Time for the final round! In case you missed the first three entries in the series, feel free to visit any of them here:
- TitleBeard’s 2016 Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide – Everyday Carry
- TitleBeard’s 2016 Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide – Beard Products
- TitleBeard’s 2016 Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide – Handkerchiefs
If you’ve followed the Everyday Considerations series here on TitleBeard, you’ve probably seen some of these products before, but if you need a refresher, feel free to check out some of the previous entries in the series here:
- Everyday Considerations: Pens
- Everyday Considerations: Pocket Notebooks (Part 1)
- Everyday Considerations: Pocket Notebooks (Part 2)
- Everyday Considerations: Pocket Notebook Covers
I’ve mentioned it before, but there’s nothing quite like putting pen to paper. All the digital devices in the world can’t compete with the satisfying feeling I get from writing something down. I love to write, and over the past couple years I’ve found some new favorites to help me with this task. But before we have a look, let’s get a couple disclaimers out of the way.
A couple quick disclaimers – due to the “last minute” nature of the article, I believe that all of these companies have already cut off orders that would be received by Christmas (and some aren’t shipping again until after the new year), so before ordering be sure to check with the specific company to confirm any relevant shipping timeframes. Also, I did not receive any consideration for posting about any items contained in this post (but did receive some complimentary items for review purposes). All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Karas Kustoms Grey Aluminum Bolt G2 ($70)
I’ve always carried a pen, and when I started getting more serious about my everyday carry, I knew I wanted a more permanent pen than the Pilot G2s I had been carrying for years. Karas Kustoms was one of the first companies to come across my radar, and not only did they have an awesome assortment of pens, but they had (and have) ones that will hold the G2 refill! My first Karas pen was the Bolt (pictured far right), which was a gift. As the name suggests, the Bolt is a bolt-action pen. Additionally, the overall length of the pen was more than I was used to, but I didn’t have any problem adjusting to it.
Karas provides its customers with a wide variety of pen styles in different colors and materials, and even fountain pen conversion kits for some models. At the time of publication, Karas is “closed” for the holidays. Orders are still being taken, but shipping won’t start until January 2nd. However, until January 8th, customers can get 15% off any order with the code “Happy Holidays”. I’m on a bit of a copper kick lately, so if I were ordering one right now, it would be the all-copper Render K.
Schon Dsgn Classic Aluminum ($58)
When I was putting together the Everyday Considerations: Pens article linked above, a friend recommended I check out Schon Dsgn. “The Pen Project” started as a massively successful Kickstarter project, and if you want to see the video that fascinated so many people (myself included), check it out here. Schon offers his pen in a number of different materials, and the aluminum pen that I’ve used has begun to develop a patina from carrying it, which you can see if you look at the full-size photo.
I like distressed and worn objects, especially ones that reflect the owner’s use of them, and because the Schon pen is carried fully in a pocket as there is no clip, it will quickly begin to reflect its owner’s style. If you’re used to carrying a pen with a clip, carrying this can be an adjustment, but there’s something handy about being able to just throw your pen in your pocket that’s not much larger than a cigarette when closed, but full-sized when open. If I were purchasing one today, I would pick either the Polished Brass or Titanium version. I think the Polished Brass would develop a great wear pattern over time, and since I don’t yet own a Titanium pen, I’d love to try one out.
Baron Fig Vanguard Charcoal Pocket Notebook ($9)
Baron Fig was one of the first pocket notebooks I had the opportunity to review, and I’ve since gone back to purchase more. The ones pictured in the photo are Charcoal, the darker of the two color choices available, but the lighting makes them appear much lighter than they are in person. Baron Fig offers two styles of notebook; the Confidant (larger size hardcover), and the Vanguard (soft cover, available in three sizes). The pocket size Vanguard comes three to a pack for the price shown above and is available with blank, ruled, or dot grid pages.
I favor the dot grid style pages, and I liked the original pocket notebooks and Confidant that I received so much that I went back to order another Confidant, as well as the Vanguard in all three sizes. The color of the notebooks is offset by a bright yellow stitching that adds a subtle highlight, and the last six pages in the pocket notebooks are perforated should you need to remove a few pages without compromising the structural integrity of the binding. I recently purchased all of the items pictured, but if you’re only going to get one – go for the Charcoal pocket-sized Vanguard, dot grid pattern. I highly recommend it.
Word. Notebooks pocket notebooks ($8.99-$25)
Word. Notebooks offers a substantial inventory of pocket notebooks with various cover designs. The notebooks pictured here are just a few of the many Word notebooks in my collection. While any notebook is great for list making, goal setting, or journaling, Word notebooks stand apart due to their built in “Word system”. Suffice it to say, this system can making logging your tasks and accurately measuring their level of completeness very easy. For more info on the Word System, have a look at the TitleBeard product review of Word. Notebooks. However, not all Word notebooks contain the system, so make sure to read the product description before purchasing.
Word has, on a few occasions, collaborated with some known designers, producing some really standout covers like the Cobra Snake shown above. Certain Word notebook designs have almost been elevated to the status of collectors items as the designs are retired after a period of time (I’d still love to get my hands on some of the Red Bandana covers). Word offers a number of writing accessories and kits, but my favorite thing they offer, and my recommended purchase, is the BYOB 10-pack. For $25 (plus shipping), you can pick any ten notebooks you like from the available choices in that section. Given that most of their three-packs are sold for $9.99, this is a great deal that allows you to mix and match the cover designs of your choice.
Nock Co. Fodderstack XL ($17)
We started with something to write with, then something to write on, and now we move on to something to store your written materials in. Nock Co. sells the Fodderstack XL, which can hold two-to-three of your favorite pocket notebooks (such as their Dot Dash pocket notebooks) along with one or two of your favorite pens. This is a great carrying/storage product for those who like to have a couple different options of pens and notebooks handy, but want something that will fit comfortably in most pockets.
I’ve carried my Fodderstack XL in a pocket (typically a cargo pocket), thrown it in a messenger bag, and often just have it sitting on my desk so I can grab it on my way out the door. The Fodderstack XL has great retention and holds the notebooks and pens without them falling out, and the overall profile is very small considering the number of items you can store in it. If you feel like grabbing one, make sure to pick up a couple of the Nock Co. Dot Dash notebooks as well. These top-fold pocket notebooks have a Dot Dash printing on the page, which is a grid pattern comprised of dots and dashes rather than solid grids. The pattern makes for great writing or drawing, and the top fold design of the notebooks allows for carrying in the Fodderstack XL with the back cover of the notebook inside and the rest outside for quick note-taking.
Red Pen Travelers Kentucky State Lines Traveler’s Notebook ($40)
If you are at all familiar with the stationery or journaling world, you’ve probably heard of a traveler’s notebook. If you’re not familiar with them, a traveler’s notebook can be described as a cover (often leather) in which you can put various inserts, or in my case, pocket notebooks. Believe me when I say there is a world’s worth of information about traveler’s notebooks. Don’t believe me? Just head over to YouTube and search “Traveler’s notebook setup”. Red Pen Travelers first caught my eye when I noticed that they were doing state outlines and I thought it would be neat to have one with my home state – if you’re not familiar with state shapes, that’s Kentucky on my notebook with a star over my hometown, and my initials stamped at the bottom. And yes, those really are my initials.
RPT offers travelers notebooks with various designs, colors, in multiple sizes, and with varying levels of customization. My RPT traveler’s notebook typically carries a couple pocket notebooks and some small custom folders that were made for me that I use to store receipts or other loose papers when I’m on business trips. Even with those items, it still has plenty of room to spare for additional items. If I were going to order another one, I’d likely go for one of the Spell It Out Traveler’s Notebooks, or one of the Mantra Leather Traveler’s Notebooks with TitleBeard printed on it. There are a lot of options for personalization available – contact RPT for specifics.
Retrowtures Designer Sojourner ($75)
Retrowtures is another one of my favorite Instagram finds of the last year. I first caught sight of her Sojourners as I was going down the YouTube blackhole I mentioned above (you can check out the retrowtures YouTube channel here). I was immediately attracted to the rough edge on the Designer shown above. The front piece serves as a pocket, which makes a great space for an extra notebook or something like a passport and/or boarding pass when traveling. I currently have mine loaded up with five pocket notebooks and two folders, and it still has room to spare.
Something that really sets Retrowtures apart is the leathers she uses. The Sojourners will slowly change color with use and exposure to the elements, and will end up with a look unique to the user. Some lucky users (myself included) will also get leather that bears the mark of brands of designs or numbers that were used on the cattle. To see a picture of that, have a look at the Everyday Considerations: Pocket Notebook Covers post. Were I purchasing one today, I would probably lean towards another Designer just because I like that style so much, probably in the new A5 size now available.
Dudek Modern Goods Groove ($59)
Dudek Modern Goods is the brainchild of Mike Dudek, the man behind Clicky Post. If you consider yourself a fan of all things pens and haven’t heard of Clicky Post, you’re not as much of a fan as you think. Mike offers some great reviews (and excellent photography) of any number of stationery items on Clicky Post, and some beautiful pen and notebook holders made out of walnut through Dudek Modern Goods. The model I have, the Groove, holds up to nine pens or pencils, and three-to-four standard size pocket notebooks. With the exception of taking photos when I first received the groove, and taking the photo for this piece, the Groove has never left my desk.
Dudek’s works have small pieces of felt on the bottom of the four corners, so they can sit on any desk material without worrying about scratches. Different sized holes are available on some models to fit the user’s preferred implements, and some models even have spaces for ink bottles, larger size notebooks, and even small plants. I love the groove and have found it to be the perfect size for the desk space I have available, but if I were looking for a new item to purchase, I’d go for either The Stationer (so I could hold a larger notebook), or a writer’s dream piece, The Workspace. If you’re looking for something equally interesting, take some time to check out the collaborations between Dudek and Karas Kustoms; they’ve produced some excellent products.
With that, TitleBeard’s 2016 Last Minute Christmas Gift Guides come to a close! I hope that you’ve enjoyed learning more about these companies and that you’ve been able to find a gift or two, or even something nice for yourself. Happy Holidays everyone!