Calepino

Calepino Pocket Notebook Review

It’s no secret that I use a lot of pocket notebooks and also have a healthy stock of them. I always have one or two with me as they are portable and perfect for jotting down notes on the move. Due to my love of pocket notebooks I want to try any brand that I can get my hands on to make sure I am using the notebook that best suits me and make sure I am not missing something.

Today’s review focuses on the Calepino Pocket Notebooks that originate from France. I had known about Calepino for some time and wanted to try out a local European branded notebook. In this review I will be focusing on the No. 1 ruled notebooks however my thoughts and comments can be applied to any of the standard line-up grid options.

The Calepino notebooks come in packs of three and are enclosed in a lovely envelope design that matches the cover of the notebooks themselves. For a three pack of these notebooks you will pay around £7.95 making it a fairly similar price to other brands on the market.

The design of the Calepino pocket notebooks is subtle. They have a kraft cover made from recycled paper stock. Each different grid option gives you a different colour on the cover of the notebook to help differentiate between them. The lined notebooks are red, blank is blue and grid is green. The only outlier to the standard line-up is the dot grid notebooks which have a white and silver cover stock. The inside cover includes space for you to include your personal information, when you started the notebook etc. and all in French.

Red lined ruling matches the cover colour

Red lined ruling matches the cover colour

The paper stock in the Calepino notebooks is really nice and what sets these notebooks apart from their counterparts. Each notebook comes with 48 pages of 90g paper which is heavier than alternatives such as Field Notes. The lined ruling is the same red colour that appears on the exterior of the notebook.

I have been using a range of different pens and pencils in these notebooks to test out the paper stock. Pencils are lovely on this paper. The paper has some tooth and can chew through your graphite but it’s a nice pairing. Fountain pens also fare well although with some of the broader nibs there is a degree of feathering. Gel pens, ballpoints and rollerballs have no issues on this paper. It seems that with the Calepino notebooks you are able to use your preferred writing instruments without too many issues making it a notebook suitable for all.

Calepino Limited Editions

In addition to the standard line-up of Calepino pocket notebooks they also have limited edition notebooks that you can purchase directly from their website. They usually come with a number of extras which makes them quite a bit more than the Field Notes and Word Notebooks limited editions. You seem to only be able to order these direct from the Calepino site itself and the print runs are very small, the latest only having 150 copies. Some of these designs look great but the high cost means I have never been tempted to try out one of the limited edition sets.

Field Notes side by side with the Calepino pocket notebook

Field Notes side by side with the Calepino pocket notebook

Where I stand

Whilst I enjoy the Calepino notebooks I don’t feel as attached with this brand as I do with Field Notes notebooks and the passport sized Midori notebooks. The Calepino pocket notebooks are a solid choice and worth a try. The paper stock is the big seller allowing you to enjoy numerous different writing tools that other pocket notebooks don’t give you. I find that if I want to use my fountain pens more for daily use I reach for a Calepino notebook, however otherwise there are other pocket notebooks I use before the Calepino pocket notebook.

Used versus Un-used pocket notebooks

For some time now I have been thinking about the number of stationery items I own, versus what I regularly use. In most cases I use a lot of what I own, regularly rotating through items that I use. However I have noticed that I have a particular problem with paper. I have always loved using notebooks and in the past I would get frustrated with poor paper quality, feathering and bleed issues. After I discovered the Pen Addict podcast I started buying my paper online, discovering new brands that eased my paper woes. I now own a large amount of paper, more than I would ever use.   

My issue seems to be really prevalent with pocket notebooks. Initially this was in part fuelled by the crazy collectable, and in part, competitive nature that exists around Field Notes. You don't really have to search very far to see people desperate to have all the new releases and buying up large quantities of limited editions. Many people will have a problem of hoarding notebooks so I am not alone, and my stack is probably much much smaller than most, but to get a real idea on how bad it was I decided to write a post on the number of used and un-used notebooks I own. 

The Used 

My used collection

My used collection

In total I have 50 used pocket notebooks. I started using pocket notebooks around the Day Game Field Notes release which was in summer 2012, so I can presume I picked up a pack here in the UK any time in August or September 2012. From here I started regularly using Field Notes pocket notebooks and carrying them around with me all the time.   

Between summer 2012 and present day I have used 45 Field Notes books, 2 Doane pocket notebooks, 2 Calepino pocket notebooks and 1 Nock Co pocket notebook. That averages out to around 1.25 notebooks per month, and I would say about 95% are fully used, front to back.  

Field Notes have dedicated section on the inside cover for your personal information and due to this I have developed the habit of dating each notebook I use. I have found dating a notebook can be very useful if I need to find a note again later on and I have now extended this habit into all notebooks that I use. 

My first 3 completed notebooks 

My first 3 completed notebooks 

The Un-used  

This is where we have a slightly different story. I have quite a few un-used notebooks. Based on my use rate I have a healthy supply so there is no risk of me running out any time soon. 

I own 122 un-used pocket notebooks. This is made up of 6 Doane paper pocket notebooks, 3 Calepino, 2 Baron Fig, 3 Word, 5 Nock Co, 2 Dot Grid and 101 Field Notes.  

A Preferance for Field Notes   

I have tried a good range of pocket notebooks as you can tell, but again Field Notes are by far my preferred choice. This is not down to paper quality - we all know they don't handle ink very well, and it is not because I have the bug and have to have them all. It's because I like the style of a Field Notes pocket notebook. I like the designs that are release, I like the size of the notebooks and I like the fact that I can buy these easily and freely in the UK. Essentially I think they are a pretty good notebooks for throwing in my bag and carrying around for me and scribbling down, mostly unimportant, notes. I am not precious about keeping the perfect notebook nor am I trying to protect or collect these notebooks. They are there to be used and abused and that's how I use them.

The sealed 3-packs 

The sealed 3-packs 

My hoarded 3-packs

I have 19 sealed 3-packs of Field Notes. Mostly these are extras of a seasonal release that I bought thinking I would love a particular release. For example I have 3 unopened packs of Cold Horizon because I thought I would love this edition. I was enticed by the lovely blue covers and I bought without trying the notebooks out first in fear that if I didn't stock up I would miss out. I had a similar experience with the Shelterwood edition. I bought these from Field Notes HQ in person on a visit to Chicago and bought several packs due to the thicker paper stock and ruled grid thinking I would use them with fountain pens all the time. Turns out I am not the biggest fan of the wooden covers.

Others are just the second 3-pack that I bought and due to the sheer amount of Field Notes that I have I haven't cracked them open yet.  

I have 18 singles of Field Notes. Usually these are the last notebook from a 3-pack and I have a variety of different notebooks in this pile. These are notebooks that I just haven't got around to using, and are also ones I have around in case I find someone who may be slightly interested in Field Notes, I can pass a notebook along.   

Singles including a Two Rivers, Drink Local, Pitch Black and a Northerly among others 

Singles including a Two Rivers, Drink Local, Pitch Black and a Northerly among others 

Finally I have 26 partially opened 3-packs. A lot of these are the Two Rivers edition. I really liked the crazy letterpress designs on these notebooks and ended up ordering extras after initially trying out my first batch (lesson learnt this time round). I also have a few of the recent editions which fall into this little sub-category.  

Partially opened 3-packs

Partially opened 3-packs

Other brands of pocket notebooks 

My other pocket notebook brands  

My other pocket notebook brands  

Doane Paper grid

Doane Paper grid

I have tried and used other branded pocket notebooks but I have failed to latch on to them as there was usually something missing. For example with the Doane Paper that distinctive grid pattern in a pocket notebook is not something I can work with. The blue grid is super bright and I find the grid doesn't work so well in a small sized notebook. Therefore these are just left alone in my cupboard rarely, if ever, used. Calepino pocket notebooks are lovely and work really well with fountain pens but there isn't enough pull for me to grab one of these notebooks over something else. Nock Co. was another brand of notebook I enjoyed using and the reporter style was a nice change but again it's not a notebook I reach for regularly. I haven't tried the fountain pen friendly version of the Nock Co. notebooks, but these are added on the 'to use' list. The Baron Fig Apprentice and Word are new to me. These notebooks have not been used and tested enough for me to have an opinion just yet but I think the Word notebooks will be the ideal work notebook where I need to make use of to-do lists. 

So what does all this mean?  

To be honest I am not entirely sure. It definitely means I have a pocket notebook addiction. It means that I don't use pocket notebooks enough to warrent this huge un-used collection of notebooks. I don't encounter this problem with other sized notebooks. I have a small stash of larger sized notebooks that keep me going, and I know what I like to use and generally keep a couple of spare notebooks on hand. But with pocket notebooks this logic does not come into play.  

In the past I have obviously have suffered from FOMO, but my buying attitudes have changed and adjusted over time. I'm not perfect but now I buy what I like and I buy a sensible quantity rather than stupid amounts that I will never be able to use. I also suffer from an addiction to Field Notes specifically rather than any type of pocket notebooks. Mostly this is because of the seasonal releases that other brands don't have and results in me buying more than I need. If we only ever had the Kraft edition then perhaps I wouldn't stock up in the same manner. 

I also now use the Midori Travelers Notebook and this has been a constant in my life for a couple of months. The inserts I use mean that it won't replace my general note taking, however I do have a ruled insert as well and at the moment this has impacted on how much I reach for a pocket notebook. If I continue with the same system this could, in time, impact on how many pocket notebooks I burn through.  

This is not the end of my thoughts on pocket notebooks and how I use them. I like to record things, keep notes, make doodles and then refer back to them or flick through a random used notebook in the future. It helps me to see where I was at the time, what I was interested in and how I got there. In turn this guides me.   

I would love to hear your stories of notebook hoarding and if you have a particular notebook weakness please share the brand with me.  

New pen purchases

I have been going through a house move for the last couple of weeks and as a result the Finer Point has been pretty quiet. In that time I have received some great new products that I will be reviewing in the coming weeks.

New purchases include a Pilot Vanishing Point, EF nib in matte black, a Pilot MT fine nib, my first Pilot G2 pen (pauses for gasps), Pilot Iroshizuku ku-jaku ink, Calepino ruled pocket notebooks and the Baron Fig Confidant.

So I have a lot to play with but reviews will be coming soon.