Saturday, November 25, 2017

Review: @BackPocketCo Pocket Notebooks

Thanks to Back Pocket Notebooks for sending these notebooks for review! I've had them for awhile and toted them around so I've really gotten to know them. Let's go!


Size: 3.5" x 5.5"
Ruling: Reticle graph
Cover weight: 350 gsm
Paper weight: 120 gsm
Paper color: White
Price: £ 12.00 for Space X | £ 8.00 for Plain Kraft
Where to buy: Back Pocket


Each set of three pocket notebooks is presented with a paper belly band. The belly band has some notebook information printed on it - the edition of the notebook, paper/notebook details, and/or a hashtag suggestion. It's simple and not wasteful, which I appreciate. Oh! And a sticker!!
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All of the notebooks I have for review are pocket sized. The Plain Kraft set has firm, plain brown kraft covers which are simple but tidy. The SpaceX set has three different colors - each is a colorful poster from particular areas on Mars and its moons: Phobos & Deimos, Valles Marineris, and Olympus Mons. They are cute, bright, clean prints that I think look great on the 350gsm cover stock.
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All the notebooks have square corners, white paper that sits flush with the covers, staple bound spines, and they have the Back Pocket logo printed on the back. The paper is white with some visible texture and tooth. The sets here have light grey reticle grids - great for keeping your lines clean without being visually obtrusive. The inside covers of the Plain Kraft pack have the quote, "Don't wait for inspiration, inspire others," and some blank lines for your personal information. The SpaceX are neater, with details about the cover inspiration (Mars) and a list of universal constants at the back. Not likely something most people will need while scribbling a to-do list, but a fun concept nevertheless.

They're pretty cute notebooks. The Plain Kraft design is not unique in the pocket notebook world but the SpaceX covers are interesting and fun.

The one error in the appearance and finish is some notebooks had pages that were not perfectly aligned with the covers. Therefore, some of the pages stuck out at the edges. This is not something that is easy to fix without realigning the pages or snipping off the excess bits.
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The notebooks are pretty sturdy with the thick covers, so don't expect a super slim, floppy, squishy pocket notebook. The corners are firm and sharp and handle being carried and tossed around pretty well. Eventually, as they are pointed, the covers and sometimes the pages inside start to get a little bent and dog-eared. Even though they are not super slim or soft, they tolerate being back pocketed well. Another advantage of the stiffer covers is it makes it easy to write in the notebook itself on the go, and they open/lie flat.

The paper is slightly toothy, so it is fun to use for pencils. Great for doodles and sketches because the lead catches on the tooth, especially softer leads. So much fun for hand lettering! It does make clean erasing a little more difficult, but totally worth it.
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Markers are tolerated well because the paper is fairly thick - no feathering but some bleed through can occur. It's not as bad as I expected from a marker, though. Super soft tip markers feel rough because of the tooth catching the fibers. Ballpoints, gels, roller balls and liquid ink writers are also well tolerated - fun to write with, no feathering, minimal show through, and no bleed through.
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Fountain pens, not surprisingly, are well tolerated. It is not the smoothest paper so if you have finicky nibs, the tooth might cause some skipping. I had no issues but I didn't enjoy using finer nibs. The broad, wet nibs were more pleasant to write with - at least for the type of writing experience I like.
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Feathering was definitely minimal as was show through. Inks only bled in super saturated spots. Drying times were average around 20-30 seconds, even for wetter writers. Shading was decent, though not outstanding, particles from shimmer inks were visible, and sheen was hard to get.
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The paper is definitely fountain pen friendly but I prefer smoother paper for fountain pens. It's rock solid and a lot of fun with pencils, which inspires me to get every pencil possible and experiment and hand letter.


The Back Pocket notebooks are a pretty robust, versatile option for pocket notebooks. They tolerate a variety of writing instruments well, with the potential issue of sharp edges, possibly misaligned paper, and toothy feedback. The special packs are pricier than the Plain Kraft ones, the SpaceX by a fair amount. These seem too expensive to write a grocery list in, but I won't judge you for what you fill your pocket notebooks with.

I received this item/these items free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion.


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