Gear we Like: (Indelible) Field Writing Implements

“No camper, be he hunter, fisherman, scout, naturalist, explorer, prospector, soldier or lumberman, should go into the woods without a notebook and hard lead pencil. Remember that notes made with a hard pencil will last longer than those made with ink, and be readable as long as the paper lasts.” -- The American Boys’ Handybook of Camp-lore and Woodcraft, By Daniel Carter Beard, 1920

Here at Wndsn, we believe that no measurement is real until it’s written down. And since we are in the business of measurement, we have developed definite opinions on that which a measurement is written upon, and that which is used to write the measurement or other important notes. We have written a Best Practices for Note Taking, available as a supplement to our Wndsn’s Explorer’s Notebook. One of the suggestions, as you will read, is to make your note permanent.

You are out in the field, whether it be in the woods or in an urban environment, and you are taking measurements. Maybe that measurement or note is important. Maybe not. Maybe, or even probably, you will not realize it was important until later. That’s why we need to preserve our data, because keeping a record of our work may run the gamut from CYA to once in a lifetime inspiration. Value what you write by how you write.

The following are our recommendations of how to write indelibly and often, cheaply.

(Indelible) Pencil

First up, the pencil. But not just any pencil, the indelible pencil. First manufactured in 1870, the lead in a copy pencil is a mixture of powdered graphite paired with dry water-soluble permanent dye that is then further bound together with clay. Used primarily in WW1, it was the forerunner to ballpoint pens. It cannot be erased, can be used to write on non-paper surfaces, and can be used to legally sign documents. Just don’t eat it or puncture yourself or others with it, it's poisonous. There’s a ton of history behind it too.

Grease Pencil

Your dad probably had a grease pencil. You should too! You forgot your notebook and well with a grease pencil you can write on anything. That pole, that leaf, your buddy, that rock, you can write on it with this pencil made of non-toxic opaque wax. With a grease pencil, you will never be wishing you had packed your bag better.

Fisher Space Pen

The go to EDC pen, the Fisher Space Pen will never do you wrong. It is sturdy, reliable, and holds up in a significant amount of conditions and you can rely on it to take down your important notes and calculations. If you are a premium pen or paper nerd, the Fisher Space Pen will leave you wanting, but it’s ubiquity and reliability makes it the perennial favorite in pockets worldwide.

Rite in the Rain Pen

You are outside, doing your work, and it’s raining. And your work issued tablet is on the fritz. You need to write something down. If you face these sorts of conditions, chances are you have heard of the Rite in the Rain notebooks and their indestructibility. You may also have heard it’s difficult to write on. The Rite in the Rain Pen, made by Fisher Space Pens, has all of the quality of the Fisher Space pens geared to their proprietary paper.


Ahh Sharpies. What would the world be like without you? Always ready for action, ready for any scenario and any condition, and so many color options. No need to get precious with your pens. You could probably go your whole life just with a Sharpie. And get a mini and stick it in your kit and be ready for literally anything.

Your pen is no less important than any of your other tools that you bring with you in your most important conditions. Make sure it’s one you will use and don't have to think about or service in between.

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Gear we like