Travelers Notebook

The Nomad Factory Travellers Notebook Review

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The Nomad Factory contacted me recently and asked if I would like to test run one of their Travelers Notebooks. All thoughts in this post are my own.

I wasn’t aware of The Nomad Factory before they contacted me asking if I would like the review one of their Travelers Notebooks. They’re based in the UK with the leather sourced from Yorkshire and the notebooks created in London. It’s nice to see a UK stationery company creating high quality and well considered products.

The Nomad Factory’s take on the Travelers Notebook.

It’s obvious from the moment you open up your package that The Nomad Factory has thought about the presentation and delivery of their leather notebook covers. The product arrives in a kraft box that’s filled with torn kraft paper.

The notebook itself is held in a cloth bag with The Nomad Factory’s branding on the front. This cloth cover is thick and sturdy, moreso than the Travelers Company equivalent.

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The notebook is similar to what you would recognise from the Travelers Company. It comes in the standard A5 slim size. There are three different leather colour options, black, brown and rustic (which looks like a worn brown colour). I have the black one which I have been using for a few weeks now.

I’ve noticed as I’ve used my notebook that the leather doesn’t mark easily. Personally I don’t mind scratches and signs of wear and tear but this leather holds up well with use. Alongside this its also lovely and soft to the touch.

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The elastic with each of the notebooks matches the leather colour. It’s fixed from the spine rather than from the back flap and there are no knots but a clean clasp that means no lumps or bumps from your notebook.

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All of the elastic is secured by a metal clasp that hangs from the bottom of the notebook which almost feels like a bookmark.

Let’s talk paper.

The Nomad Factory notebook comes with three inserts. There is a ruled, grid and plain insert each with 32 pages. This is less that you would normally expect, I think for this size the common number of pages is 64, but the quality of the paper is good.

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They handle most of my writing materials well. I have used fountain pens without any bleed through issues and no feathering that I noticed. The grid lines are a muted grey colour and not too bold and distracting. That’s a big win for me. I did a small pen test also throwing in a few ink and drawing pens to see how the paper held up.

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With the Noodlers Black ink in my brush pen the paper did buckle a little under the weight of the ink and the Copic marker bled through quite badly. Neither of these things are a surprise. All of the other writing tools I used worked really well on the paper.

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How I’ve been using my Nomad Factory notebook.

I have been using this notebook as a catch all. I’ve used the ruled notebook for my morning pages, the grid notebook as my work notebook and I intended to use the plain for doodling but this didn’t really pan out. The cardboard insert holds a few Baron Fig Strategist notecards in there for any throw away notes and a washi tape card.

For a small period of time I did throw in my Superior Labor pouch but this really stretched the leather far too much and made the notebook too bulky. I think three inserts is the maximum this is set-up to handle.

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The Nomad Factory also sent me through a small pouch filled with clips and bookmarks. There were a range of different options and sizes such as book darts, arrow clips, skeleton clips and fish clips, both of which in small and large sizes. I love these style clips. They look good and come in copper, silver and gold and they are so handy. The small pouch is also really handy.

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Overall thoughts.

I really like The Nomad Factory’s take on the Travelers Notebook style leather notebook cover. The leather quality is really nice and it takes being used and thrown around well. The Nomad Factory also offer a few different variety bundles and starter packs which would make great additions or gifts. I think these notebooks are a great Travelers Notebook option and comparably priced with other products you can find online but they include the inserts to get you started. The leather is perhaps a little thin if you’re a heavy user, or someone who needs some sturdiness to their leather notebook cover.

Thanks again to the Nomad Factory for sending me this notebook to review on the blog.

Travel Kit: Edinburgh

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I am heading off to Edinburgh for a long weekend of relaxation, whiskey drinking, eating lots of tasty food and soaking up the sights of this city. Part of any trip gets me thinking about what stationery items I want to take...and then trying to take only what I need, a task I am always awful at. In this post I will share my stationery travel kit for this trip.

Travelers Notebook + inserts.

I will be taking my trusty black TN with my weekly refill + memo insert.

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I have also thrown in a mishmash Travelers notebook refill which is an extended journaling notebook for those times I want to be creative or have more to say.

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I have a Baum Kuchen + Superior Labor pouch which hold some stickers, washi tape, postage stamps and other bits and bobs that all help me with my journaling.

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Nock Co Sinclair + Field Notes.

My Nock Co Sinclair has become a staple carry. In here I have the Haxley sketchbook where I have been playing around and experimenting with my doodles. The small size of this sketchbook somehow frees my mind and I am less concerned with trying to get things right. The additional pages are also good.

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I also have a East coast Coastal Field Notes for general note taking. I have some itinerary plans included in here for the trip.

Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook + watercolour palette.

I want to try and draw while I am in Edinburgh. I am taking my relatively new and untouched A5 Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook. To go with this I will be using my new(ish) watercolour Winsor and Newton palette. I have a Pentel waterbrush which will more than likely be my main paintbrush due to its convenience. I want the focus to be on just painting and not have any obstacles in my way.

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Field Notes Signature Ruled Notebook.

This has been my journal lately. The paper quality in this notebook is better than the standard Field Notes which means I can use lots of different writing tools. The slightly larger size, different binding and additional pages makes it a really convenient notebook.

Writing Tools.

This felt like one area where I could limit what I was taking with me on this trip and carry only the essentials. I have the Baron Fig Key Squire, a Zebra Sarassa Clip in grey-blue and 2 pencils that always sit in my Sinclair, so nothing changes here.

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On top of this I will have the Caran d’Ache mechanical pencil and the Worther Shorty which will be useful for sketching. I will also have my Lamy AL Star and a couple of Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens for the inking.

I will also take with me my Lamy LX fountain pen inked up with Sailor Blue Black because I love this pairing and enjoy writing with it.

Other Tools.

The final things I will be bringing with me is the Penco big clip which is always handy for holding open notebooks. I will also have a couple of smaller Tools to Liveby clips for my Field Notes. I will be bringing an eraser, the Carta Pura which I really enjoy using and I find doesn’t leave a lot of residue.

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I will be taking a standard sharpener with me. I don’t have anything better at the moment but will need to have something with me for obvious reasons.

I will have my Sudio Neat Glif for my iPhone in case I need to prop up my phone for reference doodling.

These extras will all be thrown in my Hightide Pen Roll. And then all of these things will be carried in my new Baron Fig backpack. The compartments, pockets and open fully system make this a really interesting travel item kit. I think this could work really well, but time and testing will tell.

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Overall Thoughts.

This doesn’t look minimal in any way, this is still a lot of things to bring on a short trip but I am a stationery addict and this is me being restrained. I love to have things with me and not fall short. I like to record things and draw at times so I need lots of different tools to do this.

Travelers Company Weekly Refill Comparison

My Travelers Company Weekly refills

My Travelers Company Weekly refills

I have used the Travelers Company 019 free weekly refill for a couple of years as a mini journaling notebook. I love this refill for recording memories of my day in the calendar section and using memo pages to add ephemera, include decorative lettering, quotes from something I have read or heard that week and on the odd occasion an Instax photo.

I have finished three of these refills and I love looking back through them. I don’t revisit many of my notebooks and rarely flick through old Hobonichi Techos, but these refills bring me back time and time again.

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Recently I bought the second refill of the 2017 vertical weekly insert. I had never used the vertical format before and I was intrigued about how this would compare to the horizontal weekly + memo refill. As I have been using both of these inserts for some time I thought I would share with you my thoughts.

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Horizontal weekly refill + notes

This version of the weekly refill has a seven day calendar view on the left hand side of the page broken down into seven horizontal sections. The free weekly refill is undated giving you the flexibility to miss weeks out if I want or need to and to start this refill at any time of the year. As it is the undated version there is very little additional calendar content on each page.

A blank spread in the horizontal week + memo refill

A blank spread in the horizontal week + memo refill

The right hand page is the notes section which is the main difference between these refills. I use this space to add notes, quotes, stickers or photos which have some sort of relevance to my week but perhaps not a specific day. The weekly memo pages are really handy and a big selling point of this refill.

A completed week in my horizontal refill

A completed week in my horizontal refill

Vertical weekly refill

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I bought the second half of the vertical 2017 refill because I wanted to see how it compared to the horizontal refill and if I could get the same content into the vertical format.

A blank spread of the vertical weekly refill

A blank spread of the vertical weekly refill

The week is spread over two pages with each day getting a thin section of the page. There are hour stamps for each day and a small notes section at the bottom of the page. As this is a dated refill there is also additional calendar information that sits in the ‘spare’ space.

A completed week in my vertical refill

A completed week in my vertical refill

I have been using my vertical refill to record time specific portions of my day. I have been able to capture more information and due to its format I can see how I am spending my time. The space allocated to each day is really narrow and if you want to keep everything within the guidelines it can be tricky.

To make this refill feel less functional I add stickers, stamps and washi to decorate the pages. It's a lot harder to include larger items such as Instax photos. I find the notes section at the bottom of the page pretty useless. I rarely use this section of the page and it feels wasted.

Six months over two pages where I track what I am reading

Six months over two pages where I track what I am reading

Commonalities with both refills

Both refills have a double page annual calendar and a double page spread with a six month calendar view. I use the six month view to note down the books I have been reading tracking how long it has taken me to finish each one. As I don't use this refill as a planner this seemed like a good use of these pages.

The light grid ruling found in Travelers Company refills 

The light grid ruling found in Travelers Company refills 

The weekly refills have the great Travelers Company paper and light grey grid ruling which I love as its unintrusive. The paper is great for using with fountain pens in particular but great for most writing tools.

So which one is better?

Obviously this review is heavily opinion based and depends a lot on how you use your inserts and your particular journaling style. Having used both inserts for some time now I really prefer the horizontal + notes refill. The horizontal format gives me more useable space and suits the way I journal.

A highly decorated journal spread

A highly decorated journal spread

The vertical weekly refill works really well as a planner or a time tracking tool but I don’t enjoy this refill as much for journaling. There are lots of great examples of how this refill can work for journaling from people such as Jobs Journal and Momolovespaper but for me it just doesn't work.

For 2018 I will be buying the pre-dated horizontal + notes refill to continue my mini journaling notes.

Galen Leather Travelers Notebook Insert Review

Galen Leather contacted me to see if I would like to review one of their new products, the Travelers Notebook leather insert. I have been using my insert for a couple of months now, the views in this post are entirely my own.

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The Galen Leather Travelers Notebook insert took me a little by surprise. The insert arrives in a simple kraft box with the basic Galen Leather information on the front.

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Inside you receive a notecard telling you who made your product and an all seeing eye charm. The presentation is special but kept very simple. Touches like these aren’t essential but they set the tone of a product. It suggests attention to detail and makes the receiving of something luxurious quite special.

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Honestly I was wowed when I actually felt, looked at and touched this leather insert. It's really beautiful. The leather is ever so slightly worn, with a smooth, soft texture that marks slightly to any rough touch. It's hard to convey how nice this insert in through the photos, when you have it in your hand and use it you really appreciate how good it is.

Inside there is a lot going on. The left hand side has a whole load of credit card sized pockets, the top one being very deep. On the right hand side there is a zippered section and another long pocket. So there is a lot of space and room for things in this insert. There is also a secretarial pocket and a very clever pen loop with an elastic back section making most pens fit in here nicely.

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There is no question that everything about this insert has been considered carefully and finished really well. I can see why Galen leather chose to design something like this, its fits in with their existing portfolio of products and suits the growing(?) Travelers Notebook market.

My TN set-up

My TN set-up

But does it work as an insert?

I don't think the use case and positioning of this insert is 100% right. I have been using this as intended, as an insert in my Travelers Notebook that holds my weekly refill for journaling and my little one's journal.

Bulky, bulky, bulky 

Bulky, bulky, bulky 

The issue is that the insert is thicker as the TN itself and when filled with papers, ephemera, stickers, book darts etc then the insert becomes very fat. Loaded up and in use for people on the move this insert would be one bulky burden.

In its intended use, the Galen Leather insert isn't for me because it isn't really an insert, it's a standalone product. Moving forward I plan to use this with a Hobonichi Weeks for 2018. The Weeks is slightly smaller than a TN insert and will slot in nicely into one of the long pockets. I can carry a small amount of the things that I need and also slot a pen in so I have something with the Weeks at all times. This would also make a great travel wallet, but as an insert in a TN it falls short.

Overall thoughts.

There is no question that the Galen Leather Travelers Notebook insert really is very special. I was genuinely surprised when I opened the box, the leather is stunning and the hand stitched finish is really impressive. I like the fact that someone has personally created and taken care over my final product. I just won't be using this in my Travelers Notebook.

I'd like to thank Galen Leather for contacting me and sharing their beautiful work.