Since I live in Florida, every year about this time, I have to start thinking about what I'm going to do if a hurricane suddenly turns its unwanted attentions my direction.
Part of the preparations include packing some bags in case there is an evacuation. And this year, mulling over the list of necessary items, I got to wondering, what pens would be the best ones to go in a survival kit.
It could only be a few pens. When packing for survival, every piece counts. So, how many pens would do it? No more than a fistful, at the most. So, five pens. Five good writing instruments to see me through any eventuality, from being stranded on a deserted island to facing the zombie apocalypse.
After some serious thinking, this is what I came up with.
1) Uniball Power Tank RT - This one was a no-brainer. With its pressurized ink cartridge, it will write in almost any weather condition and in any position, even underwater and on wet paper.
The Power Tank is a ballpoint so the ink has no sex appeal whatsoever, but this isn't the pen for fancy occasions. This is the one you use to take down important details, like how far it is to the nearest food source. That doesn't have to be pretty - it just has to cling to the paper and not let go.
It's reasonably rugged for a plastic pen - although I don't recommend using it as a hand tool - and has a fat, comfortable grip for easy use.
2) Smith & Wesson Tactical Survival Pen - Another obvious choice for those terrifying end-of-the-world situations. This is the pen you can use to calculate your remaining fuel or to fend off an attacking zombie.
The barrel is made of aircraft aluminum. On one end, a pen that writes with standard Parker refills. On the other end, a blunt striking surface perfect for self-defense. Inside the barrel, there is a ferro rod fire-starter. How brilliant is that?
Overall length, just more than 6 inches.
3) Sharpie Super Twin Tip - The perfect pen for permanently marking all the important stuff you want noticed, like your giant "HELP!" sign.
Sharpies can write on almost anything in big, bold indelible strokes, and are reliable to a fault, no matter how much you abuse them. The Twin Tip comes with both a fine point for writing and a chisel tip for marking larger items. Available in red, black and blue.
Just don't leave the cap off.
4) Uniball Clipturn Multi-Function Pen - This is the pen you will appreciate when you have to run for your life.
As pens go, the Clipturn is not a spectacular perfomer. It has two ordinary ballpoints - red and black - and a mechanical pencil in a functional, albeit sexy, barrel. What makes it a great survival pen is the fact that you can clip it to a lanyard, so it never gets lost.
The clip even turns 360 degrees, which means that no matter what, it will stay attached. When you lose everything else, you'll still be able to write.
5) Lamy Al-Star - God forbid, you may have to pen a goodbye note to your loved ones. When you do, you want to do it in a beautiful hand, and a fountain pen is the only choice for that.
The Al-Star made the cut for two reasons. One, it is an extremely simple cartridge fountain pen, which is what you would want when fleeing from a hurricane or fighting for survival against armies of the undead. Two, it is known for being rugged, due to its aluminum body and reliable brass clip.
You probably won't need it, but pack it just in case. What could it hurt?
So, readers, those are my recommendations for an end-of-the-world pen kit. Five simple instruments that could and would cover every writing eventuality that may arise, along with a few extra survival aides.
What do you think? Any pens that made the list, but shouldn't have, or any that should have been on it and weren't?