Paper Notebook Recommendations?

In light of the fountain pen thread (which has me dusting off my pens and seeing if I can get them going again) I’m in the market for some more notebooks.

I have been using the Moleskin, pocket size, soft cover, ruled notebooks for lots of things for a long time. However, I’m a bit disappointed that the elastic straps lose their stretch even just sitting around. I like them for the closure. I also really like and use the ribbon marker but wish there were 2 on occasion. I like the multiple colors that they come in. I am not as fond of the paper. It seems to take a long time for the ink to dry. I’ve been using Pilot G-2 gel pens lately because I like how they write and I take lots of notes. I may go back to one or more fountain pens.

I took a look at the Baron Fig notebooks but the soft cover ones are too small, with too few pages in them .


What other choices are there for notebooks in the roughly 3 x 5 inch size, about 100 pages, with soft covers that come in a variety of colors with elastic or similar closures that actually work over time? They need to lie flat for writing and have Bonus if they have paper that is thick enough for me to use fountain pens.


There is a lot. I like Baron Fig and Midori. Webbie from Rhodia is also great.

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I love Leuchtturm. Their bigger ones have two ribbons, and the paper quality is better than Moleskine.


IMO, Rhodia paper is very fountain pen friendly but can take a while for the ink to dry; especially when using broad, wet nibs. An A6 size notebook would be close to the size you’re looking for.

I carry a Field Notes notebook with me daily but the paper can vary on its fountain pen friendliness between the different editions.

The Traveler’s notebook system might work if you’re looking for a refillable system with a bunch of customization options. The passport size is probably closest to your size needs.

I have not tried them but Leuchtturm1917 has a soft cover A6 notebook with page markers and an elastic closure that comes in a wide variety of colors.

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I agree with @RosemaryOrchard and @Wolfie, Leuchtturm might be your best bet: similar to moleskine in size and look, they should lay as flat as you are accustomed to, the paper is fountain pen friendly (and gel pen friendly too) without being a “slate of glass” as Clairefontaine’s (Rhodia), which is indeed FP friendly but ink takes forever to dry (same for Tomoe River Paper, which may be a little too thin too) and i find it no to be that gel ink friendly.
They have a lot of sizes too (this morning i was looking at their B6+ size, which is new to me and should fit in the traveler’s notebook system, but this is another story).

Now I’m off in search of

which i missed completely :eyes:


Thanks everyone, I have some Leuchtturm notebooks on order now. I’ll post back with my opinions once they arrive and I’ve had a chance to use them a bit.


If you like the Moleskine size, look at Leuchturm - similar size and, for fountain pens, nicer paper. Very robust.

If you want to shiver in ecstasy each time you put pen to paper, get a notebook with Tomoe River paper - very light but a delight for fountain pens. Nanami Paper makes a nice selection - but of you’re outside the continental USA, shipping costs make it pricy.

The Midori Traveler’s series are also nice - leather binder with a choice of refills - and Etsy is full of people making lovely paper refills.

If you hadn’t already noticed, this whole fountain pen lark is a great way of using up all that extra cash

Another vote for Leuchtturm - great notebooks!


I agree on @wolfie’s assessment. (Disclaimer: I don’t use them currently, but I do feel they’re a great option for what you’re describing except for the soft cover requirement).

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:thinking: I was disappointed with Baron Fig. Great look, marketing, and customer service, but wasn’t impressed with the paper.


I think Rhodia/Clairfontaine is the ultimate paper. They make Webnotebooks which are very nice, but only have one ribbon.

If you want not one, not two, but three ribbons, the official bullet journal has three. It’s fountain pen friendly. The paper is slightly thinner than Rhodia/Clairfontaine, with a bit more tooth, but bleed-through doesn’t seem to be a problem. As @memex pointed out, it’s a Leuchtturm notebook, customized for Ryder Carroll.

If you’re looking for more of a planner, the Passion Planner Daily is on the way. I’ve been using a portion of the free PDF, and it’s working for me. It provides a nice balance of structure and freedom. I’ve ordered a set of four in tranquil colors, as I tire of black planners.

Finally, there are plenty of disc-system notebooks that might strike your fancy. You can add and remove pages at will, change types of paper, add pouches or a sheet of page-tabs, etc. Disc size determines capacity, with 3/4", 1", and 1.5" being popular. I tried some Tul paper with my fountain pen today, and it worked well. It has a finer finish and is less translucent than Leuchtturm, probably similar to Rhodia.


And it’s made by leuchtturm :wink:


I like Studio Neat’s Totebook. I am a soft cover fan b/c hard cover NEVER lay flat. I’ve tried all the above and none of them worked for me. The only negative on Totebooks are they don’t have a ton of pages so I go through them fast. Which, come to think of it, really isn’t a negative as I get to buy more notebooks.

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I am a big fan of the disc bound system. Highly recommend either


Make it personalized the way you use it. Some great paper too. Enjoy.



Dang. Those WH ones look quite nice.

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My new favorite. Paper is decently thick and it’s pre-numbered. Extra bonus…it has a pen loop on the spine.

Dotted Bullet Notebook Journal by HUSTLE Co | Thick Dot Grid Notebooks with 120gsm Bleed-Resistant Paper | Premium A5 Hardcover Journals w/Page Numbers, Pen Holder, Pocket, Slipcase + Bonus Ruler by Hustle Co.
Learn more:

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Another vote for Leuchtturm - they have an interesting new size which is the dimensions of a paperback book, softcover - a bit less bulky than A5, 2 ribbons , 1 closure band, pocket in back cover and 123 pages - dot grid for me but available in all colours and paper types. i’d say their paper is the best for anyone who uses various kinds of pens. Wayyyyyy better than moleskine . Enjoy your exploring!

Ps I just checked - size is 125 x 190 mm

Baron Fig make beautiful notebooks. Of course Fieldnotes for pocketable

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I found this notebook from Tomoe River Paper.

They also have beautiful leather stuff. The leather looks good and hand-stitching for that price is a bargain.

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I agree with @JohnAtl - the bang-for-the-buck fountain-pen-friendly notebook is almost always Rhodia, with a huge variety of lined, graph, and unlined paper choices, with staple-top, spiral (top or side) or bound. As a lefty I lean towards a staple-top notepad for freedom of movement, usually Rhodia Ice. I’ve also used Clairefontaine (lovely, expensive, slow to dry), as well as Apica, Kyokuto, and Maruman (and others) - all good. But there are lots of good choices out there, some ridiculously expensive.