Moleskine Classic Notebook Review

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  1. Thank you for your review on the Moleskin!
    I have a 3.5 x 5.5 and i use it at least 3x’s a week for my birding list. I also keep it in my pocket while I’m birding. I agree the elastic is on the flimsy side, i clip my little pen to it.
    I have a separate one of about the same size that has watercolor paper. It’s the artist one, i believe. Now thats great for watercolor! Of course, the paper is too thick for Bujo in my opinion. I’m new to Bujo so I’m still searching for inserts for my Standard that can handle watercolor too!

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      You’re very welcome Karyn! Have fun exploring the options ☺️

  2. I’ve used Moleskine journals and 18 month planners for years and have had no problems with the elastic or bookmark ribbon. I like the lighter weight paper for the compact size and relatively light weight of the overall journal. I have never had one come apart and they have lived in my purse and back pack and kitchen counter and travel carry on.

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      Thank you for sharing that with me Jayna! I’m glad to hear you haven’t had these same issues.

  3. MADONNA SMITH says:

    Thanks for your review, Shelby. I, too, found the bookmark flimsy; however, I DID put it in my bag or purse and I attributed that use to causing the bookmark fail. I found their paper acceptable. I had one of the bendy covers to start with but have been more cautious after that first journal, and I do like the hard covered journals. Since I don’t water color, I’m not having a problem with ghosting. Thanks for your review and including the specific examples/reasons.

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      You’re so welcome Madonna! The hardcovers seem to just keep your journal safer.

  4. I have been a fan of Moleskin for at least 15 years. I think for watercolors, the thicker pages on their original blank sketchbooks would be a better option than their regular bullet journal notebooks, which have much, much thinner pages. Just not the right Moleskine for this particular job.

    One of my favorite things about the Moleskine is the real leather covers. This is one of my pet peeves of the Leuchtturm1917. Perhaps some prefer a vegan cover, but I love love love the buttery feel and unsurpassed durability of the Moleskine covers. Comparing the covers of my A5 Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal to the Moleskine planner I use at work, the feel of the Moleskine is still something I want to touch and hold, where my Leuchtturm1917 feels kind of tacky and not as satisfying.

    I do think the Moleskine journals are narrower than the Leuchtturm1917, which is a bummer. But after using an A5 Leuchtturm1917 for my 2018 personal bullet journal, I have determined that I don’t like the A5 size at all. Yes, it fits in my bag, but I prefer a larger page like the Moleskine Extra Large (7.5×10) format.

    The Moleskine Pro Weekly Diary has been my work planner for the last 4 years. As long as I am careful on my pen choice to limit ghosting, it has been a huge productivity tool for me at the office. It is also the “Extra Large” size for Moleskine, approx 7.5×10. The extra large format is still easy to tuck in a tote bag, but it also has the extra room to “breathe” and write, which I really like.

    After my first official complete year of bullet journaling with the A5 Leuchtturm1917, I am in search of a new bullet journal for next year. As I said, I am not a fan of the A5 size, so I am considering the Extra Large bullet journal from Moleskine. Yes, I will have to be careful with my pen choice to avoid ghosting, but truth be told, I have to do that with my Leuchtturm1917, anyway. I will miss the extra bookmarks, but since Leuchtturm1917 doesn’t have this larger size (or the real leather cover), I think I’ll go back to Moleskine.

    I just with Moleskine offered the XL hard cover bullet journal in other colors. I think that the only hard cover in they offer in this size is black. You can get other colors, such as teal and red, in the XL size, but they are softcover. Softcover might be not as heavy in my bag, but I wonder if it will be too soft to write on in my lap when I’m on the go and away from the desk.

    Anyway… thanks for the review. I love your site and all of your resources. I just think that watercolors were never a good match for this particular Moleskine. There are plenty of other Moleskines that would be much better suited for painting and markers.

  5. Will never buy a moleskin again. The paper is really bad quality.

  6. I’ve found the Artists Loft journals from Michael’s quite satisfying for bullet journalling. It has two bookmarks, comes in several colours and sizes, and even has index pages at the front! For five bucks for the A5 size, I’m impressed!

    1. I have used several of the michael’s ones and they definitely hold up well and the two bookmarks are fantastic. Biggest draw back for me is the ghosting and how thin the pages are. Great if you’re a minamalist not great if you’re a creative.

      1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

        They are definitely useful and the price can’t be beat especially for minimalist spreads like you said Amy!

  7. Thanks for offering your honest opinion. I Have wanted to try a Moleskine for years just because of the name, but have heard many people say the same thing you said about the paper. What is your favorite bujo to use then??

  8. ARGH! The elastic always wears out, that’s one of my biggest peeves with Moleskine too. I used to use their daily planners for years, and ALL of the elastic bands are saggy and baggy despite the fact that I only use them at the end of the year to close the planner up for good! They should either eliminate it altogether or buy some better elastic.

    I do think, to give credit where it’s due, Moleskine as a brand really started us all down the path toward bullet journal notebooks of higher quality by reviving an old classic. Even though it’s no longer my preferred notebook, it definitely has its place, and it’s a brand that has inspired me to demand more from my notebooks (higher quality paper, numbered pages, pocket storage, etc).

  9. Stephanie Hill says:

    I have used Moleskines for several years and have only recently branched out to try other brands. I agreed with your evaluation of the paper, now that my Bujo use has expanded to lettering and some watercolor use, I find that heavier paper is useful. As for the bookmark and elastic issue, I have never had these problems. My notebooks have survived being thrown in totes, purses, and (the minis) in lab coat pockets.

  10. I agree with the paper quality. I found it to be a bit scratchy under my fountain pen nibs and the ghosting on almost all and bleed through with some inks was what kept me away from most of their notebooks.

    I have never had an issue with the bookmarks or the elastic, and I have abused a couple of small reporter notebooks that I tend to carry when traveling internationally.

  11. Thank you for the thoughtful review. Ghosting is (I think) the worst problem to have with the notebooks. I bought a relatively inexpensive “starter” journal at my local big box craft store. It does pretty well with fine point Flair pens, and some other similar Bic fine points. I use those to draw my boxes and grids for my habit tracking. Honestly, though, I’ve been using colored ballpoint pens lately. And I do really like those for journaling. Yes, all this is totally preference (and trust me, I love ALL office supplies. Every kind. It’s a curse).

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      I hear you on the office supply love Erica!

  12. Thank you! I LOVE reading honest reviews.. I had wondered about Moleskin vs some others, this definitely helped.

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      So glad this was helpful for you Angela.

  13. I’ve never used the Moleskine Classic soft cover, but I’ve had a lot of success with of their hard cover journals! I got a few larger paper-y covers for taking notes in classes while I was still at school, and they held up beautifully.

    I’ve loved reading your reviews, Shelby! I love how fair you are and how you’re respectful of everyone’s opinions. I’m looking forward to next week’s review 🙂

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      I’m glad you’re enjoying all of the reviews Alison. Most products have their pros and cons so it’s great to hear both sides of it.

  14. Kerri Hart says:

    Thank you for this. I would agree except for one point… i have used the Moleskin for several years and have never once had an issue with the elastic strap. It is in and out of backpacks, briefcases and purses and never been an issue though at times i have it stuffed… so- just thought I would share.

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      Thank you for sharing that with us all Kerri! It may have just been a dud that I ended up with.

  15. BrendaLea Abbott says:

    Thank you for this honest review. Ive alway been curious about the Moleskin, but wadnt sure it was the journal for me. Now i know. It is not! Thanks again.

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      I’m so glad this helped you make a decision BrendaLea.

  16. I totally agree on your review..I love moleskine for its size and soft cover but I’m not a fan of their paper quality.

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      Wouldn’t it be great if they came out with some thicker paper Pei?!

    2. Jeffrey Muir says:

      Over the years all aspects of Moleskine construction quality, for all sizes, has gone downhill. Fast. Elastics are thinner. Spine has less structural integrity (one less loop in the binding; pocket books had 4,now have 3 and so on up the size ladder. No leather cover. Same paper weight..) They USED to be great. Then they tried to save a buck and pooched their product. I won’t be back for Moleskine.

  17. Hello Shelby,
    Thank you for your honest review of Moleskine. The brand is around for such a long time and I have kept wondering whether it is really worth trying.
    I will definitely try it in the future to see for myself, anyway thank you for your advice.
    Have a lovely day.

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      You’re very welcome Ayra!

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