Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Clairefontaine Roadbook User Review: Jan and Steven


Steven and Jan, two of our Roadbook testers, used the notebook extensively over the summer.  Here are their comments:


Jan C – Colfax, IN

The Roadbook has either been in my everyday carry bag, my hiking backpack, or tossed about in the car as we travel around Indiana during its bicentennial year.

I have been keeping track of: all the state parks we are visiting during the parks’ centennial year, my blog posts about the hikes and the parks, our Bicentennial Birding Big Year birds seen in the parks and out of the parks, my Advanced Indiana Master Naturalist education and volunteer hours, and miles walked in the park. We also recently added a list of the how many counties out of Indiana’s 92 we have travelled in this year. So it is getting a workout!

I must say that the paper is lovely. My daughter has long sung the praises of Clairefontaine paper and I agree it is a joy to write on. It takes to all the pens and pencils I regularly use without any problems.

The cover and pages have held up tremendously. I love the feel of the cover also.

My complaints are two-fold: the major one is that the notebook does not lie flat. I have to clip the pages open when I write–especially if I am writing on the left side of the paper. The other complaint is minor and a personal choice. I would love to have a horizontal back pocket to hold my fitness challenge pages, state park maps, and state map.


Steven A – Bloomington, IL

I put the Roadbook through two extreme tests; 1. A long weekend of babysitting the grandchildren. Ages are 3 years old and 8 months. Could this Roadbook stand up to drool and nasty infant formula? 2. My annual trip to New Orleans for the Jazz Festival.

The first test with the grandchildren went well, in the sense of the notebook cover withstanding sitting in some kind of noxious liquid that had pooled on the kitchen island.

The next test was New Orleans. I used the Roadbook exclusively on this expedition; journaling while riding Amtrak’s train “The City of New Orleans” to the Big Easy, taking notes at a conference I attended, and writing my impressions of the National World War II museum.

Some specific observations:

The binding is very stiff. In fact, so stiff I was unable to bend the spine so the pages would stay moderately flat. This created a challenge to make quick notes or writing to the very edge of the spine, yet this also highlighted the quality of the notebook. I cannot imagine the spine coming loose and pages falling out. No way. The cover and the writing paper are very sturdy.

The paper from Clairefontaine is wonderful for me. It is white with .7mm wide lines – my preferences. Cream colored paper is nice. Narrower ruled lines help you pack more writing on each page. Both are fine, but not for me. I never suffered ink bleeding nor feathering. Unless you write with a black felt-tip marker, you’ll be fine.

In general:

Very well made notebook with excellent paper. Writing this review forced me to think about the pluses and minuses of the roadbook. For me, the roadbook will not replace my journaling favorite (Clairfontaine Basic Clothbound) because it is too stiff to lay flat. But, it sure will be my new “carry around” notebook – in the smaller size.


Our thanks to Jan and Steven for their thoughtful reviews, and really giving the Roadbook a good workout!

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