I was so excited to see the Endless Explorer Refillable Cactus Leather Journal at the St. Louis Pen Show at the Luxury Brands, USA table. There are not a lot of refillable “traveler style” notebook or journal covers available that are not leather. But Endless has created a cover made from cactus making is a strong, durable, leather-like material that looks good and feels good in the hand and is plant-based and eco-friendly. The cactus covers are available in Beige, Black or Maroon and retail for $60. These covers come boxed in a lovely gift box that reusable with one Storyboard dot grid notebook and a matching pen loop.
I find the beige color to look a bit more cool in tone than a true beige. It most reminded me of desert sage-y green and felt most appropriate for my first cactus leather journal cover. The exterior really does have the feeling of a thick leather but its cactus!!! The interior feels like suede. The edges are finished to match the cover and
The pen loop is a wide elastic strap that will attach vertically to keep the journal closed while providing an elastic slot to hold your favorite pen tool. I placed the Muji Fountain Pen in the slot and it fit just fine. I am not a fan of these vertical elastic strap however since they have to be completely removed to utilize the notebook and can then get lost, dropped, etc. I prefer looping my pen under the horizontal elastic with or without additional pen loop to secure the pen. Its just less stuff to keep track of or require table space when working.
The Storyboard Notebook included with the cover features 80gsm Regalia Paper. The paper is fountain pen friendly and is a popular alternative to many of the Japanese papers.
The journal includes three elastics but, unlike other notebooks, the extra elastics included with the Explorer Journal Cover are not sewn into the cover nor sold separately but simply looped around the cover material creating some color contrasts. The main elastic is deep green and matches the horizontal closure elastics, the extra elastics are yellow and aqua.
There is an instruction sheet included to show how to attach additional notebooks using these extra elastics but I am inclined to utilize the techniques recommended by Traveler’s Company and loop the extra elastics inside the cover to keep the exterior minimal.
I am so accustomed to European measurements like A5 and B6 that when I read the size for the Explorer cover (8.1” x 5.7”) I just assumed it was A5 (148 × 210 mm). I think it would be helpful to include the metric measurements on the packaging.
The notebook included is the Storyboard Large Notebook ( 7.5” x 5.1”) which, for the record, is NOT A5 — see the above photo with an A5-sized Stalogy under the cover. Nope… not gonna fit.
I did grab one of my beloved Paperblanks B6-ish (125 × 176 mm or 6.9″ x 4.9″) notebooks which does look like it will fit though it might be a bit thick with the hardcovers. B6 cahier-style notebooks should fit fine into the Cactus Cover.
I love B6-sized notebooks but they are not as prevalent.
I really hoped that the Explorer Cactus Leather Cover would be A5 size which is such an industry standard for the pen community these days and definitely would provide more options for inserts and accessories. Maybe the next addition will be an A5-sized cover? Endless, please, make a larger cover! If you’re looking for a non-leather option for a journal cover and would like to try a B6 size, I would definitely recommend this cover. It’s so great to have non-leather options… finally!