Dryden Design’s Quest: Smooth Nib Under $20

I was introduced to Dryden Design pens through email at as a request to review their fountain pens. Upon receiving them, the gift box this hooded nib comes in as well as the set with a ballpoint and appealing finish make this bad boy a keeper.

 dryden design hooded nib

  • Hooded Nib Design
  • Smooth Nib
  • Includes Converter
  • Understated logo


  • Calling it a luxury pen
  • Gap in the clip design

My Short Video:

 Dryden Design Hooded Nib Design

I LOVE hooded nibs. I was wondering what it would take to get another one for review.

The major difference in a hooded nib vs. traditional is most of the nib is hidden beneath a sort of hood so all you see is a little tip protruding out. This could easily be mistaken for a ballpoint for the uninitiated.

The understated gray matte finish is eye catching against the gold tone hardware. This pen looks like an executive would have it, so in that way, it’s justly named.

This pen comes only in a fine nib, which we will discuss later, and comes with a converter but will take international cartridges as well.

Steel nibs are nail hard and this one is no exception, no flex at all, but I didn’t expect any on this lovely hooded job.


Steel Nib or K Gold Nib Nib: steel
Nib Width: 2mm
Nib Length:3mm

Piston Cartridge/Converter Fill: Converter/Cartridge
Pull/Screw Cap: Pull off cap
Capped Length: 130mm
Posted Length: 136mm
Uncapped Length: 110mm
Mid-Grip Width: 5mm
Cap Band Width: 6mm

Total Weight: 29g
Cap Weight:8g

Dryden Design Capped


How Does The Dryden Nib Perform On Different Papers?

hooded nib closeup

How could a hooded nib perform the same as a traditional? We’re about to find out.

The part that touches the paper is identical in most fountain pens, it’s made of iridium. The smoothness or catchiness of the way the ball of iridium is manufactured and finished create the feel of the nib’s smoothness.

The Dryden Design Hooded only comes in a fine nib and it writes like a fine-medium line width.

Using Montegrappa blue ink, I filled the slide converter and began to write. The words flow right out of the pen and onto paper smoothly and without hesitation. I used it on Clairefontaine graph paper and a generic grid notebook and both worked very well with no bleed through.

Dryden Designs Writing Sample

Dryden Design Hooded Fountain Pen Cap

dryden design clip and cap

The cap on Dryden Designs in a pull off cap.

This particular model allows you to post the cap on the back, which is AWESOME! You know I love a great poster!

The cap on the back makes the whole pen more balanced and easy to push along. What I love best is the cap stays put, it doesn’t chatter around or fall off the pen like it does on the other Dryden Design model.

I’m not a huge fan of clips that wrap around and leave a gap at the back. It just looks unfinished. That’s a sure sign of cheaper manufacturing. When it’s filled in and finished back there, that’s a sign of attention to detail and usually more upscale pens will show more craftsmanship in the clip itself. But it’s a small detail that probably only I would notice.

Who is the Fountain Pen Good For? Is It a Good Overall Value?

You can’t get much more practical and executive looking at this price point. This pen is utilitarian, easy to use, balanced and cheap. Fountain pens, as you might know, 🙂 are an expensive hobby and if you’ve got more than 3 you may know what I’m talking about.

I still take issue with calling in a luxury pen. I guess that’s a matter of perspective. Luxury fountain pens can run $500 and up and usually have proprietary nibs manufactured by the same company making the pen body, which is not the case here. But if you’re comparing it to a standard Bic ballpoint, yes, it may be a taste of luxury.

This is a fountain pen that is reliable, has a classy design and costs less than $20. All that is a great value.

The Dryden Design hooded model won’t set you back the same as many of the more popular brands out there, but it will be smooth without skipping.

Get the price of the Dryden Design Hooded Fountain Pen Set now on Amazon.