Notebook: Calepino Pocket Books

Calepino notebook

I’ve been wanting to try out the Calepino pocket notebooks for a long time. Its been hard to find a US seller that stocks them though so I’d put if off until I discovered CW Pencil Enterprise. A set of three notebooks in the kraft box is $10 which is competitive with most other pocket notebooks on the market.

The Calepino books are 3.5×5.5″, exactly the same as Field Notes so if you have a cover you use, these will fit into it as well. The right hand corners are nicely rounded and the books have two staples on the spine.

The Calepino notebooks are available in several different paper linings (dot grid, grid, lined and blank) and each style features a different color stripe on the front. If you’re inclined to keep a lined notebook for lists and a grid or dot grid for doodles, you’ll quickly be able to identify which is which from the stripes on the cover.

Calepino notebook

I love the heavy, kraft paper box that the notebooks are packaged in. The box has a tab in the back and then unfolds to open. No glue was used in the constructing the box and there’s information printed in side the box in French. I plan to keep the unused books in the box and then will store used books back in the box. I seldom have a desire to keep packaging so this is high praise indeed.

Calepino notebook

Inside the covers is an area to include your contact info. The paper inside is white with fine orange-y lines. The lines are thin enough to be largely unobtrusive, even with the lightest or finest tools.

Calepino notebook

There’s a little bit of tooth to the paper which helps slow down slippery gel ink pens and makes the writing experience with pencils and fountain pens very tactile.

Calepino notebook

I tested an assortment of different writing tools. I always test on the back pages of my book so I can refer back later if there was any tool that really didn’t work well. Overall, the range of tools had no big issues on the front of the stock. The Sailor Jentle Yama Dori did soften a little bit on the paper so I’m inclined to think there may be some fountain pen inks that won’t perform as well on this paper as others. But most “everyday carry” tools should work pretty well.

Calepino notebook

From the reverse, there’s a a little bit of show through on the Yama Dori line. I’ve had some show through issues in other notebooks with this ink so I’m going to blame the ink more than the paper here. Overall, for a pocket notebook, the paper performed well and I like the toothiness of the paper. It kept certain tools from feeling too slippery on the paper.

I’m curious now to see the dot grid and grid lines as well and see if they are as unobtrusive as the lined version. I suspect the quality and attention to detail in the other editions of the Calepino notebook will be equally good.

If you’re looking for an option in pocket notebooks that is more utilitarian than collectible, the Calepino is a great contender.

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7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I have not branched out into Field Notes, Moleskine, etc, but I have wanted to. I love the French aspect of these, along with the orange color. The price seems comparable to the rest and they look marvelous. I think I may have to keep these on my radar or at least settle on getting some. They would work for the ‘fauxdori’ I have in mind to make… Beings that Midori is rather expensive. Nice review. Gorgeous pictures. Makes me literally drool in my mouth and want to get them right away.

  2. This seems to perform better than Field Notes in general. I get a lot of ghosting and bleedthrough from any ink/pen I use on Field Notes. While I love the FN cover designs, it looks like the paper quality on the Calepino are better, for comparable price.

  3. As much as I love Field Notes, and I do, the Calepino is a better notebook. Sturdier cover with much better paper.

  4. Nice to see a review of these. The paper is more fountain pen friendly than the ubiquitous/most releases of the Field Notes. They also make the most interesting Fauxdori cover that i have see. It will hold 4 of their notebooks. It is available on their home site (mine took 8 days to get to me in Wisconsin), called the Calepino Portfolio. I have a field notes, and 2 calepino’s in mine….

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