Mobile phones and laptops are great at a lot of things, but they have yet to surpass pen and paper for quick note taking. For that task you’ll want a notebook that is small, light, and readily available. We call those pocket notebooks.
Best Pocket Notebook Video Review
What Is A Pocket Notebook?
A pocket notebook doesn’t have an official definition, but you’ll know it when you see it. They will, of course, fit easily into a normal pocket (not just your cargo shorts), which means they are generally about 3 inches by 5 inches or standard paper sizes of:
- A6: 105 x 148 mm (4.1 x 5.8 inches)
- B6: 128 x 182 mm (5 x 7 inches)
- A7: 74 x 105 mm (2.9 x 4.1 inches)
- B7: 88 x 125 mm (3.5 x 5 inches)
B6 would be a stretch given the large size, but you’ll have to define what “pocketable” means for you.
Field Notes notebooks are 3.5 x 5.5 inches, and are the canonical size of a pocket notebook for most people. A Moleskine Pocket notebook is also 3.5 x 5.5 inches, which doubly proves this point! Moleskine’s smaller size, XS, is 2.5 x 4.25 inches (XS (6.5 x 10.5 cm) which is workable, but on the small side.
Best Pocket Notebooks
Here are our favorite pocket notebooks, in no particular order.
This was an obvious choice given its popularity, but Field Notes memo books are the go-to in pocket notebooks. Field Notes are known for their colorful covers that come in a dazzlingly huge array of options, including many special editions (like the woodgrain one featured at the top).
Field Notes are great pocket notebooks because they are slim and bendy enough to fit perfectly into any pocket, including the chest pocket on a dress shirt or a side pocket of skinny jeans. They also hold up incredibly well. Though they are simply stable-bound, they do find a way to just last and last. Even as the cover gets marked and scuffed, the notebooks just look better and better.
Three Field Notes memo pads will typically cost about $10.
Moleskine Volant Journal Pocket
The obvious choice here would have been the Moleskine Classic in pocket size, but the Volant Journal takes the prize. That’s because the Volant’s softcover design is better for pockets and can be slipped into jeans or something a bit more formfitting with no problem at all.
As noted above, this notebook is the ideal size — 3.5 x 5.5 inches — and it has 80 pages, which is just the right amount. Yes, the Moleskine paper is on the thin side, so you’ll need to fine the best pen for Moleskine notebooks, but our research will help you do just that.
The softcovers use a plastic-like cover that really lasts well and they have perforated pages for easy removal if you need to handoff a note to someone.
Baron Fig Vanguard Softcover
The Pocket Size Baron Fig Vanguard is a 3.5 x 5 inch softcover notebook that really lasts well. The notebook is a lot like the Field Notes, but it doesn’t look quite as interesting and it uses a thread-bound design that lasts better than the Field Notes’ staples. Sold in grid, lined, and dot grid styles, the notebook has a handsome minimalist aesthetic that you might love (or be bored by).
Baron Fig uses absorbent paper that makes for very quick drying. It rights like copy paper, but it’s actually pretty nice and won’t have heavy bleedthrough or feathering like cheaper papers.
Traveler’s Notebook Refill 001
The Passport size Traveler’s Notebook Refill is meant to be used with Traveler’s Company’s high-end leather case, but it works fine on its own. The refill uses very nice Midori paper, it only costs about $4, and it’s a great size. At 3.5 by 4.5 inches it’s a bit shorter than a typical pocket notebook but it’ll do the job nicely.
Silvine Originals Memo Book
Silvine isn’t that well known in the United States, but they are great looking notebooks (notable for their bright red covers) and some of my favorite paper of all time. It’s everything you need in a pocket notebook and nothing you don’t.
The Silvine Originals Memo book is 52 pages of high quality, 90 gsm really unique paper, with a sewn spine and lined pages. The paper is highly textured and grippy, making it great for all types of pens, but a better fit for people who want some feedback from their pen as opposed to a buttery smooth experience.