Ask The Desk: Traveler’s Notebooks vs. Fodderstack and A5 Refill Options for Louis V. Organiser

Matthew put me to task with this stumper:

If you had to choose one out of the three below for your everyday carry, which one would it be and why?

  1. Nock co. Fodderstack XL ($17)
  2. Paper Republic Grand Voyageur (Passport Size) (approx. $42.31 USD)
  3. Travelers Notebook (Passport) ($44.50)

P.S. – Your pen of choice of course.

Well, Matthew, to be honest, the choice here is seems to be between a leather notebook cover and a nylon sleeve as there is not a big difference between the functionality of the Grand Voyageur and the Traveler’s Notebook. (Update: I stand corrected. The Grand Voyageur is actually sized to hold a Field Notes or other 3.5×5.5″ sized notebook. The dimensions, despite being called a “passport-sized” is 10.5cm x 15cm which is 4.1″ x 5.9″, large enough to hold the larger “pocket-sized” notebooks).  The Traveler’s notebook accept only the passport-sized refills so if you’re looking for something that will hold your copious collection of Field Notes, you might (also) want to consider a One Star Leather notebook cover. They start at $40 for a Traveler’s Notebook style and go up from there.

(Clockwise from top left: NockCo. Fodderstack XL, Traveler’s Notebook Passport, Paper Republic Grand Voyageur Pocket Size, and One Star Leather Field Notes Indie Notebook Cover)

If you are looking for an alternative to leather, than a Fodderstack XL will definitely be your preference. And NockCo definitely offers a lot of colors options as well. The Sinclair and the Hightower also provide a Field Notes-sized  pocket as well as slots for pens.

If you want a larger size, than the Grand Voyageur XL is definitely more appealing since its more of a traditional A5 size. And in general, the Grand Voyageur line offers a wider range of standard colors than the traditional Traveler’s Notebooks.

That said, I’m a traditionalist and I like the long slender size of the original Traveler’s Notebook. It’s not a size for everyone but once you use it, you may find that you like it. If you’re purchasing your first Traveler”s Notebook, and you can afford it, I say you go for the original. There are lots of people making Traveler-style notebooks now but its always nice to have at least one of the the originals, if you can. I prefer to fill my Traveler’s Notebook Passport Sized with Baron Fig Vanguard Pocket Notebooks which fit perfectly.

As for my pen of choice… for my Traveler’s notebook? I usually keep a Platinum Desk Pen with my Traveler’s Notebook. The Carbon ink is bulletproof and the low cost of the pen means I’m not worried about it going astray or getting knocked around. And the needlepoint tip is great for teeny tiny writing in the small books, good for sketching or writing and the tip is so smooth for the price. Now if I could just figure out a way to put it into a better looking body.

Amanda asks:

I have a Louis Vuitton organiser I bought years ago in Turkey, it is not a real one but I a very, very good fake and I have run out of paper inserts for it. It is an A5 organiser, with 6 holes, they are not standard though and I am trying to source some paper refills. If I send an image and measurements through could you let me know if you do anything that may fit this.

Many people have run into issues with non-standard hole placements for one reason or another but I have a workaround for you. It is an adjustable 6-hole punch from Japan. They are available on Amazon for a reasonable price. It takes a bit of time to punch inserts but you can either purchase inserts pre-printed or buy a downloadable PDF file from a vendor on Etsy and then punch them yourself to fit the ring configuration to align properly with your organizer.

You can also buy sheets of A5 paper and punch them to fit for notepaper or buy full sheets of A4 paper and have a local copy shop cut them in half for you and then punch them with your hole punch.

I know this isn’t the magic bullet fix but hopefully it will at least get you up and going with new inserts and open you a new world of possibilities.

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8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Hey thanks for the reply! I do have to correct one thing you mention here. The Grand Voyager actually holds standard size pocket notebooks 3.5 x 5.5. That makes a huge difference for those looking for something that’ll hold their field notes or moleskine cahiers.

  2. Are there other pens that are a fine point that can handle the carbon ink? The portable version of the carbon pen seems not to be presently available.Maybe the Preppy?

    1. I would not be opposed to trying Carbon ink in a Preppy. Since it is an inexpensive pen, there’s no harm in trying it. Actually, I think I have now that you mention it. I’ve been asking around and several other pen addicts have said they have not had issues with using Platinum Carbon in other pens. I’ve put Platinum pigment inks, including Carbon Black in Lamy Safari and Calligraphy pens with no issues. If I get any build up on the nibs, I just wipe them clean and make sure to practice better-than-average pen maintenance with the permanent inks. Mike from Inkdependence also recommended trying Sailor Kiwa Guro Nano Black if you’re looking for a good permanent black ink that works well in other fountain pens.

  3. I’m confused. Baron Fig Vanguard Inserts show they are 3.5 x 5″.

    The Refill inserts for the Midori Passport show a 3.5″ x 4.5 ” size. You say the Vanguard’s fit perfectly in Midori Passport sized Leather cover. I hope this is so. Comments, thoughts? Jim

    1. I hold in my hand the 5th Anniversary Edition Passport Traveler’s Notebook and a Baron Fig Pocket sized notebook and I promise it fits. I wouldn’t recommend adding more than two at a time without a bit of hang over the edge but they fit fine.

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