Pens are multifunctional tools that we use almost every day. Many of us have accumulated quite the collection over time: big pens, small pens, ballpoint pens, fountain pens, multicolored pens, and dozens of others that probably haven’t been touched in the last 5 years.
Since you’ve already got a couple dozen, how about checking out one more? Space pens are unique writing utensils that last forever, and can stand up to any harsh environment you decide to camp in – even if that happens to be Antarctica. We’ll talk about the special features these pens have, and why you’d want to bring one on a camping trip in the first place.
Who Needs a Pen?
This might be the question you’re asking yourself right now. For day to day life, sure, it’s understandable that you’ll need a writing tool at some point in time, whether to fill out a check, jot down a reminder, or sign a birthday card. But for camping? Nah, it’s just a useless trinket that’ll get lost at some point during the trip.
If this is how you’re thinking, I’d like to take some time in the following paragraphs to try and convince you that a camping pen is a valuable tool. Whether you like to think of yourself as a writer or not, you’ll discover that there are several practical uses for a pen that will help you in a pinch.
Uses for a Camping Pen
This is by no means an exhaustive list. A pen is the sort of object that you can find dozens (if not hundreds) of uses for if you think long enough, but we’ll cover a few of the most common and practical tasks you can accomplish while camping.
We’ll get the obvious answer out of the way first. But just because it’s a no-brainer doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good reason to bring a pen with you on your camping trip. Some of us enjoy taking notes about how we’re feeling, things we appreciate, and moments that we want to lock away in a place more reliable than our memory. Though I wouldn’t consider myself someone who journals often, there are definitely times when I’m glad to have a pen and paper on hand. I’m sure many of us are in the same boat with that one.
Thoughts and feelings aren’t the only things that you’ll want to make note of when you’re camping, though. Perhaps you’d like to remember how to get to a certain fishing location next time you’re in the area, or keep track of how much food you have left (and if it’s going to last the whole trip). Writing these things down can be a lifesaver, especially during a traditionally tech free activity.
When you’re in the wild, there are any number of animals that might pose a threat to your safety. Hopefully you have a knife on you to fend off any potential attacks, but in the worst case scenario, you can use your pen as a makeshift weapon.
Grip the handle firmly in your hand, with the tip facing away from you. The tapered tip of the pen is going to be your striking point as you jab forward, ideally aiming for a soft place like the throat or eyes. Again, while it’s not the most ideal situation, using the pen in this way might just be what you need to get yourself out of a pinch.
If you want to create torque to tighten rope or fabric, a pen might just be what you need. All you have to do is create a knot around the pen, and start twisting it until the material has thoroughly tightened around itself, then tuck it under to hold it in place. You could always use a stick, but they’re not as sturdy and compact as a metal pen.
Create a Tinder Nest
Sometimes all you want to do is cozy up next to a roaring fire as the evening starts to turn cold. Campfires are quite easy to build, as all you’ll really need are tinder, kindling, fuel, a way to ignite it all, and a safe place to enjoy it. Tinder is the small stuff that’s easy to light in order to get the fire going, which as you might have guessed, is incredibly important to have.
Many campers and survivalists like to make use of a “tinder nest” to help them get their fire started. To make this, drag the tip of your pen over the small fibers of wood in a log or plank. By going with the grain, you’ll create small, wood threads that you can bunch together to form a nest. If you drop a live coal inside here, you’ll have a fire going in no time – otherwise, ignite with a lighter or match.
Fisher Space Pen Product Review
I’ve had my Fisher Space pen for a couple of months now. In that time, it’s travelled with me through 5 different states, just as many campgrounds, been half buried in a desert, fallen off a cliff, and overall gone through more of a wringer than your average pen would in a lifetime. I like to think I do a good job of taking care of my stuff, but when I’m reviewing a new product, I want to make sure it’s durable, you know?
But before I get into the nitty gritty details of the pen and what I think of it, let me give a little background into the history of “space pens.”
What is a Space Pen?
The first space pen (also known as an “anti-gravity” pen) was first developed in 1965 by Austrian Friedrich Schächter. However, it was Paul Fisher who successfully developed the first reliable sealed and pressurized ink cartridge, and it was the Fisher Space pen that was selected to travel past the atmosphere with astronauts in 1967.
Space pens are special because, as the name implies, they were created for use in outer space. Naturally, conditions in space are very different than they are down here on Earth, so a lot of considerations had to go into the pen design. It had to be able to write in zero gravity, and survive in the vacuum of space, among other things that we’ll discuss below.
Features and Styles
The ink cartridges in a space pen are pressurized by compressed nitrogen. This allows you to write at any angle (even upside down) and have the ink come out at consistent rate, without fading or gaps appearing. Operating temperatures range from -30 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, which should just about cover all of your bases for day to day use…unless you’re planning a trip to Antarctica or some other crazy place like it. In that case, I don’t think there’s any product out there that will be able to help you!
Generally speaking, there are two different styles of pen that you can get: the astronaut pen, and the bullet pen. The astronaut pen is a long, thin pen that’s retractable and shaped like a common ballpoint. The bullet pen (what I have) is shorter than your average pen when capped, and isn’t retractable like the astronaut pen. However, when you take the cap off and attach it to the back end of the pen, it ends up being just as long as what you would normally write with.
So, How Does it Actually Perform?
And my answer is…well enough for me to actually write a review for it! Trust me, I wouldn’t bother going through the effort if it wasn’t something good.
Like I mentioned a little earlier in this review, I’ve been pretty rough with this little guy, dropping it from high places, getting it covered in sand, etc. All of that was intentional, because as a product that claims to be exceptionally durable, I expect it to withstand some rough backpacking and then some. Now that I’m back from a week in Colorado, you want to know how much damage the pen took?
Nothing. Not even a scratch.
So in terms of durability, I’m quite pleased. In terms of everything else, you could say I’m fairly indifferent. For all intents and purposes, it’s just a regular pen that was designed to withstand some pretty brutal environments.
Most of you will never be in temperatures pushing 200 degrees, most of you won’t be writing in a zero gravity environment, and you presumably won’t ever find yourself stumbling into the vacuum of space with a need to write home apologizing for being late for dinner. Frankly, if you don’t care too much about your pens, you’re better off buying a Pilot G2 from Target for a buck. There’s nothing bad about the Fisher Space Pen, but there’s also nothing so out-of-this-world (pun intended) spectacular about it that makes it worth the price.
Why You Shouldn’t Write It Off
Still, there’s a certain novelty about this pen that some of you will find attractive. Sure, you may never make use of all the features packed into it, but how cool is it to have a pen that can function normally in outer space? I bet that’s not something your friends can say about their writing utensils.
And all things considered, it is a phenomenal pen. The durability, special additions, and other tricks are one thing, but putting pen to paper feels incredibly smooth as well. The bullet shape packs down really small, so I had no problem sliding it in my pocket and going about my day without noticing it was there. For something high quality that can withstand a rugged, outdoor lifestyle, you certainly won’t be complaining when this pen finds its way into your hand.