Carryology delivered. Your inbox. every two weeks.
Only the best stuff (and giveaways!), we promise.

Carry Collaborations

BIGiDESIGN x Carryology | A Lightning Bolt for Everyday Carry


BIGiDESIGN x Carryology | A Lightning Bolt for Everyday Carry

by , March 11, 2022

Carry is more than just bags, packs, and packing cubes. It’s a noun and a verb. It’s the gear we carry – as well as the organization and systems we create for our EDC and travel adventures. And with our motto of “exploring better ways to carry”, we’re continually searching for ways to improve our collaboration offerings, hunting down the world’s very best brands and working with them to make something special, and worthy of your quiver. 

In this project, we wanted to find that perfect tool for your pocket. A tool classic and timeless – a tool we all use every day. The EDC pen. 

And we knew exactly who to turn to: BIGiDESIGN.

Introducing, the BIGiDESIGN x Carryology Bolt Action Pen and Mini Bolt Action Pen.

Codename: Raijin. 

Our friends Chadwick and Joe, the two founders behind Tennessee-based BIGiDESIGN, have been crushing the EDC space since 2009. 

Their industry-leading EDC ranges from pocket tools to knives, pens, and more. Bonus, they even just recently launched their very first watch earlier this week. We’ve written about the products on the site many times; they’ve been finalists in our Carry Awards, and they're a long-time community favorite with their pens clinching top spots on pen aficionados’ best lists. 

Each one of the BIGiDESIGN finely-designed pieces is focused on clean, functional, minimalist design. And like us, they’re self-admitted huge fans of titanium. The lightweight, strong, beautifully finished ruler of all metals. 

But why carry a pen for everyday carry? There’s a common phrase used by carry experts: 'slice, write, light', which represents the holy trinity of necessary EDC items to have in one’s pockets to be prepared at all times. Knife, pen, flashlight. We’ll talk about those other two at a later date, but for now – the pen. 

The timeless tool used to jot down notes and new ideas, to sign documents, to sketch new carry concepts, to make plans to take over the world, and about 1 billion other things. It was an easy decision to make – we had to work with Chadwick and Joe.

A Bolt Of Lightning 

Though I loved one of their older designs, the XTS pen, we wanted to look forward. Bolt pens are classic and strong and fail-proof. For good reason – there are no caps to misplace and it's an incredibly reliable mechanism that will serve you a lifetime. And the bolt action is smooth and fun (and works like a makeshift fidget toy) and BIGiDESIGN makes the most versatile Bolt Action ever. So the Bolt it would be. 

But, there was still a difficult decision to be made… Bolt Action Pen for full-sized writing pleasure? Or Mini Bolt Action Pen for EDC pocketability? Internally we tried to weigh out which one would be most useful… and both came out on top. So, well… we’re rolling with both. 

Spark for the Codename

We like codenames to name our projects internally; it helps us to stay organized. And offers some opportunity for design inspiration. Frankly, we love them; it gives us a chance to reference mythology, the past, and literature. This project would be no different. The thinking process for this? We were focused on that functional feature, “the bolt”. Maybe lightning bolt? Thor? Nah, not this time. Then the audio clip “Raiden wins” played through my imagination. Raiden, from the Mortal Kombat universe, was directly inspired by the Japanese god of lightning and thunder, Raijin.

A badass, bolt-wielding legend. 

We had our codename. 

Raijin God of Thunder

Titanium and Rolling Stones

Now back to the pen itself. The Bolt Action Pen and Mini Bolt Action Pen are both already so damn nice and complete… we joked that there was almost nothing to “improve”. But that’s where the challenge and fun is!

First, materials. We all know what we love the most. And it’s titanium. #AllTitaniumEverythingForever. 

We tossed around some ideas for coatings, which added cost and complexity, but more importantly… they would cover up that perfect titanium finish on the barrel. No coating. We’d opt for, in our opinion, the best example of titanium finishing: stonewashed. The process of scratching a satin finish via tumbling with stones. It provides a touch of grip and gives a worn, classic vibe that catches the light just right. 

BIGiDESIGN x Carryology

Asanoha for Extra Grip

The stonewashed titanium finish is possibly our favorite of all options available in metallics… but it does have a light grippiness. It can be a bit slippery, especially when working with a handheld cylindrical tube. We asked about laser engraving one of our favorite geometric patterns into the surface. For those with machining experience, you’ll know that engraving a repeating pattern on a 3D cylinder and having the pattern match seamlessly (where it starts/ends)... is far from easy. After quite a few prototypes, Chadwick and Joe had the issue solved. Asanoha, the Japanese geometric pattern, would be added towards the grip on the barrel of each pen… providing a light grip and handsome unique aesthetic.

BIGiDESIGN x Carryology

The Ultimate Cartridge 

As mentioned before, one of BIGiDESIGN’s focuses when they design a new pen is that it can accept many, many, many different pen ink refills. Maybe we include an orange gel ink cartridge, just for fun? No, we wanted to make these functional. And what’s more functional than a cartridge that can be used by astronauts in space? The Large model gets the legendary German-made stainless steel Schmidt MegaLine pressurized ink refill (and the Mini gets German-made stainless steel Schmidt 635 Mini D1 ink refill). Not only can the pressurized cartridge work upside down or in zero gravity, but it can also handle extreme temperatures and can even write underwater thanks to the oil-based ink. Ultimate ink cartridge? Check.

 Schmidt MegaLine pressurized ink refills

Ultimate Versatility

And if the above isn’t your jam, then BIGiDESIGN’s strength comes from its versatility. There are currently 100+ compatible refills for their Bolt Pens and many D1-sized cartridges for their Mini, so you can most certainly find the ink partner you’re looking for!


Finishing Touch

The finishing details make the design complete, so we added orange cerakoting (a liquid ceramic coating) to both the bolt and the cap. When either of the pens sit clipped into a pocket in a pen slot, both of these embellishments are visible for pop and easy location. 

BIGiDESIGN x Carryology


The result? A pen for your everyday carry loadout and/or your travel adventures, whether they’re domestic, international, or interplanetary. The BIGiDESIGN x Carryology Bolt Action Pen and Mini Bolt Action Pen, codename: Raijin. 

Releasing Monday March 14th at 12pm Noon (New York City)


Carryology delivered. Your inbox. every two weeks. Only the best stuff, we promise.