Kokuyo Campus Notebook Review Cover detail

Kokuyo Campus Notebook Review

John Bosley Reviews Leave a Comment

The Kokuyo Campus notebook is a no-frills, fountain pen friendly notebook. Many people also consider it to be a great notebook for anyone who doesn’t want to spend a lot on nice paper. I found some for sale the last time I was in San Francisco’s Japantown and picked one up to try it out myself. Read on to hear my thoughts on the Kokuyo Campus notebook.

First Impressions

Due to the size (A5) and thickness (75 sheets), my first impression of the notebook was that it was a little flimsy. The cover material isn’t very stiff, so the notebook doesn’t have a lot of “substance” to it. It does seem to be well-made. The paper feels nice and the lines look thin and unobtrusive.

Kokuyo Campus Notebook Review cover

The Kokuyo Campus notebook comes in many different colors

The Details

Let’s take a closer look at the notebook and go over a few of the more important details.

  • Pages: 75 pages, 150 sheets (including contents page)
  • Paper Weight: 70gsm
  • Binding: Glue
  • Page Style: Lined
  • Size: A5, B5

Ink-handling characteristics (A table with the following properties can be found at the bottom of this post)

  • Sheen: Low
  • Shading: Medium
  • Bleeding: Low
  • Ghosting: Medium
  • Feathering: Very Low
  • Dry Time: Medium
Kokuyo Campus Notebook Review writing sample

Kokuyo Campus Notebook Writing Sample – Front

Kokuyo Campus Notebook Review writing back

Kokuyo Campus Notebook Writing Sample – Back

Other features

  • Contents page/index
  • Top/bottom margins
  • Page/Date lines at top of each page
  • Available in multiple sizes and colors
Kokuyo Campus Notebook Review index

The first page of the notebook can be used as an index or table of contents.

Kokuyo Campus Notebook Review paper detail

The upper left/right corner of each page has space for a page number and date.

Actual Use

In actual use, the notebook is very solid. I can’t say that it gives an amazing writing experience, but it’s not a bad writing experience either. The paper, while smooth, is not luxurious. There are plenty of other notebooks I’d buy again before this one, but the price is what sets it apart. It truly is a budget notebook, even more so than the Black n’ Red or Clairefontaine Basic notebooks. About the only way you’ll find fountain pen friendly paper at a lower cost per sheet is to buy it loose leaf.

While it might not be very exciting to write on, the Campus notebook does perform well with fountain pens. It shows some sheen and has decent shading. Pens did not bleed through to the other side of the page except for in one very heavy ink application.

Ghosting is a bit higher than I would prefer, but not high enough to make using both sides of a page impossible. I didn’t observe any feathering under normal use, but did notice some that was caused by the oils on my skin. You’ll want to be careful with this paper and avoid touching it too much while writing.

Kokuyo Campus Notebook Review writing detail

Here you can see how the ink shades and lack of feathering.

Kokuyo Campus Notebook Review bleeding

You can see that only a tiny bit of ink bled through in one place

Conclusion

The Kokuyo Campus notebook would make a great notebook for a student or anyone who wants fountain pen friendly paper for taking notes or writing information. It handles fountain pen ink well and will show some shading and sheen. While I’d recommend you take precautions and protect the paper from skin oils in order to avoid feathering, the notebooks should offer a nice writing experience.

They are also great value and one of the few notebooks I’ve seen that I would truly consider to be a “budget” option. While I paid around $5 for my notebook ($0.07/sheet), they can be purchased individually online at Jetpens for $5.75 ($0.08/sheet) or, if you look around, can be purchased in multipacks on Amazon for under $0.06/sheet.

If you’d like a bit more information about how I test papers and notebooks, I wrote an article about my paper rating system.

Kokuyo Campus Notebook Review
  • Sheen (higher is better)
  • Shading (higher is better)
  • Bleeding (higher is better)
  • Ghosting (higher is better)
  • Feathering (higher is better)
  • Dry Time (higher is better)
3.3

Fountain Pen Love Overall Rating

Pros: Very inexpensive notebooks with fountain pen friendly paper
Cons: Flimsy cover makes it hard to use without a hard surface underneath, paper feathers with skin oils
Value Rating: Stars: 3.43, Cost per A5 sheet: $0.08
Who this notebook is for: Students who want nice paper for taking notes
Upgrade to this notebook from: A regular, spiral-bound notebook
Upgrade from this notebook to: Clairefontaine Basic notebook

Hi, my name is John. I’m a Colorado-born professional photographer who recently moved back to Denver after spending 3 years in San Francisco. I’ve been using and collecting fountain pens for over 20 years. I got my first one in college when I got bored taking notes with ballpoints and pencils. Since then I’ve bought and sold hundreds of pens, but have consistency in my love of Esterbrooks.

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