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Jack London famously said, “Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up in your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.” Many artists would wholeheartedly agree—except for the “cheap paper” bit. To never have to sacrifice a spark of inspiration, it is imperative to find a notebook that feels good to write or sketch in and fits where you need it to. To help whittle down the options, take a look at our picks of the best carry-everywhere notebooks that are up for anything.
1. Paperage 2-Pack Lined Notebook
Paperage’s high-quality notebook, which measures 3.7 by 5.6 inches, is ever so slightly roomier than the average pocket notebook, and every centimeter counts. The pages are a medium weight that is comfortable to write on, and the college-ruled lines allow you to keep your notes neat on each one of the 160 pages. And it’s nice to have a two-pack, so you can keep one in each coat or have a blank one at the ready.
2. Field Notes Graph Memo Book
Field Notes journals have a cult following, as much for their personality as for their quality construction. This multipack of limited-edition covers offers three standard pocket-size notebooks—3.5 by 5.5 inches—with a grid pattern on the pages. The notebooks are svelte with just 48 pages each. But the standout thing about these little journals are the artful designs on the covers. From Field Notes’ Fall 2020 “United States of Letterpress” line, each cover has been designed by a different independent letterpress shop.
3. Taotree 2-Pack Pocket Notebook
This notebook two-pack is a great deal for the quality and features you get. Each notebook has 128 pages, a faux-leather cover, an elastic closure, two inner pockets, two ribbon page markers, and an elastic pen holder. Another coveted feature is the notebook’s ability to lay flat on its own for a comfortable writing experience no matter where you are.
4. Moleskine Volant Journal, XS
If portability is your utmost concern, this tiny journal from Moleskine is a good choice. Measuring just 2.5 by 4 inches, it will fit in a pocket of even the most form-fitting jeans. Despite its toy size, it features the same creamy paper that Moleskine devotees love. Each journal in this two-pack has 56 pages that are perforated for easy removal, should you wish to leave someone a little love note—or a reminder to pick up the dry cleaning.
5. Kate Spade New York Take Note Notebook
Kate Spade’s notebook is fun and bright without being gaudy. This small, sapphire-blue journal, measuring 5.6 by 3.6 inches, has a coy “If You Only Knew” printed petitely in gold foil on the front, playfully piquing people’s interest in any secrets contained within its 168 lined pages.