Wednesday, March 11, 2020

REVIEW: INVENTERY LEATHER PASSPORT SLEEVE & NOTEBOOK COVER

REVIEW: INVENTERY LEATHER POCKET NOTEBOOK COVER
Inventery is one of those low-key brands that you don't hear about very often (maybe not often enough). They don't flood the market with new products, but when they do come up with something new, it's usually a good one. As a fan of well-thought-out minimal and industrial design, I've always enjoyed the pens they came up with (the Mechanical Pen, Pocket Fountain Pen, and the No.2 Mechanical Pen + Pencil). The product we're looking at today is not a pen though: the Inventery leather passport/ notebook sleeve!

Inventery's notebook cover was created with two main use cases in mind - the straightforward naming convention of Inventery products already sort of gives it away: a sleeve to protect your passport when traveling, or a pocket-sized notebook cover. In both cases, the sleeve provides additional credit card slots, and a flap to hold larger loose papers (a boarding pass, for example-. The elastic band on top additionally provides room for a pocket pen. 
REVIEW: INVENTERY LEATHER POCKET NOTEBOOK COVER
I don't have a passport so I can't speak for the first use case, but as a notebook cover, it certainly works quite nicely. A very unusual aspect of this cover is that it's designed to take a pocket pen along the top edge instead of on the side, which supposedly helps the entire thing fit in your pocket a little better. While this -rather unusual- configuration indeed makes it somewhat easier to fit inside a coat pocket or back pocket of your jeans, the cover obviously still adds quite a bit of bulk to your EDC. Especially if you then also fill up all the credit card slots and the additional pocket, it maybe becomes a bit too bulky to carry around on your person.

The fact that your pen has to sit on the top side, also means that it's quite restricted in terms of how long it can be. It really only fits extremely small pocket-sized pens such as the Kaweco Lilliput or Inventery's own Pocket fountain pen. Most other pens will be too long, causing them to stick out from the sides which isn't particularly practical. The broad elastic band does a good job of keeping pens securely in place.
REVIEW: INVENTERY LEATHER POCKET NOTEBOOK COVER
A somewhat strange configuration with the pen loop on the top side, but it works.
It's definitely worth talking about the excellent build quality of this cover. Inventery aims at a luxury, high-end market, and their leather notebook cover certainly fits the bill! The build quality is excellent, everything is put together precisely and stitched neatly with thin black thread. The entire cover breathes luxury, with its completely black color scheme and full-grain leather, similar to that of an expensive wallet. Even the velours-lined interior looks and feels classy. The cover is minimally branded on the inside behind the notebook, and the front flap is finished with a small gold Inventery logo in the bottom-right corner. The veg-tanned leather does have a fairly strong smell to it when it arrives, sort of reminiscent of leather shoes, but it lessens over time. 
REVIEW: INVENTERY LEATHER POCKET NOTEBOOK COVER
The cover can hold only one notebook, which I think is fine for day-to-day use. But it does mean that you can't really use it as a notebook and passport cover at the same time. The cover comes with a single notebook that matches the black and gold color scheme of all Inventery products, and you can buy replacement books on their website (a 4-pack, containing one of each ruling type: blank, grid, ruled and dot grid). Contrary to what you might think, these are not Field-Notes sized, but rather they are similar to Baron Fig's Vanguard pocket notebooks, coming in at a slightly smaller 3.5x5" form factor. So if you don't want to stick to Inventery's own paper, you at least have options from other brands.
REVIEW: INVENTERY LEATHER POCKET NOTEBOOK COVER
However, I don't really see a reason why you'd want to change the notebooks, because the paper quality is actually surprisingly good! Surprisingly, because good fountain pen friendly paper is not easy to come by in general, so I was impressed to find it here, from a brand that doesn't necessarily specialize in fountain pens. The notebooks come with 80gsm cream-colored paper, 60 pages per book. A nice detail is that all pages are perforated, so you can use your notebook to leave small notes!
REVIEW: INVENTERY LEATHER POCKET NOTEBOOK COVER
REVIEW: INVENTERY LEATHER POCKET NOTEBOOK COVER
I obviously went right ahead and threw fountain pens and ink swabs at it, and for the most part, the paper took the abuse without feathering or bleedthrough.
REVIEW: INVENTERY LEATHER POCKET NOTEBOOK COVER
REVIEW: INVENTERY LEATHER POCKET NOTEBOOK COVER
Very broad nibs can get the paper to budge and bleed or feather slightly, but all in all, it's far from the worst performance I've ever seen. Besides, super-wet nibs and ink swabs are probably outside the scope of what you'd be using in a pocket notebook, anyway, no?
REVIEW: INVENTERY LEATHER POCKET NOTEBOOK COVER
REVIEW: INVENTERY LEATHER POCKET NOTEBOOK COVER
Ink even dried quite nicely, showing little to no sheen, but better-than-expected shading. The textured paper also means that it's excellent for pencil, ballpoint or rollerball/gel pen use, so it's a good middle ground that's practical for on the go. 
REVIEW: INVENTERY LEATHER POCKET NOTEBOOK COVER
While Inventery products typically tend to not be super cheap, I think the Leather notebook cover strikes a good balance, coming in at 70$. With that, it's actually far from the most expensive pocket notebook cover on the market, say for example, compared to the 110$  One Star Leather or the 95$ Field Notes x Bellroy cover. At 15$ for a 4-pack of 60 pages each, the paper is priced very reasonably as well. The price per page is roughly equal to something like Field Notes or Baron Fig pocket Vanguard notebooks.

If you're in the market for a luxurious, well-made and quite practical EDC carry, Inventery provides a solid option that may not be the first one to come to mind, but it's sure worth checking out!

NOTE: This product was provided by Inventery, so I could write this review. I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared in this review are completely my own! This post does not contain affiliate links.
REVIEW: INVENTERY LEATHER POCKET NOTEBOOK COVER

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