Doughnut Macaroon Backpack Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

Be still my bag-loving heart, but I do love a good backpack. And the Doughnut Macaroon is a good backpack!

It's made from Korean twill fabric--nicely sturdy with a smooth texture. I like the feel of it more than Cordura, and it has stood up well to some serious abuse. It stayed water resistant when I carried it in a light rain, with the water beading on the surface. Nothing inside got wet at all, and the water was easy to wipe away. The seams appear very durable, and the brass buckles and leather straps give it a practical and attractive ruggedness. All the fun colors make me want more than one backpack, and I've got my fingers crossed that JetPens will consider carrying some of their other products (don't look at the Doughnut website unless your willpower is strong).

Both the padded shoulder straps and the front pocket bands are adjustable. The bands have functional buckles, but the pocket actually operates with two snap closures located at the top of the straps. Please don't ask me how many times I unbuckled the pocket to open it before I discovered the snaps. But I was delighted to find them, because nobody has time for actual buckles. There is also a snap-closure loop around the top handles, so they can be joined to make a nice top-carry handle. The shoulder straps stay comfortable even when the bag is stuffed to capacity with books.

The front pouch is roomy. It fits plenty of fast-access essentials, though it is just one compartment--so I have lost some time fishing for items in there. The side pockets are designed to fit narrow items like umbrellas, cords, or a small water bottle (wider bottles will likely not fit).

The main compartment is accessed by unzipping the front panel of the backpack. The flap that covers the zipper is a little obstructive. It's stiff and very deep, so folding it back to access the zipper is an extra step to opening, and almost requires both hands. The zipper itself is sturdy and the leather pull tabs are really nice.

Inside the main compartment is a padded laptop/tablet sleeve that will fit an item up to 13". Along the front panel of the pack are smaller pockets and pouches, some with zipper closures, and one with Velcro. Because this front panel folds down when the pack is fully opened, you have to be a bit careful that items don't fall out of these pockets, especially as the weight of the items will pull the top of the panel down. I started leaving one side of the panel zipped to keep this from happening. I think these pockets could have been better placed to avoid spillage. I think they'd have been particularly useful if placed in a separate zipper pocket on the front of the bag, so they could be accessed quickly without diving into the main compartment. That intermediate pocket is, I think, the main thing that this bag is missing.

The main compartment is quite large. I'm currently using the backpack as a diaper bag/kid kit, and I can fit everything I and my toddler need for a day out--and a spare of everything. And on top of all the baby gear, I can still fit my big planner in its over-stuffed case, my Traveler's Notebook, a pack of pens, and my knitting.

The pack is spacious enough to serve as an overnight bag or travel carry-on, and would make an excellent commuter bag. It's great for getting items from point A to point B. I don't think it's ideal for an everyday bag--it needs that additional medium front pocket and better access to smaller items for that. But it's definitely the bag I'll grab for travel, or trips to the library, zoo, or anywhere I know I'm going to need everything (and a spare).

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Posted on March 30, 2017 and filed under Doughnut, Backpack, Bag Review.

Zebra Surari Airfit Grip 0.5 mm Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

It's been a while since I've tried out a new hybrid ballpoint pen, as I've been really satisfied by what Uniball and Pilot offer in their (respective) Jetstream and Acroball lines. That being said, it's great to see other options out there to keep the competition healthy and in motion.

My most recent exposure to the hybrid ballpoint genre comes from Zebra. The Zebra Surari Airfit Grip ballpoint pen is a comfortable, colorful ballpoint pen that uses Zebra's own Surari emulsion ink refills. Unsurprisingly, the Surari ink puts down a smooth, crisp, and dark line without any problems. It's a great pen, but it does have a drawback or two.

First, though, let's look at what sets this pen apart from the other Zebra Surari pens: the Airfit Grip. This pen features a soft, squishy grip section that makes it more comfortable to write with. I've never been a huge fan of squishy grip sections, so I can't say I enjoy this grip. That being said, it's not so soft that it makes holding the pen steady a chore. It's stable enough to make holding the pen an easy enough task. I can't say with any confidence that the soft grip reduces fatigue, but it's a nice feature. If, like me, you prefer a stiffer grip, check out the regular Zebra Surari pens. The color I have is blue-green, and I think it looks great. Although, you have six other colors to choose from.

Writing with this pen is mostly a pleasure. The lines are crisp and dark, and the ink has no problem keeping up with my fast scribbles. The only problem I've had so far is the tendency for the tip to become scratchy if I hold the pen at too much of an angle. When I write, I tend to hold the pen at a 30-40 degree angle. In my (very) informal testing, the Zebra performs flawlessly between 90 and 50 degrees (where 90 degrees is perpendicular to the paper). This is a problem for me since it means I have to adjust my writing style. The scratching doesn't affect the writing performance of the pen, but it does annoy me. Because of this, I'll definitely reach for a Jetstream or Acroball if they're available.

Another thing to consider with the Zebra line is ink color options. From what I can tell, you can only choose from the standard black, blue, and red. This isn't a bad thing, but when you consider that Uniball and Pilot both offer a few more colors (around seven each), a definite gap starts to emerge. The price point between all three brands is negligible, so it really comes down to personal taste and preference. Finally, when you consider that Pilot and Uniball both offer several multi-pen configurations while Zebra offers none, the gap widens.

For me, the Zebra doesn't really fit in my writing arsenal due to the way I hold my pen when writing. The lack of color options also hurts it when compared directly. The Uniball and Pilot lines make more sense right now, but I'm excited to see how Zebra expands this line in the future.

The Zebra Surari Airfit Grip is a great pen despite my complaints. If you like the design or colors that they offer, do yourself a favor and pick one up. The Airfit Grip line only comes with a 0.5mm refill, but you can purchase 0.5mm, 0.7mm, and 1.0mm sizes separately in black, blue, and red.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, which I am very grateful for.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Posted on March 29, 2017 and filed under Zebra, Surari, Airfit.

The 2017 Atlanta Pen Show Is Almost Here! (Sponsor)

The Atlanta Pen Show is one of the main events on the annual pen show calendar, and the 2017 edition is right around the corner.

From April 21st through the 23rd, the ballrooms at the Wyndam Atlanta Galleria will be packed with modern and vintage pens, and more ink than you could ever dream of. There will be several pen repair tables and nib grinders as well for all of your fine-tuning needs.

For weekend pass holders there is a cookout on Friday night, and Saturday night brings about the live Pen Addict Podcast and afterparty. You can purchase your weekend pass in advance to lock in all of the fun.

The Atlanta Pen Show is a highlight event for many, and is well worth the trip. My thanks to the Atlanta Pen Show for sponsoring The Pen Addict this week.

Posted on March 27, 2017 and filed under Featured Sponsor.