I like everything about the Field Notes Black Ice limited edition except the cover, and even that doesn’t bother me very much.
With the entire cover foil stamped and with orange binding tape on the PUR bound spine, the Black Ice seems designed to attract attention in ways that other Field Notes limited editions aren’t. The America the Beautiful edition is gorgeous and nostalgic, but it won’t flash sunlight in someone’s eyes all the way across the room. You can’t signal a rescue helicopter with it, either.
The foil stamped cover is reflective, but you can’t see your face clearly in it and it doesn’t show finger prints unless you look closely at them.
The PUR binding is also interesting because it makes the Black Ice the first Field Notes limited edition of this size to be made without staples. (The Byline was a different format.) There isn’t anything particular special about this, except to give the notebook a different look. It does take a little effort to make it open flat though. You have to force the binding flat in a way that would crack the spine of a paperback book but doesn’t damage the Black Ice’s spine. This gets the user an extra bit of space (5 mm)on each page.
What wins my heart, though, is the paper. The 70# “Bright White” Finch Fine Smooth held up well to every ink I used on it. The only exception was Wancher Matcha, of course. It’s a heart breaker. It breaks hearts.
I prefer blank notebooks (are you listening Field Notes people?) but the gray lines are subdued enough they don’t dominate the page. The orange accent lines at the top are nice to look at, but I personally could live without them.
My only complaint about the design is that, over time, the orange inner cover tends to rub color on the first and last pages. Also, because the cover stock is slick, it’s difficult to write on.
I’ve been really pleased with the Black Ice and it’s made its way into my top five Field Notes notebooks–which I will someday post–although this is mostly for the paper and the PUR binding not the foil stamped cover.
The Black Ice is also one of the few special editions that I’ve passed out to colleagues. The one who got Black Ice seems to like it a lot.