when the lined pages were assembled and trimmed, leaving slightly uneven lines. For most people, this isn’t an issue (most people might not even notice or care). For the premium price-point equal to that of Field Notes Brand, I was a little surprised.

As a designer and someone who is really into textures and paper types, I wasn’t overly excited about the feel of the covers. Rather than real Kraft paper type stock, the texture is simply printed. Again, most people won’t really care about this small detail. It’s still a nice look and the overall look is well designed, so I could overlook the cover stock. The cover has a slight texture, so it works well for the old Kraft paper vintage look, even if printed. It would have felt more substantial if the cover stock was a bit thicker, too. If it was thicker, I might have not even pointed out the printed texture.

All in all, I am very impressed with my purchase. Any minor details I noted won’t keep me from using these notebooks, or from ordering more in the future. Classy, rugged, and useful. I’m looking forward to putting these to good use, and checking out more of what Buffalo Jackson has to offer. Their work ethic, style, and passion are truly evident. Their slogan of “Honor Your Wild” is clearly carried through in their work. Well done, Buffalo Jackson crew!