Welcome to our first ever (Mini) Review!
Having some time to spare last Sunday, I seized the opportunity to grab Traveler's Company's latest inserts for a quick test. The aim of this short review is to share our first practical impressions of these brand new items. TRC don't release new products very often and when they do they are the result of a carefully thought out design process.
The Traveler's Notebook system is designed for flexibility and practicality, refills and accessories are easy to swap in or out and are all designed to be used on the move. Their wide selection of products allows to you to configure your TN set-up instantly and for every occasion.
These latest additions (5 for the regular sized Traveler's Notebook, 4 for the passport Size one and 2 brass clips) are all designed with a specific use in mind. We decided to keep things simple and have split our review into 2 parts. Today's article will cover the Regular sized 025 (MD Cream), 026 (Dot Grid) and 027 (watercolour paper) refills.
Until now the 3 basic Traveler's Notebook refills (001 lined, 002 grid and 003 ruled) were only available on brilliant white MD paper. The 025 refill (013 in passport format) introduces plain cream-coloured paper to the TN range.
Just like the 3 existing refills, the Cream one is described as being fountain-pen friendly but easier on the eye due to the warmer tint of the paper.
A quick test with a Platinum 3776 M nib fountain pen (contact us if you would like to order one) using a dark blue Platinum ink cartridge proved that this was the case.
The paper cover has a lovely subtle texture to it, a small detail which makes using the notebook refill all the more pleasant. The paper feels very similar to the white one and share it's advantages: no smudging, a smooth and very lightly textured surface with some grip and definitely less tiring visually, thanks to the cream tint.
On the reverse, there is some discreet ghosting (the text shows through) but no bleeding.
Dot Grid Paper is great for Bullet Journaling or any other methodology for which you need to be able to write or draw diagrams more freely than on standard grid paper but still with some structure thanks to the less visually-intrusive dots. Dot grid paper is very popular with Traveler's Notebook users but refills have only been available from 3rd party manufacturers until now, available options being usually much more expensive than TRC ones or DIY products. Made from the usual high quality white MD paper, these new refills are fountain pen friendly and perfectly sized for your TN.
The grid is well-spaced (5x5mm), just dark enough to be visible without being distracting. The paper shows very limited ghosting and no bleeding.
3. 027 Watercolor Paper Refill
Finally, my favourite of the new refills! Disclaimer: I haven't used watercolours for 30-odd years so please be indulgent, the "artwork" is only meant to demonstrate the qualities of the paper. The TRC range already included the 012 Sketch Paper Refill which actually works quite well with watercolour paint but is known to suffer from bulging and seeping when over-wet. TRC have used a heavier grammage (actual value unknown) for this refill in order to avoid these issues.
Here's what happened when I tried it out:
I chose a familiar subject to sketch using a Blackwing 602 pencil. The paper is great for drawing, the texture is mid-way between smooth and highly textured.
I started painting in the colours, applying the paint (Winsor & Newton Professional) in several wet layers.
The paper held up very well to the water and allowed the paint to dry quickly (fast enough but not too fast). The refill is stitched but is also perforated so that you can remove the page to let it dry separately (or share it afterwards).
Apart from very slight bulging in places, the page stayed quite flat.
My conclusion is that I'll be using all 3 inserts on a regular basis, especially the Watercolor one. I feel that all 3 meet their specifications and reach their objective, they are perfectly designed for use in the Traveler's Notebook and have added value when on the move.
See the entire Traveler's Company range here. Thank you for reading this article!