Rite in the Rain Notebook Test


As a photographer who spends a lot of time out in all kinds of weather waiting for the perfect shot, I need a notebook that will still have notes on it when I get back.  I have used the “Rite in the Rain” notebook several times in Alaska and it worked well for me.  The one thing I did not like was the way the pen wrote on the paper.  So that is what this test is all about.  There are tests that have been done before I am sure, but I had to do this one for myself.


I go to lots of places and not all the time I am there in the right light or conditions, so I will jot down GPS coordinates, directions, and other notes about the location.  I sometimes get caught in rain storms as well as an occasional slip into the creek.  My notes need to be there when I need them, even when wet!  But, what good would they be if the ink washed off.  So let’s get into the test!

(Click on the images to see a larger image.  For some reason Square Space only shows part of the image on the monitor, just hit the space bar to see the rest of the image, or right click and select view full and it should work ok)

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I used the “Rite in the Rain” 4” x 6 “spiral notebook No. 146 for the test.  I like this size because it is small and can fit in my pocket, vest, or camera bag with no problems.  All through this test just click on a thumbnail to see a larger image.  I wanted you to be able to see the texture of the writing as well as how it looks on paper.


Pens I used in this test were some specialized pens such as the “Rite in the Rain” Tactical Black Clicker Pen, and the “Space Pen”.  The rest of them you will find at your local office supply or department store.  Here are the pens tested:

  • “Rite in the Rain” Tactical Black Clicker Pen
  • Bic – Mark-It Ultra Fine Point Pen
  • Sharpie Pen ( not the marker)
  • Pentel Permaroller Gold pen
  • Space Pen
  • Delta Elite ballpoint pen
  • Sharpie Extra Fine Point Marker

 Click to see larger image.

The water proof paper does not “play” well with ballpoint pens, but does better with marker type pens.  Most all pens and pencils work fine on the paper, but may not be as dark as you would like to see.  And they may not be there when the paper gets wet!  So, lets start writing and see how the pens do on dry paper.


  • The “Rite in the Rain” pen writes well on the paper, but the ink is not as dark as I would like.  That is just my opinion.
  • Bic – Mark-It pen writes well on the paper and is very dark.  Ink is easy to read in low light conditions.
  • Sharpie Pen writes well, but is very light on the paper.
  • Pentel PermaRoller Gold does not write well and skips a lot, not suited for this type of paper.
  • Space Pen, which is a ballpoint pen skips and does not write well on the waterproof paper.
  • Delta Elite ballpoint pen writes well and shows up better than the other ballpoint pens tested.
  • Sharpie Extra Fine Point Pen writes well and is very dark on the paper.

 Click to see larger image.

Now it is time for the water test!  I took the page out of the notebook and held it under the running water for 5 minutes.  The Sharpie pen and the Space Pen’s ink started to show signs of bleeding right away.  While the paper was set I ran my finger across each line to see if it would smear.  The Sharpie pen and the space pen did not do well in the smear test.  It was still readable, but I don’t think I would want my notes with those pens.  The rest of the pens did well.  The Delta Elite showed a small smear on one letter, but overall it passed the test.  The “Rite in the Rain” pen looked just like it did when it was dry, as well as the Bic Mark-It, and the Sharpie extra fine marker.

 Click to see larger image.Click to see larger image.

The paper was dried and I looked at the inks to see how they would look after a soaking. Four of the pens would work without any problems for most people.  The back of the page showed that the two markers had some bleed through, but I think most people could live with it.  The two ball point pens were also good for use on this notebook with no bleed through.

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I think it’s a matter of taste and I prefer the dark ink of the permanent markers, but the “Rite in the Rain” pen was the same before and after the test.  I might use the “Rite in the Rain” pen if the ink was darker and was not a fine point.  Would love to hear what you use or have tested.

Click to see larger image.