Friday, November 2, 2012

Daycraft MyTravel Notebook

The Daycraft MyTravel Notebook is a hardcover notebook with squared ruling, and the second sample notebook that I received from Daycraft.  The MyTravel is a bit larger than the Juicy notebook I reviewed previously, at 123mm by 171mm, or a bit larger than A6 size.  It comes in three colours: yellow, black, and white.  The notebook I'm reviewing is the yellow version.

Daycraft MyTravel notebook.  Hard to photograph well.  The yellow is actually yellower than that and the brown is browner.

The Daycraft MyTravel Notebook has the unusual feature of double covers - presumably to add extra durability and ensure that the notebook will survive your travels.  In other words, when you open what you think is the front cover, you discover that there is actually another front cover awaiting you.  The outer cover is made of a thicker, sturdier cardboard, while the inner cover is made of a thinner, slightly more flexible cardboard.  Overall, the notebook is quite stiff and not flexible at all.  At the back, the two covers are glued firmly together.

See?  Open it up and there's a whole other cover inside.  This reminds me of those boxes where you open one and there's another box inside and then you open that one and there's another box in there and you just keep going and going....  Luckily, there are only two covers.

However, while the double covers increase the durability, I do have a few concerns about the outer cover (the inner cover, being protected most of the time, isn't a concern).  Since this is a travel notebook, I would assume that it would be frequently pulled in and out of your bag and be possibly subjected to changing weather conditions.  For increased durability, I think that some kind of water-resistant coating on the outer cover would be a useful addition to this notebook.  And because the cover is made simply of cardboard, it has a rather rough, unfinished feel.  This may appeal to some people as it gives the notebook a rather rugged appearance, but I would think that the edges of the cover might become rather scuffed and worn over time.  Again, you might like that look, but others may not.

The outer cover of the MyTravel notebook is printed front and back with a map of the world, and boasts an elastic clasp in the contrasting colour of turquoise (the black and white notebooks have a relatively boring black elastic).  I love the colour, but the elastic feels a bit loose and it wraps horizontally rather than vertically, which for some reason I find confusing (but that's probably just me).  The inside of the outer cover is printed with the phrase, "The world is a book and those who don't travel read only a page" (for the curious, Google tells me that this quote is attributed to St. Augustine) - very suitable for a travel journal - and gives a place for you to write your name.

Elastic.  And yellow words that you probably can't read in my photo.

The inner cover is plain (allowing you to easily customize it with your own title or artwork if you so desire), with that contrasting turquoise again on the spine.  The inside back cover includes a pocket - and although I don't use notebook pockets much, it is a useful addition to a travel notebook.  Inside, the endpapers are, once again, a brilliant shade of turquoise.  I love the way Daycraft designs the colours on their notebooks, and I really appreciate the contrast between the relatively plain brown cardboard cover and these bright endpapers.  The notebook also includes a narrow brown ribbon bookmark.

Pocket.  And bookmark.  And check out that turquoise!

Although I love the endpapers, I must admit that I was a bit horrified when I first saw the pages of this notebook.  Although they are gridded (which normally I would love), the ruling is very wide - nearly 1 cm.  This is way too wide for my small handwriting.  On closer examination, however, I discovered that there is a method behind this madness.  Small blue numbers run along the left-hand and bottom sides of each page spread, from -90 to 90 to the left and from -180 to 180 on the bottom.  The lines of this notebook are mimicking the lines of latitude and longitude on the Earth!  Clever indeed, but in this case the cleverness may have gotten in the way of the usefulness of the ruling - at least for people with small handwriting like me.  A solution for Daycraft could be to add dotted lines between the lat/long lines, creating an optional "sub-ruling" of 0.5mm for those who want to write smaller and want the guidance of the lines.  As it is, I'll probably just disregard the lines altogether and write in whichever way I please.  Luckily, the ruling is a pale enough shade of blue that I can do that easily.

These numbers totally puzzled me at first - and then I figured it out and I felt so clever.  Yes, I am easily amused.

Despite the issues with the ruling, the Daycraft MyTravel notebook has, if anything, even better paper than the Juicy notebook.  No bleedthrough and essentially nonexistent showthrough for all pens I tried, except for the Sharpie marker (and even that one had surprisingly little bleedthrough).  You can see some very slight shadow on the reverse side of the page, but it really is so faint as to be scarcely noticeable.  None of my pens feathered, even the wettest writers.  The paper is 81.4g and is 100% recycled.  I know that some people don't like recycled papers, but this paper has nothing to complain about.

Writing sample.  Sorry if my writing is a bit smaller than usual!

Overall, I have mixed feelings about the Daycraft MyTravel Notebook, and I do not love it as much as I do the Juicy notebook.  On one hand, the book is very well-made with great binding and terrific paper.  On the other hand, I feel that the design of the outer cover and of the interior ruling could have used a bit more thought, and it is really the wide ruling that is preventing me from falling in love with this notebook.  I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this notebook for its paper quality alone, but those other issues may prove problematic in some cases.  Daycraft produces notebooks in a wide variety of styles, however, so if this one doesn't work for you, it's quite likely that another one will!

Related reviews: Plannerisms, Life Imitates Doodles, On Fountain Pens

**Disclaimer: This Daycraft MyTravel Notebook was generously sent to me for the purposes of review by the folks at Daycraft, but all of my opinions are my own!


  1. Great review and an interesting notebook! I may try one for myself. Thanks!

    1. Thank you! Do give it a try; despite the issues I had with it, it's still a great notebook.

  2. Nicely done. You presented your feelings, both positive and negative, quite well! I have one of these myself but actually haven't had a chance to dig around in it yet. I will pick it up and do so soon

    1. Thanks, Azizah! I'm glad you liked my review. Now I'll have to look forward to seeing your review of this notebook!


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