Review & Giveaway: CR Brand Notebook Wallets

I first came across the CR Signature Notebook Wallet a few months ago and immediately thought it was a great idea. A notebook and a wallet are both key daily carry items for almost everyone, so shouldn’t there be a good way to combine them? But it’s surprisingly hard to find something that does both things well. I’ve had pocket size Filofaxes that also served to carry credit cards but they seemed a bit bulky, and the card slots made the bulk unpleasantly asymmetrical. I always tuck a spare $20 bill in the back pocket of my notebook, but the expanding pockets in the back of Moleskines and similar notebooks don’t really hold all that much, and aren’t a good way to organize cash and credit cards.

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The CR Notebook Wallet makers have found a great way to add wallet features to a notebook. They’ve taken a slim staple bound notebook and cleverly designed a one-piece cover that folds onto itself to create pockets. The flaps have been left on the exterior as a design element– this doesn’t bother me too much, and it probably makes it much quicker and easier to assemble, but it might look nicer if they glued the flaps down on the inside, to leave the outside completely plain.

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On one side, you get a straight pocket that can hold cash or papers. On the other side there are 3 credit card slots. Additional cash could be tucked behind the cards. I love it that the cards slide in horizontally so they are held securely and add less bulk to the notebook. I added 3 cards and a wad of cash and found that the notebook didn’t really get all that fat. I did not worry that anything would fall out of the pockets, though I do think it would be nice if they added an elastic to hold the notebook closed. The cardboard cover feels sturdy enough that it would hold up to regular usage without tearing, for at least as long as it would take to fill the pages of the notebook.

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With cards and cash:

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Without cards and cash:

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Shown with a pocket Moleskine for comparison:

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As a notebook alone, the CR Signature is really nice. The dot grid paper is heavy weight and smooth, and performed very well in my pen tests. There was less show-through and bleed-through than average, with only the Accu-liner and Super Sharpie bleeding through. Fountain pens did not bleed, though there was a bit of feathering. The entire second half of the notebook is perforated so pages can be torn out. On their website, they describe these notebooks as having 28 pages, but I think they are selling themselves short– it’s 28 sheets, but each has 2 sides, so when you count both sides the way all other notebooks do, it’s 56 pages.

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In addition to the 3.5 x 5.5″ CR Signature, they offer the smaller Mini Sig, which measures 3.875″ x 2.75″. It’s got simple vertical pockets inside the front and back covers. Each pocket will hold 2-3 cards or folded cash. It’s an adorable little size– when a friend of mine saw my samples, she grabbed the Mini Sig and said “it’s so cute I want to eat it!” If you just want a little jotter to have with you on the go, it’s a great option.

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I tried using the CR Signature for a few days myself– unfortunately, I never quite got used to it, though I wanted to! I think it would probably make more sense for a man who is already used to carrying a wallet in his pocket.  As a woman, I rarely have clothes with pockets that would hold a notebook or wallet so I usually carry them in my bag, or maybe in a jacket pocket. My normal wallet is a small zippered case that holds coins, and when I was using the CR Signature, I didn’t have any place to put coins I’d get as change. So ultimately, for me, it would make more sense to use the CR Signature just as a notebook with handy pockets carried in addition to a wallet, rather than as a replacement. But for many other people who are more used to keeping stuff in their pockets, I’m sure this would be the perfect way to minimize their everyday carry.

You can buy the CR Brand notebook wallets at their website. The Signature is $12.95 and the Mini Sig is $7.95. Each is available in 3 colors.

And I’m giving away 2 of the samples I received from CR: two winners will be chosen randomly from entries received in these ways, and each will receive one notebook:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “CR Signature Notebook Wallet @WeAreCRBrand @NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories and @WeAreCRBrand

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and the CR Brand page and post something containing the words “CR Signature Notebook Wallet” on the Notebook Stories page.

On your blog, post something containing the words “CR Signature Notebook Wallet” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday December 18, 2015 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winners. Please allow a couple of weeks for me to check all the entries and determine the winners.

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4 Responses to “Review & Giveaway: CR Brand Notebook Wallets”

  1. I’ve been looking for a nice notebook wallet, but I have the same conflict as you. Where do I put the coins? Still, this looks really slim compared to some others. Would love to try it!

  2. […] Review & Giveaway: CR Brand Notebook Wallets […]

  3. Notebook Stories is a pretty cool collection of stores. Keep at it, great stuff!

  4. Thanks for the writeup! I’m glad you spent some time with our book, and we’d love to hear any updates you have, if you have them!

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