Posts filed under Maruman

Maruman Sketch Bag Review

Maruman Sketch Bag Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter. And check out her first novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, now available where books are sold!)

My recent trip to New Orleans was the first time my husband and I have ever traveled without our kids. To celebrate not having to carry diapers and car seats through airport connections, we decided to pack as lightly as possible. Our five-day trip would include everything from riding pontoon boats through swamps, to 5-star, jacket-required dining. With that kind of wardrobe variety, minimalist packing can be a bit tricky, but we were determined--no checked bag, no suitcase, no wheelie-that-won't wheel--nothing for the overhead bin that just gets checked anyway because (surprise!) your flight is oversold. Just a backpack each. A challenge, yes, but it can totally be done, if you have a good backpack.

Maruman Sketch Bag Front

The Maruman Sketch Bag is a good backpack. It was the perfect travel bag, and it is now my official journey bag. I have four more trips planned over the next three months, and I know I won't need anything but this backpack for all of them.

The first thing I noticed about the bag is that it is extremely light. The fabric is a PU-coated nylon that's so thin it almost feels like tissue paper. The structure of the bag is created with thin, light foam. It feels fragile, but it's not. I did not go easy on this bag--I was actually curious to see if it would tear, so I put it through plenty of abuse, but it doesn't even show a scratch. My return flights from New Orleans were not nearly as minimalistic as my flights there (heh), and I can tell you that you can cram this bag full of cans of chicory coffee and books and drag it out from under airplane seats, and (somehow) it holds up just fine. The only downside to that ultra-light fabric? Sometimes it gets caught in the zipper. It doesn't happen if you're careful, and it's a small price to pay for a bag that's light enough that you can fill it full of books and still lift it.

Maruman Sketch Bag Inside

This backpack has an excellent balance of small and large pockets. There's one main large compartment that's great for clothes (or books). Inside that main compartment is one large pocket and two small mesh pockets. Behind that is another large compartment, this one with some foam padding for a computer. The specs say it will fit a 15" laptop, but you could totally fit a desktop computer in there if you wanted to. It's roomy. Or, you know, more books. On the front of the bag is another large zipper compartment with two small pockets inside and one pen pocket. And on the front of that is another small zipper pouch, great for fast-access items. On each side of the bag is a drawstring pouch, fit for an umbrella and water bottle. And on on the side facing your back is yet another padded, medium zipper pouch, perfect for valuables and small electronics. I did use a Lihit Lab bag-in-bag and a few NockCo cases for some extra small-item organization, but I do that even in my everyday purse.

Maruman Sketch Bag Straps

The straps are well padded with foam and very comfortable. There is a sternum strap with a buckle, as well, to help support the weight of all those books. It can be adjusted by width AND height, for which I am very grateful. I'm quite short, so I often can't use a sternum strap. It was very nice to be able to make use of this one.

The only time I had any difficulty with the bag at all was trying to get it out from under the seat on the smaller plane on the way home. When stuffed totally full, it barely fits under the seat in front of you, and I may have had to remove the floatation cushion on my seat to get it out. This is, of course, a fault of the ridiculously small seating space of the airplane and not a fault of the bag--but a travel issue nonetheless. It's possibly also the fault of whoever decided to buy that many books on vacation, but whatever.

Maruman Sketch Bag Side

I'm very happy to have what I feel is the perfect travel bag. And I'm already planning what to pack for my next trip--to the Chicago Pen Show! I hope to see you there! And speaking of packing books, I'll have copies of my novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, with me to sign and sell at the show. Hit me up if you're interested! And feel free to find out how many will fit in your backpack. If you've got a Maruman Sketch Bag, you could have them all and then some--just remember that your seat cushion can be removed in case of water landing or book overload.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes. This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.)


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Maruman Sketch Bag Bottom
Posted on April 11, 2019 and filed under Maruman, Backpack, Bag Review.

Maruman Cover Note B5 Notebook Review

Maruman Cover Note B5 Notebook Review

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

The Maruman Cover Note is a B5 size notebook (176 x 250mm/6.9 inches x 9.8 inches) inside a black leatherette cover. The cover looks quite classy, with a textured surface, the words “Cover Note” embossed on the front, and gold-colored metal corner protectors.

Gold Corners.jpg

The notebook itself is cardboard with thread binding. Two ribbons in black and red are sewn into the book as bookmarks. The notebook contains 88 pages.

Maruman Cover Note B5 Notebook Cover

Each page has a large upper section for titles. The remaining lines are 8mm apart and are printed in light gray ink.

The paper is ivory colored and is 78gsm, but it’s unclear what kind of paper it is. Is it cotton? Tomoe River? Linen? Wood pulp? I couldn’t find any information about the paper content.

Maruman Cover Note B5 Notebook Lines

Unfortunately, the paper is definitely not fountain pen friendly. First, I wrote my calligraphy alphabet with an Opus 88 fitted with a Regalia Labs Crossflex nib. The ink is Montblanc Corn Poppy Red. Not only did the ink bleed through the paper, the individual letters feathered as well.

Maruman Cover Note B5 Notebook Alphabet
Bleed Through Opus 88.jpg
Close Up of Letter.jpg

Next, I tested the paper with various pens and inks. All the fountain pen inks bled through the paper. The only pens that did not exhibit any problems were gel pens and brush pens.

Ink Testing Page.jpg
Bleed Through Various.jpg

Except for Montblanc Corn Poppy Red, the other fountain pen inks didn’t seem to feather, at least not as noticeably.

Close up of word.jpg

I copied a quote from Ambrose Bierce, The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary using my Montblanc 149 inked with Kobe Mikage Grey. The ink didn’t feather and writing on the paper was pleasant. But, once again, there was significant bleed through.

Devils Dictionary Quote.jpg
Devil Close Up.jpg

As much as I like the way the Maruman Cover Note looks, with its classic black cover, gold corners, and ribbon markers, the notebook paper inside is not at all impressive. I cannot recommend this notebook for fountain pen use. However, it appears to handle gel pens and brush pens adequately. Usually, I am impressed with Maruman products, but the paper in this notebook is a major disappointment.

You can purchase the Maruman Cover Note from JetPens for $25.50.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

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Bottom Image.jpg
Posted on February 1, 2019 and filed under Maruman, Notebook Reviews.

Maruman Into-One Binder Review

Maruman Into-One Binder Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

It's probably hyperbole to say that ring binders have changed the world, but is it, really? They've certainly changed the school supply world, and the basic technology is so simple and effective that they themselves have remained almost unchanged for as long as I've been around. As with any technology, if you can't improve it, make it smaller. The Maruman Into-One Mini-Sized Binder is the perfect example of a classic product made useful in whole new ways just by making it wee.

Maruman Into-One Binder

The binder has a flexible polypropylene cover with a light texture. It's very light and thin, so it keeps the binder's profile slim enough that it can fit in a back pocket. The spine is held together with rivets to the ring plate. The rings are plastic and have a pinch-to-open mechanism. They work well, though I worry about the durability of the clear plastic. The binder lies perfectly flat when open. The cover does bow a bit when lying closed.

Maruman Into-One Binder Closed

For being so small, it holds a surprising number of sheets. The paper is available in 5 mm grid, lined, scrap paper, or drawing paper. As with other Maruman papers I've tried, it behaves very well. It's smooth, holds a crisp line of writing, and doesn't allow for feathering or bleed-through. The paper is strong enough that it doesn't tear away from the rings easily, so I've had no trouble with pages falling loose. The sheets are slightly larger than a 3 x 5 card. They'd make great flash cards or study notes.

Maruman Into-One Binder Open

There are also card and zipper pockets that fit into the binder, much like those for Traveler's Notebooks. And with the different papers available, these could easily be a customizable journal or planner system. I've been using mine primarily for making lists and writing down reminders--like a commonplace book where I can decide how much of each sort of paper I need. It's like an auxiliary planner. A place to dump my raw brain data before I organize it into my actual planner.

I think this is a great little product. I love being able to customize my notebook and the small size makes it easy to carry around. I can scribble down an important address, grab a stamp from the pocket, and store the post office receipt all in one place. Oh, hey, that's probably why they call it "Into-One". I love it and I'll get good use out of it until one of my kids steals it.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Posted on September 13, 2018 and filed under Maruman, Notebook Reviews.