Cover Material Comparison - Blog

Which notebook cover material should I choose?

We recognize that notebooks can often be a very personal choice. Every book has distinguishing factors that may affect the user experience depending on the intended application of the notebook.

This post will closely examine the three cover materials we use on Rite in the Rain notebooks. We will describe each material and cover its manufacturing process, advantages over similar products on the market, performance attributes, and general suggestions for use.

The three varieties of Rite in the Rain covers are:
  • Fabrikoid - a fabric-wrapped, rigid cover stock used on our hard-cover notebooks.
  • Field-Flex - a flexible, cellulose-based cover stock used on our soft-cover notebooks.
  • PolyDura - a flexible plastic cover stock used on our spiral notebooks.


Our hard-cover notebooks are made to be durable, substantial, and elegant. Ideal for professional use, these books appear right at home in an office, classroom, or home environment. Despite a refined appearance, our hard-cover notebooks are made to the Rite in the Rain standard for toughness in the field.

Hard-cover notebooks are typically made by wrapping fabric around a rigid cover material that provides structure for the cover. A durable-stock cover sheet is bonded to the interior of the cover material, and the paper block is adhered to this sheet along the binding edge of the paper. There typically exists a small void at the binding between the cover sheet to which the paper is bound and the cover itself; this is by design and improves the flexibility and flatness of the book when opened. We improve on this process by wrapping a treated, water-resistant fabric around a very rigid, lightweight, and waterproof cover structure material that does not saturate when submerged. All of the adhesive used throughout our manufacturing process are completely waterproof. The cover sheet to which the paper block is attached is a durable, tear-resistant material. Our Fabrikoid cover material is recyclable.

Our hard-cover books have a light grain texture to the touch and flex only slightly when contorted. The cover is generally damage-resistant, but may show dents after an impact concentrated on a sharp point. Your notes are quite safe underneath our Fabrikoid covers.

Rite in the Rain Fabrikoid notebooks are available in four colors (yellow, black, green, and tan) and four standard sizes (4 1/4" x 6 3/4", 4 3/4" x 7 1/2", 6 3/4" x 8 3/4", and 8 3/4" x 11 1/4").


Our soft-cover notebooks are durable and flexible, making them a popular choice for rigorous field work.

Our tear-resistant and pliable Field-Flex cover material can be found on our perfect-bound and staple-bound notebook series. The covers on Field-Flex notebooks sit flush to the paper edges and the 17-gauge cover material is quite thin, so this cover material acts as a tough skin for your notes without adding unnecessary bulk. This material is also recyclable.

Soft-cover notebooks are produced similarly to hard-bound notebooks except the paper is bonded directly to the soft cover material. We improve the process by shaving the paper block's binding edge with a coarse cut, providing plenty of texture onto which our waterproof adhesive can grab an even stronger hold. The result is a tougher binding that can survive impact and exposure to the elements without issue. In our staple books, the tough Field-Flex cover material prevents the cover from tearing away from the staples under extreme duress.

Field-Flex covers have a leather-like texture to the touch, and both our staple-bound and perfect bound books are quite pliable. Their flexibility allows them to be contorted easily to fit into a pocket or tightly-packed bag. The flush fit of the cover to the paper leaves no odd edges or corners, reducing inconvenient snags. The cover itself may show scars and wrinkles under duress, though it is difficult to tear or penetrate outright.

Rite in the Rain Field-Flex notebooks are available in four colors (yellow, black, green, and tan) and a variety of sizes. Our stapled books are available in two sizes (3 1/4" x 4 5/8" and 4 5/8" x 7"), while our case-bound books are available in four sizes (3 1/4" x 5 1/4" top-bound, 3 1/2" x 5", 4 5/8" x 7 1/4", and 8 1/2" x 11").


Our PolyDura cover material is a pliable, 19-gauge high-density polyurethane that is light, slim, flexible, recyclable, and exceptionally durable. We use PolyDura covers on all of our spiral-bound books, which are typically preferred by field users who work in compromised environments. Spiral notebooks excel when your writing space is cramped or even non-existent. Because spiral notebooks fold back on themselves, they take up much less room as you write. Additionally, we use a 55-gauge PolyDura stock for the back covers on our larger spiral bound notebooks to provide a solid writing surface when writing away from the comfort of a desk.

Spiral notebooks are typically made by punching through a stack of paper with a cardstock cover sheet on either end of the stack, then looping a wire binding in a spiral pattern through the punched holes. We improve on this standard through superior materials and an advanced wire binding process that significantly improves the strength of the binding. Unlike cardstock, our PolyDura cover material does not absorb water and defends against abrasion and impact.

We make two different grades of our PolyDura: all front covers are 19-gauge and the back covers on our large spiral notebooks are 55-gauge. The thicker material provides a firm writing surface in a pinch.

Our PolyDura material is smooth to the touch and has a matte appearance with only a slight sheen. It is easily pliable, so pocket notebooks can be carried comfortably and other books can easily conform to find a home in a tightly-packed bag.

Rite in the Rain PolyDura notebooks are available in four colors (yellow, black, green, and tan) and are offered in both side- and top-spiral variants. Our top-spiral notebooks come in four sizes (3" x 5", 4" x 6", 6" x 9", and 8 1/2" x 11"), while our side-spiral notebooks are available in three sizes (3 1/4" x 5", 5/8" x 7", and 8 1/2" x 11").

Blog No. 22 - Posted January 15, 2015