Way back when I first started this blog, I published a short post titled “The Gentleman Hits the Road” where I walked through my travel kit that I used for work. Since I’ve spent so much time on the road this year, I thought it might be a good time to revisit that post and offer some insight into what I’ve been using when I’m away from my desk. There may be some recency bias here, as you’ll recognize several things that I’ve reviewed in the past month or so, but this selection is fairly representative of my work “road carry”, with the exception of pen shows where I’ll obviously take more. Here goes:
Nock Co. Sinclair. The Sinclair remains my preferred travel pen case and general carry-all, mainly because it zips closed and holds all of the pens that I would want to carry with me on a work trip, along with room for a pocket notebook and a few other things. I’ve thinned out my pen cases over the years to where I only have one Sinclair, with black waxed canvas with red interior.
Rotring 800. I like having a pencil on me, but sharpening a woodcase pencil on an airplane or in a hotel or conference room isn’t exactly convenient. My choice of mechanical pencil typically alternates between one of my Rotrings (this time it was the 800) or the Uni Kuru Toga.
PenBBS 355. Even though I don’t carry it with me everywhere and it often never leaves the hotel room, I travel with at least one fountain pen, and preferably one that either has a large ink capacity or uses cartridges so I don’t have to refill from a bottle when I’m away from home. I’ve been extremely satisfied with PenBBS’s take on the syringe filler (or “bulkfiller”), and it likely will be at least another month of steady use before I have to refill this thing.
Baux Pen or Pokka Pen. I’m sometimes torn on whether to actually bother to pack a ballpoint when I’m traveling for work, since most hotels and conference centers will supply a functional ballpoint pen (and sometimes pretty good ones). If I do take a ballpoint, it’s one of the sturdy and portable Baux Pens or the pocketable Pokka.
Nanami Paper Cafe Note. This compact-yet-voluminous B6 notebook has been my constant daily writing companion over the past two years. Since much of my notebook writing takes the form of long lists of bullet points, the longer, narrower format of something like the Cafe Note, the hardback Kunisawa Find pocket notebook, or even the Field Notes End Papers or Front Page works best for me. I still use standard A4 or A5 notebooks, but for specific purposes such as long-form journaling or drafting things longhand.
I was pleased to see that the general format of my travel carry hasn’t changed much over the years, and that my use is fairly consistent. If I ever needed to take a truly extended trip, I might add another fountain pen and consolidate my ballpoint/rollerball/mechanical pencil carry into a multi pen like the Lamy 2000 or the Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black, but I still try to limit it to no more than three pens/pencils. Packing for trips and making these decisions is all part of the fun!
Disclaimer: This post contains links to paid sponsors and affiliates.