When you need to jot something down, nothing beats a notebook! Whether you want to make lists, record ideas, or even push your artistic boundaries while you’re out and about, these are the best notebooks for the job.
What Makes a Good Everyday Carry Notebook?
Not every notebook is suitable to carry with you every day. Here are some things you might want to consider while choosing one:
- Paper: The quality of notebook paper is often overlooked, but it’s important. Higher quality paper can handle more writing instruments (including fountain pens) and usually offers a smoother writing experience than plain notebook paper.
- Print: You’re probably familiar with the standard ruled paper found in most notebooks. However, you can also get notebooks with grid or dotted print, or just plain pages (which are perfect for artists).
- Size: If you plan to toss your notebook in your bag every day, size is important. While larger notebooks might seem like the best value, they can be difficult to pack and inconvenient to use if you don’t have a lot of desk space available. For these reasons, we focused on journal-size (around 5 x 7 inches) and pocket-size (around 3.5 x 5 inches) notebooks for this list.
Now that you have an idea of what you’re looking for, let’s take a look at some fantastic notebooks.
Best Overall: Moleskin Classic
When it comes to standard notebooks, Moleskin frequently comes out on top. The company produces some of the highest quality notebooks on the market, and the Classic is no different. The outside cover is nothing special, but it’s still durable and hard (although, you can get a softcover, if you prefer) and has an elastic band so you can close it tight. The notebook is journal-size and measures 5 x 8.25 inches.
It’s what’s inside the notebook that makes it so great. The thick ivory paper Moleskin is known for is some of the best around. It’s great for writing with any type of pen or pencil—and you get 240 pages of it!
The Moleskin Classic is available in 15 different colors and four different printing options (ruled, dotted, plain, or squared), so you can choose the combination that works best for you.
Moleskine Classic Notebook, Hard Cover, Large (5" x 8.25") Ruled/Lined, Black, 240 Pages
When it comes to standard notebooks, nothing beats a Moleskin.
Best Pocket-Size: Field Notes
For a pocket notebook, you want something small and thin, and Field Notes notebooks are great for these exact reasons. They’re only 0.1 inches thick and measure 3.5 x 5.5 inches. Most of the designs use grid paper, but you can get the “Kraft” variant with ruled or blank pages if you prefer. There’s also a dotted graph print version.
The paper is high quality, and while you only get 48 pages, you get three notebooks per order, so that should last you a while.
Field Notes are also available in a few themed designs, like the popular National Parks Series.
Field Notes: Original Kraft 3-Pack - Ruled Paper - 48 Pages - 3.5" x 5.5"
You can easily stuff the thin, light Field Notes Notebook in your pocket. Seriously---that's what it's made for!
Best for Lists: Word
If you want a pocket-size notebook for lists, there’s no better option than Word. The unique print design allows you to mark off tasks as you complete them, or just make simple checklists. It’s also perfect for bullet journaling. The dimensions are the same as the Field Notes we covered above (3.5 x 5.5 inches), but the Word is a bit thicker (0.5 inches).
In addition to the plain black, they also come in unique designs, like Blue Mountain, Denim, Mist, Green Terrain, Grey Polygon, and Harvest. You also get three notebooks of the same design with every order.
Word. Notebooks Pocket Notebook for To-Do Lists, Bullet Lists, Journaling, Notepads - Mini Notebooks with Unique Abstract Designs - 3.5" x 5.5" (3 Pack) (Black)
Specifically designed for lists and bullet journaling, the Word Notebook is available in a variety of cover designs.
Best for Artists: Leda Art Supply Premium Sketch Book
If you want to be able to draw anywhere, Leda’s Sketch Book is the best option. It has a simple, understated design, and a quality binding that ensures it will lie flat while you work. When it comes to mediums, the high-quality paper means you can take your pick! It can handle ink, pencils, pastels, charcoals, and even some light watercolors.
The Leda is available in three sizes: the travel-friendly medium (5.7 x 8.25 inches), middle-of-the-road large (7 x 10 inches), and the spacious extra-large (8.25 x 11.5 inches).
Leda Art Supply A5 Sketchbook, Lay Flat Softcover Sketch Book for Kids/Adults, Ideal for Ink, Water Color, Pen, Pencils, 160 Tear Resistant Pages, Size: Medium
If you draw on the go, the Leda is the sketch book for you.
Best for Leather Lovers: Robrasim Leather Travel Journal
If you love the vintage look of leather notebooks, Robrasim’s Travel Journal gives you that paired with high-quality modern paper. Handcrafted from genuine, crazy horse leather, the journal’s handstitched binding ensures it lies flat while you write.
It’s standard journal size (5 x 7 inches) and has 320 standard ruled pages. You can also get a pocket-size version (4 x 5.2 inches) if you prefer.
Robrasim Leather Journal Travel Notebook, Handmade Vintage Leather Bound Writing Notebooks for Men & Women, Unlined Travel Journal to Write in 320 Pages Medium Size 7"x5" Art Sketchbook, Travel Diary
The Robrasim Leather Travel Journal features modern paper in a beautiful vintage-look cover.
Best Waterproof: Rite in the Rain All-Weather
Paper and water aren’t a great mix. If you’re often worried your hard work will get caught in the tide, the Rite in the Rain All-Weather Notebook is the perfect choice. No matter what you write with, the special all-weather paper will protect it and keep it intact. As the name implies, you can even write in the rain with a pencil, crayon, or Rite in the Rain’s All-Weather Pen.
Rite in the Rain comes in eight different colors, and you can choose how many (one, three, or six) you want in your order. It’s pocket-size (4 x 6 inches), 0.4-inches thick, and has 100 pages.
It’s also 100 percent recyclable if you don’t need to keep all of your notes.
Rite In The Rain Weatherproof Top-Spiral Notebook, 4" x 6", Black Cover, Universal Pattern (No. 746-3), 3 Pack
With the Rite in the Rain All-Weather Notebook, you'll never have to worry about your work being ruined by the rain ever again.