I was probably spoiled long before I started using the Field Notes Two Rivers edition. This is because the second edition I used extensively was the America the Beautiful edition, which used Finch “Soft White” paper that held up to fountain pens well.
I got a subscription to Field Notes colors editions mostly based on the looks of the Two Rivers edition. They are wood block printed by the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Wisconsin. They come in four color stocks with nearly unlimited cover designs. I even bought a couple extra packs because for each sale a donation was made to support the museum.
When I came to finally use the Two Rivers edition, though, my reaction to the paper was “well, yeah, okay, hmmm”. First, compared to the AtB edition, the Two Rivers notebook is thinner, even though both have the same number of pages. The advantage of that is that it fits better in both covers and pockets. It also means the paper (Finch Opaque Smooth 50#T) is going to bleed.
I used my Two Rivers notebook as my most recent food journal which let me test several different pens on it. They all had a funny look to the lines and some odd bleed through. For the most part bleed through doesn’t bother me, but this paper seemed rough and the things I wrote seemed fuzzy and, in places, blotchy, but that might be an optical illusion from the grid lines on the pages. I don’t remember that happening in the Red Blooded edition I used.
The other issue I noticed was that the center pages started to come loose from the staples. This is something that didn’t happen with the Red Blooded or the AtB editions, even though the latter had thicker paper.
Keep in mind, I used this notebook in a cover so there wasn’t any extra stress on the notebook that it might get in my back pocket, but the pages still started falling out.
Granted, you don’t use a Field Notes notebook for fancy things. They are brainstorming books and places for random notes. In the case of the Two Rivers edition, I am judging them by their covers and will end up using them all. I also may end up passing them out as “gateway drugs” for people interested in notebooks.
Or I will hoard them. I haven’t actually decided yet.