I used these in the military for 6 years, and as an electrician for the last 8 years. They survived a deployment to Iraq, a few field exercises, and all the the other crap the military could offer. They've survived the last 8 years as an electrician. Jobsites, rain, dust, mud, the washing machine, whatever. I always carry one of these at work.
Pencils work fine, pencil will smudge on the pages, but of course they will right? A ballpoint pen is also fine. A gel pen on the other hand is a no go.
Pros: I like that the pages are grid lined. There is useful info on the covers, never really needed it, but nice to look at occasionally. (Edit: 14 January 2019, I used the info on the cover to convert liters to gallons, so now I can say I've used the info inside the cover.) I can say from experience that they will survive the washing machine. The paper is pretty tough. Most cheap note pads will have the first page falling out in no time, these pages will last the life of the book.
Cons: No gel pens, but I hate gel pens so not a con to me. Could be to someone that likes them. There really are no cons for me for these notebooks. They're perfect.
Edit: Pro tip- rite in the rain pens will still write in freezing temps.