Blank and Write Backpocket Journal – Tomoe River Edition

Some time ago I’ve reviewed the Backpocket Ink Tester that was provided to me by Straits Pen. Backpocket notebooks and journals are made by Curnow Bookbinding & Leatherwork. They come in various designs, and as I found out, paper quality too. If you remember, the Ink Tester that I reviewed had paper that were alright, but not great, as feathering and bleedthrough still occured. This time, Justin from Blank and Write Singapore provided me with a Backpocket journal that was supposed to have better paper. Let’s see how it fares.

When I received the Backpocket Journal, I was surprised to see the Blank and Write logo design on the front cover. It must be a special edition, specially made for Blank and Write. Great marketing! Justin has also included a little Blank and Write bookmark made out of a tag as a souvenir.

The Tomoe River paper is paper that many may already be familiar with. I personally have never tried the paper before, but have heard raving reviews of it. There had been a couple of “mass orders” on SFPL with big demands of Tomoe River paper. Well, at last I get to try it now in a nice little portable notebook!

First Impressions

When I received this notebook, it was packed in a regular mail envelope. There are 24 leaves in the notebook, but the whole book is so thin that it just seems like a thick cardboard! It’s not necessarily something bad, but it makes it very interesting. Tomoe River Paper is just about 52 gsm or so, and the 24 leaves of the paper inside made up to a thickness of only about 2mm! The notebook is soft and flexible, and both the cover page and the paper inside are slightly off-white in colour, tending slightly towards a cream. The thinness of the paper makes me a little sceptical of the friendliness to fountain pens, but since everyone was raving about it, it must be rather good, right?

Writing On The Front

Et… voila! I tested a variety of pens and inks on the Tomoe River paper, and found that there was no feathering at all, regardless of pen type! I’ve tested the paper out using the following pens and inks:

Flipping To The Back

With such thin paper, I thought it was inevitable that the ink, especially with the wetter nibs, would bleed through the paper. But to my surprise and delight, none of the ink bled through, except for the Zebra Name Pen, which showed very strong show-through and started to bleed a tiny bit.

As expected with the thinness of the paper, there was rather obvious showthrough, but I feel that I can still write on the reverse side without being too distracted by the showthrough. If you’re particular about the ink showing through the page, you can write with a finer nib and/or lighter-coloured ink.

Is It Really Flawless?

Well, a couple of tiny things that may annoy some of you: despite writing with moderate-light pressure, the nibs of the pens still formed depressions on the page opposite the reverse page (see photo above, I’m referring to the page on the right). Also, the fact that the paper is really thin, it may be prone to crinkling. These really doesn’t bother me a great deal either, but those of you who like to write on a very new, fresh, and untouched sheet each time you flip the page, you may find this a bit of a turn-off.

Being such thin paper, it makes pages a little more difficult to turn, as you tend to feel less “substance” when you finger the page to turn it.

But who cares, really? As long as ink doesn’t get onto the next page, I’m fine using this notebook, thin paper and all!

All-in-all, I suppose this ended up more of a review of two items: the Backpocket notebook itself, and the Tomoe River paper. I hope you found it useful. If you’re interested to get this or to see what other notebooks Blank & Write carries, do click on the picture link below. Once again, this product was sponsored by Blank & Write, but all opinions are my own.


I would love to hear your thoughts!