Alternatives to Moleskine *large* cahier?
January 12, 2015 3:20 AM   Subscribe

Please find me a better notebook.

I love the form factor of the Moleskine large cahier:

- large enough to fit my bullet journal habit (the only one that's ever stuck)
- ruled ones have 31 lines per page, which is awesome for the bullet journal calendar page
- soft cover, so easy to flatten on the desk (thicker hardcovers may lie flat, but they bend downwards as you get closer to the centre line)
- thin enough to not make my hand 'fall off' the page if I write on the right hand side of the notebook or close to the bottom of the pages (I hate hate hate this - having to write on the last two lines of a page on a stack of paper that is 1cm high while your hand is 1cm lower, on the table... ARGH)

I do not like the paper quality of the Moleskine large cahier. I write with a Lamy Safari and the bleed-through is atrocious.

Your quest, should you accept it, is to recommend me a soft-cover, thin-ish notebook that has 31 or more lines per page and (proven) excellent paper quality. I've done my research - spent way too much time on it already, actually - so I know it will be hard, but if you guys can find anything that would be so awesome. So... Go! (And... thanks!)
posted by Skyanth to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
The paper quality in Rhodia notebooks is excellent - would these do?
posted by jrobin276 at 4:53 AM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Came in to suggest Rhodia also. The paper is much better in them than Moleskine.
posted by dawkins_7 at 5:12 AM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

I had the same problem with moleskines. I switched to a Quo Vadis notebook and never looked back.
posted by Oxydude at 5:18 AM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Rhodia or Leuchtturm softcover--here is a review stacking their hardcover version up against Rhodia and Moleskines (the paper in the softcover variant is the same). I think Rhodia might still be better for a fountain pen like yours, though.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 5:25 AM on January 12, 2015 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Doesn't hit your 31 lines, but Clairefontaine do this. The 14.8*21 cm journal (EAN 3329680733167) has great paper, and I'm sure there's a French Ruled version with all of the lines.
posted by scruss at 5:45 AM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Apica CD-15 notebooks.

I use fountain pens with Apica notebooks and have no bleedthrough issues, and I've heard of a lot of other fountain pen users having good luck with them; the CD-15 has precisely 31 lines; it's softcover, with 34 pages; and they're very affordable.
posted by Jeanne at 6:25 AM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I've wanted to try Rhodia, but they have only 23 lines, so no, they won't do - there's a squared version that I may want to try but I fear there won't be enough space between the lines if 1 square = 1 line.

The Clairefontaine Essentials - A5 Cloth Bound Notebook seems like a good candidate, thanks!

The Leuchtturm softcover has great paper (tried it) but is too thick.

Does anyone know if the Moleskine Volant has better quality paper than the cahier?
posted by Skyanth at 6:28 AM on January 12, 2015

All the moleskines I have tried have the same dismal paper.
posted by scruss at 6:36 AM on January 12, 2015

I'm ride or die for Leuchtturm for my Bullet Journal, but I prefer a 'thin' notebook for the copious, copious notes I take while working. Clairefontaine works perfectly.

On preview, maybe the Leuchtturm jottbook could be exactly what you're looking for?
posted by nerdfish at 6:38 AM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's a little different from what you've been using, but I LOVE my Circa notebook. Here's a video.

It's fully customizable. You can get different sizes and paper types (blank, grid, ruled). They have all sorts of inserts and refills, including to-do lists and calendars. You can get different types of covers and divider inserts. They have lots of disc sizes so you can make it whatever thickness you want.

To fix the problem with your hand falling off the could keep a very thin stack at the back of the circa for writing new pages, and then reinsert the page at the appropriate place in your bullet journal. Or just use the smallest disc size. The cool thing about it is that if you screw up on your index or whatever, you can just insert a fresh page.

I like the paper...I don't have problems with bleed through. You can also get a Rhodia Circa if you like the Rhodia paper.

I recently ordered a Hobonichi planner, which has Tomoe River paper (which is really popular in Japan and supposedly excellent). It's really thin but doesn't have bleed through issues. I haven't gotten my Hobonichi yet so I can't personally comment on the paper quality. I found a notebook on Jet Pens that has Tomoe River paper. Might be worth a try.

I've used Apica notebooks in the past and I really liked them.

I've heard good things about Poppin notebooks, but I've never used one.

I also really like Rhodia.
posted by hotelechozulu at 8:04 AM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't know from personal experience what the paper quality is like, but have you tried Decomposition Books? A friend of mine who has very exacting tastes and a bullet journal-esque habit uses these constantly. Looks like it has 31+ lines (college ruled).
posted by Madamina at 8:07 AM on January 12, 2015

Best answer: Midori Traveler's Notebook "regular" refills have 31 lines. Both sizes are softcover, and fountain pen friendly. (001 on this page.) Banditapple notebooks come in the same sizes, are less expensive, and I like them more than Midori. You can request Banditapple samples here.

Both brands of "regular" size notebooks are a little taller and thinner than Moleskine large cahiers.

The notebook sampler at Goulet Pens includes Midori, Banditapple, and some of the other papers here as well.
posted by gnomeloaf at 8:18 AM on January 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

The Decomposition Books have really bad bleed-through, worse than Moleskine.
posted by Jeanne at 8:19 AM on January 12, 2015

I love Rhodia, and I turned my boss onto it. He always writes with a medium tip fountain pen, and after using Rhodia for several years, he still raves about the paper quality. I just bought my boss the Rhodia Circa from Levenger, which hotelechozulu mentions above. The man is in heaven.
posted by janey47 at 11:04 AM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Settled on the Midori because of the awesome paper (and, I'll be honest, that leather cover *swoons*). Thanks all!
posted by Skyanth at 7:32 AM on January 22, 2015

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