Friday, 1 May 2015

Compare and contrast: notebooks for the Stamford Traveller's Journal

I bought a gorgeous Stamford Traveller's Journal the other week (see here for my review) and have also looked at a couple of other potential notebooks to use as refills: Midori 013 refill (reviewed here) and the Moleskine large cahiers (see review here).

Today I'm going to do a compare and contrast with the notebooks that came with the Traveller's Journal (and which can be bought from Stamford Notebook Co.). I'll compare the size of the notebooks, how well they fit in the cover, the paper quality and value for money.

Size and how well they fit in the cover:
The original notebooks are 12.5cm x 21cm. The Midori 013 is narrower at 11cm x 21cm. The Moleskine large cahiers are a smidgen wider at 13cm x 21cm.

L-R Moleskine cahier, Stamford Notebook Co., Midori
(the Stamford is clipped shut for the photo!)

How well do they fit in the cover?


Two notebooks side by side
Both notebooks in

The Midori notebooks are narrower and I was worried that even though it's only 15mm difference, it was enough that they would look swamped by the cover.

Midori on top of the Stamford

Two notebooks side by side
Both notebooks in

It certainly feels smaller. I would have to road-test for longer to see how much it would bug me.

The Moleskine are only 5mm wider and to be honest, it's hardly noticeable.

Moleskine top; Stamford bottom
Stamford on top of Moleskine (honest!)
Two notebooks side by side
Both notebooks in

Size-wise, I don't think there's much in it. The Midori might be a shade too narrow.

Paper quality:
Well, the Stamford wins hands-down. No feathering, silky smooth, no bleed-through, no show-through.
The Midori is second. Silky smooth, no feathering, no bleed-through but significant show-through with most pen/ink combinations.
The Moleskine would be good for ripping up and using to make papier-mache models. Not all that smooth, significant feathering, significant bleed-through, significant show-through. Horrible.

Stamford, front
Midori, front
Moleskine, front
Stamford, reverse
Midori, reverse
Moleskine, reverse

Value for money:
The Stamford notebooks are £4.95 for 60 sides (8.25p/side)
The Midori notebooks are £5.95 for 128 sides (4.65p/side)
Moleskine cahiers are £6.20 for three; £2.07 per cahier; 80 sides per cahier (2.59p/side)

Yeah - there's a reason the Moleskines are that cheap!

Depending on how much the narrowness of the Midori notebooks bugged me, I would think strongly about using them as replacements when the originals run out. If the narrowness bugs me too much (or I want to be able to use a wider range of pens) I would buy the Stamford notebooks. The Moleskines could have been an option if I just wanted to use them as a scrapbook and not for any writing whatsoever.
I'll also be road-testing some Clairefontaine notebooks and Rhodia cahiers soon. They're A5 but can easily be cut down to fit.

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