I always keep a pen on me. Actually, I usually have two or more with me. I hate asking to borrow another person’s pen. It’s kind of a pet peeve of mine when someone asks for mine.
I also prefer writing than trying to type notes into my phone. I find that it’s faster and easier to just grab the pen and jot a note down.
Here’s a list of the top 10 Everyday Carry pocket sized pens that I’ve personally used, and how I feel about them.
1. Pokka Pen
This pen has received a lot of press over the past couple years, and for good reason. The Pokka Pen is one of the best EDC pens due to it’s compact size and economical price. The Pokka Pen fits in your fifth jeans pocket, purse or bag and isn’t something you’re going to cry about if it does happen to get lost or swiped by a co-worker. Pokka pens are refillable, but there’s also a number of other uses for these used up pens.
I’ve carried a bunch of these over the past two years and I have to say, they last just as long as your BIC ball points or Fisher Space Pens. I think I’ve only legitimately went through two pens until the ink ran dry. One pen a year ain’t bad!
2. Fisher “Trekker” Space Pen
The Trekker Fisher Space Pen is also another favorite of mine. It reliably writes in every situation I’ve been in, and like the Pokka Pen, it fits in my 5th jeans pocket. The pen is refillable using standard or Fisher pressurized cartridges and it’s really stood up well to the test of time and abuse!
3. Fisher “Bullet” Space Pen
Probably the most popular among the EDC community as far as the Space Pen line goes, the Bullet pen feels great and looks even better. I had one of these clipped to my backpack and used it frequently until the Pokka Pen (all-weather) came along. As a side note, I also got the matching 2 lumen Fisher space pen flashlight, but it really sucks as a flashlight.
4. True Utility Telescoping Mini Pen
This pen is nearly useless. I can’t really grip it, and it feels like I’m just holding the ink cartridge in my hand as opposed to a real pen. I hate this design because when I carried it on my key chain, the pen fell off and was lost in two days. In other words, the cap doesn’t grip the pen well enough to hold the pen in place when it’s jingling around on my belt. I really don’t recommend this unless you’re putting it in a Altoids tin EDC.
5. Zebra Telescopic Pens
I don’t like zebra ink cartridges. Never have. While I have carried the telescopic pen consistently in my Maxpedition EDC pouch, it has a Fisher pressurized cartridge rather than the original Zebra. It fits well in the pocket, but I do notice that with the slide action on this pen, the ink tip often accidentally comes out a little. I’ve put ballpoint ink stains in my white shirts with this pen and retired it to the EDC pouch where I didn’t care about ink dots.
6. Pilot G2 Mini, Pocket Size
I like using gel pens too. The Pilot G2 Mini will find itself in my pocket fairly often (not as much as the Pokka though). The only real complaint about the G2 Pocket pens are that the shirt clips are too long and end up messing with my grip on the pen a lot.
7. Papermate InkJoy Minis
These cheap pens come in a variety of colors. I don’t normally carry any of them in my pocket, but the Red, Green, Blue, Purple and Black pens are in a small pouch in my backpack for those times I need to use multiple colors in my notes.
8. Zebra F-301 Compact Ballpoint Pen
While the same idea as the Pokka pen with the barrel that snaps all the way into the cap, the Zebra F-301 Compact pen is a decent pen, but again, you know how much I hate the Zebra cartridges by now, so I bet you can guess what cartridge is in this pen by now. LOL
9. Zebra X-701 Ballpoint Retractable Pen
I want to say this was Zebra’s attempt at a “tactical” EDC Pen, but I’m not really sure. It has a stainless steel housing and retractable Ballpoint Tip. Although I could carry this pen daily, I don’t because I have so many other options, and personal preferences towards those instead. Oh, and yes, I replaced the ink cartridge.
10. Rotring 600/800/Rapid Pro All Steel Ballpoint
I decided to include a couple full size ballpoint pens in this list due to their rugged, unbreakable nature. The two pens I’m recommending feature all metal barrels, yet are not tactical pens so they’re sure to get through airport security without TSA fussing about them.
The Rotring 600 ballpoint is a pen I’ve had for many years. With very distinct looks and the ability to stand up to the rigors of daily pocket carry all through my high school and college careers, this pen takes first place in my book for full size pens. I’ve had many different cartridges in this pen, but like the others here it now runs a Fisher pressurized cartridge.
NOTE: The Rotring 600 has been discontinued for quite a while, but you may still be able to find them on Amazon or E-Bay. The best alternatives for this pen are the Rotring 800 and the Rapid Pro within Rotring’s line of pens.
11. Zebra F-701 All Steel Ballpoint
As one of the most easily accessible full size all metal EDC pens, the Zebra F-701 may already be in your bag or backpack. This pen has been with me for many years too, and I bored out the tapered housing so that I could ditch the crappy Zebra ink cartridge and accept the slightly larger Fisher pressurized cartridge.
12. The Parker Jotter
One of the first EDC pens I had was the Parker Jotter. My grandpa had a few, then gave them to my dad, who then gave them to me. Although there is no monitary value to any of these Jotters, I don’t carry these. They stay in the gun safe for sentimental reasons. One of them still has the original ink cartridge as well. The only times I used the Jotter was for special documents. It came out to sign for my first car, my Marriage license and for my house and LLC documents.
I do have a newer Jotter that I’ve used a few times as an EDC pen. The one I got has not real grip and my fingers tend to slide down the barrel when writing. Yes, I could have gotten a different style, but I wanted one that was as close to my Grandpa’s as possible.
What Do I currently Carry?
In conclusion, the right pocket pen for you is up to you, so I don’t really make any recommendation other than to replace any Zebra cartridge with a Fisher Space Pen pressurized cartridge.
Currently I am carrying the following pens:
- Pokka Pens (All-Weather and Standard) in my pocket, travel kit, Altoids EDC and car glove box
- Rotring 600 in my backpack
- Fisher “Trekker” as an alternate pen for my pocket carry when the mood strikes
- Zebra F-701 in my carry-on travel backpack. I don’t take the Rotring 600 on flights. Don’t want to lose it while traveling.