Galen Leather sent across some of their new products to the Desk crew recently, and their Zippered Pen Pouch (the 4-slot variation) ended up in my mailbox- and eventually on my desk.
I hadn’t changed up the stationery I was carrying and using since March, and as soon as I opened the 4-slot pen pouch I knew it was time to switch things around and get it into the rotation. In a world where pen-show attendance was a regular activity, the Galen Zippered 40 Slots Pen Case was my constant companion. I don’t typically take 40 pens with me to the hospital day-to-day (but I wouldn’t put it past me!)- so I was excited to get a chance to carry a smaller Galen case on a more regular basis.
As with all Galen products, the case comes packaged in a very nice, substantial brown cardboard box. I tend to be pretty brutal in terms of getting rid of packaging, but this box went immediately onto my bookcase and is currently housing an entire collection of ink cartridges. The packaging also makes Galen products particularly well-suited for gift giving.
The case itself is a zippered leather pouch that contains a leather insert with four elastic pen loops. The insert is the exact same insert that comes inside their notebook cases like their A5 zippered folio.
Unlike some of the other cases- there is no built-in structure to the pouch- without the insert the leather lays flat. It doesn’t offer as much protection as the other cases, but it’s also significantly more portable. I’ve been carrying several of my favorite pens around in it for weeks- throwing the case into my large work bag with my laptop, notebook, and other work items without any issues. I wouldn’t recommend shoving this case into the bottom of a suitcase carrying an entire library of heavy books, but in general I’ve found the leather plenty of protection for the day-to-day carry of pens.
The leather that Galen products are made from feels just as good, if not better, in-person than it looks in photos online. In particular, I love their Crazy Horse series, which has a depth of color that goes beyond most other leather products I have seen. It has a suede feel and ages more quickly than normal leather. The first time you carry Crazy Horse leather, it’s already gaining character. It’s meant to get a little scuffed and scratched, but the great thing about this type of leather is that (in my opinion) those “flaws” make the product look even better over time.
Galan products are hand-stitched with a wax thread, and the photos speak for themselves.
One of the tiny details that make a huge difference in cases of any kind is the zipper. No matter how high quality the materials are, a bad zipper will shorten the life of a case and make it useless faster than any other aspect. Thankfully, Galen uses YKK zippers, which as I understand them are the industry standard for quality. With all my showing off of pens and putting them back with my 40-pen case at shows, I’ve never had an issue with the zipper. I expect nothing less of this smaller case.
One of my favorite aspects of Galen pen cases is the elastic pen loop. Somehow, the loops seem to perfectly fit anything and everything from a King of Pen to a Sailor Pro Gear Slim Mini. Some of the thinnest pens on the market are the only pens that don’t work well with these loops, as Ana discussed in a previous Galen review. I’m never concerned that the elastic will damage or scratch my pens, and I’m confident they will stay put. All of those same characteristics apply to this new 4-slot pen pouch.
What makes this particular case unique is that the insert can be completely removed. The leather pouch can be used separately if desired (and I have to say it would make a pretty good looking wallet/ wristlet). Even with the pen insert left inside the case, there is still some extra room for other items. How much extra room you ask? Well, I’ve been carrying it in several different configurations since it entered my daily carry- and examples might be the best way to show what can reasonably be carried inside the case.
Four Variations of EDC
Carry 1: All the Pens
On the other side of the pen insert, you can fit an entire row of other pens. You could squeeze 10 or more small plastic gel pens into the pouch with your fountain pens, but I’ve found 4-5 gel pens to be the sweet spot for not adding too much bulk to the case. If your job requires permanent black pens like mine, this type of carry is particularly practical.
Carry 2: Mini Sketch Kit
One of my favorite uses of the extra space is a combination of graphite and colored pencils along with a small sharpener and eraser. This allows me to carry my primary writing and sketching items in a single portable pouch. If i was on the move more these days, this may be the primary way I carry this pouch around.
Carry 3: Ready to Take Notes
The pouch seems tailor made for the carry of four pens and a couple pocket notebooks. If I was a little more reasonable about the amount of stationery I haul to work, this would honestly be the perfect every day companion. The nice thing about choosing notebooks to accompany the pens is that they maintain the flat back of the case. This comes in handy when you want to use the case on your desk as I describe below.
Carry 4: Exclusively Fountain
Depending on what I’m carrying with me, I’ve been alternating through several of these different options, but when I head to the hospital on a day-to-day basis I tend to carry it as it was originally intended- with just four fountain pens.
What I have come to love about this case is how easy it is to remove the insert from the pouch, place it on top of the pouch, and leave it on my desk all day- keeping my pens accessible, giving them just enough protection from the other items around them, and keeping them in place without rolling away. The case has a small enough profile to keep out on my desk all day without taking up too much space. If I’m headed to a meeting down the hall, I grab a pen from the insert and my desk pad or traveler’s notebook. When I get back, I just slip the pen back in the loop.
For me, it’s become an on-desk case and a daily carry pouch. A price of $37 is nothing to sneeze at, but comparing it to other non-leather cases on the market and considering it’s dual utility- that price point starts to look like a steal.
- Pen Case: Galen Leather Slip-N-Zip 4 Slots Zippered Pen Pouch in Crazy Horse Brown($37.00)