Goulet Q&A Episode 14, Traveling With Your Fountain Pens

I’m really sorry I didn’t end up doing a Q&A the last couple of weeks. I’d originally intended to publish this one on November 22, but sickness in my family ended up requiring a lot of my attention and I wasn’t able to record it before I left to be with Rachel’s family for Thanksgiving (which is why I didn’t do a Q&A last week). But I’m back now and will be putting them out every week again, as scheduled. 

I wasn’t really sure how many questions I’d get when I solicited questions for this week’s Q&A, especially because I already have a Fountain Pen 101 video on both Flying With Fountain Pens and Pen Storage, but you all came through for me! I got a lot of great questions. Be sure to also check out previous week’s Q&A’s if you’ve missed any.

Here are this week’s questions:

1) Graham T.- Facebook (4:04):
What is the best nib size/ ink combo to travel with!? When you are not using your own nice paper, and are instead writing on others peoples documents (usually copier paper,) What is the best combo to have that is both legible and won’t feather? I love using FP but I always have to carry a ballpoint to avoid this. 

2) @mscollis- Twitter/Christina P- Facebook (5:26):
Can pens in a pen case cause problems at airport security? Traveling regulations on ink or nibs?

3) David H.- Facebook/@MissGretchenX- Twitter/Jacqueline C.- Facebook (7:06):
What type of small travel bottle is best that will not break, be easily portable, etc. something that I can fill up before the trip. I see people speaking about a Nalgene bottle, but cannot figure out which one. (Nalgene has a travel kit as well)

4) Kelly S.- Facebook (8:47):
Is the Visconti power filler system “all that”? i’d like to see some pros & cons…  

5) Nate L.- Facebook (10:12):
Best travel pen/ink/paper combo? Rugged, durable pen, paper that can be almost waterproof, and a quick dry ink? 

6) Maya G.- Facebook (12:05):
What should you look for in a case to carry multiple pens for months at a time.  

7) Cws Y.- Facebook (14:00):
What precautions should be taken when carrying around an eyedropper pen? My platinum preppy ED is a well behaved thing, but my ED-converted pilot pet1t seems to like leaking its ink. 

8) Sabina T.- Facebook (16:03):
What carrying system do you suggest for EDCs of 2-4 fountain pens as well as pencils, erasers, tape and other on-the-fly writing and drawing accessories? I want to protect my FPs, but I also want to carry other stuff for drawing, etc., preferably all together, without having to use a million cases and a million backpack pockets. Thank you for doing these Q&As, they rock!  

9) William S.- Facebook (18:36):
Can’t wait for another Q&A video. I don’t travel much, but one question comes to mind regarding travelling with a fountain pen. If you travel by car, would the pen’s reaction as far as pressure changes be as severe as an airplane trip? 

10) Katie P.- Facebook/Tim- Ink Nouveau (21:19):
Are there any rules to keep in mind for traveling to very cold regions or high altitudes? 

11) @Slugnutty- Twitter (23:44):
Just curious as to what are the best pocket travelers? Do cartridge travel better then non or converters? Is one style worse?

12) @WeThePPIL- Twitter (25:41):
If you are carrying several quite expensive pens is there any extra insurance protection needed if they get lost or damaged?

13) Facebook (27:17):
I’ve found that if fountain pens get shaken around a lot, they can get ink shaken out all over the section and cap. This seems to happen more for some pens than others. Has anyone over at Goulet noticed this with their pens? And if they did, what’s the best way to prevent this, given that it would be unavoidable that my backpack/bag gets tossed around a lot?

14) Alec B./Michael G.- Facebook (29:23):
Is there a “best” fountain pen that is designed for flying and pressure changes? 

15) Kathie M.- Facebook (31:17):
Is it better to carry your pen nib up or nib down? 

16) Sue B.- Facebook (31:39):
Great topic! I’ve never taken my FPs out of the house but I’ve been reading recommendations for good EDC brands, such as Safari, Metropolitan, and TWSBI Mini. I’d like my next FP (from Goulet, of course!) to be purse-friendly as well as travel-friendly, so would appreciate advice about brands and models there. I’ve also read that FPs should always be carried empty on flights. Is that still true?

17) Artemis G.- Facebook (35:51):
1) should they be shoved in my pants pocket nib up or nib down 2) everything to do with taking them in an airplane–can you put in luggage or do they need to go in the carry on, etc.

18) Chris P.- Facebook (37:15):
Since I’ve gotten into FPs, I haven’t found a pen yet that won’t leak/spit/whatever from body heat & general motion in a pants pocket (I’ve found Pilots are some of my worst offenders—78Gs, Petit1s, etc.). Are there any tips you can offer for making pens pants-pocket-worthy, or any brands that are known to take these kinds of conditions well? 

19) Steven S.- Ink Nouveau (39:52):
How do you suggest carrying your pens? You don’t necessarily need to be traveling very far, or even at all, but some people go places without carrying anything with them other than what they have in their pockets. I’m fine with just keeping my cheaper pens clipped to my pants pocket, but I’m concerned about some of my more expensive ones that I would love to take with me all the time. I don’t want to just clip those to my pocket for fear that they could fall out or get damaged somehow. Any suggestions on what to do? I understand there are some options like keeping a single pen sleeve and just keeping that in your pocket without clipping them to anything at all. Just curious on what you would have to say about that.

20) Brian HC- Facebook (41:47):
Does the Nighthawk travel well in an airplane? I’m taking mine to an interview this week.

Be sure to come back next week on Friday, Dec. 13 for Goulet Q&A 15, which will be an Open Forum. Ask me whatever fountain pen, ink, or paper questions you have here in the comments, on Twitter with #GouletQA, Facebook at TheGouletPenCompany, or email GouletQA@gouletpens.com. Thanks for watching today and have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet 

2017-10-11T14:04:49+00:00 December 6th, 2013|Goulet Q&A|10 Comments
  • Thank you Brian, I have traveled with a Montblanc Legrand piston filler to London, Paris, and domestically without difficulty. I put the pens, iPhone, money clip and everything else in my Domke laptop satchel and put it on the belt.

    Have used the pen in flight, no problems.

  • Tom Johnson

    Thanks Brian, some great information in this week's Q&A, I've been looking forward to the next one. We understand that family comes first, glad you took last week off to spend with them. In 2005 I was returning to Virginia from a flight to Montreal. The
    Canadian security officer looked at my metal items in the tray
    at the x-ray machine and asked what my Namiki Vanishing Point was. I
    told her and showed how the nib came out and she was amazed, she had never heard of a retractable fountain pen. She was
    the only one on the trip that showed any curiosity over the pen. I had no problem
    flying with my Vanishing Point with ink in the cartridge. I kept it in my
    shirt pocket throughout the trip.

    I have never carried fountain pens in pants pockets. I always put them in shirt pockets or clip them to the button placket on my shirt. Fountain pens are one reason I rarely wear shirts without pockets, and then only at home! I have 3 FP's on me now and a TWSBI pencil! And Midori notebook. One alternative is to hang your pens from a neck lanyard like used for company ID's, but beware of it getting banged around a lot.

  • Robert Barrett

    Very interesting topic. Love the Q & A sessions; thanks!

    My parents used to fly constantly in the fifties and sixties. Both were FB users exclusively. My mom's Esterbrooks ALWAYS leaked, while the various Parkers my father carried were pretty much leak-free. I wonder if users of these two brands, now vintage, have noticed anything similar.

    My everyday carry is a black Kaweco Sport Classic. I usually clip it in a shirt pocket, but I have carried it in my pants pocket as well. It is a small pen, so no trouble. I would worry about carrying a longer pen that way, as it could get damaged sitting down, etc.

    I've flown with the Kaweco many times, and I've never had the slightest leak ever; I do travel with a fullish cart installed, and always nib up.

    I'm glad you're carrying Kawecos again, so I can tell the people who ask about my pen to buy from Goulet.

    Yrs, Robert Barrett

  • Henry

    There maybe a simple solution to handling changes in air pressure and fountain pen leakage… keep the pressure the same as you have at ground level by doing the following:

    Purchase either a glass lab flask with a stopper or a glass bottle with stopper. Either costs around 10 dollars. Place the pen into the glass container. Close the stopper making sure you have a good tight seal. Problem solved!

    The container should be around 160 mm or 7 inches in height. If the pen doesn't quiet fit, remove the pen cap and either store the cap in the glass container or not if you have room for it.

    Lab flasks have a simple rubber stopper that may loosen but there is an Bormioli Giara 1 Quart Glass Bottle with Stopper which uses a stopper with a metal holding latch which should work well in an air plane.

    As long as you don't need to open the bottle in-flight, your pens should land without leaking.

  • AK7579

    I will be flying to the Caribbean soon with my TWSBIs and will see how they fair against leaking.

  • Michael Graziano

    This may work for a flight to/from the same elevation, but you could have some issues if you fly from NYC (JFK – about 14 feet MSL) to Colorado Springs (COS – about 6,180 feet MSL) – your pen is going to "climb" 6000 feet instantly when you pop the cork.

  • Kate B

    Thank you for all the good information here and in your other videos. I hope everyone has recovered from their illnesses! I admire the values you hold for yourself and the company.

    I had just returned from a brief trip when I watched this. I did consult your FP 101 on travel. This one will be an excellent resource in the future as it is even more detailed.

  • Nalgene makes some good containers for storing stuff. They make some great water bottles now, but I've mostly used their jars while working in the Pharmaceutical Industry. Their airtight jars would be perfect for storing ink in on a flight, it's often used for transporting bio materials for testing for Performance Enhancing Drugs to Artificial Insemination in the equestrian racing industry. I'm in no way affiliated with them, I've only used their jars in a previous career.
    I enjoyed the video, having read up on FP101 before my cross country flights, my Al-Star Safaris, TWSBI 580, and Pilot Metropolitan and Prera all made the flight from San Diego to New York with no leaking. I still want a custom 74 like Brian has. Were both suckers for Blue.
    Hope that my post wasn't offensive to anyone. I just thought I could contribute on something I had a lot of experience with. Cheers and Happy Writing.

  • I had the TWSBI 580 filled up and on flights from California to New York and back without and ink leakage. Hope you have a great trip.

  • galeos

    My advice for "Chris P.- Facebook (37:15)" is to get a black-nibbed pen with a black section. That way, when your pen spits (which sometimes happens when carrying it in your pants pocket), the ink splatter will be unnoticeable. I've got a Lamy Safari in charcoal that does the trick. Also check out the Nighthawk while they're still available.