Notebook Review: Kikkerland WritersBlok New Wave (small)

All these pencil reviews, but what should a person write on? Well, I’m here with the inaugural Polar Pencil Pusher notebook review, featuring a product I picked up during my most recent vacation. Today we’re going to have a little peek at the Kikkerland WritersBlok New Wave small (A6 pocket-sized) notebook.

As far as airport gift shops goes, Anchorage actually has a couple pretty good ones, and it was in one such shop — Moostique — that I discovered the New Wave pocket notebook. The throwback cover art and the low sticker price had me sold! Over the next few days, I put this Kikkerland product through its paces.

I picked up the ruled version, because my mind just doesn’t deal with free-wheeling chaos enough to find plain pages remotely enjoyable. The New Wave notebook comes in a variety of different covers, all of them with a funky Saved By The Bell-esque artistic design that really reminded me of another time. The edges are rounded, because classy.

Cracking the notebook open got me all fired up. The only “flair” is a five-line title page, followed immediately by the actual writing material. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am that the line spacing on the Kikkerland Writersblok notebook is a nice, tight 7mm. None of that kindergarten-ruled stuff that other notebook-makers seem to be fond of putting out these days. I guess this is more of an opinion thing than a legitimate value judgment, but seriously: who likes big fat wide-ruled spacing? Not me. That’s why I was pretty stoked to start writing in the New Wave notebook.

The paper also has a subtle ivory tint to it. This is a very nice touch, and is a “must-have” for me; I can’t stand bleach-white paper, but I’m not into loud colors like legal-pad yellow, either. The Writersblok New Wave paper is perfect in that respect.

I got some honest-to-goodness daily use out of the New Wave while on my recent travels (and even more once I was back home) and found it to be a really good carry-around. It fit perfectly in the butt pocket of my jeans, with the heavy and rigid cover keeping the contents safely preserved without being too stiff to comfortably walk with or sit on.

On the other hand, I’m not quite sure I dig the binding method. The pages are bound like a stack of small, stitch-bound notebooks. The stitching is not particularly abundant, either, which gives me the impression that the pages (maybe even whole sections of them) might fall out. None have yet, but it’s not a good perception.

Aside from just packing it around, I also found actually writing in the Kikkerland Writersblok New Wave notebook to be enjoyable. It’s very pencil-friendly; smooth enough to feel good but with just enough tooth to abrade graphite and leave a nice mark. I tested it with several of my favorite pencils and found the paper to be pleasurable. I also gave it a whirl with my Cross fountain pen, and the Pentel EnerGel I keep on my work desk. I found it to be pretty decent with the fountain pen, with no bleedthrough and minimal feathering — the thinness of the paper (80 gsm!) notwithstanding.. The EnerGel was the worst and bled through a little bit; that rollerball pen and some of the harder pencils did tend to scratch through the page, leaving the backside a little bit “embossed”. Maybe because of the lightness of the paper? But for softer pencils, and perhaps for fountain pens, the pages are great.

Now, let’s talk about price: these guys will cost you five bucks on the Kikkerland website, and I got mine for just a buck more at an airport gift shop. Sick of paying $20 for a pocket notebook? Boom. Here’s your answer.

Overall, I’d say the Kikkerland WritersBlok New Wave pocket notebook is a pretty solid carry-around notebook. The paper is a bit thin for ballpoints and scratchy hard pencils, but for soft pencils it’s great! It also appears to hold up surprisingly well to fountain pens. Although the stitching doesn’t seem the most secure, the cover is appropriately sturdy — and fun-looking. Preconceived notions about durability notwithstanding, I’ve been carting this thing around in my sling and my butt pocket for a while now and it’s stood up to the abuse. Finally, for less than $6 a notebook, it’s meant to be used as an actual notebook moreso than a conversation piece. If you’re killing time in an airport and need a new pocket notebook, snag a one of these WritersBlok A6 babies from Kikkerland — they’re definitely worth six bucks!

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