I finally invested in a classic, full-size Midori Traveler’s Notebook. This seems to be the one that people love with unending passion so I decided it was time to take the plunge. I found a seller on Amazon that was selling the notebook at a reasonable price (approx. $40) and then I ordered an assortment of refills and accessories from Goulet Pens.
Also pictured above are the two notebook refills I got from Banditapple last year which will, of course, fit perfectly in the MTN.
One of the most pleasing things about Midori products is the packaging. It is lovingly packaged and feels like a gift while at the same time, being reusable and/or recyclable. The notebook comes in a plain paperboard box and the elastic can be reused on the notebook as a replacement if you prefer the neutral color or snap the original cord. Inside, the book comes in a cotton bag which can be used for storing the notebook or reused for some other purpose.
The initial package includes one blank notebook. That’s it.
For some folks, the sheer cost of the MTN, for what seems so simple and easy to replicate with a home leatherworking tool kit (and includes so few additional pieces in the initial purchase) might dissuade one from making the purchase. I considered making one myself but determined that in the grand time-versus-money debate, I had more space credits than time to mess around with trying to make my own.
Upon opening the package, I did not notice any excessive odors accept for the light smell of tanned leather.
The simplicity and understated beauty of the Traveler’s Notebook is hard to deny. And the long, narrow size is a lot more appealing than I had anticipated. I know a lot of folks like to add charms and other accoutrements to their MTN but I’m holding off until I am sure how much I’ll use it.
After embracing the ring-bound planner as my method for planning and organization this year, it took awhile for me to figure out how or why I would also use a MTN. This is hot on the heels of all those OTHER notebooks that are currently lying fallow.
Of course, I also wanted to know what all the hullaballoo was about and there is a lot of appeal in the ability to customize what types of writing surfaces I will carry contained in one “book”. So, I decided to use the MTN with just two notebooks to start with: one for knitting projects and planning of said knitting projects and the other for blog planning, ideas and notes.
The photo above shows the whole collection of leather notebook covers I own. From left to right; Midori Traveler’s Notebook: Star Edition, Passport Size, Zenok Leatherworks Field Notes Sized, Pelle Journal Regular Size and finally, the Midori Traveler’s Notebook Full Size.
The rivet (for lack of a better word) on the spine of the Midori notebooks is a metal disc that can stick up a little bit when trying to lay the notebook open flat but with some manuevering, it will lay on its side making it less noticeable. The Zenok spine is the least intrusive for sure but does add the extra piece of leather.
On the first pages of the Midori branded notebooks is a place to write a title, description, date or other info before the regular paper stock starts.
For the sheer purposes of research, I bought four different refill notebooks in order to do reviews of the paper stocks. I purchased the Kraft brown-014 (which is actually standard writing weight paper in a lovely krafty hue), grid, sketchbook and the “light” paper. The MTN standard refills (blank-003, lined-001, grid-002) have 32 sheets/ 64 pages but the light paper – 013 contains 64 sheet/ 128 pages. There’s a lot of good reviews about the light paper being especially fountain pen friendly so I look forward to trying it out. The sketch paper-012 has only 24 sheets/ 48 pages but is much heavier weight paper designed to accept watercolor as well as lots of inks. The sketch paper has perforated pages while the other books do not.
There were a few inserts I did not try as they were more planner-based like a page-a-day diary and weekly planners in a couple formats. But there is some appeal to have notes and planning contained in one book.
I added a zip pocket insert-008 and I made 6-pocket folder from a file folder using this video tutorial from PoketFullofVintage. Turns out the file folder tutorial works better with an A4-sized filer folder but I made mine works okay, just shorter pockets.
I’ll be doing follow-up reviews specifically about each of the paper types but the fact that there are so many choices is part of the appeal of the MTN. Also, there are lots of tutorials for making your own inserts as well as sources for printing inserts for specific tasks from sources like My Life All in One Place as well as sellers on Etsy.
Overall, I really like the size and shape and I like the weathering that the leather is getting in just the few weeks I’ve owned it. Yes, I drank the Kool-Aid but it is tasty, tasty, Kool-Aid.
7 comments / Add your comment below
I went down the MTN rabbit hole over the weekend too. And I love it 🙂
When I saw these in Japan, I was captivated by their rustic luxe appearance. Thanks for the deep dive into their features!
I bought into this two months ago. Thumbs up. I was hesitant because 1) I use DayTimer as an office professional and like it, 2) the YouTube scrapbooker MTN posts didn’t impress me, and 3) I HATE TRENDS. Well, I’m a former DayTimer user now and use the Bullet Journal method to make the MTN a serious planner. The quality of the paper really is significant (I’m a fountain junkie). As for the DIY slant, I’m a leather worker and I dare you to find an outlet that sells leather finished so functionally as this MTN. I’ll pay for the real thing. Good review, BTW. I hope you also conclude it’s a good system.
One of these is high on my wish list. Thank you for the nice review!
Ok you have convinced me! LOL
How does it stand up to water, like if you got caught in the rain backpacking?
It’s just a leather cover so it can be treated with the same type of waterproofing treatments that you’d treat leather shoes but your paper is exposed on three sides so there’s still a risk of the edges getting wet.