The day you buy your first nice pen is the day you start to think, “how can I stop myself from ruining this.” I’m notorious for buying something nice — like a pair of headphones or sunglasses — and then either destroying or losing them immediately. (I have lost too many sets of headphones on planes over the years, and I’m pretty sure I left my Ray-Bans on top of a mountain in Vietnam a few years back. But when I bought my first Lamy 2000, I decided that I would break this trend and take care of something that I liked and enjoyed for a change. I needed storage; enter Galen Leather.
A family-run business based in Istanbul, Turkey, Galen Leather makes handcrafted leather goods, focusing on making accessories for journalers, travelers, stationary fanatics, and those with a penchant for the written word and its associated ephemera. They also have what I consider the tightest add-in game in the industry — who needs a lollipop packed with your order when Galen Leather gives you gifts of tea, Turkish Coffee, and their signature Evil Eye charm with every package.
This particular case fits five pens comfortably and safely as well as a pocket notebook (A6 or smaller, but don’t get anything too thick or you’ll find the fit gets a little tight). The interior is soft and keeps the pens secure with elastic straps. It’s just big enough to carry a few days worth of pens, but also small enough that I’ve gotten away with tucking my ID and some cash into it along with my notebook and pens and then just slipping the whole thing into my coat pocket. Rigid material between the leather and the softer interior lining also gives the case some rigidity and durability — this holds its shape nicely and gives me an increased sense of security that it is doing its job protecting my everyday carries.
I’ve spent too many years lugging bulky cases and bags around. Rolling carts stacked with Pelican cases full of lighting equipment, cameras, and computers around daily has left me with an unending desire to travel light and simplify things. I’ve downsized my bag to a small shoulder satchel that fits my phone, keys, passport, a few notebooks, eyeglasses, this pen case, and MAYBE an iPad (depending on the day) into it comfortably. I’m loath to ever add more weight to what I already consider a pretty light travel kit — so this five pen case is perfect for me. Galen Leather also offers configurations that hold three, ten, twenty, and even forty pens, but this five pen version is my goldilocks case; not too many, nor too few.
The only real issue I’ve run into using this case is learning to be mindful of putting in/taking out pens; the metal zipper is undoubtedly capable of scratching resin/plastic if you’re not careful. Thankfully the zipper is attached to a more flexible fabric, so flipping it down and out of the way quickly becomes second nature — but I suggest you practice this a few times, or you may learn that you need to do it the hard way.
Galen Leather has some great color options — but the one that immediately caught my attention is Crazy Horse Forest Green. Their Crazy Horse options (which also include brown, blue, and grey versions) use leather with a softer, more suede-like feel that quickly accumulates distress marks. If you like the look of old worn leather with some character and think that scratches, mottling, and cracking make something look even better (like I do), then these are the colors you should consider ordering. In addition to this case, I also have pen sleeves and a notebook cover in this colorway, and I couldn’t be happier with them. I think that a lot of the beauty of leather comes from seeing it soften and age, accumulating a story of sorts to go along with how you’ve used it and broken it in over the y ears. Keeping leather healthy and supple with occasional conditioning is one thing. Still, I think that people who fight tooth and nail to keep leather pristine are missing the point of using a natural handmade material like this — it shows wear like a badge of honor.
(The items in this review were purchased by me for my own collection. This post contains no sponsored content, affiliate links, or items provided for review by vendors/manufacturers)