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Thread: Wilderness pens

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    Member Dave's Avatar
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    Default Wilderness pens

    'Kay, so I am back 'home' as in back in the States for a few weeks, though don't really keep a permanent address (something for when I get older I reckon!). Data handed over, waiting on next assignment to be passed down. Looks like the SARS-Cov-2 death rate is dropping, if I am reading the stats right, even with this Ohmigod variant that is dominating the news. Hope everyone here is weathering the situation well.

    Last mission was longer than usual, mostly related to pandemic issues and travel restrictions. Did not see a single penguin!

    Twittering on a bit, get to the point Dave. 'Kay. Thunk about using a pen in erm various environments and recall saying something about the Pilot pen with the posting nib. So I got one. Had a friend order one up online so it would be waiting for me (with luck and praying to the postal gods) when I got back. Have to say that I like the nib very much, and can defo see that ink supplies will last longer. Doesn't even make much difference to my spidery scrawlings either. By comparison the Lamy 2000, which has been a trooper, seems like a massive hunk of nib!

    So what is the point of this thread? 'Kay, the Lamy is made of Makrolon, which is quite robust. The Pilot, a 742 model I think - torpedo shape, is made of some sort of plastic that feels to me that it may not withstand the rigors of life outdoors. That got me wondering if there may be better or more robust pens to consider? Metal pens are out by the way, I do not like the weight or feel in fingers.

    Given that the next destination could be anywhere from tundra to desert*, are there any recommendations from the community on choice of pens?


    Note, the pen will be kept in a hard case when not in use, but exposed to whatever environmental elements (heat, atmospheric water, dust, sand, penguin guano) abound, though I do make efforts to try not to write in the rain. In addition, limited ink supply carry so nib has to be extra fine (now that I know what that truly means).


    *fingers and toes are crossed that it will be a place where the air is composed of less water and bugs.

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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    Have you tried any ebonite pens?

    Good luck!

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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    I can suggest two.
    1. Kaweco Special FP. It is a metal pen that is slightly larger in diameter than a pencil. It has a screw on cap that will screw on to the top of the barrel for posting and easy retention and will take standard international cartridges or a converter (sold separately). I have one and can attest to its durability and serviceability. *
    *ADDED: I neglected to mention that the Special also has an O ring in the cap that effectively seals the capped pen to prevent it either leaking or drying out.

    2. Gravitas Entry. It is also a metal pen. It is about the same diameter as my CS Duro. The cap screws on but it a 'slip fit' for posting.


    A side note if I may. Either pen could prove useful in one of those rare moments during a, shall we say, 'less than amiable social interaction' when one may wish to terminate the 'conversation'.
    Last edited by An old bloke; April 25th, 2022 at 08:38 PM.

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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    How about a pen made of delrin or ultem? See Schon or Karas.

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    Senior Member Lloyd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    Opus88 demonstrator? Durable, huge ink supply, cut off valve?

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    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    Mechanical pencils are a better choice for wilderness.

    I worked in remote places, as a campjack, horsepacker, guide, grazing cop, backcountry ranger, and field hydrologist, for most of my adult life. The notebooks I filled were sources for several books.
    Last edited by Chip; April 29th, 2022 at 11:05 PM.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    Quote Originally Posted by catbert View Post
    How about a pen made of delrin or ultem? See Schon or Karas.
    I second catbert's suggestion. The Ultem that is a somewhat yellowish color has been really popular with a particular crowd who favor tech/tactical look-and-feel, but he also offers it in black. If you paired that up with a well-tuned fine nib, you would have a very robust writing instrument that could survive most anything.

    Schon DSGN pens
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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    I'm with you on Pilot's plastics feeling a bit brittle. Platinum and Sailor aren't much different. I think ebonite is also too brittle for your circumstances. You've eliminated metal.

    Writing in the rain is its own specific challenge. Fountain pens are out, but so is most paper. Rite in the Rain type paper with pencil, "space pens", or fine tip permanent markers (Staedtler preferably, but Sharpie in a pinch) works fine. If it's the occasional rainy adventure, a small reporter notebook can accept quick notes that you can transcribe later.

    My personal go-to fountain pen for field environments is a Kaweco Sport. I've posted before about the one I carried in my front pants pocket during a tour in Kandahar. That same pen has been all over the globe. Name the season and environment and I had it with me and used it (minus rain, as noted) Although I hung up the uniform and don't see rough living anymore, that little pen still works and is one of the essential things in my pocket. Even if you decide on something else, a $25 Kaweco Sport is never a bad thing to have on hand. The little 2-pen sleeve will hold a Kaweco Sport pencil along with the pen, just in case it rains...

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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    Yikes! That is a lot of suggestions. Metal is out as said before. Delrin I have come across. Ultem is a new material on me. Can't say as I was that taken with the Schon design, and it is not clear if the Pilot nib will fit into that body. Yep, Chip, mainly use pencils (a Kerry branded one) for work field notes. The fountain pen is only for my personal journaling. It is an affectation not really suitable but we all have our little quirks.

    DNeal, good suggestion and given the size if could mean I might be able to squeeze a second fountain pen into to my gear tray! Either as backup or primary. Kandahar is an odd place to go for a holiday but each to their own.

    Lots of things to consider. Durability, does what I want it to do, portability and so on. Also, now that I have tried this "postal" nib I kinda want that performance. So gotta factor that in too.

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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    Another Ultem pen for your consideration: https://karaskustoms.com/product/ult.../#ultem-vertex

    Both the Schon and Karas pens take no. 6 nibs, the former Jowo, the latter Bock (including a titanium option). Unclear if Pilot nibs would fit. Others can probably weigh in about that.

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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    For a couple decades my FPs would be in a soft wrap in a duffel in the open bed of a pickup while I was working in the Sonoran, Mojave, and Chihuahuan deserts. They all worked when needed with no other consideration of price, or ink for that matter. The hodge podge of pens went for under a sawbuck, individually, to over a grand, with the two-dollar FPs' performance comparable to the big-buck pens. Either it works or doesn't. FYI, official notes and forms were required to be in pencil for the sake of permanence.

    Why not use the Pilot if you like it? On the other hand, variety is the spice of life. Just don't get lost in the weeds.

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    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    The places I worked were pretty harsh. The elevation (8000-12,000 ft.) and temperature ranges (80s to -40F) can cause even the best fountain pen to leak. Since we often camped out in subzero cold, it would have been hard to keep the ink from freezing, which could damage the pen. I love fountain pens, but the frustration and potential damage to the pen during fieldwork ruled them out.


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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    The places I worked were pretty harsh. The elevation (8000-12,000 ft.) and temperature ranges (80s to -40F) can cause even the best fountain pen to leak. Since we often camped out in subzero cold, it would have been hard to keep the ink from freezing, which could damage the pen. I love fountain pens, but the frustration and potential damage to the pen during fieldwork ruled them out.

    That being the case, I suggest the Kaweco Special ballpoint pen and/or the Kaweco Special mechanical pencil. There is also a lead holder.

    https://www.amazon.com/kaweco-specia...kaweco+special

    https://www.jetpens.com/Kaweco-Speci...ecial%20Series

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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    With my luck, Chip, I'd get to where you are in the picture and realize I forgot my pen or pencil at home and have to turn around, get it, and then come back.

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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd View Post
    With my luck, Chip, I'd get to where you are in the picture and realize I forgot my pen or pencil at home and have to turn around, get it, and then come back.
    In winter, that spot (the ice of Island Lake, Titcomb Basin in the Wind River Range, Wyoming) is two days of steep skiing from the trailhead. Can't afford to forget much, so I was a madman for checklists.

    One of my regular partners, a bit of a stoner, once forgot to pack his stove on a winter traverse of the Teton summits.

    So I not only made long lists, but would lay out the gear, food, fuel, etc. where I could see it before we packed up.

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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    "Kay, marching orders are in. Still have a few more weeks R&R first. Re-reading the responses here has enabled me to consider a couple of different options. Naturally it goes without mentioning that I don't know a great deal about all the various brand types, so guided by y'all I am going to grab one of the Kaweco Sport pens and hope the plastic holds up well. On this next field trip the Lamy 2000 will stay with a friend, for cleaning and storage, and the Pilot with the postal nib plus the Kaweco Sport with an extra fine nib will be coming for the ride. Will be using cartridges for both, so there may be a couple of contrasting colors in my journal this time round.

    As for the upcoming field trip - like the last I am not permitted to say where it is precisely. What can I tell you? Breathing in and out will involve less water and bugs! We will have to take extra layers, and apparently wolves may be a local hazard. I can cope with wolves. Bears, no.

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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    Sorry, forgot to ask. Is there some kind of index on this website? It is kinda hard to pinpoint specific info and I do not want to generate a lot of superfluous posts asking questions if there is an index for reference.

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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
    Sorry, forgot to ask. Is there some kind of index on this website? It is kinda hard to pinpoint specific info and I do not want to generate a lot of superfluous posts asking questions if there is an index for reference.
    Theres an advanced search function you can use with keywords, and then endure the necrothread comments. Damned if you do, and all that.

    Id just start a new thread with your question(s).

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    Default Re: Wilderness pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
    Pilot pen with the posting nib.
    The Pilot, a 742 model I think - torpedo shape, is made of some sort of plastic that feels to me that it may not withstand the rigors of life outdoors.
    Pics please. Would like to see the posting nib.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Wilderness pens


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