Leuchtturm1917 Hardcover A5 Notebook Review

Had to sticker it up!

I recently started Bullet Journaling. More on that in a future post, once I'm a few months in. The book I chose to do it in was the Leuchtturm1917. A good friend of mine uses these books and swears by them, as do many people within the stationery community. They get generally positive reviews. I've been sitting on this one for a while, not knowing quite what I wanted to use it for, so when I got interested in Bullet Journaling, I figured if Leuchtturm1917 was good enough for Ryder Carroll, it was good enough for me.

I bought this for general use and on the advice of a friend, so I wasn't planning for Bullet Journaling at the time of purchase. I bought my favorite ruling, lined, but for my next journal, if I don't use another brand, I'll more than likely buy dot grid or graph. Those seem to work better for the Bullet Journal layout.

First, the specs:
Hardcover, with back pocket 249 pages
Size: A5 - 5.83in x 8.27in (14.5cm x 21cm)
Color: Army Green
Paper: 80gsm ("ink proof")
Extras: 2 book marks, elastic band.

The layout is nice. The first 3 printed pages are for an index or table of contents by topic. After that, my lined book has a nice header margin on the top edge, about the width of two lines, with an area to put the date. There are 32 lines following, with each page numbered in the bottom outside corner. The lines are thin and light gray, and they disappear very well into the background. They don't  fight your marks or show through fountain pen ink like some other books do. The last 8 sheets are perforated for removal, but good luck removing the last one: it's glued on to the back inside cover sheet that covers the gusseted back cover pocket.

I'm trying to keep my bullet journal as close to the original minimal style as possible. No decorating the pages with markers or anything like that. I'm also not picky about what I use to write in it. I often just use whatever is close or already in my hand. That means pencils, fountain pens, gel, roller balls...all have been tried in these pages. While I'm happy with the lack of bleed-through, that usually comes at a price. Ink takes a little while longer to dry on this than some other paper I'm used to. Fountain pen ink, I expect, but even a quick drying gel ink, like the Paper Mate Ink Joy, takes about 3 seconds to fully dry. In a Field Notes, for instance, it's almost immediate. For me, it's not a problem, but for a left-hander, they'll want to pick something that is known to dry fast on this (and other) fountain pen friendly paper. The lack of bleed-through, however, is a welcome trade off I would make every time.

Pencil does ok, but the paper feels a little thin, which contributes to a lot of graphite transfer. A heavier paper would help here, but then the 250 page book would be thicker than it already is. I could use a blotter page between pages, but as I want this to be a quick, grab-and-write journal, so I don't want to worry about those things. Obviously, the darker the pencil, the worse it is. It's something us dusty, dirty pencil pushers have to deal with on a daily basis.

I love this form factor. A5 is a sweet spot for me...small enough to carry around but not so small to be misplaced. Having 2 ribbons is also a godsend, especially while Bullet Journaling (I keep one at the "month" page and one on the current page). They're also long enough to be used properly. One is the color of the book, the other striped, so you can see the difference when grabbing one or the other. In the first month of use, the elastic band hasn't gotten loose or even slacked a little bit, and that's with using it multiple times a day for a month, going in and out of my bag, catching on things. 

Overall, this is a great book. It's slightly larger than a Moleskine, as it's a true A5, and has about 10 more pages. A couple extra book marks and better paper. All this, and the same price. I'm liking it a lot so far.

Available on Amazon. $19.95.