5 Best Leather Bound Notebooks Reviewed
Are you looking for an ideal gift for someone who loves to travel and write?
Or want to have a beautiful but sturdy notebook to write your adventures?
Well, you may want a leather-bound notebook. The leather provides amazing durability and develops a beautiful patina over time. A real leather also provides unique appearance and personalization.
But there are lots of rip-off leather covered notebooks on the market. It is important to determine crucial factors to identify real from fake ones. My professional leather journal review will help you in finding authentic leather covered notebooks on the market.
5. Handmade Travelers Notebook
A September Leather’s traveler notebook with a cover made of full grain cow leather and finished with dyes. The leather is very durable and soft with unique shading. It is also warm to feel, smells like a true leather, and can age beautifully.
The package includes the leather cover, three notebook inserts, one spare elastic band, linen bag, and kraft box for gift or storage purposes.
The size of the notebook is around 8.5″ x 4.5 ” while the papers are 8.25″ x 4.25″ insertable and refillable notebooks. The inserts are bound to the spine of the leather with an elastic band with metal pins. The elastic band extends out of the spine which also serves as a binder to keep the notebook closed.
The elastic band is quite loose in the binder of the inserts which sometimes offset it. Also, you cannot buy any replacement besides the extra one provided in the package.
The notebook has an inclusion of three different inserts with a blank, lined, and grid papers. The thickness of the paper is around 100 gsm and sufficient enough to prevent bleeding.
Overall, it is a very decent and affordable traveler notebook in comparison to the products made by specialty companies.
- Full grain leather
- Compact size
- The elastic binder is quite loose
4. Rustic Town Handmade Leather Journal Notebook
Rustic Town has been making leather-based products for more than 100 years with a traditional Indian craftsmanship. The notebook has a rustic and antique appearance with a leather scent.
The Rustic Town cover is a full grain water buffalo leather which hand cut asymmetrically and naturally tanned with vegetable oil. The leather is genuine, supple, and soft but very durable.
The notebook has a dimension of 7″ x 5″ with a thickness of 1.5″ while closed. The color, distressed, and shading of the leather is unique to each other. The leather can also age beautifully and produce a lot of great patina.
The leather strap is also genuine and has sufficient length to wrap around the notebook to keep it closed. But the design of the strap requires overlapping to keep the notebook lock.
The paper is handmade cotton paper with a thickness of 125 gsm. The thickness of the paper is sufficient enough to prevent bleeding through to a certain degree. The paper is glued to the leather and not refillable.
Overall, the product is eco-friendly from the leather up to the handmade cotton paper.
- Full grain leather
- Rustic and vintage appearance
- Not Refillable
- Glue binder
- No pen holder
3. Wanderings Leather Notebook Journal
It is another leather traveler notebook in the list. The Wanderings notebook cover is also full grain cow leather. The leather is slightly tanned with special oil and has unique shading.
It has the same design with the September Leather travelers notebook that utilizes an elastic band for the binder with a metal pin. The elastic band is quite loose in the spine but still works as intended.
The elastic band also has a piece of leather at the other end. The extra leather protects the edge of the notebook while closed. The space beside the extra leather is usable as a pen holder.
The notebook has a dimension of 8.5″ x 4.25″ and three inserts with 90 double-sided blank pages. The paper is fountain pen friendly but to a certain degree only. The inserts are also refillable which you can customize between different type of notebooks.
The reason Wanderings leather notebook is higher on the list because of the lifetime guarantee provided by the company. Also, the guarantee covers full replacement of the notebook with defect or damage upon delivery.
- Full grain leather
- Lifetime guarantee
- The elastic binder is quite loose
2. Sovereign Gear Leather Journal Travel Diary
The Sovereign Gear journal is one of the genuine leather journals on the list with a size of 7.3″ x 5.75″. The cover is premium grade water buffalo leather and naturally tanned with special oils. The cover of the journal is very durable, soft, and leather scent.
In regards to appearance, the Sovereign Gear journal has a rustic brown and antique look. It is also crazy-horse leather which provides unique distressed, color, and shading. Therefore, the markings or scratches on the leather’s surface are easy to remove with a simple rub.
The leather strap is also genuine and durable with sufficient length to wrap around the journal to keep it close. As for the features, there is a hidden pen holder stitched inside the cover and a jute bookmark.
The paper is handcrafted and high-quality cream paper with around 300 blank pages. It has sufficient thickness to prevent ink bleeding through to the other side.
The papers are hand stitched to the leather cover with jute which makes it durable but non-refillable. The journal is a perfect gift as a keepsake or diary that can last for decades.
Another great about the Sovereign Gear journal is the free inclusion of a gold-coated pen. It has a great style which pairs perfectly with the antique appearance of the journal.
- Genuine full grain leather
- Durable and crazy-horse leather
- Free stylish pen
- Hidden pen holder
1. Moonster Leather Journal
If you are looking for a genuine hand-made leather notebook, you will probably love the products made by Moonster. The leather cover of the Moonster’s journal is genuine full grain water buffalo leather.
The leather is also naturally tanned through a drum treatment with special oils and no chemicals or acids involved. The buffalo leather has a soft and supple feel but with amazing parameters such as durable, strong, and longer lifespan.
In regards to appearance, the journal has two available sizes of 7″ x 5″ for traveling and 8″ x 6″ for office use. The cover has a rustic like appearance with unique look, shades and leather scent.
It also crazy-horse leather that provides unique distressed style and helps in removing marks or scratches by simply rubbing the surface.
The journal also has a leather strap that can be wrapped around to keep it close. Some people might not like the strapping system of the journal because of the time it needs to open or lock it.
Also, some of you might receive a journal with chalky or rough flakes on the cover’s surface. It is only natural since the leather is 100% full grain buffalo hide and can be wipe-off cleanly with clothes.
But if you are not satisfied, you can always ask for a replacement since Moonstar provides a 30-day guarantee to assure customer’s satisfaction.
Meanwhile, the paper is very eco-friendly which composed of recycled cotton paper. The paper is hand-crafted and blank with a satisfying 120 gsm thickness which prevents inks bleeding through. The cotton papers are quite durable, soft, absorbent, and overall thickness around 1.5″.
The Moonstar leather journal has 120 sheets of cotton paper which are hand stitched to the cover and firmly bound to the leather. The journal is not refillable and recommended for one-time use only which can be considered as a keepsake instead.
Overall, it is one of the best leather journals available in the market with hugely positive reviews by the public. Also, Moonstar is donating a percentage of the company’s profit to help children in Africa.
Hence, the product is very satisfying while at the same time providing a donation and protecting the environment.
Even though the journal lacks features such as pen holder or an extra compartment for documents and cards, I still highly recommend it. The Moonstar journal is a perfect gift to those who love to write or who wants a durable and real leather diary.
- Genuine full grain leather
- Rustic and crazy-horse leather
- Durable and age pretty well
- Paper is not refillable
- No pen holder
A Buyer’s Guide for the Best Leather Notebooks
The most important factor to consider in buying a leather-bound notebook is the quality of the leather used. There are tons of rip-off leather-bound notebooks on the market.
Most of the sellers market their product as genuine. But as a smart consumer, it is crucial to identify if the leather is legit.
Qualities of Leather
Full-grain leather is the highest quality of leather. It is a hide naturally processed with minimal preparation. Full-grain leather has better durability and lifespan in comparison to others. Also, the leather will age beautifully and develop an amazing patina over time.
- Top Grain
It is a type of leather split into different thickness depending on the use. The top grain leather is very durable, develop a great patina, and age beautifully. It is a type of leather usually used in furniture and other products.
- Corrected Grain
After the application of the artificial grain to the hide, it is sanded and dyed to remove imperfections. A corrected grain is low-quality leather.
- Split Grain
It is left-over from the top grain and fibrous part of the hide. It is lesser quality in comparison to top grain but its adequate for leather covers. The problem with the split grain is the difficulty of preparing it.
- Simulated Leather
A synthetic leather which composed of plastics or left-overs that processed together. Simulated leather is a fake and bound by chemicals such as polyurethane or latex.
There are many ways to determine if the leather is genuine or not. A legit leather has a particular scent and warm to feel.
Another method is by marking the surface of the leather with fingernails. Real leather will retain the mark while fake ones won’t.
There are two categories of tanning processes such as natural and chemical tanning. Natural tanning refers to the use of vegetable oils to tan the leather. Meanwhile, chemical tanning uses chromium or aldehyde.
After determining if the leather is genuine and real, the next important thing to consider is the tanning process used by the manufacturer. Natural tanning is the most preferred process to avoid any allergic reaction while using the notebook.
If the leather is undyed, the color of the tanned leather can indicate what type of process it went through. The vegetable process displays tan edge. Chromium process depicts grey edge while aldehyde process has a white edge.
- Crazy Horse Leather
It is a process of applying special wax to a smooth and buff full grain leather. The wax provides the capability of the leather to change color by simply rubbing it with a delayed reversal. It is the feature that provides the surface of the leather to have the antique appearance and unique shading.
Another factor to identify is the properties of the paper used for the notebook. The thickness of the paper in gsm is crucial to most of the users. Thick paper is best to avoid ink bleeding through the back of the page or to the other pages.
Eco-friendly paper such as cotton paper is better since it does not use any tree pups or acid to mass produce. The paper is also good for any pen.
The binder of the notebook is a crucial element to the users. The type of binder will depict whether the notebook is refillable or not. Most of the products are not refillable and considered to fit as mementos or gift.
- Before and After Support
A manufacturer’s participation before and after the sales is a huge plus. Most of the manufacturers provide a guarantee that their leather is genuine. They also provide refund or replacement for unsatisfied customers.
It is important to safeguard your investment and to have fair compensation. There are also companies that provide lifetime guarantee or warranty for their products.
Overall, the best leather notebook depends on the preference of the customer. The most important thing is to assure the quality of the leather and craftsmanship. If you are having a problem in determining the authenticity of the leather, you can read the reviews and testimonials as an additional reference.