Day-Timer Malibu Planner: Thoughts & Quick Review

08 March 2013

I purchased this planner during my brief fickle phase when I was trying to figure out whether or not to make the move to an A5. My other option was to go elsewhere (as in another brand altogether) and the Malibu by Day-Timer happened to be on my list of "other possibilities".

I first read about this particular planner here. I remember looking at photos and thinking, I've seen several Day-Timers at local office supply stores many times before but never ones this beautiful. In fact, this particular model wasn't available at any of the local retailers in my area and so, one night, I took the plunge and logged onto the Day-Timer website and placed my order. Here are just a few of the things I liked and didn't like about the Malibu.

Lays pretty flat right out the box


  • The flatibility. Right out of the box, too. This is most likely because of...
  • The buttery soft leather. It has the pebbly touch and feel of the Finchley, the flexibility and thinness of the Aston and the floppiness of the Malden. If you're not familiar with either of these Filofaxes, then I'm sorry. I don't know how best to describe the leather other than it's nice. Not very structured at all which is how I like my planners.
  • The Pockets. Some might find the card pockets lacking but since I don't use my planner as a wallet, the three card pockets were good enough for me. Plus, you've got your ID pocket, and a slip pocket behind this along with a zippered pocket on your left. On the right, a larger pocket that I assume you can slip a notepad in, plus two random pockets at the bottom. Plenty of storage options, if you ask me.
  • The two spacious pen-loops. The keywords there being "two" and "spacious". Need I say more?
  • The 1" rings. Not too big but definitely not too small, either.
  • The overall size. The Malibu in portable size is about half an inch taller than the Malden and is wider (though the difference in width isn't so obvious in my photo). Nonetheless, a nice size binder.

Side-by-side with my Personal Crimson Malden


  • The contrast stitching and buckled clasp. More so the latter than anything. I suppose it's not as big and bulky as the buckles on other planners that I've seen (*ahem* Franklin Covey) but I would rather do without it altogether. The contrast stitching looked sloppy and poorly done in some areas.
  • The way the inserts look inside the planner. Day-Timer inserts are pretty much the same size as Filofax inserts which, as you'll see in the photos below, look a bit off in the Malibu. I know this didn't bother me so much in my Compact Aurora but I expected the Filofax inserts to be smaller in the FC as their inserts are wider. Why Day-Timer would make a planner that's wider than its inserts is besides me. I've never looked closely at a Day-Timer prior to this one so I can't say that all Day-Timer planners are like this or if it is just this particular range.
  • The color. I think my photos do a pretty good job at portraying the planners Plum color. Much like the fruit, it's more of a dark, brownish purple. It did look a shade lighter on the Day-Timer website though which was what I was hoping for.

All moved in

Filofax inserts inside the wider Malibu

Anyway, this planner went straight back to Day-Timer as I had already committed to my A5 + other planner arrangement prior to its arrival and I didn't need another unused planner in my collection. Overall, I think it's a decent binder. Probably one of the best that Day-Timer has to offer and one that is worth the try if you're looking to switch brands.


  1. I've been hearing good things about this one. I use Franklin Covey inserts but need a new binder and can't find one I like. I heard this binder is big enough to hold the FC inserts. I may have to give it a try.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. I'm pretty sure the FC inserts would look great in the Malibu. I thought I had some spare FC inserts to try out but, I couldn't find where I stored them.

  2. Thanks for this review. I thought the same thing...why such a wide binder when Day Timer inserts are so narrow? That would bug me. However I was considering getting one for my Franklin Covey compact inserts as I.m sure they will fit and I like the flexibility and design of this Malibu better than any of the current FC offerings. Great review.

    1. I agree. There aren't a lot of FC binders out right now that I like. If I had to leave Filofax for something else, I'd probably reconsider the Malibu but in a different color. My package came with a product catalog which I kept. I saw a few inserts and extras that I liked. Also good to know that DT inserts fit perfectly in a Filofax.

  3. I have the Malibu in the beautiful coral colour and I love it! Franklin Covey compact size inserts fit in perfectly.Took me a while to get used to it's slightly larger size in my bag (was using Filofax personal Chameleon before)but it is just so gorgeous.The buckle doesn't bother me at all,as when I open the binder it's weight keeps the clasp/strap off of my pages.Thankyou for a great review.

    1. The coral looks lovely online. Do you happen to have photos of it up somewhere? If I ever left Filofax for something else, I'd definitely give this planner a go again but in another color. The plum is just too dark for me.

  4. Hey Carla,
    Lovely that my post inspired you to this purchase, pity though that it didn't work out. I can confirm that FC Compact inserts are a perfect fit for the portable Malibu. And I have read several reviews about the Plum color online, and everybody says it's rather brownish. That's why I went with the raspberry.

    Oh, and I would love to see the Coral in the flesh also!!!!

    1. Hi, hi! Yes, thanks for the inspiration (or rather, enabling? LOL.) Anyway, the raspberry looks beautiful but, unfortunately, it wasn't available. So, I went with my next color of choice. If the plum was a shade lighter, I think it would have been nice. I would love to see the coral and other colors in person.

  5. Hi! I would love to know what other binders you've found that are soft and floppy like this one. I noticed you mentioned the Malden is as well. I am looking to pick up one with soft flexible leather but I've spent so long looking and haven't found many. Which would you suggested in the personal size? Filofax or other. Thanks SO much!

  6. My understanding is that the buckle is actually removable. I saw someone post online about that.

    I just ordered this in Kiwi green and Black, to fit my compact FC inserts. Got AMAZING deals due to the combination of discounts I was able to stack. The Kiwi is currently on sale, plus I Googled several discount codes which combined, brought it down to only $18 shipped!! I was able to get the Black for $30 shipped, again with a combination of codes. Considering the full retail price of $69.99, not a bad deal!


Thanks for reading! Your comments are much appreciated. ♥

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