09 May 2024

Using my Filofax Chester A5 Compact

It is nearly 5 years since I got the Filofax Chester A5 Compact organiser to review. It hasn't had a lot of use in that time.  Well its time has come. 

I'm travelling soon and I wanted to reduce my back pack load a bit. I had a week away in France recently and I was amazed at the weight of my backpack by the time I've put in laptops etc. 

Reducing the 'tech' was one thing, but my organiser and journal also needed to be considered. In the past I have used the organiser out of my Fusion iPad Organiser/Case that has 20mm rings in it. It's tough and it doesn't mind being stuffed in a suitcase or similar. 

The Chester has smaller 16mm rings although later models (August 2021) come with 20mm rings. It is therefore a little slimmer than the Fusion and definitely more stylish to be seen using!

Sadly it no longer appears to be for sale on Filofax UK, only the Filofax Heritage is still available in Compact A5 size. 

When I have used the A5 Heritage before, I was able to get all my essential pages in the rings:

  • 12 months of my diary inserts
  • 12 months of my blog planner
  • Blank lined paper
  • Essential information notes 
The rest of my normal A5 organiser was left in a 25mm ring organiser at home. 

I could have also considered using some of my other 25mm ring organisers that are not that much bigger, but I liked the idea that for this week, this is all I would need with me on paper. 

The spine is quite square in profile but that does help reduce the overall size of the organiser, larger ringed organisers can have quite curved spines in profile which makes them a little wider. 

The Chester has two pen loops, but they are not very large, but I did have to dig through my pens to find one that would fit without too much of a struggle. The mechanical pencil fits easily, it always does! The Chester does lay perfectly flat when open, which is also a bonus. 

Using my usual inserts, no need to change these for just a week away. 

And my usual blog planner. I find visually this layout works better for me than a list of dates, I'm not sure why that is. 

To reduce the weight of my journal, I will be using my Letts Travel Journal You will find a review of that here on Travellers Notebook Time.


  1. The Chester looks nice. I like that leather effect. How do they create it? I think the Finsbury has what I think I read is rambler leather as in leather that has had the pattern pressed into it. Is that how the Chester ripple effect was created?

    Any other models have it too? I am thinking of looking online for a secondhand one in the sales with a similar leather effect. I really like it.

  2. I do believe that A5 Heritage - even listed as compact - is now also only available with 20mm rings. Chester does look great with those 16mm. Very compact and luxurious. Thanks for sharing.

  3. My Heritage broke at the seam. A shame! And the higher quality Chester was taken out of sale again?