Productivity

Pilot Coleto Review – my favourite pen for the Hobonichi Weeks

That’s right, another pen post!

Given I’ve been happy with my choice of planner for most of the year, I need to find other things to purchase instead. I actually picked up my first Pilot Coletos many years ago, and didn’t really use them all that often, until I stopped using a fountain pen in my Hobonichi Weeks.

What is the Coleto?

The Coleto is a multipen that can be purchased in a range of barrel sizes and designs. The refills are gel ink in a wide range of colours (including limited edition ones) and there’s also a pencil one available.

As you’d expect from a Pilot pen, the gel ink refills are excellent quality and come in three sizes – 0.3mm, 0.4mm and 0.5mm.

Having tried all three sizes over the years, I prefer to use the 0.4 or the 0.5. I find the 0.3 a little scratchy and it tends to skip more than the other widths.

Using the Coleto in the Weeks

My Hobonichi Weeks is my everyday carry and because of this I took a while to find the right pen for it. I started out with the the Pilot Kakuno, an inexpensive but very nice fountain pen. However I didn’t like the idea of having a fountain pen hanging around in my bag attached to my planner in case of leaks. I also found the ink very wet and took a little too long to dry.

Next I went down the fine liner route with a Micron. I had no issues with smudging this ink and there was no risk of leaks. However, I hate my writing with a fine liner. It’s just not that neat.

When trying to work out what to try next, I rediscovered my Coletos.

I love using gel pens, but my usual go-to’s (Pentel Energel and Pilot Juice) would be way too thick for use in the Weeks, as they are usually 0.7mm. With the Coleto refills however I can write small (and neatly) very nicely. Interestingly, I find the 0.5mm Pilot Juice or G2 quite scratchy and skippy to use yet with the 0.5mm Coleto, I don’t. I’m not sure what’s different between the pens, but something is.

The fact that I can also carry around many different colours at once, is a very nice bonus. While I don’t colour code in my main planner (the Hobonichi Cousin), I’ve quite liked using different colours in my Weeks.

Which Coleto is right for you?

As part of my ‘research’ for this post, I picked up a couple of new Coleto’s. My original two Coleto pens were the patterned one, which takes four refills and the plain pink, which also takes four. The plain pink is what I’ve been using in my Weeks recently because although I prefer the design on the patterned barrel, that one is so much thicker than the plain barrel. 12.84mm for the patterned barrel vs. 10.72mm for the plain. 2mm may not seem like a large amount, but when it comes to a pen I’ve found it makes a massive difference. My writing is so much scruffier with the thicker pen. I don’t whether it’s because I write small, but I find writing with a smaller pen that much easier. 

Given both barrels take the same number of refills, I’m not sure why there is such a difference in size. Unfortunately all the limited edition patterned barrels come in the same shape. As pretty as they are, I’ll sadly be sticking to plain barrels in future.

You’d think because it has to fit four inks in, this would be thicker than a normal pen anyway. Actually, in comparison to my trusty Pilot Juice, it’s not. The Pilot Juice is 10.03mm in size. Therefore unless you only use super thin pens like the Pentel Slicci, you should be fine with a Coleto.

Plain barrels are available in a few different colours and sizes – taking 3, 4 or 5 refills. Given my concern around how thick the patterned barrel was, I avoided the 5 refill size and opted for two clear barrels – a 3 refill and a 4 refill. 

I was pleasantly surprised to find these barrels are actually the same size as the pink barrel I already had.

Where to buy

This is where it gets tricky. They’re pretty difficult to get hold of in the UK. If you’re in the US, Jetpens stocks them and that’s a good place to take a look if you want to create a bit of a shopping list as it’s a pretty comprehensive range. It was there I found that you can even get an eraser refill. I wish I’d known this when I purchased refills for my new barrels. The pencil refill is really handy, but not if you need to carry a separate eraser.

My two go-to places are Ebay and Etsy. Redribbonred is where I generally pick up my refills. They’re a good price and with pretty quick shipping (though it is from overseas). This is where I picked up the two clear barrels. Etsy is great for picking up lots of the limited edition refills and barrels. Japan Easy Shopper is one of my favourite shops for Japanese goodies.

Using the Coleto in my Weeks

I’m really enjoying using different colours in my weekly planning. If you caught my budget planning post you’ll know I also like to use different colours for expense tracking. However, I had a bit of a learning curve with this pen and the Tomoe River paper in the planner. The ink has a bit of an issue drying on this kind of paper and is susceptible to smudging. I therefore treat this like a fountain pen and leave it to dry. When it’s dry, it will still transfer, particularly onto fingers. So if I happen to touch ink on the page (even if it’s days old) and then touch somewhere else on the page there’s sometimes a mark leftover.

This could be a deal breaker for you but I have adapted to it as it’s not too dissimilar to using a fountain pen really. Using a pencil board has also helped a lot. I sometimes use this to rest my hand on top of the page so I don’t accidentally get ink on myself. Using this in between my pages when I close the planner also stops any ink transferring on to the other page. Moving from a 0.5mm refil to a 0.4mm refill has also helped a lot. You can also use blotting paper if you’re really concerned.

Multi pens are a great idea for planning on the go. If you’re not a fan of gel then I can highly recommend the Uniball Jetstream multi pen. A 3 colour version is the same as the Hobonichi Pen you receive free with your order. I use this in my work Weeks as I usually have to write quickly so I don’t want to worry about smudges. The colour choice of refills isn’t as nice as the Coleto but if you just want standard colours, then this is a nice pen. 

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