Inka Pen

Inka Pen

Inka Pen I’ve been writing way too much heavy stuff about focus lately, so it’s time for a quick gear break!

I ordered an Inka Pen from ThinkGeek a few weeks ago, hoping to use it as a replacement for the flat pens I’ve been using. While I like the flat pens, they are not quite as durable in the pocket, and despite their relative thinness they tend to bulge out of my reporter-style Moleskine notebooks. Wear and tear is also increased because I carry the notebook in my back pocket, which makes the flat pen tend to chew its way out of the pocket. Not good.


The Body and The Pen The Inka pens are pretty cool, having been designed for extreme conditions by its inventor, Greg Adelman. From the website:

Lightweight, watertight and built to withstand harsh environments. The pressurized ink cartridge ensures the pen will write wet or dry at any angle, any temperature, and any altitude.

I was a little skeptical about the robustness of the pen, because I could imagine the steel barrel warping or other some similar disaster occurring. This post on Kickstart News, however, offers some heartening detail about the pen’s machined outer barrel and carbon-fiber inner body construction.

I’ve been carrying the Inka around on my keychain for about a week, and I haven’t yet noticed any warping or even scratching. We shall see how it holds up over the long term, but two small details give me hope: the end of the steel outer body, which you can see above, is utterly round and smoothly polished, unlike just about every mass-market pen I’ve ever seen. The pen also screws together without any scratchiness or scraping sensation, again unlike just about any other pen I’ve owned. This is a precision-made object.

Components The pen itself is comprised of several unscrewable components. You can use the pen in two ways:

  • Pull the pen straight out of the outer body tube. It’s held in place with friction from a blue o-ring. The pen is short, but usable.
  • Assemble a full-size pen. Unscrew the pen from the key ring cap, then screw the mini pen to the end of the outer barrel. The result is a full-sized pen that feels pretty good in the hand.

Full-sized Pen The one down side I’ve found about the Inka pen is that it got me held up at the TSA security line. It didn’t help that I was also carrying a stubby plastic pen shaped like a small cigarette and mechanical lead engineering pencil with a very cool double-clutch lead gripping mechanism on top of the usual laptop gear. My laptop bag must have looked like a bomb maker’s tool kit. :-)


  1. Royal 15 years ago

    Dave – Does the pen make any noise at the tip as you are writing?

    I have been using the Zebra-F301 Compact 2EA for $3 at Walmart after giving all my Space Pen Bullets away…and it makes a clicking sound emanating from the tip as I write.

    Zebra Compact:

  2. Kraemer 15 years ago

    Nice write up. I was considering trying an Inka until I found the Pilot G-2 minis at a local OfficeMax. When they run out, I might give the Inka a try.

    Just curious, where did you get the plastic page clip? I used to use brass page tabs, but they’re too hard on my Moleskine.

  3. Dave Seah 15 years ago

    Royal: I just tried it, and the tip of my pen doesn’t click or recede into the pen body. It feels very solid. The first time I pushed hard it settled in a bit, but it doesn’t otherwise move around. The ink cartridge is held in place by the screw-on cap on the back of the main pen body.

  4. Dave Seah 15 years ago

    Kraemer: I’ve got a few of the G2 minis stuffed in my bag also…they’re like the “carbine” version of the full-size G2s :-)

    The plastic page clip is a bookmark I bought at Borders Bookstore. It’s called “LastLine, The Smart Bookmark”. My sister turned me on to them. They’re very cool, and work great for keeping my place in my Moleskine.

  5. Ferris Wren 15 years ago

    Too many small parts. Easily lost. Or dropped often.


  6. J.C. Payne 15 years ago

    I have been carrying the pressurized Spaceship Pens for years. It was perfect for when I was in the Air Force, because ‘a good junior officer always had a pen,’ and it was compact and I could clip it on my uniform without anyone noticing. A few months ago, someone gave me a rope thingy (technical term) to hold the pen so that I didn’t have to clip it back on my collar or have it slip out of my pocket. I added a Pilot G-2 pen to the rope thingy for those times when I allow someone to walk off with my magic pen (doesn’t happen very often), and also a mini Sharpee. I now work in a radio station cluster, and while wandering around with three pens hanging from my neck gets more than a few laughs, its useful to always have a writing utensil with me as I go back and forth from multiple studios all day.

  7. Fred Schechter 15 years ago

    Glad to see you back and having survived the EE transition.  We were all worried we’d find you stuck in a feedreader somewhere!

    Sweet pen (I gots ta gets me one a dem!)

    here’s some goodness too, we’ll catch up soon.

  8. Jakob Heuser 15 years ago

    I wonder if this will be the end of my Jetstream Rollerball in the pocket.  When I don’t have it, it’s almost as tragic as not having my cell phone with me.

    This would be a nice addition on the keyring. Keep us posted how it’s working out!

  9. beth 15 years ago

    This will be a good replacement for the Sharpie keychain! The Sharpie detaches too easily from the keychain so you just end up losing it.

  10. Matt 15 years ago

    So how long does this take to open and put together?  With 3 screwing pieces, it seems like it would be a lot longer than a Space Pen.

  11. Dave Seah 15 years ago

    Ferris: It’s not too bad, actually, as the main pen body remains attached to my keychain like the scabbard of a sword. When I need a pen quick, I just yank it out of the scabbard. If I want the longer pen, then I do have to unscrew it and assemble; there is the chance that you would lose the small end-cap, but it handles very well in the hand due to its design and size. You basically can cup the endcap in your hand as your doing the fliperoo, so it works out pretty well.

    JC: That’s pretty cool :-) Where can I get a rope thingy? If I were running around between offices, I would probably do that too if I thought of it!

    Fred: Thanks!

    Jakob: So far, I am still liking it. Once I attached it to the keychain, it’s been a constant companion. In a few months I’ll check it for wear.

    Beth: Yeah, I like those too, but the specter of cap loss in my bag or pocket really freaks me out.

    Matt: I just timed myself…about 20 seconds to pull out my keychain, unscrew the main body, and reassemble it in “full pen” configuration. Time to pull out the mini pen from the keychain and start writing: about two seconds.  In this respect, it’s probably faster than the silver space pen, with its separate cap that you need to put somewhere.

  12. Stephen 13 years ago

    Thanks David, this pen is great.