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Thread: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

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    Default Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    I bought a cheap double pen case 5-6 of years ago - and as a result had an every day carry over that time, along with a notebook.

    Here's some musings which may or may not serve as discussion points, for carrying pens "on the road"

    When on the road, you are not always writing on a desk. You may be writing on your lap, knee or shelf - so there are some practical issues that need to be considered.

    1/ Durability - on the Road, in a bag, or jacket pocket - pens need to be able to take some abuse. Bags will be dropped - or have heavy items place upon them - jackets will be stood on and pens can be dropped onto hard floors or down stairs.

    2/ Ability to post - and remain balance whilst posted. If you are writing on the bus - there is no table. The pen has to go in one hand, the other hand keeps the book flat - and so what do you do with the cap? A pocket is a possibility - or gripping it in your hand - but the most practical solution is to be able to post, and for the pen to remain posted. Then, the pen has to remain balanced - a back heavy pen is not great.

    3/ A back-up biro/roller ball is handy. Not all paper takes FP ink -and many official forms and stuff require black ink - so a ballpoint or rollerball with black ink is handy to have.

    4/ Pens that dry up quickly are useless. There's nothing worse than getting ready to write and finding that the feed has dried up. Another reason for a back-up - but choosing a pen that does not dry up over night or over the week-end is crucial.

    5/ Choose the filling system you prefer - pistons or cartridge - it hasn't made a lot of difference to me. Try replacing a cartridge before the feed runs dry - trying to force ink from a new cartridge into a empty feed can be frustrating. It's easier refill with cartridges when on the road, but the pistons I've used store more ink and write for longer.

    So, from my experience the pens I've found most suitable for "road" use are Cross Century 2 and the Cross Townsend, Platinum #3776, Tombow Object, Lamy 2K, Visconti Rembrandt and the steel Parker Sonnet.

    Pens I've found less suitable for "road" use have been S T Dupont D-line (won't post and has a heavy cap). MB 146 (not designed not to be posted), Waterman Carene, Platinum preppy & Platinum Izumo. They are wonderful desk pens - and if you know you are going from desk to desk then they're good pens to have - but if you want something to use when you are regularly "between" desks then something else would make a better choice.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    These are good ideas to remember when selecting a traveling writer. I would add that a toothy nib (or even a downright scratchy one) is more easily controlled when writing aboard a moving vehicle or even when the paper is without proper support, like a notebook on a knee. I carry a notebook in a shirt pocket with a toothy pen every day. My writing is far more legible with the toothy nib than with one of my "long haul" smooth writers which I save for times when I have support for arm and paper.
    Written on a real computer and real keyboard with capital letters, punctuation, and everything.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    When iím traveling, iím off my routine. Thatís when things get lost. Thatís why i donít take good pens with me. I take my Lamy Alstars and/or Lx. They are enough pen to keep me amused ó I usually use the 1.5mm stub and i like the colors ó but theyíre easy to replace if something does happen.

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    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    Great topic!

    When I grab a pen to go, I have a few more preferences in a pen for being out and about, awayfrom a home baseóhome office or other company office.

    My writing is more legible with an EF or posting nib. Better more feedback than less, I agree.

    I dislike posting caps. Metalóand especially gold filledócaps are the worst. Looking at you, Parker 51 Custom. And you too, Eversharp Skyline.

    On the other hand, my Pelikan M205 is so satisfying to post that I can't resist. Also my vintage Pilot Elite is made to be posted.

    The Stargazer isn't bad. The Duofold Juniors are fine but caps can split.

    On the road pens also have to be short enough to fully clip into a shirt pocket. If I'm not wearing a t-shirt. Again the M205, Stargazer, Elite, and Duofolds are perfect.

    The clips of these pens are quite excellent and navigate thin and thick materials well usually one handed. The Elite has an impressive hinged, spring loaded clip.

    I carry an A5 Rhodia dot grid, top spiral notebook when between desks. Nothing to hold open and I can use it as a micro portable desktop.

    Writing on crappy paper works better with some inks and not others. I'd prefer a drier ink like Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black. It's slightly water resistant.

    I avoid wetter inks like Pilot Black and Iroshizuku Take-sumi which I find are far more feather prone. I really don't want to carry a ballpoint.

    I suppose filling mechanism capacity doesn't matter as long as it holds out for the day. If staying somewhere overnight I take ink vials or cartridges.

    I don't really give it as much thought as this would lead one to believe. I just grab a pen I like that meets a few of these requirements.

    Sure that MB 221 is a bit long with a stiff clip, or the 21, 45, or 51 has a heavy cap, but whatevz. Close enough.

    My Safari is great for clipping in a pants pocket and is cheap and durable so if I have it inked I will go that route sometimes.
    Last edited by azkid; September 28th, 2019 at 10:08 AM.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    Very interesting discussion topic. I never take any of my higher end pens on the road. Lately I have been travelling with a pair of Pilot Metropolitans in a two pen leather case along with a small Clairfontaine notebook. I start out with full converters in both pens and carry a couple of cartridges for backup. That will easily get me through a month long trip. I am prepared to lose or damage a Metropolitan, but I wonít take any chances with a Pelikan, MB, or Visconti. I had to take the cap off a very nice Chartres Blue Platinum 3776 during a security inspection at Gatwick airport a few years ago. A case of fumble fingers led to the complete destruction of its 14k broad nib. Much like when your toast always hits the floor butter side down, the pen went down like a lawn dart into the floor. Lesson learned.

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    Senior Member ethernautrix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    Pish posh, I say. PISH POSH!

    Wherever I go, my favorite pens go. For the past several years (bike trips, road trips (car), flights across the ocean), these pens have been on the road with me: Nakaya Piccolos (unpolished shu pretty much always, then heki or kuro (which I dropped to the cobblestones in Krakůw and which flew out of its sleeve from the top of the my bike-rack bag (I hadn't ensured I'd closed the zipper all the way) in Zamość and then lost in Wrocław, the sleeve and the pen from the lanyard around my neck - #19. Accept loss forever. -Kerouac), Negoro-style shiro), Naka-ai, even the Desk Pen has come along on trips; (before I sold them) both Pelikan Toledos; Pilot 912, Pilot Falcon, and now Pilot 823, and Danitrios, both Fellowship and Komori.

    I carry a Kaweco Liliput retractable ballpoint with a needlepoint tip bp refill in my coin purse (which carries my ID, bank/credit cards, library cards, cash). I started carrying the Liliput, because in Europe, folks sign their card receipts with a PIN. Not Americans! We have to sign the receipt, and I've taken the cashier by surprise often enough to concede that I should carry my own ballpoint. Also some kind of liquid gel cheapy, either Pilot or Uni-ball, cos I very much like the needlepoint tips.

    1/Durability. Just be careful. You might damage or break or lose your pen anyway. Oh well, life goes on. You'll survive it.

    2/Posting. It's convenient for sure. I can post my Pilot pens. I might use my Nakayas on trains and buses and in cafes or on a park bench, but in the middle of a week-long bike trip, I'll keep a postable Pilot handy (typically the 912).

    3/Back-up biro. Covered. Yup.

    4/Pens that dry out quickly... are not pens I own.

    5/Filling system. Irrelevant. It's just common sense to keep your pens topped up. I mean, if I've inked up a pen, it's to use it, and that means being aware of ink levels. If I realize I'm not using it, I clean it and put in the Pen Valise.

    Having said this, my 912 and Falcon are beaters. I've dropped them and got over the compulsion to keep them unmarked. I'm more careful with the rest of my costly pens, because I'm not in the business of wrecking pens, but the pens I use the most, my favorites, the ones that will have to be proverbially taken from my cold, dead hands, all show micro signs of use that I'm sure will only become more and more apparent. Hooray!

    I don't want two sets of pens, House Pens and Adventure Pens. When I want to use the Nakaya with the steel EF nib, cos of its idiosyncratic line, that means keeping that pen inked up and near me wherever I happen to be. (Nakaya Piccolo Cigar, unpolished shu). And because it is dear to me, I am careful to know where it is and that it is protected from UV rays (otherwise, urushi is super durable. The kuro NPC that I lost showed less damage from impacts with cobblestones and concrete than the Pilot beaters I dropped on a hardwood (?) floor.).

    Confession: I do have a back-up each for the 912 and Falcon. However, I sometimes entertain selling them, since the beaters are favorites. Oops! How'd that happen?! (I suppose, if those two nibs up and die on me, I'm covered. These are the only two back-ups I have.)

    I have more pens inked than usual now, because reasons. But my ideal seems to be four. Five. P823 and the two beater Pilots and two Nakaya Piccolo Cigars. I can't seem to leave the beaters out of the mix for longer than a couple of days. (I'm trying to carry just the P823 and one NPC. Maybe on the next week-long bike ride, keep your fingers crossed for that, please.) (In the Spring. If it happens, it's cos good news. Thank you.)

    I succumbed to the P823 cos 1) ink capacity and 2) PO nib (which necessitated buying a 743, for which I will finally post an ad probably this weekend). I like the P823, very much, but it's no Nakaya Piccolo. But (sad face) Nakaya doesn't offer a PO nib. (The UEF is darn nice, though.) I do like seeing the ink level. Oh pens, you're so simple and yet so complicated!
    Last edited by ethernautrix; September 28th, 2019 at 12:45 PM. Reason: Needlepoint, needletip, needlenose... what's the correct term? Needlepoint, right? Needle-point? (Just be consistent, etherX.)
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    What ethernautrix said, more or less. My beaters are a heritage 91, falcon and sailor 1911. Iíve always got a Kaweco sport (or two) in my pocket.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    How very cavalier of you, ethernautrix. I guess Iím just not as gutsy as you.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    I've had pens break whilst on the road. It always seems to end with my hands getting covered in ink - especially when I've got a dance later. Inky fingers can leave stains on dresses and so on.

    So, no - I've been there and done that and I'd really rather avoid it, thank you. Hence my advice.


    The world of adventure pens and desk pens works for me. The "adventure pens" live in the coat pocket so they're always ready when I go out. The desk pens are a similar situation. A pace with a pen box and a note book on - I just sit and start writing. I don't have to remember where I put my coat to find the "adventure" pens. By making the action of writing easier, it stops procrastination. I sit down, pick up an pen and write. Then I get into the flow. Making that stage of sitting down as easy one as possible, by having a space with the materials at hand makes it so much easier.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    If I'm going to be back home at the end of the day, I don't do anything special. "On the road" for me would mean a trip where I'm sleeping away from home, which I gather was implied by the first post, but we may as well have it stated clearly. These days, for me, that mostly means an occasional plane trip with a few days at the other end, although I sometimes will drive a couple of hundred miles. A twelve day trip earlier this year, which was about equally divided between two states, was as long as I have stayed away from home recently.

    As far as taking my "good pens" goes, I don't have any extraordinarily expensive luxury models; a couple of times I've gone just a bit over $200. I might take my Custom Heritage 91 or 92, since if I lose one, I'll still have the other. I might take one of my two Capless Decimos (there goes your posting problem) but otherwise would certainly take a pen that posts well, which I prefer in any case. I would not take my Parker Vacumatic, which is a favorite and the only one I have, or my Mabie Todd Swan lever filler, or any of my BCHR vintage pens. I don't take any pen which, if lost, I would feel needed to be replaced. But I still take ones that are good writers.

    I'll certainly have a backup ballpoint or rollerball, and even more importantly, a mechanical pencil or two. The capped Pentel Kerry is very good for shirt pocket carry, as are a couple of Esterbrook pencils that I have. I avoid writing with a notebook held on my lap if at all possible; if I do need to make a note while I'm on a bus, or standing, or have no good writing surface, I'll most often use a pencil and my shirt pocket notebook. I hold off on writing at length until I can sit at a desk or table.

    My main journal, A5 sized, usually stays at home. I have smaller, around 11x17 cm, notebooks which I use for certain daily notes, and when I travel, the current one will double as a trip journal. I also will have a small notebook in my shirt pocket or front pants pocket. I've learned not to carry anything important in the back pocket.
    Last edited by Kaputnik; September 29th, 2019 at 12:00 PM.
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    "My on the road pens" I have found a small pen easier to deal with in awkward situations. I use a FC45 and post it. Posted it is not uncomfortable or back heavy. Cartridge or eye dropper neither has ever failed me. I have used them in barns, closets, planes, cars on my lap, standing. Basically awkward writing locations and situations, none of my 45's have ever failed me in these situations.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Note View Post
    How very cavalier of you, ethernautrix. I guess Iím just not as gutsy as you.
    We all have different levels of loss aversion and risk taking. I became more accepting of loss after... a lot of practice at losing. And surviving those losses.

    That I don't want to own hundreds of pens doesn't cast aspersions on others who revel in owning thousands. I'm not judging them just because I feel uncomfortable at the thought.

    So, please, don't take what I say personally.
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy View Post
    I've had pens break whilst on the road. It always seems to end with my hands getting covered in ink - especially when I've got a dance later. Inky fingers can leave stains on dresses and so on.

    So, no - I've been there and done that and I'd really rather avoid it, thank you. Hence my advice.
    I'm not trying to break or lose my pens. LOLIMH. (Laughing out loud in my head.) But it's happened. A pair of Montblanc La Bohemes (fp and bp), fairly new, in a new pen case fell from my pocket in the short two blocks' walk to the subway. I noticed a disturbance in the air as I walked down the steps. Then turned around and retraced my steps and looked everywhere in the apartment. They were gone. What to do? Cry about it forever? Nope. Hope that whoever found it needed a boost and that the pens were a treasure. Or whatever. I wasn't in control of what happened to them after I lost them/they fell from my pocket.

    Did I learn not to carry pens in my pocket? For a while. Then... somehow I stopped wearing clothes with pockets. The Nakaya Piccolo I lost was in a pen sleeve attached securely to a lanyard around my neck (I'd worn in for at least a week this way and was reassured the carry method was secure). I was wrong about that. I don't have hundreds of pens, but I have a handful of Nakayas that made it easier to lose that one. If that had been my only Nakaya, I'm sure I would have felt worse about the loss. But... what was I to do? NOT lose it? Too late!

    THAT was the pen I wanted to use that day. I had an appointment with a prospective language student and many errands afterward. It was a marvelous day of riding bikes with my friend and the dog while running the errands. I choose to focus on that. WIll I wear a pen sleeve with an expensive pen in it on a lanyard around my neck again? Probably not.

    Never say never.

    As I've mentioned, I hired a seamstress, the marvelous Pani Jola, to sew me a couple of dresses and some skirts (very simple designs -- I am not, let's say, a person of means but a person of some pragmatism) with a pen pocket sewn onto the skirts. I am actually trying NOT to lose pens, especially as I continue to try to sell as many as I can stand to part with.

    You said you wanted to open a discussion. I'm giving my perspective.
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaputnik View Post
    I would not take my Parker Vacumatic, which is a favorite and the only one I have, or my Mabie Todd Swan lever filler, or any of my BCHR vintage pens.
    I don't have many vintage pens, preferring modern ones (especially c/c, but not shunning piston-fillers), but if I had a few favorite vintage pens that I LOVED writing with... I'd leave them at home. I might be cavalier, but I'm not wantonly impractical. I mean, I'd bring them between California and Poland, because I'm not travelling every day, as I do on the bike trips. (BTW, budget traveller here, out of necessity, not choice. Just for a clearer picture, yeah?)


    Addendum: I used "cavalier" here, well aware that you aren't the one who took offense at what I'd written. I'm enjoying the discussion.
    Last edited by ethernautrix; September 29th, 2019 at 02:20 PM.
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    Am I alone in feeling that my favorite stuff is more secure near me than home alone for days or weeks at a time, where the unknown factor looms larger? What if...? Burglary? Fire? Other natural disaster? Civil unrest?

    I cannot shake that goddamned proverbial bus.

    You know the one. The one that's going to hit you and make a mockery of all your safeguarding of stuff.

    Tony Millionaire said, "'Doctor! Cut off my toes! It hurts when I stub my toes, so cut them off! OW! It hurts worse to stub your stumps!' You can't protect yourself."

    I carry what I want to use, flipping the finger to that stupid bus.
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    I must be somewhere in the middle of all these viewpoints. I've learned a lot from ethernautrix over the years in this respect (among others) but can't go all the way there for some basic reasons:

    • I have more than a few pens, and that includes both expendable pens as well as invaluable ones
    • My routine daily-carry pens are pens that I wouldn't particularly cry over if something happened, mostly a monetary loss
    • There are better/rarer/vintage pens that occasionally come along, but the security alert is heightened - I really do pay more attention to things in this case
    • Finally, there are pens that I won't trust to such fate, all of which have connections, deep connections, to people - gifts from loved ones, pens purchased from dear friends no longer with us, etc. I see no reason to jeopardize my future together with these few meaningful items for a few minutes with them away from home.

    Ultimately, they are simply objects, to which we attach various levels of meaning and importance. I can't find a way to make a blanket rule cover them all, treat them all equally, and I don't even try. I guess I simply stack the odds in my favor and hope for the best. I recently spent time with a very good friend who was a victim of one of the most cataclysmic fires in US history. He did lose everything, including virtually his entire pen collection, save just a couple that happened to be kept elsewhere. Everything. He is a strong, centered person and has seemed to have dealt with it well.

    Anything can happen in this life. How you approach that is an individual matter.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    Yes, you are giving your perspective. I am not arguing with your perspective.

    I'm not saying you are wrong, but my experience is different. I had one pen "explode" on a plane - the cap filled with ink, and I didn't find out until I removed the cap. I had Pelikan Brilliant black all over my hands for days - it's not easy to scub off. I have an MB146 that got crushed somehow (it was in a case) and the result was a crack that caused leakage - and ink everywhere. When travelling I often go to lindy-hop events - and with this form of partner dancing there is a lot of sweat, contact and delicate fabrics - and it is very easy to leave inky finger prints on one dancing partner's clothes as dried ink becomes undried. I do not carry delicate pens because of this -not because other people should not carry delicate pens, but because I find the consequences (for me) tiresome.

    I'm not saying you should not carry delicate pens, nor have I mentioned anything about losing pens at all, or the price of pens. Writing is best done with an instrument that inspires you, and you should carry the instuments that help you do the best writing you can.

    I tried carrying delicate pens, and it did not work for me (for the reasons I gave above) and that's why I advised against it in my original post. I was not trying to insist that I was right, and you were wrong. I was trying to explain why my experience made me a bit more risk averse than others might be. I'm sorry if the tone may have come out a bit wrong.

    Of course, other people are different, and have different experiences - which is fine.

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    Senior Member ethernautrix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    [QUOTE=Jon Szanto;274060]I must be somewhere in the middle of all these viewpoints. I've learned a lot from ethernautrix over the years in this respect (among others)...[.quote]

    I wasn't aware of that, and it's kind of you to say so. Thank you.

    As for fires.... That's what I'm talking about. I remember the Oakland Hills fire back in '92 or '93. A TV reporter stood in front of, or near, her own house burning down to the ground (a completed novel on her computer's hard drive, the only copy)... and she did her job and reported on the fire. Impressive.

    What can you do when you lose just about all of your material possessions? I don't want to tempt the fates (if there are any) (no offense, Fates, if you're reading this), but what an opportunity! I'm thinking of the Japanese proverb: "The barn burned down. Now I can see the moon." I'm thinking of the Chinese Farmer (who, in China, is just a farmer) who responds to fortune and calamity with the same "we'll see" as the events in his life influence coming events -- the ebb and flow of fortune good and bad. It's life.

    I know. It's easy to have this "hey, life, it is what it is" attitude when you're not being challenged. It's when you're being challenged -- and we all are (have been or will be) -- that tests you. There's no right way. Mourn your losses. Celebrate your wins. You just keep going, even if it looks like you've stalled.

    Cos (and this is where I always end up) what's the alternative?




    Correction: Oakland Hills fire of 1991
    Last edited by ethernautrix; September 29th, 2019 at 03:03 PM. Reason: Factual correction
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    I personally will take any of my pens with me, but they always travel in a hard, protective case.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Every Day Carry on the road

    In other news, regarding the Fates...

    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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