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Midori Traveler’s Notebook [Review]

midori_travelers_notebook_6 The Midori Traveler’s Notebook was my first leather notebook and it’s still one of my favorites. With a simple design and ease of customization I was hooked as soon as I saw it. And Like all fine things, it only gets better with age.

I ordered my first one from Amazon and wen it came, I’ll be honest, I was disappointed. It literally a flap of leather with a notebook in it. I paid around $60 for mine and felt like I overpaid by about $40! I also ordered a few refills of graph notebooks and that made a huge difference. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

Right off the bat, this thing smelled pretty rough. It didn’t smell like leather at all, it smelled of shoe polish. It was thin, floppy and the replacement notebooks are kind of expensive at around $7-$10 each. So I looked around a bit at one other people were using theirs for before I returned this thing and starting messing around. It wasn’t long before I stumbled upon a setup I really liked with it and picked up a few accessories.

The Traveler’s Notebook uses an elastic band to hold the notebook in. It makes it easy to swap out refills and they make all sorts of extra’s for it. Some of the refills include kraft, drawing paper, lined, plain, graph (my favorite) and a calendar. There are even 3rd party vendors who make refills that can save you a few dollars as well. In addition, they make plastic card sleeves, zipper pockets, adhesive pockets and a nice kraft folder.

Once I picked up a few I liked I quickly learned how to stack them in there. Using the elastic cord I was able to get 2 notebooks in, a couple of the clear pockets and a craft folder/pocket. These things are really much better stuffed. They are the perfect size to hold standard size mail the way it’s folded when you actually mail it. I used it to organize my letters and bills. They are very versatile and you can set them up in a way that suits your needs. But they really are just a flap of leather with a notebook in it. The thing I thought I disliked about them is what I ended up loving about them. It’s all about the leather.

Midori uses some of the absolute finest leather I’ve ever seen on any product. I’ve ordered a few fauxdori’s, as the community tends to call them, and nothing comes close. I wanted to make my own so I ended up at Tandy Leather and even though I was able to make some pretty nice fauxdori’s, the leather still fell short. They are just hard enough to keep their shape but still pliable enough to have just the right amount of play in them. They are really smooth and they get this amazing patina as they age. The more you use them the sexier they get. I loved this leather so much I bought a couple of used ones on eBay to make covers for my Hobonichi Techo and my Field Notes. And that shoe polish smell? They use it to go around the outside edges to really finish them off. It goes away after a few days. I break mine in by letting them sit in the sun for a few hours and then really giving them hell in my bag.

This notebook won’t be for everyone. I highly recommend you check out the Midori Traveler’s Notebook group on flickr to get a real feel for these notebooks. They look amazing and everyone will be asking you about them. But make sure it’s what you want.

Here are some of my pics:
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You can pick one up on Amazon for about $40 (Aff Link).

Update: I forgot to mention when I published this one that these come in two sizes: The Standard Size and a Passport Size. Several people have asked me if the Passport Size will hold Field Notes or Moleskine and the answer is no. They are a bit too narrow and too short. It’s close, but they stick out quite a bit. These come in two main colors, Brown and Black. They also released a Tan “Star Ferry” edition. The Passport Size is for that edition is a bit more common but it’s very difficult to find the Standard Size in the Star Ferry special edition. I found mine used on eBay and haven’t seen another since.

About Chrispian

My name is Chrispian and I like to make things. I'm a web developer and have been working in the computer / internet field for almost 22 years now. I also draw, write, take pictures and love figuring stuff out.

Comments

  1. Do you still love your Midori? Does it come in mind to sell the camel regular one? *no hurt for asking though LOL*

  2. Hi!
    What’s that pen with five stars?

  3. Alessandro, that’s the Retro 51 Tornado “Eisenhower” pen. Really great pen!

  4. Elga, Yes, I still love it! It’s very hard to beat. The leather is just buttery smooth. You can sometimes find them for a good deal on ebay. Lots of “sharks” on there so just be patient.

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