Best Waterproof Notebooks of 2023

If you are looking for a notebook as tough as you are, you’ll need something waterproof and tearproof. Paper technology has come a long way from papyrus, but the best waterproof notebooks aren’t easy to find with a wide range of brands and models touting that they can tough out any weather conditions.

This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best waterproof notebooks, tested them, and now the results are in: the overall best, an upgrade option, and a DIY option you can make yourself. If you need a notebook that will weather the elements, one of our suggestions will keep you on track.

Contents (Jump to a Section)

Field Notes Expedition All-Weather Notebooks

The Best Waterproof Notebook

Field Notes: Expedition

Three-pack, Compact, and Durable

Heavyweight pages and great water repellency make this notebook a top performer and an excellent value.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

The typical Field Notes journals get a big upgrade with the Expedition notebooks. With a thick cover featuring a slick Antarctica topographical map, your notes will stack protected in the elements or in your pack. The pages themselves are tear-resistant, heavyweight, and waterproof but can still take notes without special writing utensils.

Here is everything you get with these notebooks:

  • 3-pack
  • Waterproof/tearproof
  • 48-page dot graph
  • 57# paper weight
  • 3.5″ x 5.5″ staple bound
  • 1.3 ounces

With rugged durability paired with good value, it’s easy to see why the Field Notes: Expedition Notebooks top the rest.

Rite in the Rain All-Weather Notebook

Upgrade Waterproof Notebook

Rite in the Rain Universal

Durable, Effective, and Trusted

The best in the business has a wide range of notebooks to choose from but we found this to be the best size and ruling style.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Rite in the Rain is still the clear leader when it comes to taking notes in any weather. Their pens, paper, and notebooks are head and shoulders above most of the competition, which is why they are trusted around the globe.

Here is how this notebook measures up:

  • Waterproof/tearproof
  • Cordura cover
  • 64-page ruled grid
  • 20# paper weight
  • 4.6″ x 7″ spiral bound
  • 1.8 ounces

If you are looking for a versatile notebook for survival kits or everyday use, this Rite in the Rain Universal Notebook is the best option.

Rite in the Rain Waterproof Copier Paper

DIY Waterproof Notebook

Rite in the Rain Copier Paper

Configurable, Easy to Use, and Versatile

Make your own custom waterproof notebooks with all-weather copier paper, an inkjet printer, and a stapler.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

It’s an easy project: use all-weather copier paper to create waterproof and tearproof binders, maps, checklists, and notebooks. To make a notebook similar to our other picks, you’ll just need to layer a few pages, fold them into a book shape, and then staple the pages together along the ‘spine’.

The versatility goes well beyond this, though. Make your own custom notebook with local maps, integrated checklists, and plans printed right from your own inkjet printer. Unlike traditional paper, you won’t have to worry about ink running or pages deteriorating when they get wet.

Here are the specs:

  • 50 sheets of white paper
  • Waterproof/tearproof
  • Inkjet printer needed for printing
  • 20# paper weight
  • 8.5″ x 11″

With limitless project potential, the Rite in the Rain Copier Paper is a great choice for the DIY notebook, planner, or map maker.

Everything We Recommend

Field Notes Expedition All-Weather Notebooks

Field Notes: Expedition

Heavyweight pages and great water repellency make this notebook a top performer and an excellent value.

Where to Buy

$15* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Rite in the Rain All-Weather Notebook

Rite in the Rain Universal

The best in the business has a wide range of notebooks to choose from but we found this to be the best size and ruling style.

Where to Buy

$10* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Rite in the Rain Waterproof Copier Paper

Rite in the Rain Copier Paper

Make your own custom waterproof notebooks with all-weather copier paper, an inkjet printer, and a stapler.

Where to Buy

$20* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

The Notebooks We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to a few brands and types of notebooks that we compared: Field Notes, Rite in the Rain, Rothco, Snugpak, GAK, Kombat, TerraSlate, and more.

You can see our full list of review criteria below in the What to Look For section, with an explanation for each.

We considered a wide range of notebooks with plenty of different models across a couple of brands. Performance-wise, there were not many options out of the top well-known brands that could keep up.

We’re always looking for new and better gear, so if you have a waterproof notebook that you trust, let us know in the comments. We review most of our tested gear annually so we can try to get it in the next roundup round and see if it will beat out our top picks.

What to Look For

The best waterproof notebooks have a few features to look for:

  1. Value
  2. Water & Tear Resistance
  3. Durability
  4. Size & Weight
  5. Versatility

When you get the right blend of these, you can find the perfect notebook for any weather conditions. Below, we break down what each of these features means for the notebooks that truly set themselves apart.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like a few notebooks shouldn’t blow out your entire budget. Most of them are inexpensive, so you should be able to find one that fits your budget.

You never want to spend too much money on one resource, especially when it comes to consumable supplies. It’s better to diversify your spending to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios.

Water & Tear Resistance

The main consideration in our testing was just how well the pages and notebook overall performed when exposed to water and tearing force. The material used for the pages is mostly the same, with some quality and thickness differences.

The outer cover on notebooks varied as well, which can help protect mostly against tearing since the top notebooks performed well in waterproof tests.


Tearing and water aren’t all a notebook is exposed to. Everyday wear and tear through regular use also tested their durability.

We even inadvertently tested a few through the washer and dryer and can confirm that our top picks will survive a laundry mishap.

Sweat, oil, grease, mud, and grime were all shrugged off by the Rite in the Rain and Field Notes models, whereas cheaper options didn’t fare so well with grease and a few heavier contaminants.

Size & Weight

Almost all of the manufacturers bring a wide range of notebook sizes to the mix, but we consider size and weight in almost all of our reviews since every ounce matters in mobile survival kits and everyday carry loadouts.

We found that the 3″ x 5″ and the 5″ x 7″ hit the ‘sweet spot’ weighing in at around an ounce, but still having plenty of room for notes. The tiny business card-sized notebooks from Rite in the Rain were interesting, but just weren’t durable enough with their perforated pages and had limited writing space.


Versatility between notebooks came in the form of page count, ruling style, and durability features- but the DIY option offered unlimited options. There isn’t much comparison if you want a custom notebook for printing or writing anything in that will handle all sorts of weather.

What Pens are Best for Waterproof Notebooks?

The writing conditions affect what will work. If you want to use your waterproof notebooks in any conditions (like most people) you’ll need one of these options to write wet or dry:

Rite in the Rain EDC Pen

You can see why this specific model is our top pick over other Rite in the Rain models (and the Space Pen) in our Best Survival Pen Review.

When conditions are dry, you can also use:

  • Permanent markers (Sharpies)
  • Ballpoint pens

You should avoid these water-based inks since they will bead on the page:

  • Gel pens
  • Highlighters
  • Fountain pens
  • Paint (water-based)

Who Needs a Waterproof Notebook?

Anyone who can write or even scribble can use a notebook. The water and tear resistance helps them be much more durable to handle whatever is thrown at them. If you’re putting together a survival kit, a notebook or some sort of paper is an essential item in it.

Something reliable to write on is an essential item in a wide variety of survival kits, including but not limited to:

If you find yourself with extras, they are useful around the house as well for taking notes, project work, and other areas where a durable writing pad would come in handy.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best waterproof notebooks are useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical survival experience:

Fayed, A., et al. (2023). Enhancing the performance of Cordura and ballistic nylon using polyurethane treatment for outer shell of bulletproof vest. Journal of King Saud University – Engineering Sciences. Volume 35. Issue 4. Pages 239 – 246. (Source)

Peng, Y., et al. (2008). Study on waterproof paper coatings formula and waterproof properties of coated paper. Health & Environmental Research Online. Volume 55. Issue 3. Page 1026 – 1030. (Source)

Zhang, X., et al. (2023). Thermochromic Photonic Crystal Paper with Integrated Multi-layer Structure and Fast Thermal Response: A Waterproof and Mechanically Stable Material for Structural-colored Thermal Printing. Advanced Materials. (Source)

The Final Word

Waterproof notebooks are incredibly versatile and we found them way more useful to have on hand through all of our testing than we initially expected. They make excellent gifts due to their low cost and how they can be used by anyone at any age.

Here are a few other gear reviews and guides our subscribers have found helpful:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our testing found the Field Notes: Expedition Waterproof Notebooks to be the best option given their value, water/tear resistance, durability, size/weight, and versatility.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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The Best Waterproof Notebooks

Rusty Collins

I am an engineer, Air Force veteran, emergency manager, husband, dad, and experienced prepper. I developed emergency and disaster plans around the globe and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

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