We just returned from vacation and I thought that now would be a good time to reflect on the stationary that got used. As was written about in an earlier post, my load out consisted of two bullet pencils, a pair of Palomino Golden Bears, a bespoke pocket notebook, and a KUM two stage sharpener. For letter writing I had an A4 pad of Franklin-Christoph sugar cane paper as well as a stack of envelopes and stamps. To the above I also added my current pocket notebook made by Hit List books out of Edmonton.
When we got to the Yukon I took out my Gore-Tex jacket and was pleasantly surprised to find a Nockco Hightower stuffed into the breast pocket. I had been looking for that damn pen holder for months and was happy to have it back in rotation. Inside the Hightower was as stack of 3x5 cards, a Clairefontaine pocket notebook, a blue/black Uni Ball Vision Elite, a red Uni Ball 0.7 mm Signo 207 and a purple Pentel 0.7 mm Energel.
So how did my arsenal hold up? The bullet pencil that I selected contained a Staedtler Norica HB pencil. This pencil writes smoothly and dark but is quite soft which made for a lot of sharpening. This didn't bother me but it would be a pain if you didn't have a pencil sharpener on hand. As you can see below, the pencil was used until it could no longer be sharpened in the KUM and was then replaced by an insert made from one of the Golden Bears. The Golden Bears hold a point a little better than the Norica so they might be a better choice for the bullet pencil going forward. My second bullet pencil was fitted with a Palomino Blackwing 602 but this really didn't see too much use. On the ferry ride back from Juneau I had to borrow a mystery brand pencil from my 5 year old's crayon box and it was much too hard for my liking and made for a very light coloured and low contrast journal entry.
With using pencil in the journal, it became evident early on that graphite transfer between sheets was going to be an ongoing problem. To solve this I took two of the 3x5 index cards and placed them one and two pages back in the journal so that any graphite would be transferred to them rather than the journal pages. This worked well.
So what about the liquid ink and gel pens? They were a fiasco! The blue/black Uni Ball Vision Elite feathered like mad on an absorbent post card and the Energel smeared on the glossy ones. I did have a fine Sharpie Pen on hand for part of the trip which performed much better on postcards so I will have to remember this in the future.
And what about the letter writing? It didn't happen. By the time we got back at the end of the day and did a little journalling, there really wasn't much time left over. I'm glad the option was there even if I didn't exercise it.
Would I go pencil only again in the future? Likely not. Did I miss my fountain pens? I did but I think that having a low cost, medium nibbed Pilot on hand would have solved this. I'm happy with Pilot cartridges so taking a vial of ink along would not be required.