In the never-ending quest to find the perfect notebook for every situation, I recently came across the Apica Blank Cover Twin Ring Notebooks.
Premium notebooks are plentiful and definitely have their place. The major downside (for me, at least) is that I feel like I have to fill them with award-winning thoughts since they cost so much. While this is completely my own irrational problem, it's still real to me. So, that's why inexpensive "beater" notebooks that take fountain pens well are so enticing.
The Apica notebooks are the perfect solution to my self-inflicted problem, and I'm sure they meet the needs and desires of a lot of other people as well. In the slim-B5 market, they are my equivalent to Field Notes. At $4.35 for a 30-sheet fountain-pen-friendly notebook, it's hard to argue with.
The outside of the notebook is a plain, light-weight, craft card-stock. It's not heavy duty, so don't expect it to hold up any better than your Field Notes covers. Part of the allure of a blank cover is the ability to decorate it in any way you see fit. The only thing on the cover is a small sticker on the back of the notebook. And, if that sticker bothers you, it's simple to remove without damaging the card-stock underneath. The interiors of the covers are also blank. Really, the description of this product is quite apt.
The thickness of the notebook is thinner than I expected based on other Apica notebooks I've purchased with the same number of sheets. Still, the paper doesn't feel thin or cheap. I think most of the thinness can be attributed to the thin cover materials.
The twin ring binding is fantastic on these books. It's strong, sturdy, and come in a variety of colors. While we're talking about colors and variety, I'll also mention that the books come in graph, blank, and lined varieties. The graph books have white binding, the blank books have black binding, and the lined books are available with blue, green, red, or yellow binding. Plenty of choices, all for $4.35.
Finally, the size is one of my favorites — slim B5. It's tall and slender, which is perfect for me when writing.
I was surprised by the quality of the paper in relation to the price, which is a good thing.
The paper is very smooth with every pen I've tried. It's a pleasure to write on, just like other Apica papers I've tried. The paper is 70 gsm weight, which is barely good enough for fountain pens. I say barely, but it actually handled everything I tried with flying colors. Each paper is different, and I've used other 70 gsm papers that didn't perform as well as this one.
Feathering was almost non-existent, show-through was impressively low, and dry time was pretty quick. The version I have is lined, and they're spaced 6.5 mm apart in a light blue ink. The pages are not perforated, which is something I appreciate; although, this might deter some buyers based on their preferences for tearing out sheets as needed.
In my experience, anything up to a medium nib and standard ink will do fine with this paper. Anything above that or an exceptionally wet ink might cause some problems, but I think they would be minimal. Overall, I'm really impressed by the paper for the price of the notebook. I'd wager they cut costs on the covers in order to use higher quality paper.
It's plain, has no frills, but is inexpensive and works really well with most fountain pens. This is a great notebook for classes, general writing, brainstorming, etc. in situations where you don't want to use a more expensive notebook. If a low-key, budget-friendly, fountain-pen-friendly notebook sounds enticing to you, I can't recommend the Apica Blank Cover Twin Ring enough.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)