After reviewing my backlog of pocket notebooks, I opted for a product I have a small stash of but have never tried: the Backpocket Journal by Curnow Bookbinding and Leatherwork.
At first glance, the Backpocket Journal doesn't break any new ground: it's another pocket notebook similar to Field Notes, Word Notebooks, and the Baron Fig Apprentice (although Backpocket Journal predates the Apprentice). Two things set Steve Curnow's products apart, however: (1) the paper is much more fountain pen friendly than existing alternatives, and (2) the Backpocket Journal comes in custom covers and is hand bound with a sewn binding, which is both attractive and durable. For those who insist on using fountain pens with their pocket notebooks, the paper is on par with the new Nock Co. dot-dash paper. With non-fountain pens and pencils, I found that the Curnow paper was too smooth for my taste, but perhaps I've been spoiled by the super-tactile Baron Fig paper that I've grown to love.
My writing samples show what happens when you try to push the limits of this paper with a fountain pen. I used a TWSBI 580 with a 1.1mm stub nib, and also my stubbed Montblanc 146. The standard Backpocket Journal paper easily keeps feathering under control, but there is slight bleed through, similar to what you would see using the same nibs on the Field Notes America the Beautiful or Shelterwood paper. All other fountain pens performed beautifully. Those who want to use flex or stub nibs in their pocket notebooks may want to spring for the Tomoe River paper edition.
Pricing for the Backpocket Journal is consistent with the pocket notebook market in general: $9 for a three-pack of the "standard" edition, and $10 for a three-pack of the custom cover editions. The slightly more expensive Tomoe River Edition will run you $12.50, and comes with a lined guide to help keep your writing straight on the unlined Tomoe River paper. Doug over at Modern Stationer has a great review of this product. If I wasn't on a "new purchase" hiatus, I would order some of these immediately.
The Backpocket Journal can be purchased directly from Curnow via their Facebook page or through the e-mail contact printed on the back of the notebook (how I purchased the "Brown Leaf" and "Stamp" Editions), or you can purchase the Vanness Edition used in the review from Vanness Pen Shop. I received the Vanness version as a free sample when I purchased some ink at the Atlanta Pen Show (or maybe it was D.C., I lose track).