Affordable, dependable, and delightful. That's how I describe the Kokuyo Campus Twin Ring notebooks. I honestly don't know why it took me so long to try one of these notebooks, but I'm sure glad I did.
These notebooks come in at a whopping $5.50 a piece, with your choice of 6 or 7 mm rule and an assortment of colors. At a price like that, it's hard to argue that this is a high value notebook.
I went through a phase recently where I didn't want anything to do with spiral notebooks. No idea why, but it happened. That's no longer the case, as I really appreciate the versatility of a spiral notebook – particularly how they lay completely flat and don't require any sort of stabilizing pressure to keep pages down while writing. Other types of bound books also have their perks, so it's just a question of mood or needs for the job when it comes to picking one based on binding.
The binding in the Kokuyo is twin ring, which means there are two rings for each hole in the paper. This creates a strong spiral that resists being deformed when put in a bag with other large objects. I always hated how my notebooks in school would exhibit a harsh slant in the spiral binding after a couple of weeks of class. With the Kokuyo notebooks, this isn't as much of an issue due to the smaller diameter of the spiral, and the extra reinforcement. As another bonus, the double spiral also means there are fewer accidental tears. It seems like single spiral notebooks loose pages more frequently because it's easier to rip them out.
The front of the book has two covers in a way – a semi-rigid translucent front cover, and a normal cover with the branding and information just after that. I'm assuming the translucent cover on the front is to add a bit of protection to the book, but I'm confused as to why there's only one. Why not a little protection on the back? Given the price, it's hard to complain.
So, it's a notebook that you write in. How does it handle inks? Really well.
This isn't a premium paper, so you can easily find notebooks that feel smoother and handle show-through much better, but you'll pay much for them, especially if they are similarly sized. The semi-B5 size is a great step up from the standard 5.5" x 8.5" notebooks that are really common. It's not so big as to be unusable on small desks, but it's also quite spacious.
Writing with fountain pens in this book is smooth. The paper is a great quality and I'm really happy with it. It does show through a bit to the back of the page, but not so much that it renders the back page unusable. It's only a minor problem in my opinion, and even when using wide nibs I've not had any problems using the back page.
I haven't seen any feathering with the inks I've tried, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the inks that are infamous for feathering showed a slight amount of feathering on this paper. Dry time is pretty quick as the paper is fairly absorbent. The ink doesn't lay on top of the page very long. Overall, it's a fantastic paper for the price.
The notebooks only come in ruled format, but you can choose between 6 mm and 7 mm spacing. The 6 mm ruling comes in a green or red cover, and the 7 mm books are available in yellow or blue covers. Like most Kokuyo paper, there's an area at the top for the date and other information for your notes. Every fifth line is denoted with a tiny dot at the beginning and end of the line. I've never used this, but it's worth mentioning.
Honestly, I wouldn't expect this book to live long in a harsh environment (like a backpack with textbooks), but the good news is that it fits the Kokuyo Systemic cover. The cover will keep everything inside pristine.
Overall, I can't recommend this book enough if you're looking for a semi-B5 or B5 sized notebook that handles fountain pens well. It's not in the same performance category as others (Clairefontaine, Rhodia, Mnemosyne, etc.), but it also isn't in that price category either. It's a great budget book for taking notes and carrying daily.