Hightide Pen Roll Review - Part 1

This post represents a first here at The Finer Point. I will be collaborating on a two part review with Priya from The London Parchment on a stationery item we both have a shared affinity for, the Hightide pen roll. I have been using the Hightide pen roll for a short period of time and will kick off the review collaboration with my thoughts after a few weeks of use. In Part 2 Priya will share a more detailed, long term review over at The London Parchment. We hope you enjoy this joint review collaboration and find our thoughts helpful.

Why the Hightide pen roll?

Priya is the reason I bought the Hightide pen roll. I decided had to have this pen roll after reading her interview with Pocket Notebooks and was immediately drawn to it in part because of the vibrant yellow, but also because I had been intrigued by pen rolls for some time. To me a pen roll suggested creativity and made me think of an artist with a pen roll full of pencils, drawing pens and brushes. It is totally a romanticised view of a stationery tool but it’s the image that has always been conjured in my mind. I had in the past, and still do, love the look of The Superior Labor Leather Carrier, however as this is leather it was a tad expensive and hard to come by in the UK. After seeing the Hightide pen roll in Priya’s interview I immediately wanted to find out more about it, which proved tricky as reviews are limited. There are a couple of online retailers here in the UK where you can pick one of these up for a very reasonable £10 so the risk of buying it and not enjoying it was minimal.

Initial impressions and the plus points

The empty Hightide pen roll laid open

The empty Hightide pen roll laid open

After using the pen roll for a little while now there are some things that I really like. Firstly the Hightide pen roll is a piece of canvas material that adapts in size based on what you're carrying. The pen roll is one large pouch secured with a natural leather strap.

A view of the pouch opening 

A view of the pouch opening 

You can really stuff this thing full of pens and pencils and it will grow with you, or you can just have a minimal carry. The leather strap is a simple addition to the design whilst working really well on keeping its contents safely in place.

My Hightide pen roll stuffed full of pens and pencils 

My Hightide pen roll stuffed full of pens and pencils 

The graphite markings in my pen roll

The graphite markings in my pen roll

I love the bold colour options and design of the pen roll. Personally the bright, vibrant yellow was the pen roll for me however there are other options available including black, khaki, bright red, navy, plus some others. I was a little concerned that the canvas would mark and get grubby really quickly but this hasn’t been the case at all. Inside I have some pencil marks where I didn't use a pencil cap but these marks have not shown through to the outside of the case. It has also fared well with dirt and kept its vibrancy. Full disclosure, I don’t throw this in and out of a bag everyday, so this will have some part to play. But from my experience it doesn’t pick up marks and scuffs easily. The canvas can take a battering which is what you want, and expect from a pen roll that is supposed to be used on the move.

Finally I really like the fact that the branding is almost non existent. There isn’t a tag or a logo printed anywhere on the case and there is nothing on the leather. In fact I cannot see Hightide branding anywhere on this pen roll. The only thing visible is ‘The Genuine Field Stationery’ tag line along with an image of a dog holding what looks like a pen roll. This is the only hint that this is a Hightide pen roll.

My minimal carry view, and the only visible branding on the pen roll

My minimal carry view, and the only visible branding on the pen roll

The small cons

There are a couple of downsides with the Hightide pen roll but they really are minimal and not big problems for me. The width of the pen roll makes carrying full sized pencils a challenge and is even worse if you add on a pencil cap. Blackwings need to be well used to fit in the pen roll. Even with ferrule-less pencils you cannot put a fresh, unused pencil in this pen roll. A little additional width would be welcome with the Hightide pen roll. I am aware it’s not called a pencil roll but in order to carry around a range of tools this would have been helpful.

Size comparison between the Blackwing MMX and Hightide pen roll

Size comparison between the Blackwing MMX and Hightide pen roll

The only other con I can come up with for the Hightide pen roll is that it can be a little tricky to find what you're looking for inside. But that feels like I am cheating as it's a pen roll and what did I expect?

How does this stack up against my other pen cases?

I have reviewed several other pen cases and storage items here on the blog. In terms of a comparison the Hightide pen roll is very different. The format is different and its designed uses are different therefore I feel like I have found a good complimentary product.

For example comparing it with the Nock Co Lookout hardly seems fair. The Lookout is designed to mainly keep your high end pens secure in a well designed case. I am not sure I would throw (m)any fountain pens in my Hightide pen roll for fear of damage or leaking and because there isn’t enough padding to protect them. Therefore the Nock Co Lookout and the Hightide pen roll actually work together serving different purposes. My Hightide pen roll has become a catch all for my gel pens, drawing pens and pencils working well with my new foray into Bullet Journaling.

Comparing the pen roll to the Lihit Lab Otomo pencil case I reviewed a few months ago is where I think closer comparisons can be made. The Lihit Lab Otomo pencil case is a traditional pencil case. For me the Hightide pen roll wins the battle due to its expandability and adaptability to different tools. The Lihit Lab pen case has a smaller capacity and can only house so many pens whereas the Hightide pen roll just keeps growing the more you include.

Closing thoughts

I really like my Hightide pen roll and I am really glad Priya introduced me to this pen case. I have enjoyed using and admiring it and I feel it has become one of the stationery items that will stay in use for a long time. It looks good, is functional and feels really durable. And for the low outlay cost it’s one of those little stationery gems.

Don't forget to check out Part 2 of the Hightide Pen Roll Review which will features on The London Parchment to get Priya's thoughts on this pen case after six months of use.

My May Favourites

I haven't done a loadout post in some time as I felt like there was a bit too much repetition going on. Today's post is kind of like a loadout; I am sharing with you a short run down of my current favourite stationery tools.

Passport sized Travelers Notebook - I am really happy to be using my passport Travelers Notebook again. I am enjoying my set-up, which you can view here, and I love the gorgeous camel leather.

Zebra Sarasa Clip 0.5mm black - This is a fantastic gel ink pen. I have this with me at all times. It writes really well and is super smooth. I have a full review coming therefore I won’t include any spoilers.

Kaweco ART Sport, EF nib - I recently replaced the nib on this pen for my preferred EF size. I have this inked up with J. Herbin Lie de The and it's love. I love the ART Sport design and this ink colour is lovely.

Hightide Pen Roll - I have had this pen roll now for a few weeks and I really like it. It holds everything I want with me and the design is ace.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the stationery items I am using at the moment, these are the items I am reaching for on a daily basis and getting the most enjoyment from.

Stationery Travel Kit - Isle of Wight

This weekend as you read this post I will be taking a weekend break to the Isle of Wight, a small island on the south coast of England. Of course being a stationery addict I am taking a number of stationery items with me, which I will detail out in today’s post. So grab a tea and croissant and read on.


First and foremost I need the right paper tools. This comes in the form of my Travelers Notebook which includes three inserts and my Raydori which also includes three inserts.

My Travelers Notebook is for reflective evening writing. In here I have my weekly refill where I note down something interesting from the day. I also have a blank notebook which is used for travel journalling. I use this whenever I go away somewhere and I make notes on what I have seen and done.

In my Raydori I have two pocket notebooks and a monthly view planner. This is part of my standard carry and comes with me always and this trip is no exception.

Writing Tools

To accompany the paper items I have with me a number of writing implements, obviously. I have two Pilot Coleto pens for general note taking. I love the Coleto 0.4mm refills and I have multiple colours in two pens with me at all times. I have the Kuretake Cocoiro Zig Letter Pen in black, my Ateleia Brass Pen with a Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.4mm black refill and a Stabilo Point 88 fineliner in grey.

Doodling Tools

I have the Uni-Pin in 0.2 and 0.3mm which is used for drawing / doodling purposes. I have the Kuretake water brush pen with the detailer tip. I plan to use this for painting, either on the move or later on reflectively. Either way the Kuretake water brush pen is very convenient to use when travelling. I have my travel Winsor and Newton watercolour set and a range of Blackwing pencils for drawing or outlining something I want to paint. Watercolour paints are not normally part of my travelling kit however I have been inspired by Wei Taillandier on YouTube and this year I am trying to start a habit of drawing and painting.

Hightide Pen Roll

The contents of all this goodness can be found in my new Hightide pen roll which is a recent addition this week. After reading the following interview with Pocket Notebooks featuring Priya from The London Parchment my eye caught the Hightide pen roll and I had to give it a go myself. I also went for the bold yellow. I figured it looks good and should be easier to spot in my bag.

Sandqvist Stig Backpack

I will have all of these items in my trusty backpack whilst roaming (weather dependent) around the Isle of Wight.

Final thoughts

As I am only away for two nights this travel kit gives me everything I need. The addition this time round includes some very basic painting tools. This year I wanted to learn how to paint and draw so whilst travelling I will have both time and hopefully some inspiration. It’s also a great way to record and remember the areas I have visited.