Pen Review: Silo Ballpoint Pen by Caravan Designs

By Jessica Coles

A while back, Ana asked me if I would like to review something a bit different than my usual; it was the Silo ballpoint pen from Caravan Designs ($25.00 for the pen, sleeve, and refill).  I was excited to try a new kind of pen – Every Day Carry (EDC) items are not usually my area.  Why not?  Because women don’t get pockets.

When I opened the package, I was quite impressed by the look of the Silo pen; the pen sleeve is a thick leather in rich brown, exactly long enough for the pen.  The pen is an interesting item in the looks department as well; a slender cylinder of stainless steel with only a bare hint of where the cap and body meet. The design is a minimalistic look almost to an extreme; the result is a very eye-catching pen.


Of course, I had to take the entire pen apart before anything else.  I was impressed to find that it consists only of four components: the barrel, the section, the cap, and the refill.  No O-rings, no separate grip piece, no adapters.  The stainless steel has a brushed finish – I think it will take scuffs and scrapes beautifully without detracting from the overall look.

A quick rundown of the pen dimensions and some common pen comparisons:

Weight: 32 gms

Length: 150 mm

Diameter: 5 mm

The Silo ballpoint arrived with a lovely gel refill that looks to be a 0.5 width.  The Caravan Designs website claims that the Silo pen is “compatible with various ballpoint and gel style refillable ink cartridges” and I believe that means refills that match the Pilot G2 dimensions (see Ana’s world-famous refill guide if you want an easy reference for other refills that will fit).

The refill had no issues with a loose fit; there was no rattling or movement at all.

I did notice that it took several turns to open the pen – just over 5 turns which seemed too much in my experience.  The Silo pen can’t be posted, but holding the cap didn’t bother me at all since it was just the right size to act as a fidget piece.

Since there is no grip section with the Silo pen, holding the pen to write is either on the section very near the ballpoint tip or a bit further up on the barrel of the pen.  I had no issue with this and the brushed finish kept it from ever feeling slippery.  If you find metal grips to be slippery in your own writing, take that into consideration.


Another point to consider is the lack of a clip on this pen.  This definitely adds to the overall aesthetic of the pen, however, it introduces the danger of rolling away on a flat surface (especially with the same diameter along the length of the pen).  Pen loops may not work well for the same reason.  However, the included sleeve solves that problem for me.

The weight of the pen is quite nice in my opinion, but the weight distribution is a bit heavy in the back depending on how you hold your pen.  I found that it was perfectly balanced for my grip, but when I asked other people for opinions about the pen, a few individuals thought there was a bit too much weight towards the back.

If you hold your pen very near the writing tip, this might be an issue for you.

Overall, I found this pen to be quite fun to use especially because I like to fidget with pens; the price is a great one for a stainless steel pen that takes many other refills and includes a leather sleeve. I love the fact that I can use colorful refills (especially Pilot G2’s), that I can take it fully apart, and I love the weight.  The only point that was a downside for me? The time it takes to screw the cap off and on each time.  But I can get over that, especially since this pen is a great conversation starter!

Now to get some pockets…

DISCLAIMER: The pen included in this review was provided to us free of charge by Caravan Designs for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Written by

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Based on this review and the vendor’s comment “Compatible with various ballpoint and gel style refillable ink cartridges”, I went ahead and purchased one of these pens. Since then, I have reached out to the vendor to see what refills the Silo is compatible with, since none of the ones I tried fit… They responded with:

    The main refill that fits in the Silver Silo ballpoint pen is the one listed on our website. This is the same refill cartridge that is included with the pen. Unfortunately, the current silver models require some modification to the pilot G2 refills to fit in the pen. I have heard from customers that they are able to nudge a portion of the shoulder off of the Pilot G2 refills so that they are compatible, but I have not had success via this method. We are currently developing another edition of the Silo pen that will fit more types of refills including the Pilot G2 refills, Fischer Space Pen and Schmidt refills. Additionally, we are working on developing an additional insert that will allow for the Silo pen to be compatible with other smaller refills such as Space Pen and other similar style refills.

    Unfortunately, it of very limited value to me until it accepts readily available refills.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.