Today on The London Parchment I’m publishing part 2 of a collaborated review. This is part 2, and you can find part 1 on The Finer Point where Jenny has compiled her thoughts on the Hightide Pen Roll using it intermittently for a few months. So if you haven’t read Part 1 yet, stop here! Go back and have a read!
I’ve been using the Hightide pen roll continuously since December 2015 and it’s been one of my stationery constants of 2016. When I thought of a pen roll I imagined something akin to a make-up brush roll where each item has its own holder and can be laid flat to choose which tool you want. Interestingly, the Baum.kuchen pen roll that Jenny mentioned in Part 1 is in this style. The Hightide is more of a pouch that can be rolled up.
I’m currently using the pen roll to carry a single of everything (pencil, fountain pen, fineliner, eraser, ruler and coloured pen) as well as a Field Notes pocket notebook. The Field Notes fits in nicely and I can roll it up like normal which is good to stop it getting scuffed inside my bag. I’ve just discovered how useful it is to tuck a pocket notebook inside, particularly on days when I don’t need to take a stuffed fauxdori with me.
What attracted me to it?
Simplicity. There is something old fashioned about the idea of rolling up your pens in cloth. The leather tie is soft and I like the way it gets tucked underneath itself.
Colour. There are a range of colours but anything that comes in bright yellow has got my vote.
Flexibility to carry as much or as little as you like. It can hold three pens or thirty.
Geographer’s vibe. I will admit this is a niche vibe. There’s something about this pen roll that resonated with using it wherever whether you’re indoors, outdoors, it dries quickly and is durable. A better word for it might be practical!
Starting with the obvious, in 6 months of using this continuously it’s never unravelled in my bag. I am no knot expert but a quick roll and tuck is all you need to keep this together.
Although this is a basic material, I think there is a slight softening of the canvas’s texture over time. When I first started using it I remember there being a slight roughness to the canvas which has faded into the fabric over months of handling. You know that feeling of bedsheets straight from the packet before you wash them? And then how the roughness goes away after washing and using the sheets? It’s that feeling!
Really lightweight. The great thing about it is that you aren’t really restricted as to how much or little you choose to bring. Before I used this I had a very minimalist carry. Jenny had some good examples of other pencilcases to compare this pen roll to, whereas I’ve barely had any before this. My storage system used to be entirely home-based with a small selection out with me in my bag each day or attached to pen clips. Now I tend to find that I start the week or month being super thoughtful about what I’m taking with me and that over a week or so this gradually grows and grows. You can pack a lot into this roll.
As Jenny mentioned, you can’t fit a new pencil in and unsurprisingly this problem doesn’t go away after 6 months of use! I’ve managed to do a semi-fitting job where I lay it diagonally on top of other stationery and still managed to roll it up but it’s not ideal.
Over six months it’s got a little grubby and scuffed. Nothing major and about what you would expect for a brightly coloured fabric item. The rough side of the leather tie seems to get more weathered than the soft side.
Jenny is right in that it doesn’t provide your tools inside with a great deal of protection and I’ve definitely been careful about carrying some of my more valuable tools with me. Particularly if you have a minimalist carry, throwing it in your bag with heavy things on top or in between things where the pen roll might bend and therefore bend or snap what’s inside.
Final thoughts from me
Interestingly I think I receive compliments on this product more than anything else I carry. I think it’s because it’s bright and visible and appeals to the stationery aficionado as much as the next person.
Whether you carry a few items or a whole suite of stationery, I don’t think you sacrifice much of the look and feel. The small slogan is cleverly placed on the end of the roll so that it’s always visible. It’s great that things aren’t rattling away inside if you decide on a minimalist carry day and that poppers or zips aren’t straining on a full carry day.
I can’t really compliment this pen roll enough. I really like how simple and effective it is and it’s proving to be pretty indestructible. It’s a bit of character on your desk and does exactly what it says on the tin.
Notes on a collaborated review
Jenny and I thought we would collaborate on this review because we both had the product, were at varying stages with using it, and given that there is such a community out there of stationery addicts and reviewers, there seemed to be sense in combining thoughts. All feedback very welcome.