So a while back I went a little crazy and I bought every pen case I was interested in ranging from those recommended on other sites to eBay and Amazon specials that I just liked the look of/was vaguely interested in and one particularly nice case from Japan (12) which turned into the mail order equivalent of a Special Forces selection test.
And since those heady days of yore I have been testing these cases by packing them full of pens and paraphernalia and transporting them with me wherever I go to find out if they really are as suitable as they appear.
They are a mixture of cloth, leather and a strange felt like material which is allegedly derived from recycling things it is better not to enquire to deeply into.
- Unknown ‘felt’ case (Amazon)
- Lihit Labs Case (Cult Pens)
- Stationery Roll (Tiger)
- Hard Case (Amazon)
- Nock Co Hightower (eBay)
- Skull Patterned case (Paperchase)
- Saki Pen Roll (Amazon)
- Lieve Leather Pen Case (Amazon)
- Mala Small Pen Sleeve (eBay)
- Pencil Roll – Generic (eBay)
- Visconti 5 Pen Case (The Pen Box)
- Nagasawa 3 Pen Sleeve (eBay)
- Field Stationery Case (The Journal Shop)
- Moleskine Pen Box (Moleskine)
- Visconti 3 Pen Case (The Pen Box)
Ok now you’ve seen the picture and read the list you kind of see what I meant when I said I went a little bit crazy, so if you want to know more; make the beverage of your choice and get comfortable because this will take a little while.
- I bought these thinking they would be nice thick protective felt or felt like. I soon learnt that if we still built space shuttles this stuff would be glued to the outside it’s so unyielding that I’m pretty sure it was once part of the armour plating found on the Russian T90 battle tank, back in the days before we found out depleted uranium was bad for us.I really don’t think this is suitable as a pen roll (it doesn’t roll for one thing), however, if you wanted to carry a small tool roll I would definitely recommend them for this; they are thick enough to stop small tools piercing the material and that is how I intend to use mine.
- This one is a great little case from Lihit Labs; not only does it close up to the size a small slim notebook that fits in your pocket but it can be opened and clipped together to use as a desktop pen pot. It’s suitable for pens, pencils and those wonderful folding rulers that Muji sell. It’s well built and if you need to carry a small assortment with you then this could be what you’re looking for.
- The stationery roll from Tiger is a budget roll that comes with some basic tools (pen, pencil, sharpener, eraser, ruler & highlighter) making it very good value for money. The roll itself is surprisingly well made and held closed by a strong elastic loop and button and if you are handy with a needle and thread, once the contents are used, it would be easy to adapt it to other uses.
- The hard case is a generic case branded and sold by many different sellers, again it’s a budget item but it’s a sturdy little case suitable for holding a small assortment of pens other things. On the inside, one side has three elastic straps for pens and the other has one strap and a mesh insert that is about half the length of the case to hold onto the little things such as erasers. It’s ideal if you’re travelling and need to throw things in a bag quickly and know they are protected.
- Hightower by Nock Co. These cases have something of a following and they are well made using good materials and a lot of thought has gone into the design. The Hightower has three pen slots on the one side and a pocket on the other to hold a notebook around A6 size; the whole case folds in half to close. I like this case but I don’t think it’s as good as it could be primarily I would like to see an elastic closure loop to keep it shut when not in use; I really think Nock Co missed a significant trick by not including a closure loop. It’s a good case but if you do decide to get one do consider either adapting it or buying a separate elastic loop to keep it closed.
- The Paperchase pen/pencil case is just that. Well made, fun design and they come in many colours and sizes mine is suitable for a couple of pens and pencils and you might just squeeze a small eraser in there. If you are looking for something a bit different then this might just be what you want, mine has a cool skull design on it.
- Next up is the Saki Collection P-661 Pen Roll and this is my favourite cloth pen roll, I like it so much I will probably buy another one someday. I bought it, following a review I read, from a Japanese seller on Amazon. It’s hard to explain but there is just something about it, it’s just nice; it’s one of those things that you want to use. They are not expensive but they are made from good quality materials and are well finished; it has three internal slots for pens and a flap that folds down to protect the tops of the pens and then it rolls and secures with a cord. This is a simple, effective design and I have used it a number of times and would be very happy to recommend it to you.
- Number 8 is the Lieve leather pen case was a bit of a curve ball I found on Amazon when going through a phase of being utterly convinced that it was possible to get a Visconti equivalent if not better by shopping around (FYI I was very wrong). The case is made of good leather (sourced in Ethiopia) very neatly stitched and is advertised as holding approximately four pens which it does, possibly more if they are thinner pens. It is very competitively priced (sold through Amazon) and my only criticism of it is that there are no dividers to stop pens colliding in the case, however, there would be a cost for this and that may then make this nice little case too expensive. I also think it is the right design to have a belt loop (I’ve seen a number people on forums looking for this feature) and were it to do so it would also be very useful for carrying small tools.
- This is a Mala pen sleeve that I bought (from an eBay seller) for my Kaweco Brass Sport in response to being very seriously ticked off by the very overly optimistically priced offering from Kaweco. As with the Lieve I was on a mission to do better than Kaweco (FYI this time I was right) and I paid less than a fifth of the Kaweco asking price. These are the perfect little pen sleeve/pouch for your Kaweco Sport pens. So if you have a Sport pen or a pocket pen of the same size this should be your go to pen sleeve, I will definitely be buying more.
- An eBay purchase based on the ‘that looks nice’ school of thinking and it turns out it is a nice pencil roll; I paid a couple of dollars including shipping and for the money it’s a good buy.When its unrolled it has a middle section of elastic loops for pencils and either side wider loops for other items with short pockets at the bottom to tuck them into and a flap to protect the points etc. It comes in many colours and designs and with a few things from your local stationery store would make an ideal stocking filler.
- ’s 11 & 15 are the five pen and three pen Visconti cases. All I can say is if you want to protect your pens and know that they will come to no harm then buy the Visconti, if you don’t one day you will look at your pens and think “I wish I’d bought the Visconti”. Yes they are expensive but if you look after them the chances are you will only ever buy once; unless of course the collection grows and you want to cosset pens in velvet lined Italian leather. Buy them you won’t regret it, these really are as good as it gets.
- Nagasawa’s case is breath-taking. It is beautifully made of soft thin leather and unlike other cases of this ilk it’s lined. It comes in a slim black box with the name printed in black on the cover; I was and am very impressed; it was worth all of the effort to get it. It takes three good size pens and will sit in the inner pocket of your suit jacket and keep your pens safe without ruining the line of your suit. If you can afford one consider it; they come in sizes one to three pens and two pen roll versions for five and seven pens respectively. Like the Visconti cases, if you don’t buy one of these you will wish you had.
- My Field Stationery case was bought after reading a review on the The London Parchment – http://thelondonparchment.co.uk/ – and I like it, it’s a great little pencil case and that’s one of the key words. It is just that little bit too small to take some pens and pencils, a brand new Blackwing is not going to fit. The size and design make it useful for carrying all the odds and ends that your need. Mine has a highlighter, my favourite Kum sharpener, a few cartridges et cetera. However, it’s very well made and the colours are really vivid and they age well, mine is fantastic bright red (reminds me of Ferrari’s) and now I’m just looking for the ink to match it.
- The Moleskine Box, this is the last of the bumper crop and another one I bought on a whim when walking past the Moleskine store while they were on sale at 50% off. I thought ‘well if I don’t like it was 50% off!’. It’s a little box with a folding lid and elastic closure and it’s really a bit too small for most pens but it’s great for carrying converters, cartridges, small pens like Kaweco Sports and the like. Definitely worth it if you can get it on sale but I would suggest you think twice before paying full ticket for it.
Ok, so if you got this far well done, you’ve reached the end of my bumper pen case review and I hope you have found something useful in it. If I had to recommend only one case, as much as I love my Saki P-661, I would say spend the pennies and buy the Visconti.
Disclaimer: All of the cases were purchased with my own funds at retail price. The opinions expressed in this review are my own; and I am not connected with either the retailers or manufacturers in any way.