I haven’t been a pen guy since I wasted too many hours spinning and flipping them in high school. Who really writes by hand anymore? But then I started pocketing these graph-ruled moleskine reporter notebooks and thus began the hunt for a pen that could perfect the notebook experience. A few months ago, I finally settled on Muji gel ink hex pens with 0.3mm tips.
I tried a lot of different pens while feeling out what my requirements for a little notebook pocket pen. This one meets almost all of them. For example, it skates across the page like a greased puck on ice. Some pens accomplish this by looding the page with ink, but I write small, especially in a tiny mileskine. I require a sharp, precise line. The Muji keeps a narrow, wet, gliding tip that dries fast and doesn’t bleed along the paper’s fibers.
Also, I lose pens faster than a politician can break your heart, so I can’t abide gold-plated pocket clips and heirloom rosewood barrels. These pens clock in at $3.75 apiece. When I lose them I mourn the lost pen, not the cash.
Because the pen is going to sit in my pocket, I want something light and not too thick. The Muji is like a pencil in weight and shape. It’s longer than I want in a pocket pen, but it works well enough. I might cut one down to see how short I can make it.
The downside to this pen is the cap. It sits snug on the barrel, and I’ve not lost one yet, but it nags at me when I stow it in my pocket. And the flimsy plastic in the pocket clip feels like it might break, so I don’t use it. I’m going to pick up the refillable click point version of these pens, although I think they’re a little ugly.
For a $3.75 pen I’m going to lose, I don’t fred durability, but one thing bears note: I dropped one and it fell perfectly straight down on the point. It never wrote smoothely after that, so I replaced it. I can’t tell yet whether this is an issue.
If you want to get fancy, the pen comes in a rainbow of colors. I’ve tried black, blue, red and purple. All show up vividly and contrast and coordinate nicely with each other. For a few bucks more, you can pick three colors and put them in a click pen. This is pricey at $7.50 and the 3-color pen is thicker than I’d like, but the convenience of having black plus two accent colors (I write action items in red) is hard to beat.
As a pocket pen for small notebook use, the Muji pen is great. This isn’t the pen for writing on a crumpled up paper bag or to letter a sign, but in the little private world formed by my head, my hand and my notebook, it’s just about perfect. My moleskine now gets constant rather than sporadic use, and that more than anything is what puts this pen in my pocket every day.