With all the fountain pen advocacy on this blog, some may be surprised to learn that <gasp> I don’t always use fountain pens for writing. In some situations, they’re not the best tools for the job. When I take the kids to the playground, for example, I don’t want to bring along a $100 pen with a screw cap–you need two hands to open it, and there’s always the possibility of a lost or stolen pen.
What, then, does the fountain pen guy use when he’s not using a fountain pen?
I’m a fan of these:
That’s the Pilot G2 gel ink pen. The two in front are the metal-barreled G2 Limited version in charcoal and champagne colors, and the one in the back is a standard plastic G2 in blue.
It’s not a fountain pen, but in all honesty, it writes almost as well as one. It also has the advantage of being cheap. The standard model is about $2 in most places, and even the much more expensive-looking Limited can be had for right around $10. The best thing about them is that the refills come in four point sizes and are available just about everywhere. Even my local pharmacy carries them. I like the standard “fine” 0.7mm point for my notebooks, and the “broad” 1.0mm for loose-leaf paper. On occasion, I also use the “ultra-fine” 0.38mm. The pens and refills come in a dozen or more different colors, and the gel ink is smooth and fairly durable.
Unlike a fountain pen, the G2 can be opened and closed with one hand, which is convenient when you do the kind of stop-and-go writing I practice during the day. If you can’t or don’t want to write with a fountain pen, the G2 gel pens are a pretty good alternative–not quite as good as a smooth fountain pen nib, but much better than any ballpoint pen, and less of a hassle to maintain than a fountain pen. They’re great little workhorses, and I always have a few of them on my desk.