A Fair Shake: The Field Notes Bic Clic

A little shorter review this week because there’s a new member of the household who demands our full attention! Meet FLAPJACK! He’s our 9-week old Silky Terrier whose middle name should be Houdini. He scaled his playpen on day two, and is keeping us on our toes. We love him to bits.

Flapjack (9 weeks)

NOW, for the review…

Field Notes branded Bic Clic

My latest package from Field Notes included one of the Field Notes branded Bic Clic pens. As I was about to reflexively toss it into a mug of pens, it dawned on me that I’ve never spent much time writing with one. I give them away, I have them lying around, I stuff them into pen cups, but I don’t write with them. It was about time to give this retractable blast from the past a fair shake.

Bic Clic (Made in Mexico)

I spent a day using this pen only— an unheard of feat! (Sometimes I change pens in the middle of a sentence. No lie.)

It turns out, there are a lot of things I like about this pen. It feels comfortable in hand— nice taper, easy to grip. I’m smitten by the retro look and simple Field Notes branding. The clip, with its embossed Bic branding, is perfectly adequate. The knock functions reliably and with a solid sounding “click” (thus the name). The refill FEELS smooth and is not draggy. It’s easy to carry and inexpensive, which means it’s a good candidate for a “take it everywhere” pen. Lose one? Not a big deal.

Bic Clic knock

There is, though, one flaw. And for me, it’s the fatal flaw.

Bic Clic refill

The refill is merely adequate— just as it’s always been. There’s a lot of white space in the line, and the “black” ink is a blah gray. The line is not rich or solid— two things that I demand from my ballpoints. Since discovering the uni-ball Jetstream and the like, that’s pretty much the standard by which I gauge all other ballpoints. The Bic Clic, despite the attributes of its simple and iconic pen body, just doesn’t deliver a memorable writing experience.

Ink comparison
Schmidt EasyFlow 9000 refill vs. Bic Clic’s refill

Oh, how I’d love an ink upgrade in these pens!

Errand pen
A good errand pen

I posted a comment on the Field Nuts Facebook page asking if folks regularly use these pens and the answers were plentiful and varied. Some people love them, others don’t. Some use them for work all day long, while others leave them in their car or purse as an “emergency” pen.

Because I do love the Field Notes branding and the pen’s easy-to-throw-in-pocket form factor, I’m going to make a point of using these pens a little more, if only when I’m running errands and might have to jot something down. And maybe I’ll set a few free in the world— in a bookstore or coffee shop. I think that’s what these pens are best at— spreading a little Field Notes love.

Do YOU love and use the Field Notes Bic Clic, or, like me, do they cause you to reach for something better? Do you know of a refill hack that elevates this pen’s writing performance?

Be sure to let me know.

Fall: The Monteverde Prima (Brown Swirl) & Field Notes Traveling Salesman Limited Edition

Whoooeee…that’s a mouthful. But off we go…


Monteverde Prima, Brown Swirl, F nib

In order to get my day off to a peaceful/calm start, I’ve recently started an early morning ritual. Right after breakfast, I pick up one of our Silky Terriers (usually 10-year old Boo) and together we take look out into the woods behind our house. Sometimes we see birds and bunnies, maybe even a deer. But what struck me this morning were the colors. And how much those November colors remind me of the colors in the Monteverde Prima. (This sounds contrived…I know it does…but I honestly DO think like this.)

Here we are in late fall. The leaves are mostly gone, but there are still glimpses of gold and a little green and a lot of brown, in all kinds of muted shades and tones. With the sun low in the sky, the woods shimmered with the early light. Exactly like the Monteverde Prima.


Swirly goodness

With its chocolatey browns and shimmery golds, the Brown Swirl Prima is a perfect companion to the Fall Field Notes Limited Edition offering…the Traveling Salesman notebooks.


Made for each other

I’m a BIG list maker. Big. Really big. And my action/waiting/maybe lists for work and home used to be physically big…like 8.5″ x 11″ big. And at that size they freaked me out a bit. Everything just looked so LARGE and overwhelming. Around the time that I noticed a direct correlation between the size of my working lists and my level of anxiety, I fortuitously subscribed to the Field Notes Color series. Then I moved my lists from big sheets of paper into Field Notes notebooks. And I calmed down. Coincidence? I don’t think so.


Fountain pen friendly ledger paper

Since subscribing, I maintain master lists in Evernote (so they’re synced and always with me), but my daily working lists are religiously hand-written in Field Notes notebooks…one for home and one for work. The Traveling Salesman Limited Edition notebooks are this year’s fall offering, and they’re perfect for the season. The cover is a rich “Hot Fudge” brown with “Fool’s Gold” metallic embossing, while the ledger style pages are a soft green…all colors that I see in both my woods and this pen.


Like the fall forest

The nib is fine and smooth…a little finer than some of the other fine nibbed pens that I own. It’s a touch on the drier side, but that may be the ink. Once this cartridge is gone, I’ll pop in the converter (which threads into the pen…nice!), and load it with a Montblanc black or brown. The Prima hasn’t given me a speck of trouble…no hard starts and no skipping. I’m once again impressed by Monteverde.


Well-behaved nib

I see autumn and my woods in this pen and this notebook. And when I’m in the thick of a crazy work day, that’s exactly what I need.

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For more details on the Monteverde Prima line, check out Brian Goulet’s excellent video review at Ink Nouveau.