Review: Moleskine Cahier Journal

Your notebook can make or break commonplacing for you, so it’s important to pick a quality one. I’m going to help find the one for you by reviewing various notebooks. I figured I would start with a classic: the Moleskine Cahier Journal.

I will be reviewing the large, ruled version of the notebook (5″ x 8 1/4″).

Atlas Shrugged and the Moleskine Cahier Journal

You buy the Moleskine Cahier Journals in sets of three: advertised at 80 “pages” each. However, it’s actually only 40 individual pages. That’s not much. But it makes for a thin journal, which I’ve appreciated. Here’s a picture:

The thin is a win.

The Cahier set costs $13.95 USD and comes in three styles: plain, ruled, and squared. As I said, I’m reviewing the ruled style, as that’s what I prefer for commonplacing. If you’re a fan of the “dot” style, you’re out of luck: Moleskine doesn’t offer it.

The paper quality is the biggest thing going for the Cahier journal. I’ve been writing on it using a Pilot G2 07 (I’ll be doing a review of it in the future) and it feels great. There has been no bleed-through to the next page, even when I accidentally used the more inky G2 10. That being said, you can see the writing through the back of the page. This is to be expected of most notebooks, but I’ll include a picture so you can decide for yourself if it’s an issue. Oh, and all bets are off if you’re using a fountain pen, I didn’t test anything with that much ink.

(As you can see, I’m a big fan of Francisco d’Anconia so far)


I have mixed feelings about the cover of the Cahier. It’s described as “cardboard,” but it’s really just cardstock paper. It doesn’t withstand creases or indentations well. I’ve been carrying the Moleskine in my backpack for a couple days, and it’s already suffered a couple marks and creases. On the plus side, the cover allows the journal to remain open easily and maintains the slim profile of the journal.

Some features worth noting: the journal has a pocket on the back cover to slip loose papers in, and the last 16 pages of the notebook can be removed.

Another thing: the Cahier doesn’t scream “quality.” Moleskine’s other notebooks (like the Classic) have a more dignified look, and this one comes across as a cheap journal. It doesn’t feel that way writing in it, but if you care about looks, it’s not the most eye-catching.

Personally, that doesn’t matter to me. The Cahier has checked most of my boxes: it’s thin, it handles my favorite pen, it’s a good size, and it’s relatively cheap. I prefer the practical look of it; I get scared to write in the fancier notebooks. I need to feel no hesitation when I go to write in it.

Conclusion? As far as cheaper notebooks go, it’s not bad. It meets my expectations, but it doesn’t blow them away. In the future I hope to compare it to its biggest rival, the Leuchtturm 1917 Jottbook. We’ll see how it holds up.

If you have question or a notebook/journal you want reviewed, please tell me in the comments section below!

5 thoughts on “Review: Moleskine Cahier Journal

  1. I’m thinking of starting a movement. A nomenclature movement. 🙂

    80 PAGES = 40 SHEETS

    That would make things so much more clear. After all, one does refer to PAGE 10, and “write the PAGE number on the odd numbered PAGES” . On Amazon, the “answers” section for almost every notebook sold has questions about what “pages” means. Think of the hours saved and orders not returned!


  2. OH, and while I’m still here… if someone is a fountain pen user, as I am, I have found that using the finest nib size is best to control bleed through. Most “cheap” paper will bleed — there is just no way around that. The best idea is to use a fine or extra fine nib and buy notebooks with the heaviest weight paper you can. Beyond that, some inks are less prone to bleed. Once you get to that point, you probably understand the landscape of notebook paper.


    1. Sorry, I must have somehow hit CR more than once and I can’t find a way to edit or delete a comment here. Oh well. But I was going to add:

      I’m using a KEON notebook for my commonplace right now. It’s weight is a wonderful 120GSM! No bleed through AT all. I can’t take credit for this because I wanted a really cheap book and I got this on Amazon for $7.01. The price is nearly $8 now but it still is pretty cheap for such a good book. It has three place holder ribbons and a back pocket and the finish is smooth. It comes in a number of colors although I think only black is available just now.

      I see that there are very similar books by other manufacturers. Mine is dotted, as are the ones I currently see. I can’t imagine that they would not also produce lined or blank versions as well.

      O.K. Let’s try to hit the CR only once this time.


    2. Interesting, what first drew you to writing with a fountain pen? I like the idea of it, but have never been able to convince myself of the practicality, especially with the time it would take to learn.


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