Bull & Stash Pocket Notebook Review

Product Reviewed

Bull & Stash Notebook

Product Background

Originally created from a KickStarter project from 2014, Bull & Stash sought to create a simple refillable leather-bound notebook for on-the-go jottings. With an initial goal of $5,000, it surpassed it's venture at $69,829 (an impressive feat, if I may say so) demonstrating the interest many held for the minimalistic notebook. 

Product Description

Coming in two versions, 'The Stash' and 'The Travel Stash,' the notebooks are comparable in dimensions to others on the market currently. The Stash (8.75" x 5.5") is similar in size to a Moleskine large notebook, while The Travel Stash (6" x 3.4") is similar to a pocket sized Moleskine notebook and fits comfortably in my front trouser pocket. This version I have used the most, and (as commented later) it has become my favorite pocket notebook to go to based on how thin it is and that I can put it into practically any pocket without corners that nudge the wrong way.

 The Travel Stash (Left) and The Stash (Right)

The Travel Stash (Left) and The Stash (Right)

The leather cover is from free range American cow hide that is then hand finished in northern Italy. As you can see, here is a fresh version versus the notebook I have had for over a year. I actually like how well it has aged to be honest (I do put on some mink-oil to make it more supple which may have led to the coloration difference). 

Perhaps the most defining feature for me is the use of Chicago screws to fit the whole thing together, keeping the paper enclosed with a thickish cardboard binding that is then screwed in via the back side of the leather cover.

 Component parts of a Bull & Stash Notebook

Component parts of a Bull & Stash Notebook

The paper quality is decent, at 60# that holds up to most of the ink I have used. Now, I primarily use either gel or fountain pens in my notebook, and based on my limited tests they hold up, but taking a Sharpie or thick marker to it will result in some bleeding. The notebooks can generally hold up to 50 sheets of paper comfortably, though I would not recommend going further than that. Other paper types that are available include lined, blank, and dot-grid. I suppose you could go ahead and cut your own paper and punch it yourself as well if you were looking to customize the paper inside.

 Note slight bleed effect on markers.

Note slight bleed effect on markers.

My Testing

I actually have been using this pocket notebook for over a year (now a veritable part of my everyday carry [EDC]) and have used it as a To-Do list manager (using their graph paper inserts) and as a tool for short-note taking. Funny enough, when looking back through my archived notes I found that my first one was from December 3, 2015. Now, as I finish to-do lists, I simply add it to the back of the notebook and then move a fresh sheet to the front, copying any in-progress or delayed activities. Other notes of interest I keep behind my up-front daily task manager.

 My mechanism of detailing my To-Do List

My mechanism of detailing my To-Do List

This has actually been marvelous for me, and I use it everyday in front of my computer to cross off daily activities and at meetings to add items I need to track. Now, since I work as an academic and clinician, I have found it useful in my office and on the hospital floors as a nice tool to keep at hand and refer to on items and projects I need to get done.

 A small sample of my To-Do list from 2016.

A small sample of my To-Do list from 2016.

The Stash on the other hand, I have not used to regularly. I use it mainly as a way to map out ideas or to keep track of longitudinal projects or as a ledger. Personally, I do not find it to be a notebook to write continuously on, as flipping the papers seem to have some bend to it, and wouldn't try writing in it while holding due to lack of substantive backing support. Writing in it on a flat solid surface is recommended. Overall, nice large notebook, but again, I find it more beneficial for larger items I want to document. 

Last notes, the paper has never teared (perhaps surprisingly for some) from the screw inserts for either project, and I feel that is saying a lot as I have carried the pocket notebook daily for the past year and never had a problem. The only thing that I have noticed is the front of the notebook (as seen in the pictures) has shifted, though it has not frayed the paper inside. 

Summary

For me, this has been a great investment. I actually went and purchased 2 extra pocket notebooks for when my original falls apart (though that may not be for several years I realize) and a couple packs of extra graph paper. Now, probably why I love it is the form factor. It's just comfortable to have in my pocket, whether in my pants or jacket, and have a way to track my work or taking notes. It's very convenient and comfortable to have around, which is not something I thought I would say about stationery products. Due to its thinness, the regular Stash also fits into my work-bag and does not take up much space, compared to other thick notebooks I do have. As such, it has become a great project notebook. Personally, the way that Bull & Stash designed this notebook just works. For me, I find it a great tool, whether to take notes, jot down comments, write a list, or write instructions for a student or patient on the go. I also like the fact that I can simply unscrew it and rearrange the pages as needed. So would I recommend it? Yes. The only thing that may hold people back is the cost, which if I have convinced you so far, take a look.

Where to Buy

Bull & Stash Website
The Stash will run you $50, the Travel Stash is $25, and the only color available is brown. Paper refills will cost $7 for The Stash and $6 for the Travel Stash. You can also sign up for a monthly refill for the price of the normal rate or a reduced 12-month plan. Personally, I do not write enough each month to justify that cost.

BespokePost
They carry them every now and then and actually have them currently in 'Oxblood' color. Sometimes they are on sale.

HuckBerry
They carry alternative colors, including 'natural' leather and black. Cost are the same as other vendors.

Feel free to leave any comments or inquiries!