One of the things I carry with me everywhere is a small pen. I use it for jotting things like shopping lists and playlists down in my Field Notes Brand pocket notebook. I use it when a client has to borrow my “real” pen in a meeting. I use it for signing receipts or writing in the margins of my books.
Over the past 15 years, I’ve carried a lot of different writing utensils in my pocket. I used an old bullet pencil that was my grandfather’s for years, but it wasn’t as functional as I needed once I entered a more formal career; you can’t sign documents in pencil. And while it’s better for sketching and doodling, pencil doesn’t write well on jeans, and is limited in the situations its appropriate to use .
I switched to a Fisher Space Pen for a few years because it was compact, had a history, and looked great. My first attorney repeatedly tried to swipe it from me after he used it the first time. There were a few things that kept the Fisher Space Pen from working well for me: (1) I always prefer a very thin nib (usually 0.5mm) and the thicker tip on the Space Pen didn’t feel completely comfortable for me; (2) every ink cartridge I used over 2-3 years eventually ended up leaking in small amounts; and (3) the pen body itself came unscrewed and after several months’ time would become impossible to fully screw back together as the 2 ends wouldn’t make a solid connection.
Years of small frustrations like these led me to begin my search for something else.
My criteria for a perfect pocket pen were:
- Truly compact. I didn’t want to carry a full size pen in my pocket.
- Handsome and professional. That farm bullet pencil I carried was practical, but it didn’t send a very professional message when I pulled it out of my dress pants to scribble a note in front of a client.
- Writes nice. Smooth action ink flow with no skipping or blotting. Those seem like basic requirements for a writing utensil, but I’ve been surprised at how many pens I’ve used that seem to struggle in one area or another after several uses.
- Fine point. I always prefer a pen point of 0.5mm as my handwriting seems to look a bit cleaner with a finer tipped pen.
- Inexpensive. I didn’t want to spend more than $20. A pocket pen gets beat around a bit by its very nature. I didn’t want to buy something so expensive it would feel precious.
- Single piece. I didn’t want to have to remove one end in order to write like I had with bullet pencils and the space pen. I wasn’t worried about the pen feeling small or trying to make it full size to write with. I just wanted a teeny little pen I could use every now and then without thinking too much about it.
- Blue ink. This may not be a concern for some people, but I work in the legal field and have become a stickler for having original documents signed in blue ink. While this isn’t a deal breaker, I really wanted to have blue ink, if possible.
After some research, I found NarwhalCo’s wallet pens. At first review, these seemed to check the boxes on my wish list: small, handsome, inexpensive, and one piece. I couldn’t find anywhere that talked about the point size, but at $13 for two (2!) pens, it was obviously worth trying.
The package came as shown with two refills, one black and one blue. Check blue ink off my list. The pens feel substantial and solid. No need to worry about busting this pen if I knock my thigh against the side of the conference room table (inevitable).
You simply twist the pen to extend the retractable point. I like that this will keep my pocket safe from ink and that it’s not a production to get the pen writing ready.
The pen does write really nicely. The tip is medium, but smooth enough I didn’t feel like that was a dealbreaker. I sometimes find myself reaching for my pocket pen instead of my favorite desk pen, the Pilot G2 retractable fine point, because the Narwhal writes so nicely. It really feels like it flows smoothly across the page.
I’m at an age where I’m beginning to demand a bit more from the items I use every day. I am not interested in luxury so much as I want things that work really well at what they are designed for. I don’t want to troubleshoot. I don’t want to tinker. I don’t want things require me to compromise or make adjustments to ensure their utility. I just want it to work reliably and without me having to think about it at all. Just work.
A pocket pen is a small tool. Maybe an afterthought to some or not even a consideration to others. But for me, it’s a tool I need to use consistently though infrequently. I don’t need it to work underwater or in freezing conditions. I have a desk job and I need my pen to look professional and work well when I hand it to my client for them to sign an important document. It’s a tool I carry with me all day, every day, and I need it to be reliable.
I couldn’t be more pleased with my NarwhalCo wallet pen. NarwhalCo is NOT a sponsor of Butc(h)er. I didn’t receive anything in order to write this post, not even a free pen. They probably don’t even know that I’m one of their customers. I simply love their product and wanted to share it.
Every butch has a personal EDC – those items you always have in your pockets. I want every item in my EDC to be something I love and that I look forward to using. My EDC includes a pen and a notebook. My EDC pocket pen is a NarwhalCo wallet pen and it’s the best pocket pen I’ve used in the past 15 years. Grab one yourself over at NarwhalCo.