Calepino No 2 Pocket Notebooks Review

Calepino No 2 Pocket Notebook

Calepino appears to be the French equivalent of Field Notes.  Calepino focuses on small pocket notebooks with a simple core line of 100% French-made notebooks numbered one through four.  No 1 features a red striped cover with ruled paper, No 2, the version I purchased, has green stripes and grid paper, No 3 has blue stripes and blank paper and No 4 has grey stripes and a dot grid.

Calepino No 2 Pocket Notebook

Notebook numbers 1-4 come in packs of 3 for $13 compared with Field Notes’ 3 for $10. The No 2 measures 3.5″ x 5.5″, though up against a Field Notes, the No 2 is a hair shorter and a hair wider.  The page count is the same 48 pages.  So are they better than Field Notes?  Let’s find out!

Calepino No 2 Pocket Notebook

The Calepino notebooks come in very nicely branded box that features the same design and same cardboard as the notebook covers.  The inside of the box lists all the specs of notebooks much like on the back inside cover of a Field Notes.

Calepino No 2 Pocket Notebook

Calepino No 2 Pocket Notebook

The cardboard cover is much rougher than a standard Field Notes cover and is noticeably thicker.  The cardboard is made by a company in the Creuse area of France that has been making cardboard since 1927. The design is quite nice but I definitely prefer the simplicity of the Field Notes covers.  The Calepino has three fonts on the cover where Field Notes only has one.

Calepino No 2 Pocket Notebook

Inside the cover is a place for your personal information and a place for the start and finish date.

Calepino No 2 Pocket Notebook

The pages are made of a bright white recycled paper with a green grid.  The 5 x 5 mm grid is a bit larger than the 4.7 mm x 4.7mm grid found on a standard Field Notes.  I prefer the smaller grid and the light brown ink the Field Notes uses.

Field Notes on the left and Calepino on the right.
Field Notes on the left and Calepino on the right.

In my testing I found that the Calepino’s paper handled relatively well for a recycled paper.  It does bleed and feather a bit but overall it holds ink better than the standard Field Notes paper.  To my touch the Calepino paper is a bit rougher and it provides a bit more feedback when writing which I like.

Calepino No 2 Pocket Notebook

Calepino No 2 Pocket Notebook
Bleeding with fatter nibs but very minor ghosting.

 

Calepino No 2 Pocket NotebookThe Calepino is bound with two staples vs Field Notes’ three.  The back cover has a little blurb about the company (I hope you speak French) and a metric ruler.

Calepino No 2 Pocket Notebook

I have been carrying around a Calepino for about a week now and I definitely like the notebook but I don’t like it better than Field Notes.  I fold my covers over when I am writing on a page and the Calepino is noticeably less pliable than a Field Notes notebook.  I can fold the cover over but its more difficult and the two staple binding does not do as nice a job of holding the pages in place.

Calepino No 2 Pocket Notebook

The Calepino offers better paper and better packaging than Field Notes but in the end I prefer the softer cover and overall look and feel of Field Notes.

The Calepino limited editions are quite interesting and I hope to get my hands on a set.  The Limited editions feature collaborations with artists and famous design houses.  What I particularly like is that the limited editions I have seen come in sets that include other limited edition items like pencils, pens, buttons and bookmarks.

Here are links to some great reviews of Calepino notebooks:

(I have no affiliation to the sites linked below)

Notebook Stories – Review: Calepino Notebook

Pens! Paper! Pencils! – Calepino notebooks review

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4 thoughts on “Calepino No 2 Pocket Notebooks Review”

  1. The color scheme, typeface, packaging and paper all combine to make this a very old-school, retro feeling notebook in my eyes. It makes Field Notes look positively chic! Definitely carry elements of a rough-and-tumble type of book. Thanks for the review!

  2. Great find / review! I had high hopes that you stumbled upon the fountain pen friendly memo book I’ve been looking for, but it sounds like it doesn’t quite hit the bar for making the switch. Seems worth keeping an eye on though.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I think the best I have come across are the Field Notes with the Finch 70# weight paper that comes in the America the Beautiful Edition and the Shelterwood Edition.

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