This is a review that has been a long time coming. I was first approached by Zeynep through the contact form on the blog back in April. She informed me of a company she and her brother had started, Galen Leather and how they had just opened an online store for handmade leather goods. I was very interested as I had never owned a leather notebook cover before. I’d been meaning to get one for the longest time, but just couldn’t reconcile spending that much money on it. Most of the options I found were in the $60 – $70 range and way more than I could afford. When Zeynep so graciously offered to send me a cover free of charge for a review, I didn’t hesitate. Again, this product was given to me free of charge to review. I will strive to be as objective as I possibly can be and to not let this affect my review.
The first thing I noticed when I opened the package, was a very nicely designed box with the company’s branding. It was slightly bulging and I didn’t know why until I opened it up. The Field Notes cover I received, (No.55 in black leather) was still a bit stiff as it hadn’t been broken in, leading to it pushing up against the box. It was secured with a simple cardboard slip that ran around the sides and a little explanation on the history of the company on a separate slip of cardboard. It also came with an “evil eye” charm that I forgot to take a picture of. You can read up about the story behind the charm here.(credit to Gentleman Stationer for the link)
Straight out of the box, I could tell that this was a solid product. Thick pieces of leather with burnished edges and it looked fantastic with the oils providing a nice shine. A surprising fact was that it smelt really nice, which I had never experienced with any of the leather products I’ve owned. All of Galen’s products are made with locally sourced 2-3mm vegetable oak tanned leather (source: Galen Leather Care) They give very clear and simple instructions to deal with any questions you might have regarding how to care for the leather on the same page I linked above. The stitching is very precise and even along the edges and the burnishing on the edges gives it a very soft feel for such thick pieces of leather.
The cover is very simple to use as all you have to do is slip the last page of your Field Notes notebook into the slot and it’ll securely hold it no matter what. I’ve put this cover through its paces for nearly half a year and I couldn’t be more satisfied with how well its held up.
On the inside, there is an elastic pen loop that can accommodate various sizes of pens be they fountain or regular in length and width. It is positioned very comfortably and is very functional and easy to use. I’ve put everything from the Retro 51 pictured above to my Karas Kustoms INK. The elastic worked perfectly all the time and I didn’t have worry about the pen falling out due to any jostling.
I actually don’t use the card slots too often as I usually carry all my cards in a wallet. However, when I have used them, they performed very well and securely held the cards without fail. I never had to worry about whether anything would fall out because of how the leather grips onto the cards. The cards don’t even need to be textured for the leather to gain purchase, the two cards I used for this shot are my Campus ID and my driver’s license (both of which took some time to maneuver into proper position so as to keep the details hidden). These cards have a matte like finish with barely any texturing, yet they are held properly in place by the slots and are easy to pull out and insert again.
All in all, the Galen Leather Field Notes covers are good quality, solidly built and functional handmade leather products that are well worth their asking price. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen any other covers made as nicely for the selling price listed on Galen. If you’re looking for an affordable and long-lasting Field Notes cover, look no further than the offerings from Galen Leather. A big thanks to Zeynep for reaching out and providing me with this cover. I wish her and her brother Yusuf all the success they deserve for bringing such high quality products to the market. Look forward to more orders from me in the future. 🙂 Check out their products at their website: Galen Leather.
P.S. This is review 1/3 for today (10/30/16). Second review dropping in a couple of hours.