Category Archives: Reviews

The master list for all fountain pen, fountain pen ink, and stationery reviews:

Maruman Mnemosyne 182 Inspiration Book Review

Maruman Mnemosyne 182
Inspiration Book Review

Maruman Mnemosyne 182 Notebook Review-9


  • Book Size – A5 (5.8 x 8.25″)
  • Ruling – grid / blank
  • Grid Size – .5mm
  • 70 Sheets, perforated
  • Top wire binding
  • Plastic cover
  • 80gsm, fountain pen friendly paper
  • Made in Japan
  • $10.50 from JetPens

Maruman Mnemosyne 182 Notebook Review-3

The Mnemosyne line of notebooks by Maruman are definitely amongst my favorite. They look great, they’re filled with fountain pen friendly paper, and they come in a variety of convenient sizes and ruling. The inspiration book was designed with the creative in mind, featuring both blank and grid rulings. It’s the perfect size to toss in a bag and go. It also doesn’t take up a ton of desk real estate, but still provides enough room to sketch out ideas, take notes, and more. I’ve found that I tend to go through Maruman notebooks rather quickly. If that’s not a testament to how much I like them, I don’t know what is. This configuration is fast becoming one of my favorites. Make sure you check out the gallery below for a ton more pictures, all at full resolution!

Maruman Mnemosyne 182 Notebook Review-13

Thanks to JetPens for sending the book over for review!


Disclaimer: This book was received as a review unit, free of charge. All opinions are my own.

J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean – Ink Review + Video

J. Herbin 1670
Bleu Ocean (New w/ Sheen)
Fountain Pen Ink Review

J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean Fountain Pen Ink Review Sheen-13PenLamy 2000 Stainless Steel – Broad, Folded Nib Dip Pen
Paper: Kyokuto F.O.B. COOP – Dot Grid – B5


J. Herbin caught some flak when they released a blue 1670 ink a few years back and it had no gold flake. Well, no need to worry any more, as they’ve added a good amount of it to their deep blue 1670 ink. The gold flake (shimmer, whatever you want to call it) is a very fine powder, so be careful about leaving it in any one pen for too long. I haven’t had any clogging issues with regular use, but there’s no harm in being a little bit more cautious with this ink. Flow and saturation are good, and the gold flake really pops against the darker blue. Although some may have preferred a silver sheen, don’t knock it until you try it. The blue and gold looks pretty great in my opinion.

Check out this video I produced for J. Herbin for the new ink:

All photos are uploaded in hi-res, click to enlarge!J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean Fountain Pen Ink Review Sheen-15 J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean Fountain Pen Ink Review Sheen-8 J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean Fountain Pen Ink Review Sheen-7 J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean Fountain Pen Ink Review Sheen-5 J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean Fountain Pen Ink Review Sheen-4 J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean Fountain Pen Ink Review Sheen-3 J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean Fountain Pen Ink Review Sheen-2


  • Nice Color


  • Watch for clogging


Tactile Turn Gist Fountain Pen / Kickstarter Launch *UPDATED w/ COMPARISON*

Tactile Turn
“Gist” Fountain PenTactile Turn Gist Lifestyle-10


  • Description: A machined fountain pen that POSTS!
  • Nib: Steel, Titanium, or Gold, EF, F, M, B.
  • Materials: Polycarbonate + MANY metals
  • Refillable: Yes, via converter
  • Measurements: 5.15″ closed, 4.64″ open, 6.10″ posted

Tactile Turn on Kickstarter


Tactile Turn Gist Fountain Pen Review Kickstarter-4I’m starting this review off with a big disclaimer, just so everyone knows where I stand before the review. Will, the man behind Tactile Turn, is not just a friend, but a photo client. I was hired to take the photos for his Kickstarter campaign, so yes, I was paid for my services. I’ve been speaking to Will about this fountain pen for the better part of a year, whether it was giving advice, input, or simply just being excited about it. I’ve had a prototype of the pen for about a month now, and I really, really enjoy it. I have backed the Kickstarter myself, with my own money, because yes – I really like the pen. I have no further financial motives, I don’t get anything else if the Kickstarter hits a million dollars. I just think that this pen is a breath of fresh air in a somewhat-stagnant world of fountain pens. My intent is not to steer people wrong because of the involvement I had in this project, but fill them in about a pen that provides something different than what’s out there. Please keep this in mind as you read the review, enjoy!


Tactile Turn Gist Lifestyle-4This pen is SOLID. I’ve been carrying around a polycarbonate/titanium grip model for about a month and there are no issues. The plastic feels robust, the pen walls are thick, and the Ti grip is exactly what it should be. This pen utilizes acme threads, which are a good but chunkier than what you may be used to seeing on a fountain pen. Not only does this add to the overall industrial aesthetic of the pen, but it provides a smooth, secure method of keeping the pen capped. What’s unique about this pen is the fact that it posts. Most Kickstarted pens do not have this ability, but Will included that as a must-have trait in these pens. The cap posts on nice and secure, maybe a bit more-so on the polycarbonate versions. To me, this pen looks like a cross between the Pilot M-90 and the Lamy 2000. This is definitely not a bad place to be in. It has that modern design that I love so much. While the all-metal versions are stunning, I personally prefer the mix of polycarbonate and metal. I’m stuck between the Poly & Ti Grip/Finial and Poly & Brass Grip/Finial as my favorite version…


Tactile Turn Gist Lifestyle-14The Gist both looks and feels familiar. It’s similar to the Lamy 2000 in size, shape, and weight (the poly/Ti version at least). The one glaring difference is the ridged pattern seen on Will’s pens that adorn the entire length of the body. If you’ve used a Tactile Turn before, you’ll be familiar with the “bite” and control that this grip gives. The pen is nicely balanced, comfortable to write with, and I really like the fact that it has a #6 nib.

Tactile Turn Gist Lifestyle-11The grip section of these pens are mostly metal. Typically, metal grip sections can get slippery real quick. That’s not the case with the Gist. The ridges allow you to grip the pen without squeezing too hard, making them comfy for longer writing sessions as well as quick notes. The grip tapers into the nib section, so be careful about choking up too much on the pen. You may encounter inky fingers if you aren’t paying attention. I haven’t found this to be much of an issue, as it’s comfortable to grip the pen slightly above where the feel and grip meet.

Writing Performance: 

Tactile Turn Gist Lifestyle-18
The Gist pens feature a #6 Bock nib in either steel, titanium, or gold. I’ve been using the Ti version for the better part of the month, and I was surprised at how smooth it wrote. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the titanium nibs, but the extra fine one I have is smooth, has good flow, and the springy nature of titanium adds a nice amount of cushion to the writing. Once the entire batch of pens showed up, I swapped out the EF for a B just to see how it is. The B isn’t as great as the EF was, I experienced a few hard starts, but once you’re writing, it’s great. I couldn’t resist trying out the steel and gold nibs, both were smooth. The gold provided a little bit of additional cushion and had slightly better flow than the steel. These pens fill with an international size converter, the experience was standard, no complaints here.

Tactile Turn Gist Lifestyle-1Pros:

  • Excellent design
  • Solid construction
  • Unique features like ridged grip, acme threads
  • Cap posts for a comfy, balanced experience


  • Body is a bit short if you don’t post
  • Metal versions require some extra force to post cap


Tactile Turn Gist Fountain Pen Review Kickstarter-3I’ve been looking forward to this pen for a long time, and I can honestly say it delivers. I’ve backed the project for a polycarbonate w/  brass grip/finial for myself. The pen is comfortable, well-balanced, robust, and looks great. There’s not much else to say other than it feels both fresh and familiar at the same time. I can see myself adding more of these to my collection as time goes on, there are so many great options and after handling each and every one, it’s honestly hard to pick. The Gist starts at a reasonable $59 and can be customized all the way up to $228 (full Ti pen w. 14k gold nib), so there really is something for everyone.

Head on over to the Tactile Turn Kickstarter to secure one for yourself!


Capped, Left to Right: Pilot Vanishing Point, TWSBI 580AL, Tactile Turn Gist, Lamy 2000, Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black, Tactile Turn Shaker
Uncapped, Left to Right: Pilot Vanishing Point, TWSBI 580AL, Tactile Turn Gist, Lamy 2000, Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black, Tactile Turn Shaker
Posted, Left to Right: Pilot Vanishing Point, TWSBI 580AL, Tactile Turn Gist, Lamy 2000, Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black, Tactile Turn Shaker
Most similar: Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black, Tactile Turn Gist, Lamy 2000
Most similar: Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black, Tactile Turn Gist, Lamy 2000


Disclaimer: Did you not read the first paragraph? Because you should totally read the first paragraph…

Topo Designs Daypack Review

Topo Designs Daypack Review

Topo Designs Day Pack Review-12


  • Dimensions: 12″w x 19″h x 6″d
  • Volume: 1368 cu. in./22.4 L
  • Materials: 1000d CORDURA® fabric outer with coated pack cloth liner.
  • Features: Natural leather lash tab, heavy-duty hardware, comfortable contoured padded shoulder straps, zippered exterior pocket, inner organizer pocket and laptop sleeve.
  • Origin: Made in USA
  • Price: $149

Topo Designs Day Pack Review-5Intro:

The Topo Daypack is a mid-sized bag meant to get you through a full day of activity. Inspired by vintage outdoor goods, this bag blends retro looks with modern construction and functionality. I use a Topo Mountain Briefcase as my EDC bag, and the two can interchange quite well. This backpack features a padded laptop sleeve, a fully lined interior, and super heavy-duty zippers throughout. The folks over at Topo were kind enough to send this pack over for review, so thanks! Note: I’ve added a few patches to the bag, so don’t expect yours to come with these! Read on to see how the pack worked out…

Topo Designs Day Pack Review-11Design, Fit, Finish:

The Topo Daypack is a fairly plain-looking bag. The pack has a minimal aesthetic with only a few things decorating the outside of the bag, which I happen to like. There aren’t too many zippers, pockets, or gimmicky features that may get in the way more than they are used. The bag features a large main compartment with a padded laptop sleeve, a zippered pouch, a few pen slots, and two other sleeves for various items. The main compartment is large enough to accommodate a 15″ laptop with a bit of room to spare. I do have a gripe with the laptop sleeve, and that’s in the padding. There’s padding on the back and front of the pouch, but not on the bottom. It’s happened to me multiple times – I go to put my laptop away a bit too gingerly, slide it into the pouch and SMACK…it hits the surface I have the pack on with no padding. I would really like to see further iterations of this bag with some padding on the bottom. I’m generally careful with my stuff, but I think I expect there to be some sort of padding at the bottom and forget every time. Topo Designs Day Pack Review-7

The bag is made from 1000D Cordura fabric, and I have no reason to believe that the fabric will fail. It’s tough, yet has some give to it. The bag doesn’t feel stiff and it didn’t need any breaking in like my Maxpedition Pygmy Falcon II. I’m sure there’s a bit of built-in water resistance, I wouldn’t be too worried about getting caught in the rain. The stitching on the bag is decent enough, nothing is frayed, all the seams are clean, and it doesn’t look lopsided or off in any way. It’s also made in the USA (Colorado, specifically) which is a nice departure from most outdoor gear.


The Daypack fits my 5’11”, average frame quite well. It’s large enough for ample storage, yet not so big and bulky that it gets in the way. It’s a great sized pack, and a good way to lug around my daily gear. The straps are comfortably padded, and adjustable for a good fit. The straps feature bartacked nylon reinforcement straps that run the length of the strap.

There two d-rings for gear attachment on each shoulder as well. The bag does not include a sternum strap, but Topo does offer one. I’ve found that the bag is comfortable to wear fully loaded, and that the straps do a great job of supporting the weight of the pack. I went away for a long weekend and used this as my only “luggage”. It held all my stuff, was easy to carry, and never got in the way. Topo Designs Day Pack Review-4


While I did give the Daypack a go as my everyday bag, I found the Mountain Briefcase to be more suited to my job and daily requirements. Both bags carry a laptop and have similar organization, but the it all came down to the fact that I feel more comfortable carrying a brief into my office rather than a backpack. I do like the Daypack as a fill in for my camera bag. After some looking at measurements, I found THIS PADDED CAMERA CASE on Amazon that perfectly fit inside the Daypack. This allows me to carry a laptop, camera body w/ attached lens, and two extra lenses with ease and security. The camera case only takes up about a third of the bag, so there’s a ton of room for chargers, flashes, or whatever else I want to bring with me. I love using a bag that isn’t meant for cameras, as they don’t scream “HEY THERE’S A TON OF EXPENSIVE GEAR IN HERE, STEAL ME!”. Topo Designs Day Pack Review-8

Also worth noting are the super awesome, heavy-duty, buttery smooth zippers. These things feel like they should be on a bag many times larger than the Daypack. They’re a bit oversized for the bag, but damn they feel great. This is one of those things that may not sound like a big deal, but any time you want to take something out of the bag, you have to go through one of the two zippers. Topo could have went with a smaller zipper, but they just don’t feel the same way that these do. There are also two side pockets, but they’re a bit tight. It’s hard to get things in and out of them when the bag is full. The leather lash tab and red nylon strap have come in handy a few times for a tripod or light stand. I wish there was a bit more organization inside the front pocket, it’s just a large pouch and there isn’t anything to keep small items from banging around inside. I’ve found that the GridIt makes a great organization solution, and is easily swapped from bag to bag.

Topo Designs Day Pack Review-9

Pros & Cons:


  • Great styling
  • Slim, yet enough room
  • Solid construction
  • Hi-vis yellow interior makes it easy to find stuff
  • Comfortable to wear


  • Bottom of laptop compartment isn’t padded
  • Stitching could be more robust
  • Lacks front pocket organization

Topo Designs Day Pack Review-16Conclusion:

The Topo Designs Daypack definitely gets the job done. I’ve found that it’s ideal for hauling camera gear, especially with the insert I found on Amazon. The vintage-inspired design and simple looks result in a bag that isn’t too loud or tactical for everyday wear. I love the styling, and it’s quite comfortable, even when fully loaded. I absolutely love my Mountain Briefcaseand this bag is a close second. I’d like to see a bit more padding in the bottom of the bag and maybe some beefier stitching. Overall, the bag is stylish, comfortable, and the perfect size for my needs. Thanks again to Topo for sending the bag over for review, it’s been great!

If you’d like to see other colors, more bags, and to pick up a Daypack of your own, head over to Topo Designs. 

Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case Review

Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case

Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case Review Jetpens-2Specs: 

Weight 5.0 ounces
Manufacturer Lihit Lab
Exterior Color Black
Features Book
Interior Color Brown
Material Polyester
Number of Compartments 8
Pen Capacity 23
Size – Depth 4.5 cm / 1.8 inches
Size – Length 20 cm / 7.9 inches
Size – Width 12.5 cm / 4.9 inches

$14.50 from JetPens

Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case Review Jetpens-7Notes:
The Lihit Lab Teffa pen case is a great option for those looking for a grab-and-go solution to carrying all of their stationery essentials. The case is small, yet organized and can fit a surprising amount of stuff inside. Everything in the photo above fits into the case without bulging or jamming anything in there. I’m very happy with the amount of stuff that this case carries with ease. The inside dimensions are large enough to accommodate both large and small writing utensils, and plenty of them. Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case Review Jetpens-3 Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case Review Jetpens-4The case has some nice details, like a double zipper and rubber patch. The zippers are smooth and feel like they’ll last a long time, I’m not worried about long term durability issues. There are also two small pockets on the front of the case, the larger one is ideal for business cards. This makes it especially easy to grab one or two without opening up the whole case. Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case Review Jetpens-1 Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case Review Jetpens-5

What makes the Teffa unique is the internal divider. It allows you to separate items if you wish, but also allows for more organization. This case is great, but not without a few downsides. The pen storage section has no protection between pens – I wouldn’t be putting my Nakaya in there. The pens are in contact with each other, so be mindful of what you keep in the case. I’d hate to see a machined pen knock the finish off of a Pelikan or scratch up a Montblanc.

Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case Review Jetpens-6

I like this pen case quite a bit. It’s a great solution for grab-and-go. I find it especially useful when switching between bags. It’s also pretty great for moving from my desk at home to at work, or from my desk to the couch. The Teffa is reasonably priced at just under $15, and the construction is nice for the amount they’re asking. I’d definitely recommend the Teffa for lugging around those pens that you might not mind dinging a bit!

Thanks to JetPens for sending the case over for review!



Disclaimer: This was received as a review unit, free of charge. All opinions are my own.