I’ve tried lots of different small notebooks. Field Notes are the best ones I’ve found, small and thin enough to really have with you all the time, in a shirt or pants pocket. I’ve carried them for over a year, and my small notebook is used every day for ideas, shopping lists, account numbers/passwords (coded, of course), design sketches, references.
I am now laminating the covers with simple self-seal lamination sheet to lengthen the life of the cardboard cover.
I love leather, but all the leather and Moleskine notebooks (previously reviewed on Cool Tools) are simply too thick for me to carry all the time in a pocket, which is where the Field Notes pads have made the difference.
[I’ve been using Field Notes lately, and a laminating them as John suggests would be a great improvement. Moleskine makes a similar soft cover product, and competitively priced, too. Both are fine choices if you get around without a bag. --ES]