Good pen for a pocket notebook?
January 26, 2006 8:43 PM   Subscribe

Not to be a total "hipster doofus" (are we still using that one?), but I got a pocket-sized Moleskine for Christmas, and I'd like to get a pen that would be forever with it. Like, hooked onto the cover or something, so that I always have a pen with my notebook. Suggestions?
posted by MrZero to Grab Bag (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe something like this?
posted by jrossi4r at 8:53 PM on January 26, 2006

You can get reasonably cheap uber-miniature metal-bodied pens at computer stores - 3rd party ranges of replacement PDA stylus pens usually have a model which is a stylus point on one end, and a ballpoint on the other (with a cap that will fit on either end).

Half-sized pens and pens that telescope from half to full size seem to be something of a rage these days judging by what is on the shelves, so also check the stationary aisle of office supply and department stores. You can get half-size gel pens too.

Actually attaching it to the book, there are lots of ways. the one Jrossi4r linked to also works on the edge of the front or back cover, that way half of the pen's width is snuggled in the gap between the end of the pages and the edge of the covers, however if I recall, moleskins covers don't extend beyond the pages like most journals. It would still work though. Same goes for top or bottom.

Something that only works if the covers extend slightly past the pages, is adding on of those elastic straps that keeps the book closed. Then you just put the pen in the niche by the pages, and the strap keeps it there.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:04 PM on January 26, 2006

I always just use a pencil, sized just smaller than the book.
That way, I never worry about the pen breaking when I sit on it and it never runs out of ink.
posted by madajb at 10:41 PM on January 26, 2006 has some pens you might like...
posted by hatsix at 11:27 PM on January 26, 2006

Moleskinerie has some suggestions.
posted by stray at 11:34 PM on January 26, 2006

This store has a rather interesting little device that would suit your purpose. Unfortunately, it's not on their web site and is hard to describe but suffice to say that it is a metal thingy that will fit on the cover of your moleskine and allow you to put a pen in it. They actually make ones that hold up to 3 pens.

I constantly get compliments on mine as it is very small and well made. Unfortunately, I don't have a camera so can't shoot it for you but perhaps the store could send you more info? They keep them on the counter next to the register and the single pen one was about 6 or 8 dollars--you can move it from book to book as they're filled--they do not mar the book in any way.

I believe they're handmade by an artist in Germany or the Netherlands.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:41 PM on January 26, 2006

According to the hipster PDA people, You need a space pen
posted by seanyboy at 12:06 AM on January 27, 2006

I'm thinking that if you're going old school with a notebook, why not go old school with your pen?

I love and use the Pilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pen.

Less than $3 a piece, write like a dream. If you lose one, no big whoop.
posted by willmize at 3:39 AM on January 27, 2006

Earlier AskMe Moleskine pen discussion. I'll repeat my recommendation for the Sanford Uniball Micro, which is nice and sleek and black just like the notebook. For portability you can slide its small flat clip into the gap between the binding and the outer cover of the notebook, and it will be held securely to the outside while remaining easily at hand.
posted by letourneau at 4:30 AM on January 27, 2006

Response by poster: letourneau, that is exactly the kind of suggestion I was looking for. I saw the previous thread, but I am not an ink fetishist, I just want a pen!

Also, I love the idea of modding it, but I may not have that much energy.

Any more suggestions are welcome before I head to the office store this weekend...
posted by MrZero at 4:59 AM on January 27, 2006

pilot g2 mini (available 02/01), the wallet pen or thenapoleon dynamite talking pen.
posted by cior at 5:36 AM on January 27, 2006

I have a knock-off moleskin that is bound at the top instead of along the side. In addition to this, the elastic that holds it close is along the bottom. The upshot of this is that I can slip a pen through the elastic along the LONG side of the notebook.

So, I picked up a three-sided pen from a drug company or something, slip it through the elastic, and it works perfectly.
posted by sohcahtoa at 5:41 AM on January 27, 2006

I went out and bought 4 of the pens discussed in the Moleskine pen smudge thread.

Here are my observations, but I can tell you right now that none of them would be any good for attaching to the moleskine, but I do explain my own solution at the end:

The Pilot G2 0.7 gel pen looks the nicest on paper, very rich, very smooth flow, but it also smudges the worst. Lefties beware! I like to carry them around though because it has a retractable point and no cap to lose and there's a clip on the pen, which means fast easy access. You couldn't attach it to your moleskin though.

The Zebra Sarasa 0.7 is almost a clone of the above pen, the ink is still rich but doesn't smudge as much, and costs less if I remember correctly. It also has a rubberized grip.

The Uniball Deluxe Micro has a finer line but it sometimes feels a bit grainy. On the plus side it doesn't smudge as much as any of the 0.7 pens. Too bad that it uses a cap which does not make it a good candidate for fast use or leaving in a coat pocket.

The Pilot G-Tec-C4 0.4. I won't beat around the bush, I was so impressed after using this pen that it is now my most preferred writing instrument. Imagine the tip of a mechanical pencil but with ink. It feels so good writing with this pen, and looks so sharp on the page that you know it's dry as soon as it hits the paper. If ever a pen were to be deemed unsmudgeable, it would be this one. The ink is finer than on the 0.7 gel pens, but it looks so sharp on a moleskin page, a beautiful flow with surgical precision. Too bad that once again the tip is not retractable, and there's a cap to loose. Also, from the looks of it this pen doesn't stand a chance if you lose the cap. The ergonomics of this pen are rather simple, but it's simpleness would make it an ideal candidate for jrossi4r's suggested moleskine hack. This pen is supposedly hard to find, but they've got them here in Canada for $3 a pop at Staples/Bureau en Gros. If anybody wants me to order them some my email address is in my user page.

Finally, my own solution has been to carry a fisher space pen in my pocket. The bullet pen is never an inconvenience, it's smooth and small, and when the cap is placed on the back it's the size of a normal pen and has a good grip. The flow of the ink is a bit weak though, and so you get that nub dot at the beginning of a sentence sometimes and it can lead to a weakly dotted "i", so it's not the nicest thing to hit the creamy pages of your moleskine, but at least it's always in reach. I'll definitely look into the duct tape hack though.
posted by furtive at 6:03 AM on January 27, 2006

Cool Tools recently featured the Foldzflat pen, which is kind of ugly, but would probably fit in the Moleskine pocket.
posted by teg at 6:25 AM on January 27, 2006

I love and use the Pilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pen.

I love these pens, and I've never had one break, leak or anything else when carrying it around.
posted by MasonDixon at 7:14 AM on January 27, 2006

I love and use the Pilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pen.

One warning: I love these pens, too, and use them constantly in my work, in my notebooks, and elsewhere. I do not, however, use them while flying. I recently started writing with one at 35,000 feet, and seconds later saw a large pool of blue ink puddling on my paper. I know very little about atmospheric pressure and it's effect on fountain pens, so YMMV, but I've never seen a pen leak ink like the Varsity Disposable Fountain Pen at altitude.

All other times, though, I love it. Just give it a few seconds to dry when writing in the Moleskine, or else you'll see a little smudging.
posted by fearless_yakov at 7:49 AM on January 27, 2006

Get yourself a SpacePen. The astronauts use them - now so could you.
posted by FidelDonson at 9:49 AM on January 27, 2006

JetPens import the Japanese mini-pens and pencils that are apparently very trendy right now over there.
posted by holgate at 11:31 AM on January 27, 2006

Response by poster: Hmm... the Matte Black Bullet Space Pen with Matching Clip looks pretty good...I'm just afraid that Jack Klompus will give me a lot of grief over it.
posted by MrZero at 1:24 PM on January 27, 2006

Don't try it with a Space Pen. Unless, of course, you like buying replacement Space Pens. You will lose the pen every time.
posted by jjg at 2:33 PM on January 27, 2006

I use a space pen with my Moleskin. Instead of storing the pen with the Moleskin, I ended up slitting my wallet to make a pocket for the space pen — so, my wallet, a bunch of blank business cards, and a pocket-sized Moleskin end up being my PDA solution. Sadly, it works much better than the expensive PDAs I've had in the past...
posted by brool at 2:56 PM on January 27, 2006

Don't waste your time with the "matching clip" for the space pen, it comes off too easily and will be turfed pretty quickly. Oh, and black matte is cool, but a) it's hell of a lot harder to find when you lose it b) it doesn't have the grip ridges that I find to be absolutely necessary to write with.
posted by furtive at 6:09 PM on January 27, 2006

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