When we travel for the summer, we all have things we overpack for fear of not having just the right item at our fingertips. For some people, it’s clothing. For others, it’s books, or technology, or yarn. And for the pen-and-paper geeks among us, it’s stationery. How are we supposed to choose just one pen to bring with us? How can we pack just one notebook? How to choose just one stationery set for writing letters home?
So tell us: what’s in your stationery survival kit? Are you a minimalist, with one trusty pen and a favorite notebook? Are you a pack-for-every-contingency type, with a full pencil case and a minimum of five pens? What’s the stationery you can’t live without?
The Stationery Minimalist
You travel light so you’re ready for anything. You carry a versatile, refillable notebook—a Traveler’s Notebook or Hobonichi—and one solid, sturdy, not-too-precious workhorse of a pen like a Lamy Safari or a TWSBI Eco clipped to the cover. You tuck everything else you need into inside pockets. Your notebook is your planner, journal, wallet, and all, wrapped up in one easy place, so it’s always ready to head out the door.
Your survival kit is a mobile studio. You carry a Peg and Awl tool roll stuffed with the tools of your trade: a zig water brush, micron pens in different sizes, Blackwing pencils, a Kakimori dip pen, and a pencil sharpener and eraser. For good measure, you also carry the Ferris Wheel Press Brush Fountain Pen, a TWSBI Diamond Mini, and an arsenal of tiny ink sample bottles in different colors. You’ve got a pocket watercolor set. Then you have your linen-bound Goldline Sketchbook for painting beautiful landscapes and architecture, a set of watercolor postcards for creating studies to send to friends, and a set of mini MD pocket notebooks for little sketches throughout the day.
You can’t go anywhere without taking notes. You carry a Leuchtturm notebook with its handy table of contents for everyday journaling, a larger-format Monocle notebook for your novel-in-progress, and a small Mnemosyne memo pad that lives in your pocket for jotting down ideas that come to you, with a tiny Minimo ballpoint pen clipped onto the spiral binding. You have a Pilot Custom 823 loaded with your favorite literary ink (King Lear) for writing long journal entries, plus a Sailor Pro Gear Slim for writing your novel (it’s your lucky pen). You carry two kinds of letter paper: Midori’s fountain-pen-friendly pad for longer letters, and one of their cute animal sets for shorter notes. For good measure, you also carry E Frances Little Notes, for when you need to leave someone a brief thank-you note.
Your journal is your planner, your hobby, and your creative outlet. You carry a Leuchtturm Bullet Journal, an MD Notebook, or a Hobonichi planner. Your pencil case is loaded with the basic necessities: Mildliner highlighters, transfer stickers, rubber stamps and a small ink pad, small portable scissors and correction tape, and a minimum of three rolls of washi tape (skinny tapes for making borders and underlines, wide ones for decorative purposes). You have a set of Platinum Preppies loaded with different ink colors for writing, and a Pilot Parallel for making fancy headers. You’ve got a couple of stencils for numbering and lettering, too.
The Doomsday Prepper
Paper will soon be a precious commodity. You carry a manual paper shredder for making paper pulp, a pair of garden shears for foraging materials to make ink, and a sharp letter opener for all-purposes (opening the mail, fending off bears, spear-fishing). You’ve been training carrier pigeons to carry your mail, so postage stamps won’t be an issue, but you carry a roll of strong twine to tie letters to the birds’ legs. You use a waterproof stone paper notebook and an archival Micron pen to record your experiences for posterity. Duct tape is great for mending worn pages, in addition to any number of other emergencies.
What’s in your stationery survival kit?