Explorer

Baron Fig Apprentice Notebook Review

The Baron Fig Apprentice notebooks are pocket sized notebooks launched by Baron Fig a little after their successful Kickstarter campaign of their larger Confident notebook.

I have been an avid pocket notebook user for some time always having one, or several, notebooks with me at a time. For years this was exclusively a Field Notes memo book, however lately after changing how I carry my notebooks my preferred notebook choice has shifted.

My passport sized Travelers Notebook

My passport sized Travelers Notebook

I now carry around a passport sized Travelers Notebook (TN) as my everyday carry. This houses a notebook, a calendar and a sketchbook. I had been using the Midori branded notebooks however recently I decided to try one of the Baron Fig apprentice notebooks as they fit perfectly into the passport size TN.

The Seer, the standard Apprentice and the new Explorer

The Seer, the standard Apprentice and the new Explorer

Benefits of the Baron Fig Apprentice

There are several things that I quite like about the Baron Fig Apprentice notebooks. Firstly it’s their simple design. The standard Apprentice has a light grey cover and a choice of optional grids. On the whole I have used the blank and the dot grid versions, however I do have a ruled pack that I will be trying out soon. The grid is subtle in all their notebooks blending into the background. I find the darker notebook grids off-putting so these light grey grids work really well.

Example of the different ruling options

Example of the different ruling options

I also really like the size of the Apprentice notebooks. A big benefit is that they fit into my TN but I don't feel robbed in any way by the shorter size. In the photo below you can see the size difference between the Field Notes and Apprentice notebooks.

Each Apprentice notebook has a few perforated pages at the back. I haven’t found a use for these, however its good to know if I needed to rip out a note or share something with a friend, this can be done without rooting around for a scrap of paper or damaging the notebook in any way.

Lastly Baron Fig run the occasional limited edition run of an Apprentice notebook. This benefit may appear to go against my previous post on limited editions, but I don’t have the same pull with these notebooks. For example when recently buying some of the Apprentice notebooks from Baron Fig I did pick up a pack of the Seer and Explorer notebooks, as they were still in stock, not because I needed to have them. Both of these designs are really nice and I have enjoyed using them, but we are only talking about a different cover. There is nothing else unique about these limited edition notebooks.

The paper

The writing experience in a Baron Fig notebook is good on the whole. The paper works really well with pencils in particular, but mostly I use a gel ink pen, a fineliner or a rollerball.

Examples of gels pens and pencils in the Apprentice

Examples of gels pens and pencils in the Apprentice

In terms of fountain pen use things can be a little hit and miss. Some of my fine nib fountain pens work ok, others feather and then you also get some wetter and broader nibs bleeding through the page. As you can see from the below image many of my fountain pens and inks performed fairly well. There was some feathering with the J.Herbin inks, but on the whole they look ok on the page.

Fountain pen testing on the Apprentice paper

Fountain pen testing on the Apprentice paper

However flip the page and you can see the extent of the bleedthrough these have on the Baron Fig paper. This wouldn't bother some people however with some of these inks and fountain pens the bleedthrough is too severe for me. I therefore wouldn’t class the Apprentice notebooks as fountain pen friendly. There are so many alternative options of fountain pen friendly paper, albeit not in a pocket sized notebook, that I don't necessarily see this as a downside of the Apprentice notebooks.

Severe fountain pen bleedthrough

Severe fountain pen bleedthrough

Overall thoughts

Over the past few months the types of pocket notebooks I am using has changed, completely moving away from Field Notes. I have found that there are other notebooks that suit my everyday note taking requirements mostly stimulated by my use of the TN.

Baron Fig has become a little bit of a favourite. The notebooks work well, are durable and the paper quality is perfect for note taking. But the big thing I have been surprised by is my preference for the shorter size that Baron Fig Apprentice notebooks offer. I have really enjoyed using these notebooks and more than likely will alway have one in my TN moving forward.

The lovely guys over at Pocket Notebooks sent me a pack of the standard Apprentice notebooks as part of this review. They have these as well as the Explorer notebooks in stock at the moment so if you are intrigued why not head on over there and pick up a pack.