For most of the writing I do, I'm looking for a pen that's comfortable for using while jotting notes in a meeting, recording important events or notes during the day, or scribbling thoughts during a journalling session. Then, there are other times when I'm out and about and just want to have a pen for those "just in case" purposes. Normally, I grab a small pen and throw it in my pocket along with my keys, or clip it to the inside of my pants pocket. Recently, I've been using another pen for that purpose — the PicoPen Ti from TEC Accessories.
The PicoPen Ti is a pen built for a specific purpose, which is attaching it to things that you already carry on a daily basis. So, I guess you could call it an EDC pen. Either way, it's a perfect pen for attaching to your keyring, a zip pull, and countless other objects and bags that accept a small keyring attachment. For me, I've exclusively used it on my keyring, and I've been pretty happy with it.
First, let's talk about what this pen was designed to do. It's small, portable, durable, and lightweight. It's a pen that you use when you have no other pen on hand, and it's meant to be carried without any planning beforehand. The idea is that it always comes with you, whether you mean to bring it along or not. Just like a flashlight on your keychain, it serves a specific purpose. To me, that purpose is to always be with me, staying out of my way until I need it. One job.
The pen is constructed out of titanium, which makes it very durable and lightweight. Like most titanium objects, this will probably accumulate a large number of scratches and imperfections over time. I look forward to the added character.
The pen uses a magnetic cap system, where the cap holds the keychain ring for attaching to other items. You might worry that the pen might accidentally fall out of the cap during a rough ride, but I can assure you that this pen is not going anywhere if you use it as intended (insert some sort of "do not use for climbing" joke here...). Without any weight attached to the pen, it will not uncap by accident. When attached to my keyring, I can pick up the pen, and it stays capped with the weight of my keys on the other end. I don't have a large set of keys (3 door keys, a car key and fob, a flashlight, and small carabiner), but you can use that as a point of reference.
It's the same system as the Ti2 TechLiner except the PicoPen does not post, and the magnet system isn't as flawless as the TechLiner. With the TechLiner, the cap always finds it way onto the pen without much help from me. Meanwhile, the PicoPen requires some stern guidance when placing the cap on the pen properly. That minor complaint aside, I'm very happy that the cap is very secure once it's in place.
For the occasional note while you're out, this pen does a great job. It uses a standard Zebra F refill, which isn't a favorite of mine by any definition, but it works just fine for a standard ballpoint. I wish it could take a Fisher refill or something similar, but it just can't fit anything else. Believe me, I tried every refill I own, and nothing else will fit. This pen is custom made around this specific refill shape. I'm sure you could hack something else to fit, but it would require trimming the refill.
Writing with the PicoPen Ti is utilitarian at best. In a pinch, it works far greater than other "keychain pens" I've tried. Most of the other I've used feel like a nake refill in your hand, which is very hard to control. I was able to write legibly with little changes to my normal handwriting style. All things considered, a great trade-off.
And that brings me to the things that this pen was not designed for. This isn't a pen that you'll want to use for long writing stints. It's just too small and uncomfortable. The refill is mediocre and skippy, and there's no other compatible refills to replace it. For me, these are acceptable trade-offs. Remember, this pen was designed for a specific purpose, and it meets that purpose with flying colors.
If you want the flexibility of other refills, the original PicoPen (shorter than the PicoPen Ti) takes standard D1 refills. I haven't tried one, but I imagine it will be even harder to use since it's about an inch shorter! If you're interested, Brad wrote about this one back in 2009.
Overall, the PicoPen Ti is a fantastic keychain pen that I've enjoyed carrying. It's not a long-form writer, but it's a great option for an "always around" option for those situations where you didn't bring the good stuff.
(TEC Accessories 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!