Anyone who has tried to make notes on a notepad standing outside during bad weather knows the agony of soggy paper. I can say that in my 20+ years of professional work experience from being a deployed USAF Civil Engineer to my current career as an Emergency Manager more than once I’ve tried to decipher wet notes that use to contain important specifications or measurements. Most of the time I was able to figure out what they use to say, but it would have been great to have paper products that didn’t get ruined with a small amount of moisture. That’s where our latest product, the Rite in the Rain Notepads would have come in very handy and saved me a great deal of a headache.
Why Should You Care?
Ultimately we find people asking this very question about the products we review, and with this one no doubt people will do that same about the Rite in the Rain Notepads. The answer is simple if you work in a profession such as law enforcement, construction, public safety or any job where lost data and notes can cost money or potentially lives you need a rock-solid way to ensure your notes and data are readable. There might be people who read this and think that their iPhones or laptops will work just fine, that is until there is no power or you are standing in the pouring rain trying to survey a job site or some other incident.
In a nutshell, simple things generally work well even under the worst conditions. Laptops break, powered goes out, cameras aren’t nearly as waterproof as we think they are. Case in point, for years the United States and NASA spent millions on making an ink pen that wrote in zero gravity conditions like in outer space. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, spend a fraction of that cost on pencils and pencil sharpeners which worked just as well as the Space Pen. Simple works.
Rite in the Rain makes eight complete lines of notepads to fit the specific needs of a wide array of professions. They have lines that were designed to meet the needs of public safety officers such as law enforcement and firefighters as well as general industries like construction and agriculture. All you have to do is spend a few minutes browsing on the company’s website and I have little doubt that they won’t have a product to meet the needs of your particular career field.
Field Tests DO they Work?
In the short time I’ve had these particular pads I haven’t had a chance to put them to good use. Now the yellow one that is in the featured photo, I have used that on actual damage assessments in response to a soon to be federally declared natural disaster. I was well aware of Rite in the Rain products before these arrived. I have found that the products do hold up extremely well in wet, windy and cold Alaskan Winter days while standing on the shores of Resurrection Bay. There are a few quirks with any of the pads I’ve used that you should be aware of if you are looking into them.
The paper quality is amazing, but it doesn’t feel like any notebook or writing paper that you might be used to. That being said the company also goes to great lengths to ensure that they are as environmentally conscious as they can. Their dedication to the environment goes beyond surface level lip music, they use recycled materials in almost every aspect of the production of all of their products. At the end of the day, the company feels good about reducing their environmental footprint and we all get notepads and products that can withstand any weather you can dream of.
Not Just Pads and Pencils
A more recent development with Rite in the Rain Products that I was totally unaware of until this year was that they have expanded their line of waterproof targets. Yes, that’s correct, an environmentally aware company in the Pacific Northwest that loves it’s gun enthusiasts also. The company makes nine different styles of targets, many of which will look very familiar to anyone who has been in the military the last 20 years or so and qualified with a long gun.
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that the company makes a waterproof copy of a target that I learned to shoot on, the 25 Meter M16A2 / M16 A4 target. They even have a faithful reproduction of the M16A1 target for those of you who might have served in the early days of the M16. These targets are both printed on extremely heavy paper and won’t wilt, sag, rip or disintegrate in the wind, rain or even snow. That instantly puts them on my radar, since I live in Alaska I frequently run into days when I start shooting and it’s clear that inevitably the weather turns to rain or snow.
Good Gear Doesn’t Have to be Sexy
It’s a pretty simple saying that actually works. Good gear doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars or be made of carbon fiber and Unobtainium (that’s a fake material). What good gear needs to do is allow you to complete your task or mission and do it safely and do it well. Notepads aren’t sexy, they don’t have the same appeal as an iPhone or gizmo, but sometimes they are the simplest and easiest thing to use. Rite in the Rain Products has taken something that is still essential to many of our professional lives on a daily basis and made it almost impossible to fail.
The company has most of their products available online and through the GSA procurement system for all of you who work for governmental agencies. If you find yourself out in the elements and trying to take notes or record events and don’t want to test that insurance policy on your phone or think to yourself “How wet can this case really get?” then take a chance. Swing over to the company’s web page and see if there are a tablet-style and size that might fit your life or profession, you might just be surprised at what you find. Check back in a few weeks and we will give you the update on the targets that the company was kind enough to send us to try out in the rain and snow.