Nomad Notebooks: Second Look

Nomad Pocket notebooks and pencils

Several years ago I tried Nomad’s pocket notebooks. While they were fun to use, I didn’t like their paper (as in, writing on it not design). Back then, however, I was a paper snob across all notebooks or journals I used. If a paper wasn’t good with graphite and fountain pens, I dismissed it.

These days when it comes to pocket notebooks, I’ve dropped my paper snobbery and don’t care as I did back then about the paper. I’m still uber-picky about paper for the notebooks and journals I write longhand in (all A6, A5, or larger), but today’s me wants to have fun with pocket notebooks. My pocket notebooks use now is solely for consumable purposes: lists, notes, to-dos, etc., all stuff done on the fly. I typically tear out used pages as I go, too, so I don’t save my pocket notebooks (there’s not much left of them when I’m through!).

I saw an Instagram post by Nomad about their new, limited Sakura notebooks and pencils. Off I went to indulge in some ORT (online retail therapy) at the Nomad site. While “on the couch,” I discovered their coffee notebooks and pencils. What follows is more of an impression than an extensive review. At the end is a gallery showing aspects of all the goodies from this order.

First, I do love how Nomad stretches the boundaries with their multiple inside paper designs and colors, and the covers usually have innovative and fun designs. For these two packs, they offered companion pencils—too tempting to pass up. Despite being Musgraves thus average pencils, the matching themes added to the fun.

The Sakura three-pack is a limited run, pink-heavy Japanese theme, and comes in a sealed envelope ala Field Note’s Packet of Sunshine (although no seeds in Sakura). The three notebooks have different cover designs (love the one with the vertical view box of a scene with the snow-capped mountain – Mt. Fuji?), and different inside cover graphics. Interior pages are a mix of layouts and light graphics, all on varying pink pages. Matching pencils are sweet design-wise, but as said, not a fan of Musgraves for writability. The primo touch on the pencils is the theme-matching custom pencil pouch they came in.

The Nomad Blend coffee three-pack was intriguing with the promise of coffee-scented inks used for the covers. The pack has coffee-toned interior pages with mixed layouts, and love the page with the coffee stain. Covers are thematic designs, but the inside covers have a coffee lover’s mix of helpful reference information. The themed pencils are naturals (my fav) and imprinted with coffee grind sizes and scale.

So did I like Nomad notebooks this second time?

In a word…mostly. I’ll have fun using them and will certainly enjoy Nomad’s approach to randomizing inside pages and carrying themes throughout. Paper quality wise, they worked good with graphite and fountain pen, but not great, yet usable in the way I use pocket notebooks.

There are two notable cons, however. The paper used for the covers is a bit soft, thus folding back the covers (even just breaking them a bit to get the photos taken) is starting in a few places to tear from the staples. I suspect I’ll have to reinforce these covers long before I use up the innards. That’s not uncommon with many pocket notebooks after some use, since they usually get beat-up from a hip pocket carry or one-handed mangling during grocery shopping. Not a deal breaker for me, but should be improved.

The other con was about the coffee scent on the coffee pack covers. It’s not really there except lightly with unfortunately a strongish chemical smell. In true scratch-n-sniff mode, the scents come up a bit, but so does that other odor. Still, that wasn’t a feature I cared about (more curious than anything) but I’m delighted with the paper tones and varied layouts and graphics, and the inside cover references and coffee rating/review blocks are pretty cool. But for me, I’ll have to air out these notebooks in the sun before I can use them due to the odor.

Overall, these Nomad notebooks will be fun to use. My suggestion to Nomad is to change the cover stock to something stronger, and/or add a third staple to help reduce the covers coming off too soon.

You can check these out at Nomad Notebooks online shop. Note that I purchased these myself and they were not supplied by Nomad for review.