I am very fond of the Doane Paper legal pad, especially for my pen reviews, but when Chad Doane mentioned recently that he would be coming out with a pocket notebook in the Doane Paper style, I was really excited to try one out. The Doane Paper Utility Notebook checks in at 3.5" x 5.5", which seems to be the standard for pocket sized notebooks these days. Here are the rest of the specs:
Wide (Legal) Ruled Line Spacing
48 Pages per notebook
100 LB Cover Stock covers
80 LB Text Stock content pages
Rugged 3 staple saddle-stitch binding
Made in the U.S.A.
Custom Covers are available
Sold in packs of 3
The first thing I noticed about the utility notebook was how sturdy it feels. Compared side by side to the Moleskine Cahier (64 pages) and the Field Notes Memo Book (48 pages), it is much thicker, as well as stiffer. I've only had it for a few days, but it seems like it is going to handle knocking around in my backpack or back pocket better than the Moleskine or Field Notes. But on that note, the notebook is hard to spread flat right now. I am hoping that is it just the newness of it, and once I break it in, it will be just fine.
The Doane Utility notebook sandwiched between the Field Notes Memo Book (top) and the Moleskine Cahier (bottom). Click all photos to enlarge.
Writing Samples - Front
The paper in the Doane Utility Notebook performed well. Gel ink, ballpoint, and felt tip pens all did great. The paper was smooth, and the grid lines provided a nice background no matter the color I used. The best part about it was there was little to no bleed. From the back side of the page, you couldn't even tell that I had written on the front.
Writing Samples - Back
Fountain pens, on the other hand, may be an issue. I don't have any real fountain pens (I am going to order something nice for notebook testing very soon), but I do have a Platinum Preppy and a Pilot Petit. The Preppy did fine, but the Petit bled through pretty easily, and my guess is that will be the case with most fountain pens inks. I'll test it more once I get another fountain pen to try.
Fountain Pen - Front
Fountain Pen - Back
All in all, the Doane Utility Notebook is a great addition to the pocket size notebook field. For me, it is going to replace my Moleskine Cahier and Field Notes as my portable notebook of choice.
Written Review (Done with Uni-Ball Signo DX 0.38mm Black)