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Best Pen For Field Work?


John_David_91
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This year I made a resolution that I am going to spend the majority of my time outdoors, away from the hustle of city life, out of the malls and into the woods. Camping, hiking, photography, WRITING! :D Trying on the Thoreau shoes for once in my life (however moderate it may be -- I wish I could go all the way like he did) and write about it. I have this idea of bringing a notebook with me and jotting things down with a fountain pen.

 

I was wondering if anyone has a suggestion for a fountain pen that can be taken onto the trails. I'm looking for any brand that offers a fine nib, sturdy build, good flow when using Noodler's Ink, and can possibly take a light beating.

 

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

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John

 

Apologies in advance for a side issue but your plans seem attuned with an amateur walker and notetaker Alfred Wainwright who wrote some charming guide books on walking, particulalrly in Lake District of England:

 

http://thelakedistrict.inbooks.co.uk/lake-district-walks/wainwright-books/

 

The name Wainwright has become almost legendary and might be an idea for you. the story on how the books first came to print is a remarkable story in itself,

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Pilot's Vanishing Points/Capless have metal chassises which should be able to take quite a beating :) And they're incredibly convenient as well!

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If I am going into the bush I take a Kaweco Sport. Starts every time even after months of not being used. It's a cartridge pen though, so if you insist on Noodler's inks you will need a syringe, but it seems more sensible if you are in the wilderness to take a few cartridges rather than bottles of ink! Very compact but when posted it's a full-size pen. $23.50 from jetpens. They come with no clip but you can buy a clip if you like.

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I love my Schrade Tactical Fountain Pen for taking along, when any other pen is impractical because it would get damaged. And I love the way it writes.

 

I do not really think about its use as a possible weapon.

 

https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/195521-schrade-tactical-pen/

Cheers,

 

“It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness

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The Tombow Object Fountain Pen is an all metal affair and is pretty simple. It also comes with a range of nib units.

 

Parker Frontier perhaps, with an all metal body, although my one doesn't seem to like any ink other than Quink.

 

Italix Captain's commission - heavy, all metal affair that should be rugged enough.

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I would go for a Kaweco Sport as well, if you go for the plastic models (classic sport or ice sport as opposed to the AL sport) you can convert them to an eyedropper, the capacity should last you a good couple of weeks of notebooking.

For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love. -Carl Sagan

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I use a TWSBI mini with a Fine nib in situations like you describe. I use it for field notes in a small Rhodia (No. 11) notebook, marking down bird sightings primarily. It writes very small, and I use nothing but Organics Studios Charles Darwin black ink. It is very fast dry water resistant ink, perfect for fast outdoor note taking. The only down side to the pen is that it requires posting it,so can slow down the process of fast field notes. Otherwise for me it is perfect.

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I walk a lot, primarily because of the ned to recover from a series of strokes.I tale my notebook and either my Pilot Vanishing Point or my Lamy 2000 fp with me. Usually, my route is planned so that I end at a local park, where I sit down in a picnic table to rest my right leg. And I usually use that time to get my notebook out and I get my writing done.

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I spend a lot of time hiking in the woods. I take an Esterbrook SJ with a 9450 (fine) nib. Any of the Esterbrook S series would be good (they all have the same ink capacity). The pen is hell for rugged. The nib units interchange easily. A bottle of ink in a Ziplock bag will keep me going for weeks.

 

If there is danger of a soaking (canoe/kayak/raft trips), I take a synthetic notebook and a pencil. A paper notebook that has been doused and then dried will forever after feather and bleed.

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For what it's worth - I've had a Pilot 78G in my pocket for over two years now. It's NEVER leaked, come undone or EVER let me down.

It replaced the Kaweco Sport I used to carry

 

 

as mine would always have a capful of ink when I needed it most. Grr.

I chose the 78G as it was cheap enough to lose or break but thankfully it's done neither.

Best of luck.

 

John

 

Apologies in advance for a side issue but your plans seem attuned with an amateur walker and notetaker Alfred Wainwright who wrote some charming guide books on walking, particulalrly in Lake District of England:

 

http://thelakedistrict.inbooks.co.uk/lake-district-walks/wainwright-books/

 

The name Wainwright has become almost legendary and might be an idea for you. the story on how the books first came to print is a remarkable story in itself,

 

Aww, a friend bought me the Scottish version when I used to spend a lot of time there and Wainwright really manages to capture the mood and feel for the place with his words and sketches.

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Another vote for the Kaweco Sport. When I go on hiking and backpacking trips it's the fountain pen that I bring. Not that I ever really use it much, but I would feel weird without one. It's small (but is a normal sized pen after posting), lightweight, robust, and cheap enough where I wouldn't lose sleep if I were to lose it out in the woods.

 

Like others have mentioned though, its cartridges or eyedropper fill only. My suggestion is eyedropper it and keep your ink in a bottle with a narrow mouth. That way you can just easily pour ink into the body instead of having to carry around an eyedropper or ink syringe if you plan on doing any extended trips.

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I really hate to say this but when it comes to field work you are better off with a ball point pen or pencil. Water or moisture will wreak havoc with your notes. My favorite ball points are the Uni Ball Jetstrems. Please forgive me for my blasphemy.

Edited by Steven

Avatar painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 - 1905) titled La leçon difficile (The difficult lesson)

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I took my Carenes in the field, but using cartridges. Any nib creep becomes section creep. Rather than worry about bulletproof ink, I lived out of zipper plastic baggies for journal, carts & occasionally pen. Just remove the cart & bag the pen before high-G maneuvers.

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I would take whatever my favourites are at the time, but ensure that they are in a good, sturdy, and water resistant case. Same for the paper. Of course, wisdom suggests a pencil or two also, in case poor weather requires improvisation.

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Like others have mentioned though, its cartridges or eyedropper fill only. My suggestion is eyedropper it and keep your ink in a bottle with a narrow mouth. That way you can just easily pour ink into the body instead of having to carry around an eyedropper or ink syringe if you plan on doing any extended trips.

 

Interesting thread. The Kaweco Sport fits my bill, since the short length makes snapping it less of an issue.

 

Re. The bottle - does anyone have any experience of decanting the ink into those handy mini size contact lens fluid containers?

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I would get a steel nibbed pen, preferably one that is some bright gaudy color so I don't drop and lose it, preferably with a cartridge filling so that I don't have to worry about contaminating a whole bottle of ink with dirt as well as the lack of pen cleaning facilities. A pilot 78g in red fits this bill, and if I did lose/damage it, it'd be cheap to replace.

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