Over the years, I have learned what works, mostly by trial and error. I am particular about everything I carry along with me, I want stuff that works well. I select items based on ergonomics, comfort, ease of use and performance.
When it comes to taking notes, I like Moleskine Cahier notebooks. They look kinda' like a passport. They are durable and for me, contain enough pages for quick notes that I may jot down on a trip of about 6 weeks. Below is the manufacturers description.
Moleskine Cahier Notebooks Like comfy jeans on the weekends, the Moleskine Cahier is casual yet durable. A journal for all occasions -- It's soft, light and fits in every pocket. A flexible cardboard cover houses the acid-free paper pages, while the thread stitching is visible on the spine. The back cover has a spacious pocket for notes or clippings, and the last 16 pages of each journal are detachable. Available in 3 formats: Pocket (3.5 x 5"), Large (5 8.5") and XLarge (7.5 x 10"). Sold as a set of 3 notebooks with Black or Kraft Brown cover. Get your Moleskine Ruled Cahier Journal Black Pocket: set of 3 Ruled Journals $7.95 at Amazon.
Need something to write with? I used to carry a Fischer space pen, which is a great pen....but they are fairly expensive and they seemed to run out of ink quickly.
One day I was sitting around with my friend and fellow photographer Theresa Vernetti describing what I though would be the perfect pen. Small enough for your pocket, with a covered tip (so as not to stain clothes) and with a clip that was flush with the top (I didn't want it protruding above my shirt pocket level, because I have covered pockets rather than open pockets like on a dress shirt). Anyway, she found the Zebra F-310 and gave me a few prior to an overseas assignment. Since that trip, the Zebra F-301 compact has been my favorite writing instrument....now I pretty much carry one every day, work or play!
F-301 Compact Transforms from compacted size for storage to full size for use. Stainless Steel barrel Non-slip Grip Cap featured eye-loop to attach lanyard.
Buy a Zebra F-301 Compact for $1.79 at Amazon (you might as well order 3 or 4)
Need to repair something while you're on the road?....something always seems to be in need of fixing, so I carry the Leatherman Micra tool.
The Leatherman Micra tool Closes to 2.5 in. and weighs only 1.75 oz. It Features scissors, knife blade, tweezers, nail file/cleaner, flat Phillips screwdriver, medium and small screwdriver, bottle opener, ruler and lanyard attachment. Stainless steel and Made in USA. You can get a Leatherman Micra Tool at Amazon for about $20.00
Need a light that lasts 12 hours ?....how about the Photon X-Light Micro light...I keep one in my backpack and one in my toiletries case.
might be small and have a small price, but the Photon X-Light Micro offers
big brightness and features.
Click a single button to turn the bright LED on and off—no more having to continuously pinch a housing to keep the light engaged Provides a full range of brightness; simply hold the button down from the "on" position to dim; hold from "off" position to brighten Operate as a safety beacon with slow, medium, fast and S.O.S. blinking modes; operate as a squeeze light for signal/Morse Code mode LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) cast even, white light that's good for close-in lighting; nearly indestructible LEDs drastically improve battery life
Visible as a signal light for more than one mile Features a glow-in-the-dark button; quick-release ring reliably attaches to keys or gear.
Energizer Lithium batteries provide long lasting service even in sub-zero temperatures.
12+ hour battery life Made in USA - from US & foreign parts. Lifetime Guarantee.
I used to use a Maglight Maglite Solitaire which opertates on a single AAA
battery. It puts out a lot less light and has a burn time of only 5 hours*****
I got myPhoton X-Light Micro light at REI for $9.00