Notebook Review: Nanuk

Review by Jessica Coles

I love notebooks.  Doesn’t matter what they look like.  What size they are.  I love to look at them and buy them and then… well, I have a harder time actually using them.  What if I mess up something that could have been an incredibly lovely piece of art?  What if I waste the pages? It doesn’t matter that I have more notebooks than a resonable person should have at one time.  I want each one to be perfect.

When I first saw the Nanuk notebook ($14), I was intrigued by it – the dimensions are unusual, the creamy paper cover has no exterior markings, and the logo is a bear face.  How could this not be a fabulous notebook?

The notebook is packaged in only a plastic sleeve to protect the cover and contains a slip of paper with the details of the paper and dimensions. I had been correct about the unusual dimensions of the Nanuk notebook.  It’s nearly B5 size, but just a bit off – 252mm x 162mm.

For those of you who aren’t well versed in B sized dimensions (I admit that I personally have no idea about the dimensions whatsoever and had to look them up), B5 is traditionally 250mm x 176mm, or 9.8in x 6.9in, or right in-between A4 and A5 (A5 is often the size of bullet journal notebooks or the larger size of paperback books). You can somewhat see the size with my hand holding it, but I have pretty small hands.  So take that into consideration as well (that’s my pinky finger by the way).

The Nanuk notebook uses 180 kg paper for the cover and 83.1 gsm paper for the pages.  This comes in around 55lb pages.  For comparison, Rhodia uses 80lb paper in their standard line of notebooks. The paper is a lovely light cream and has a bit of tooth to it, but not much.  The cover has a flap in the front and one in the back – I always use flaps like that as bookmarks.

The notebook is only made of one signature, or one stack of paper that is folded in half to form the notebook. The binding is a single row of red stitching and looks great against the cream paper, plus it does it’s job perfectly.  No loose pages and the notebook will stay open to any page, even the first page. I did need to press firmly opening each page, but then the notebook remained open on its own.  I didn’t need to bend it backwards on itself at all.

Since I got to test this notebook, I dove in.  I pulled out all of my currently inked pens (ok.  Not all of them.  But several) and got to playing, I mean got to work. I have a terrible time starting a nice, clean notebook for myself, but I seem to have no trouble whatsoever jumping in to test one.  I should probably keep that in mind in the future.


Here you can see the front and back of my test page.  I may or may not have had a lot of fun with this one. As you can see, there was a lot of show-through with this paper, but that’s fairly normal in my world since I also love Tomoe River paper.


The lovely and talented Well-Appointed Desk Ana also joined in the doodling – testing – of this Nanuk notebook with me.

There were a few times that ink bled through, but it was mainly with the brush pen and the Pilot 912.  What did concern me, though, was the feathering.  Feathering occured with the brush pen and with bold and medium nibs from several brands using a variety of inks.  However, there was no feathering at all with fine or extra fine nibs!

The Nanuk loved any type of fine or extra fine nib.  Organic Studios Nitrogen was allowed to sheen with all its might.  Kyo-no-oto Nureba-iro was able to sheen it’s beautiful silver.  Shading stood out with most inks and the J.Herbin 1798 Amethyste de L’oural sparkles away on the paper.  Gel pens, Micron pens and pencils look and feel amazing and glide over the surface.  It’s also great for sketching (although I’m not brave enough to show that here!)

Overall, I enjoy this notebook — beautiful color, unique dimensions, smooth and creamy paper texture.  I was rather disappointed with the feathering, though.  I wouldn’t recommend this notebook for use with fountain pen inks other than very fine lines, especially at the price point of a 96 page notebook for $14.    However, if you plan to use a Nanuk notebook for non-fountain pens or, even better, for sketching, by all means this is a great notebook for you!

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were loaned free of charge by Vanness Pen Shop for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Other items in this review include affiliate links. The Well-Appointed Desk is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. Please see the About page for more details.

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7 comments / Add your comment below

      1. Just a thought, this being a Japanese notebook and as they tend to use F / EF / UEF nibs would that make it more fountain pen friendly?

        1. I believe it would be better with these nibs if they were used exclusively. Any EF or F nibs I used were just fine, but I’m never able to stay away from other nibs too long!

  1. Very thorough review.

    You are not alone in not wanting to write in nice new notebooks. There is a thread on the Fountain Pen Network called “I’m a sad, pathetic stationery junkie”.

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