Allegory Goods Grove Collection: The Cedar Handcrafted Leather Journal Cover review

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REVIEW – For those who keep handwritten notebooks or journals, they can tell you the importance of those invaluable notes and doodles and ideas inside. Keeping them safe and secure sounds like a job for the near-invincible Allegory Goods’ “The Cedar” Handcrafted Leather Journal Cover.

What is it?

The Cedar from Allegory Goods Grove Collection is a minimalist leather cover that fits most A5-sized notebooks such as large Moleskines. It includes a large side pocket, smaller business-card-sized sleeve, a metal snap enclosure, and a deep side pen sleeve that fits most pens.

Hardware specs

  • Snap enclosure
  • Integrated pen sleeve to fit most pens
  • internal storage includes a document pocket, accessory pocket, and space for your favorite A5 journal
  • Height: 9.5 inches (24 cm)
  • Width cover edge to edge: 7 inches (18 cm)
  • Width cover edge to outside of pen sleeve: 8 inches (20.5 cm)
  • Maximum thickness: 1.5 inch (3.5 cm)
  • Weight: 11.5 oz
  • Compatible with: All A5-sized journals or planners. If you don’t already have a favorite, some of ours are the Rhodia Webbie, Moleskine Classic Large in soft or hardcover, Leuchtturm 1917 Medium in soft or hardcover, and Bullet Journal first or second edition.
  • Three leather colors to choose from

Design and features

Back in December of 2021, I had the pleasure of reviewing another of Allegory Goods’ products, the “Kit Slim” custom front pocket wallet. I was thrilled to learn that they had some new leather journal covers being offered via Kickstarter, as carrying a good large Moleskine journal for work meetings and notes is something I’ve been doing for a while, now.

The Cedar is a basic handmade leather cover for A5 (or close) size notebooks. It sports a long side-binder type document slot, a business-card sized accessory pocket, and an external pen holster incorporated with the metal snap enclosure on the opening side. And that’s basically the entire product tour.

Included in the same Kickstarter is an expanded journal cover option, The Aspen, which sports a full zipper enclosure and more pockets and loops better suited for the bullet journal crowd to horde their highlighters, stickers, and washi tape. Personally, less is more.

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The leather and stitching perfectly matches Allegory Goods’ “break in not wear out” mentality. In fact, if you do manage to damage or destroy the cover, Allegory Goods will replace it, no questions asked.

In daily use, it took me some time to grow accustomed to the extra bulk. I usually just pocket a pen and stuff any note scraps into the back pocket already incorporated into my Moleskine, everything held tight with the elastic strap. It really comes down to the question of “Is the added protection worth the cost?” The cost, in this case, is less about money and more about extra inches of leather on all sides and nearly double the weight.

That all depends on what you carry, normally. I like to travel light, so if I was already going to be carrying a notebook, and nothing else, it’s handy to have the extra storage, the pen pocket, to create a complete grab-and-go solution.

However, if you’ve already got a big messenger bag or backpack, you might not really need the added protection of the Cedar cover, as most notebooks are sturdy enough to handle being knocked around inside a pack. As noted in the stats, this cover is almost 0.75lbs, a noticeable weight.

After a couple of weeks, I started using the left-facing document slot as a pocket for the front cover of the Moleskine, stuffing some used pages into the pocket along with the cover. This way, I could unsnap the cover, open up and start writing right away. It does a nice job of holding the pages open for me while writing. Probably not its intended use, but the extra functionality is appreciated.

Overall, the Cedar cover adds some extra class and durability to your standard A5 notebook, and might actually be a catalyst to paring down your every-day-carry to make this cover all you need for a quick meeting or brainstorm session at your favorite coffee shop.

What I like

  • Integrated pen slot
  • Heavy stitching, heavy leather, durable to no end
  • Fits a variety of my favorite notebook sizes

What needs to be improved

  • Not an improvement but you can expect a good amount of added bulk and weight with a leather cover

Final thoughts

Honestly, short of going through a wood chipper, the Cedar leather planner is nigh-indestructible. Not to mention that if it does break, Allegory Goods will fix or replace it, guaranteed. It’s something you can easily pass down to another generation of writers or doodlers. If you don’t mind sacrificing some added weight and volume for ultimate protection, I think you’ll be quite happy with the Cedar.

Keep checking back on the Allegory Goods website, I imagine production numbers will hit a point where they begin to offer the covers on their site in the next few months.

Price: $79 for early backers, but has a $99 MSRP
Where to buy: Currently, the Cedar leather planner cover is being sent to backers of their Kickstarter.
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Allegory Goods.

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