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Everyday Considerations: Pocket Notebooks (Part 2)

September 4, 2015 | By | Add a Comment

Welcome to Everyday Considerations: Pocket Notebooks Part 2!  In case you missed it, be sure to check out Everyday Considerations: Pocket Notebooks, Part 1.  First, let’s get the standard disclaimer out of the way.  Each article in the series will focus on a different category of items that people can carry as part of their EDC.  These are not product reviews per se (those will come separately), nor are they meant to be competitive between the companies to say one is better than another.  I simply want to inform you of some of the options available so that you can make your own decision. The articles in the series will take a look at these products and some of their interesting features, and are meant to be read in conjunction with the subsequent product reviews.  They will not cover every option available; rather, these are the companies that chose to be part of the series or were items that I already had in my collection.

Everyday Considerations Pocket Notebooks Part 2 Cover Photo

If you make an EDC item that you would like to see featured in an upcoming article, simply email TitleBeard@gmail.com.

Last month, it was Everyday Considerations: Pens, and this month we are talking pocket notebooks.  In Part 1, we looked at some pocket notebooks from Baron Fig, Doane Paper, Eighty Pages, Hitlist Notebooks, and Palomino, and in Part 2, we will look at an assortment of pocket notebooks from:

Many of the companies featured in Part 1 and Part 2 offer notebooks in various sizes and styles, and many of them included some of these other variations in the packages they sent.  While this entry in the Everyday Considerations series focuses solely on the pocket notebooks, the separate product reviews will cover the additional notebooks as well.  Outside of the technical details on the notebooks themselves, you need to see how they handle being written in; if there is bleed through on the pages, smearing of ink, etc.  As you will see below, I used four different writing implements to test each notebook; The Bolt – Pilot G2, and a fountain pen, from Karas Kustoms, a Classic Aluminum Pen from Schon Dsgn, and a red fine point Sharpie.  At the outset, let me say this – all of the pocket notebooks featured in both Part 1 and Part 2 would make an excellent addition to your collection, so have a look at the breakdowns below to see which features you like best and feel confident knowing that you get solid daily use out of all of them.

 

Rhodia

Rhodia pocket notebooks

Website: RhodiaPads.com

Blog: RhodiaDrive.com

Facebook: @RhodiaDrive

Rhodia’s tagline, “A modern notebook since 1934″ is understated, to say the least.  Offering its customers a massive selection of notebook styles from which to choose, Rhodia has options for nearly every size and style (within a largely orange and black color scheme).  I received seven different pocket sized notebooks from Rhodia, in addition to a couple larger size notebooks as well.

I will cover the details of all of the notebooks on an individual basis within the full review, but purposes of this article, I have divided them into two categories; those with 80g paper (top row pictured above) and those with 90g paper (bottom row pictured above).

Rhodia products are available from a number of different online retailers that you can access via the “Buy Now” buttons on the individual product pages on RhodiaPads.com.  I received my Rhodia books from Rhodia parent company Exaclair via FedEx.  All of the product were packaged in a cardboard box and surrounded by bubble wrap.  The bottom row of books pictured were also individually shrinkwrapped and experienced no issues in transit.

 

You can see photos, approximate price, and size information for the individual notebooks, as well as a closeup shot of Rhodia’s famous dot grid pattern in the gallery above.  The notebooks I received ranged in size from 3 x 4.5 to 3.5 x 5.5 and contain anywhere from 40 pages to 192 and range in price from $2.75 to  $17.00 (depending on which location you use to ultimately make your purchase).

A few general notes:  Nearly all of the notebooks that Rhodia offers are available with grid/graph paper, lined, blank or dot grid format paper types.  There are various types of binding to choose from, from staples (side or top stapled) to a typical stitch bookbinding.  It is important to note that all of the notebooks in the top row of the group photo (except for the far left), and the smallest notebook on the bottom row are all available with perforated pages.  Obviously, this makes page removal very easy, and this is a great feature should you need to take a page out to give a note to someone or keep a note for yourself outside of the book.

Additionally, the three notebooks on the bottom (all thicker than the ones on the top) have an Italian leatherette cover and a pocket on the inside back cover of the notebook for storing receipts, notes, small bills and other similar things.  The elastic band closure helps keep the book closed even when items in the pocket may cause the pocket to bulge, and the opening of the pocket in all three faces the spine, so the odds of something falling out seem very slim.

Rhodia 80g test writing page front

The front of the Rhodia 80g test writing page.

Rhodia 80g test writing page back

The back of the Rhodia 80g test writing page.

First, we have the test writing pages for the 80g paper (top row of notebooks picture above).  I used orange notebook on the far right of the top row for this test.  Per usual, the Sharpie showed through the most on the back, but did not bleed through to the subsequent page.  All of the inks dried relatively quickly and there were no smearing issues.

Rhodia 90g test writing page front

The front of the Rhodia 90g test writing page.

Rhodia 90g test writing page back

The back of the Rhodia 90g test writing page.

For the 90g paper (bottom row of notebooks in the group photo).  I used the black notebook on the far right of the bottom row for this test.  Again, it was the Sharpie that stood out the most on the back page, but there was no bleed through to subsequent pages. All of the inks dried quickly, but the Pilot G2 ink and fountain pen ink were the slowest of the four.

The full review will contain some timed smear tests to show you more specific results, but at the moment, my preference is for the 80g paper, simply because that lends itself to quicker note taking with less fear of ink smearing.  Of course, that also presumes use of a gel pen like the Pilot G2.  If you were using a ballpoint pen, a marker, or a pen like the Schon pen, you likely would not experience any issues.

I do enjoy all the Rhodia notebooks – the thicker ones may seem cumbersome for everyday carry depending on your personal style and pocket space, but they are excellent notebooks that are still very well-suited for daily use.

Rhodia Everyday Carry (EDC)

Rite in the Rain

Rite In The Rain Pocket Notebooks

Website: RiteInTheRain.com

Instagram: @RiteInTheRain

Facebook: @RiteInTheRain

Twitter: @RiteInTheRain

Rite in the Rain manufactures a number of different all-weather writing products.  What does all-weather mean?  You can use the Rite in the Rain notebooks in all weather as the paper is resistant to water.  How resistant to water is it?  Visit RiteInTheRain.com and watch this video to see how some various writing implements perform on dry Rite in the Rain Paper as well as Rite in the Rain paper that is literally underwater.  You can also check out this short Instagram video from my friends at CanYouHandlebar.

I received some of the Black Mini-Stapled Notebooks to test.  The notebooks arrived via UPS in a padded envelope and the group of notebooks were shrinkwrapped and experienced no issues in transit.

Just to be clear, for purposes of this article, I will only be judging how the writing utensils I mentioned above perform on dry paper.  I’ll do some wet paper tests in the separate product review.

Rite In The Rain pocket notebook inside back cover

The Black Mini-Stapled Notebooks are staple-bound, and measure in 3.25 x 4.625 and contain 24 (numbered) pages of the weather resistant paper.  The pages are a light gray color (different from all of the other pocket notebooks I tested), and come in the “Universal Pattern”, which is a grid pattern of sorts (seen below); solid horizontal lines and vertical dashed lines, which are handy for drawing or mapping, or even designing your own check list with boxes to fill in once tasks are completed.  The Black Mini-Stapled Notebooks come in a three pack for $6.95 (plus shipping).

Outside of the all-weather paper (a huge plus), the Rite in the Rain books come with a couple other useful features: the back cover has a four inch ruler on one side and a ten centimeter ruler on the opposite side, and the inside of the back cover offers some tips on what writing implements will work on the Rite in the Rain paper whether it is wet or dry, only dry, or not at all.

Rite In The Rain test writing page front

The front of the Rite in the Rain test writing page.

Rite In The Rain test writing page back

The back of the Rite In The Rain test writing page

As you can see, the Bolt with the Pilot G2 insert did not fare well, with some mild streaking after over a minute of drying time, and the fountain pen barely showed up at all.  However, it is important to note that I knew this was going to be the case because of the information on the inside of the back cover.  Because the all-weather paper protects against water, it also “protects” against water-based inks.  But as you can see, the Schon pen performed just fine as did the Sharpie (pencil tests will be included in the separate product review).  Interestingly enough, the quality of the paper was such that the Sharpie did not show through the back of the page at all, an advantage that none of the other pocket notebooks can claim.

Despite my preference for writing with gel pens, I found Rite in the Rain notebooks to be a great pocket notebook, and would recommend them to anyone, but especially those who work outdoors or where the conditions may be particularly humid.  Because of the durability (and the rulers on the back), I have also found that they make great woodshop notebooks, and I’m not worried that spilling something on them will damage the notes I have taken.

Rite In The Rain EDC

Scout Books

Scout Books pocket notebooks

Website: ScoutBooks.com

Instagram: @scoutbooks

Facebook: @scoutbooks

Twitter: @scoutbooks

Made in Portland, Oregon, Scout Books claims the motto of “Little Books for Big Ideas”.  Scout Books not only offers a ridiculously wide range of cover designs but also gives its customers the chance to make your own Scout Book (prices start at $195.00 for an order of 50 books with a custom cover – one color design and standard interior – you get to choose between blank, lined, or dot grid pages).

Custom interiors are available (see the website for specific pricing), and the book I chose to use for the writing test (the book on the right in the picture above), the Today is the Day Notebook by Dan Cassaro, had a special “Checklist” layout on the front and backs of the pages, with a space for a date at the top as well as box to write a heading, then lines for your tasks and boxes to check off when you’re finished.  As a rabid list maker, I really liked this interior style.

I received the notebooks pictured above via USPS in a sturdy cardboard envelope, and the notebooks experienced no issues in transit.

Scout Books pocket notebook close up

Outside of some plain exterior covers, Scout Books has also teamed up with various designers to offer some fresh cover styles, like the Dense Dash by Cotton & Flask (on left in top photo).  The pocket sized Scout Books are staple-bound, measure in at 3.5 x 5 with 32 pages, and sell in three packs from $8.95-$9.95 (plus shipping) depending on style, but single versions of many of the notebooks are also available for $4.95, an option not offered by many companies.

Scout Books quite simply offers the widest variety of cover designs of any company that I have seen.

Scout Books test writing page front

The front of the Scout Books test writing page.

Scout Books test writing page back

The back of the Scout Books test writing page

With the writing test, all of the writing utensils performed fine on the paper, and like with most of the other pocket notebooks, it was the Sharpie that showed through the back of the page the most.  However, it did not bleed onto subsequent pages.  All of the inks dried fairly quickly and the paper seems suitable for your writing implement of choice.

Scout notebooks are made from 100% recycled material, the printing uses vegetable based inks, and they source all their raw materials from North America.  They are a fun company, and I would recommend them not only to general pocket notebook users, but especially those looking for some new and original designs, or those looking to make their own custom notebook for company branding purposes or even personal use.

Scout Books EDC

Word. Notebooks

Word Notebooks pocket notebook group shot

Website: WordNotebooks.com

Instagram: @wordnotebooks

Facebook: @wordnotebooks

Twitter: @wordnotebooks

Word. Notebooks started as a side project between a team of online publishers based in New Jersey, “…out of the desire to have the perfect notebook with us at all times.” The notebooks are staple-bound, measure in at 3.5 x 5.5 with 48 lined pages.  But the pages aren’t simply lined – they also bear the Word “system” to help you better organize your notes (more on that below).  Word offers a wide range of cover designs for their pocket notebooks (in addition to other writing accessories) and the vast majority of the notebooks sell in three packs for $9.95 (plus shipping).  Word also offers an “Adventure Log” series that has a different page style for cataloging your travels that sells for $12.00 (plus shipping) per three pack.

My favorite option (also the most cost effective) is the Word BYOB 10-pack.  For $25.00 (plus shipping) you get to pick any ten Word notebooks that you want (pending stock availability, of course).  It’s cheaper than buying three three-packs, and you can pick whatever design you want.

I received the Black (3pk) and Indigo (3pk), and the notebooks arrived to me via USPS in a sturdy cardboard envelope. The three packs were each wrapped in plastic and experienced no issues in transit.

Word Notebooks pocket notebook inside front cover

Word notebooks are solid pocket notebooks, but what makes them really stand out is their unique organizational system (see the photo above).  The inside front cover of each notebook contains spaces for your name, an “If found, contact” line, a space for a few general notes, and places to record the date, but also a “Use Guide” showing how you can use the circles on the side of each line.  Word suggests coloring in the center circle for a Bullet Point, outlining the outer circle for an Important point, putting one slash through the whole circle for an In Progress designation, and an X through the whole circle for a Complete task.  Simple, yet brilliant.

In addition to the fact that you could come up with your own system to use the circles, you certainly do not have to use them at all.  They are so unobtrusive and take up so little space on the page that you still have a sizable writing area whether or not you utilize them.

Word Notebooks test writing page front

The front of the Word. Notebooks test writing page.

Word Notebooks test writing page back

The back of the Word. Notebooks test writing page.

The Word books performed well in the writing test, and all of the inks are great for “front page only” writing, if that’s your thing.  Once again, the Sharpie showed through the back of the page the most, and it did have a very mild bleed-through on the subsequent page, but it was a spot smaller than the center circle that you’d color in for a bullet point.  The fountain pen ink did show through the back of the page a little more than it has in some of the other tests, but it did not bleed through to the subsequent page.

Be sure to evaluate this when considering your chosen writing utensil, but know that Word books are great pocket notebooks.  I would recommend them not only for general fans of pocket notebooks, but especially those who are looking for an organization system that is subtle, yet effective.

Word Notebooks EDC

There you have Everyday Considerations: Pocket Notebooks Part 2!  Between the various companies, there is surely a pocket notebook to fit every style and every budget so be sure to pay them all a visit and see the full inventories they have to offer.  See you next time!

Everyday Considerations

Everyday Considerations: Wallets

Everyday Considerations: Hanks

Everyday Considerations: Pens

Everyday Considerations: Pocket Notebooks (Part 1)

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Category: EDC, Everyday Considerations, Featured, Product Review

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