Thinking about it now, it was only a matter of time until Nock Co., everyone’s favorite pen case maker, expanded into the pocket notebook space. Then again, there are a variety of pocket notebooks available to the portable stationary obsessed so it is only natural to ask if the world really needed another pocket option. Fortunately, this Nock Co. entry brings more than enough uniqueness and quality to the notebook crowd to be well worth checking out.
The yellow color is certainly a bold statement and it fits in nicely with the zesty colors Nock Co. uses for its pen cases. Thankfully and smartly they did not go overboard with excessive graphics on the bright cover beyond the Nock Co. “N” on the front and a USA design on the back. Inside the cover we have check boxes and lines to indicate the notebook’s contents (including the cheeky “Plans for World Domination” option), a box for your name, some contact name and number graphics, an all-purpose “Don’t Forget” box, space for start and end dates and an email address for good samaritans to contact in the event they find a lost notebook. The graphics and text – I’m guessing Century Gothic font – are printed in a pleasing, medium brown color.
Along with the striking cover color, the Nock Co. notebook distinguishes itself by adopting the flip-top, reporter-style binding which I think is a clever choice for a couple of reasons. One, it sets this notebook apart from many other pocket notebook options. Two, binding the notebook at the top is a back-pocket-friendly design. Side-bound notebooks experience significant stress when sitting and if you don’t take pains to protect the books they typically develop creasing or curvature perpendicular to the spine thereby diminishing integrity. I now have a leather cover for my Field Notes so a single notebook survives for several weeks compared to the two, maybe three, weeks I would get for a naked notebook. It is still early, but the preliminary returns look good for the Nock Co. reporter-style binding. The notebook has lived in my jeans for nearly three full days and there is little to no noticeable curving or creasing of the binding and the cover is holding up well. The 80 lbs cover paper seems to be an attempt to balance durability with flexibility. Again, a bit more time will tell if Nock Co. found the right balance on this count. Being a lefty, the reporter-style binding is also win since my southpaw will not be rubbing on a previously written page.
Next, we have the dot dash printing of the paper. This is the same ruling used on Nock Co. notecards which quickly became my notecards of choice. While the dot dash design is functional and flexible without being too busy, it really was the writing experience that sold me on their notecards. There is a softness to writing on these notecards that I have not found with any other paper product. Anyway, the dot dash design does feel a bit busier in the notebook which is likely due to the larger size of the 3.5″ by 5.5″ notebook compared to the 3″ by 5″ index card.
As for the writing experience of the notebook – it’s solid. Actually, it’s very, very good. Pencils, ballpoints and gels all took to the paper well. There is a hint of tooth to the paper so canonical points have enough fiber to grab without feeling too scratchy. I have not done excessive testing with fountain pens, but my TWSBI Mini (F steel nib) and Pilot Custom Heritage (M gold nib), both loaded with Kon Peki, produced fine-medium lines. As a result, I would say the paper is a touch on the thirsty side. There was only a tiny, perfectly acceptable, amount of feathering and mild ghosting on the reverse side. Kon Peki typically has short drying times, but on the Nock Co. paper the ink dried almost instantaneously and certainly well within 5 seconds. All-in-all, the paper is a winner. It’s certainly not Rhodia smooth, but it is miles away from legal pad scratchy. It is easily on par with some of the better, but perhaps not the best, paper found in the Field Notes Colors editions.
Would I buy the Nock Co. DotDash pocket notebook again? Absolutely. In fact, I bought a couple of packs and plan to keep one sealed up just in case these notebooks hit it big. More importantly, it would be great if Nock Co. has a bit of a hit on their hands so we can look forward to notebooks with different color covers. Certainly recommended.