Jun 18, 2021How many journals do you need?

How many journals do you need?

How many journals do you need? I’d say three binders with seven notebooks. That’s what you can see here, and each has a purpose. Copyright © 2021 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

I’d say three leather binders holding a total of seven notebooks.

From left to right here’s what I have.

Pocket journal (three notebooks)

This is my carry everywhere; jot down anything journal. The notebooks in this binder are in the slightly smaller, ‘Field Notes’ format, though I use a knock-off brand that reputedly handles fountain pens better. I carry this everywhere, and it fits easily into the pockets of my pants or kilt. When I’m backpacking, I have a tiny mechanical pencil, and I’ll leave two of the notebooks behind to minimize the overall size and weight of the journal.


  • Notebook — for jotting odd notes, reminders, etc.
  • Outdoors Journal — backpacking and hiking notes, and all my random ‘trail thoughts.’
  • Book O’lists — Shopping lists, wish lists, parts lists, any random lists.

Bullet Journal (two notebooks)

work bullet journal — work includes ‘Honey-dos’ and house maintenance too. This is my all-day, everyday, journal. This and my Personal Journal use bigger A6-sized notebooks. I’m a huge fan of the APCA CD10 notebooks.


  • My Bullet Journal — for a full introduction to bullet journaling, go here: bulletjournal.com.
  • Collections — Notes on specific projects, meetings, and reports. You’ll find that collections are described on the bullet journaling website. I keep my collections in a separate notebook because I burn through the bullet journal notebooks quickly, but my collections grow slowly.

Personal Journal (two notebooks)

My late at night, early in the morning journal. You know, where all the whiney, angsty stuff and notes about the weather goes. No? Oh, that must just be me then.


Unused pencil and old plans – The plans have been used. They are my notes for a garage storage unit. Copyright © 2021 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • Personal journal — yada, yada, yawn. I’m no Samual Pepys or Adrian Mole aged 64 ¾.
  • Sketchbook — which mainly contains engineering drawings and plans for various construction projects. I probably should keep this notebook in my Work Journal, but I’m convinced that, one day, I will pick up a pencil and start drawing again. I’ve even bought a special pencil just for the job.

The pens

I may as well mention the pens while I’m at it. They are, of course, all fountain pens. The two pens with metallic barrels are Pilot Metropolitans. These are, in my opinion, the best inexpensive fountain pens you can get. I have six altogether. The center pen is a Conklin Duragraph. It doesn’t write quite as well as the Metropolitans, but what a wonderful color and pattern it has. I’ll forgive its slightly scratchy writing experience for the color and looks.

(and inks)

Photographs, ink, cell phone, and Buck 110 knife on my monitor stand – and no I didn’t arrange them for the picture. Me, OCD much? Copyright © 2021 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

Favorite inks — everyday use

  • Robert Oster: Red Candy.
  • Diamine: Oxblood.
  • De’Atramentis: Steel Blue.
  • De’Atramentis: Black Brown.

Always on hand…

  • De’Atramentis: Sahara Grey (It’s green!).
  • De’Atramentis: Ocher Yellow (Orange).

In conclusion

So there you go. Three leather binders and seven notebooks, each with its own purpose in my life. Plus more than you needed to know about my pens and inks. I bet you wish you had never asked.

What? You didn’t? Oh well.

Copyright © 2021 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.


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