There are as many notebooks out there as there are fountain pens. Some come with lined pages. Others have a grid or a spiral binding. Each is unique and offers an entirely different writing experience. We had the opportunity to test out a wide variety of notebooks.
Our tests included writing on the famous Berlin Notebook and the Clairefontaine Basic. We even had the popular Baron Fig Vanguard under our pen. We’re confident that you’ll find a notebook suitable for your fountain pen and lifestyle here.
4 Best Notebooks For Fountain Pens
The Traveler’s Company Traveler’s Notebook
- Colour: brown
- Size: Regular (8.4 inch, 5.1 inch)
- Model number: 13715006
- Country of Origin: Leather: Made in Thailand, Paper: Made in Japan
- Imported products from Japan
The Midori brand first launched this fantastic notebook. If you aren’t familiar with Midori, they’re one of the best-established paper brands in the fountain pen world. Today, this noteworthy notebook is the pride and joy of Traveler’s Company.
At first glance, we were pretty impressed with the notebook’s cover. Quality leather held closed with an elastic keeps the notebook together. This leather-bound exterior makes the Traveler perfect for rugged, outdoor experiences.
The paper is thin but looks pretty stylish. We did notice some bleed when using larger nibs with wet fountain pens. However, this notebook has paper made for fountain pen ink, and you can tell the moment you put the tip to the paper.
Writers can fill this notebook with their scrawls effortlessly with Midori’s MD Paper. Some more progressive and experimental writers can even swap out the paper sheets for another brand, even with a different weight of paper. This lets you use niche papers for your specific needs and still use the quality leather exterior.
Another fantastic benefit that the Traveller holds over the popular brands like Clairefontaine and Kokuyo is that owners can customize their stationery with various inserts and notes.
You can add all manner of pocket stickers, card files, zip cases, pen loops, and paper folders to this all-in-one notebook. You are also spoiled when it comes to different color covers.
It comes in a variety of color schemes, from black to ivory. This sleek styling is something that any writer will appreciate. This customizability, and the fantastic paper, make it great as either a journal or for field notes.
This notebook is fantastic. Not only do you get to customize it to suit your specific needs, but there are minimal writing and bleeding issues. It’s a fan favorite, and we can see why.
- Quality Midori MD paper
- Handle fountain pen ink incredibly well
- Limited size options
- Binding can get easily damaged
The Baron Fig Vanguard
The Baron Fig Vanguard comes with a beautifully stitched binding. Not only does this help keep your new notebook neatly held together, but it quietly exudes prestige and quality that’s surprising when considering the affordability of this notebook.
Stitched binding is also more durable than glue-binding. This stitch binding is something we love to see in modern notebooks and means you’re getting value for money.
Unlike our first notebook, the Vanguard doesn’t come with smooth Japanese paper. Instead, the paper is a cream color and semi-smooth. If you’ve got a sensitive hand, you’ll probably feel a bit of resistance when writing on this paper.
While this resistance doesn’t make it less pleasurable, it’s something that a handful of people dislike. There’s a non-intrusive light grey dot-grid pattern which makes writing in straight lines so much easier.
When we tested this paper, we found that it dried exceptionally fast. This shorter drying time is good news for anyone not interested in waiting for the ink to dry. There’s almost no ghosting, which means you can write on both sides of the paper.
The Vanguard isn’t just another Moleskin clone. It comes in a variety of different colors and sizes. We were particularly fond of the wine-inspired purple. This color looks unique and stylish with the yellow threads from the binding.
Unfortunately, the Vanguard lacks the customizability of the Traveler’s notebook, offering no inserts to make it unique.
While far less versatile than the Traveler’s, the Vanguard is an excellent notebook for anyone interested in a simple notebook that lets them write without too much fuss. It’s styling is also great for any occasion.
- Great price
- Available in several colors
- Quality paper with little shine through
- Beautiful, durable binding
- Slight resistance when writing on the paper
The Berlin Notebook
The Berlin is a simple, no-nonsense notebook. It’s got two standard, saddle-stitched staples to bind the notebook together. However, we find that the two staples are perfect for holding the 48 pages together.
The cover is made from recycled paper. It’s got a down-to-earth, natural look about it. This 100% eco-friendly look may not be to everyone’s liking, though.
Since the Berlin Notebook comes with recycled paper, it isn’t the smoothest paper we’ve come across. Despite it being somewhat rough, it’s pleasant to write on, even with significant feedback.
The paper is also pretty thick, and even when writing or drawing with a wet medium nib, you won’t find any shine through on the other side of the paper.
Unfortunately, since the paper is rough, you’ll notice that your letters and lines aren’t as crisp as you’d expect them to be.
The Berlin notebook is simple. It lacks page numbers, styling, and even an index. Yet, it’s 100% recycled and fountain pen friendly. If you prefer a simple, nonsense notebook with an environmentally friendly footprint, the Berlin notebook will tick all your boxes.
This notebook is not everybody’s cup of tea. The paper is somewhat rough, and the lines aren’t very crisp. However, the paper is thick enough to draw or write on both sides of it.
The simple styling may also be off-putting. Yet, if you want an eco-friendly notebook perfect for use with your fountain pen, this one is it.
- Made from 100% recycled material
- Staple binding is excellent
- Thick paper with minimal shine through
- Simple and straightforward
- Available in only one size
- Rough paper
The Clairefontaine Basic
- A5 in size
- Clothbound spine
- 192 pages which are made from Clairefontaine 90 g Brushed Vellum paper which are lined
- Printed end papers
- Deep dyed cardboard with a leather grain effect cover
The Clairefontaine Basic is a clothbound notebook. This cloth binding keeps the papers neatly packed together and adds a certain element of style to the notebook.
There’s also an elastic band, which isn’t too tight, to help keep your notebook closed properly. While the Basic does use glue-binding, it was durable enough to warrant a recommendation during our testing.
Have you ever thought that paper could be too smooth to write on with a fountain pen? This notebook comes with exceptionally smooth paper. The smoothness ensures a pleasant and comfortable writing experience.
There’s also a minimal amount of ghosting, feathering, and bleeding on this paper. You could even write on both sides of the paper, as long as you avoid doing so with wet, thick-flowing nibs.
This notebook comes in two sizes, A4 and A5. It’s also available in several different colors. Some colors may be better suited for college students and are far too bright for a serious writer.
It also lacks a lot of standard notebook features. For instance, we sorely missed a page ribbon, a rear pocket, and page numbers. There’s also no type of index or table of contents found in this notebook.
The Clairefontaine Basic is just that, a basic notebook that gets the job done. While the paper is excellent, some of the best we’ve written on, a notebook is more than just paper. This notebook is great if you want an affordable notebook with some style variations to choose from.
- Available in different colors
- Two sizes to choose from
- Excellent quality paper
- Strong glue binding
- Not customizable
- Lacks features found in similarly priced notebooks
When you search for notebooks for fountain pens, you’ll find that most fountain pen users all have their particular preferences and favorites. Some universal truths, however, remain in place to help you choose the best notebook.
It’s the quality of the paper and its weight that makes up a fountain pen-friendly notebook. Styling, binding, and customizability are all secondary factors when it comes to the perfect notebook.
All of the notebooks we’ve reviewed here offer a great writing experience. We’re confident that there’s something for every type of writer here.
Fountain Pen Notebooks FAQs
Can I use a fountain pen on notebook paper?
As long as your notebook has thick paper, it should be good for a fountain pen. Cotton paper is great when used in a notebook, as they shorten the drying times, and there is less bleed or shine through when writing on them.
What paper weight is best for a fountain pen?
Today, any paper around 90gsm and 100gsm is heavy enough and thick enough to be suitable for fountain pens.
Do note that the ink will take longer to dry on these paper types if they aren’t cotton-blend or specifically made for fountain pens. However, the lines will be incredibly crisp and beautiful.