Blackwing 602 Summit Notebook: A Review

Blackwing 602 Summit Notebook Review

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

The Blackwing 602 Summit Notebook is a 7.5 x 10 inch notebook with 160 pages. The cover is gray with a soft, velvety feel to it and it’s flexible. The only branding is on the back cover where “Blackwing” is inscribed.

Blackwing 602 Summit Notebook
Blackwing 602 Summit Notebook Cover

The inner cover is printed with a place for one’s name, notes, start and completion date, and contact information.

Blackwing 602 Summit Notebook Inside

The first page is a “Notebook Log” with columns for date, content, and page numbers. Unfortunately, the notebook itself is not paginated, so you will have to write the page numbers in yourself.

Blackwing 602 Summit Notebook Log

The book lays flat when open thanks to the sewn binding. There’s a pink ribbon bookmark that complements the gray cover well.

Blackwing 602 Summit Notebook Flat

The ivory paper is 100 GSM with gray lines spaced 6mm apart. There are 36 lines per page.

Blackwing 602 Summit Notebook Lines

Blackwing notebooks are, of course, meant to be used with Blackwing pencils. Unsurprisingly, the paper and pencil combination works perfectly.

Blackwing 602 Summit Notebook Pencil

But, I wanted to test my notebook with fountain pens and other writing instruments, just to see how it held up. The paper is smooth and thick and worked well with all the fountain pens I tried. I noticed a little show through and a tiny bit of bleed through with my wettest inks, but it was so minute, it didn’t show up in photographs.

Blackwing 602 Summit Notebook Fountain Pen

With other writing instruments, the paper works equally well. The only pen that bled through was (as usual) the Sharpie. Highlighter did not bleed through, though I should have waited a bit longer to let the ink from my Pilot G2 dry (the smudging is my fault).

Other Writing Instruments

The Blackwing Summit is a no-frills notebook. It doesn’t have a pen loop or cover pockets or page numbers or any other bells and whistles. That suits me just fine. It feels nice in the hand, the paper is good quality, and the notebook should stand up well to abuse. I like the size because it’s portable yet large enough to write lengthy passages. It’s become my new Pen Addict review rough-draft notebook.

Blackwing 602 Summit Notebook Writing

You can purchase this notebook from Vanness Pens for $21.95. It comes in blank, lined, and dot-grid versions.

(This notebook was purchased at a discount from Vanness Pens.)

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Blackwing 602 Summit Notebook Sample
Posted on April 12, 2019 and filed under Blackwing, Notebook Reviews.

Maruman Sketch Bag Review

Maruman Sketch Bag 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. And check out her first novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, now available where books are sold!)

My recent trip to New Orleans was the first time my husband and I have ever traveled without our kids. To celebrate not having to carry diapers and car seats through airport connections, we decided to pack as lightly as possible. Our five-day trip would include everything from riding pontoon boats through swamps, to 5-star, jacket-required dining. With that kind of wardrobe variety, minimalist packing can be a bit tricky, but we were determined--no checked bag, no suitcase, no wheelie-that-won't wheel--nothing for the overhead bin that just gets checked anyway because (surprise!) your flight is oversold. Just a backpack each. A challenge, yes, but it can totally be done, if you have a good backpack.

Maruman Sketch Bag Front

The Maruman Sketch Bag is a good backpack. It was the perfect travel bag, and it is now my official journey bag. I have four more trips planned over the next three months, and I know I won't need anything but this backpack for all of them.

The first thing I noticed about the bag is that it is extremely light. The fabric is a PU-coated nylon that's so thin it almost feels like tissue paper. The structure of the bag is created with thin, light foam. It feels fragile, but it's not. I did not go easy on this bag--I was actually curious to see if it would tear, so I put it through plenty of abuse, but it doesn't even show a scratch. My return flights from New Orleans were not nearly as minimalistic as my flights there (heh), and I can tell you that you can cram this bag full of cans of chicory coffee and books and drag it out from under airplane seats, and (somehow) it holds up just fine. The only downside to that ultra-light fabric? Sometimes it gets caught in the zipper. It doesn't happen if you're careful, and it's a small price to pay for a bag that's light enough that you can fill it full of books and still lift it.

Maruman Sketch Bag Inside

This backpack has an excellent balance of small and large pockets. There's one main large compartment that's great for clothes (or books). Inside that main compartment is one large pocket and two small mesh pockets. Behind that is another large compartment, this one with some foam padding for a computer. The specs say it will fit a 15" laptop, but you could totally fit a desktop computer in there if you wanted to. It's roomy. Or, you know, more books. On the front of the bag is another large zipper compartment with two small pockets inside and one pen pocket. And on the front of that is another small zipper pouch, great for fast-access items. On each side of the bag is a drawstring pouch, fit for an umbrella and water bottle. And on on the side facing your back is yet another padded, medium zipper pouch, perfect for valuables and small electronics. I did use a Lihit Lab bag-in-bag and a few NockCo cases for some extra small-item organization, but I do that even in my everyday purse.

Maruman Sketch Bag Straps

The straps are well padded with foam and very comfortable. There is a sternum strap with a buckle, as well, to help support the weight of all those books. It can be adjusted by width AND height, for which I am very grateful. I'm quite short, so I often can't use a sternum strap. It was very nice to be able to make use of this one.

The only time I had any difficulty with the bag at all was trying to get it out from under the seat on the smaller plane on the way home. When stuffed totally full, it barely fits under the seat in front of you, and I may have had to remove the floatation cushion on my seat to get it out. This is, of course, a fault of the ridiculously small seating space of the airplane and not a fault of the bag--but a travel issue nonetheless. It's possibly also the fault of whoever decided to buy that many books on vacation, but whatever.

Maruman Sketch Bag Side

I'm very happy to have what I feel is the perfect travel bag. And I'm already planning what to pack for my next trip--to the Chicago Pen Show! I hope to see you there! And speaking of packing books, I'll have copies of my novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, with me to sign and sell at the show. Hit me up if you're interested! And feel free to find out how many will fit in your backpack. If you've got a Maruman Sketch Bag, you could have them all and then some--just remember that your seat cushion can be removed in case of water landing or book overload.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes. This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.)

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, for which I am very grateful.

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Maruman Sketch Bag Bottom
Posted on April 11, 2019 and filed under Maruman, Backpack, Bag Review.

Faber-Castell NEO Slim Fountain Pen Review

Faber-Castell NEO Slim Fountain Pen Review

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

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a sleek all-black ballpoint pen that featured a pretty solid refill — the Faber-Castell NEO Slim ballpoint pen. This week, I'm looking at the sibling pen — the NEO Slim fountain pen with a medium steel nib.

Like the ballpoint sibling, the fountain pen is a sleek and modern fountain pen with an understated design. While the pen is slim, it's still fairly comfortable to write with. If you're a fan of blacked-out accessories, this pen will definitely catch your eye. The matte black body, cap, and section look great together, and then shiny black nib is a great accent to the overall aesthetic. The only branding you'll find on the pen is a small Faber-Castell logo on the cap next to the clip.

Faber-Castell NEO Slim Fountain Pen

Speaking of the clip, it's very similar to the ballpoint version, which isn't a great thing. The same problem ails this pen as well. The clip lacks the strength and teeth to really hold on to anything without the assistance from gravity. If this is in your bag being tossed around, it will likely fall out. It does fine for tucking into a shirt or pants pocket, and even a bag pocket as long as it's staying upright.

When it comes to writing, this pen does a great job. It may be slim, but that doesn't detract from the overall comfort. If you look closely, you'll see that the grip section is incredibly small, which normally translates to a cramped holding position. With the NEO Slim, this isn't true because the grip section is (mostly) the same diameter as the rest of the body. The pen body is long and slender and feels great in the hand. I've some fairly long writing sessions with this pen, and I've never had any cramping or discomfort.

Faber-Castell NEO Slim Fountain Pen Nib

The tiny nib on this pen has been a point of contention for me. On one hand, it looks great and provides an excellent contrast to the matte black finish of the pen body. But on the other hand, it wasn't tuned correctly from the factory. It turned out to be a mild case of baby's bottom, but it still diminished the experience. This is bound to happen here and there with fountain pens, and it's (luckily) fairly easy to fix on your own. Still — at $50, it seems like a quality problem that shouldn't exist.

Faber-Castell NEO Slim

Once I smoothed out the nib on my trusty fingernail buffer, the nib started to sing. The ink flow was more normal and the stuttering and skipping problem was completely gone. I've loved writing with this pen ever since I took a few minutes to smooth the nib. It was a problem that shouldn't have existed in the first place, but it sure feels satisfying to improve something on your own.

The NEO Slim takes international cartridges or any international converter. You can purchase the Faber-Castell converter, but any converter with the same port will work. The pen is also long enough to store an extra cartridge if you're using international short cartridges.

Faber-Castell NEO Slim Comparison

At $50, this isn't an instantly easy recommendation, but it does feel and perform well for the price range. I've really enjoyed using this pen and can think of several people that would appreciate this pen as a gift. The blacked-out aesthetic and slender design make this a desirable pen to carry with you. But, if all black isn't your thing, there are several other color options. The pens range from $40 to $60, and you can choose from black, polished steel, black and rose gold, or matte steel finishes along with a range of EF to B nib sizes.

(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, for which I am very grateful.

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

Faber-Castell NEO Slim Fountain Pen Writing
Posted on April 10, 2019 and filed under Faber-Castell, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.