There’s nothing worse than a pen that doesn’t write reliably. For everyday carry (EDC) pens, you also need to take into consideration the durability, and price. Some preppers may also want to consider how well the pen can be used as an alternate self-defense or life-saving tool to shatter glass.
Writing is the main function of a pen, right? So, above all, you want to make sure you get a pen that is going to write well and be reliable when you need it. Many times, the writing reliability of pen, how well the ink flows, whether it smudges, etc. is a result of the type of ink or refill the pen uses. Some pens use pressurized ink refills which means that can typically write better upside down. Look for a pen that is compatible with different brands of refills to ensure you can scavenge the ink you need post-SHTF.
Durability of a pen is also important for a survival pen. This is the pen you will keep with you and use daily even in “normal times” so it’s going to get used and take some abuse. You need to make sure you have a pen that is sturdy and won’t break if it gets bent in your pocket or is slammed against something hard. So for most preppers looking for an EDC pen, a plastic housing is out for this reason. They look for lightweight stainless steel, brass, titanium, or other metal housings that will hold up to rugged use.
Multi-functioning pens can be important, not only in everyday use but in a SHTF scenario as well. Some pens are specially made to shatter glass if an accident sends your car off a bridge unexpectedly or as serve as an impact weapon if you’re attacked. Multi-function pens may be slightly heavier in weight and you may sacrifice some writing quality so make sure you prioritize what your needs are to get the right EDC pen for you.
Boker Plus Tactical Pen Made of black anodized aluminum, this pen with textured grip, has an insert of stainless steel on the back end that doubles as a self-defense weapon if needed. $21-$40.
Victorinox Retractable Pen is a great addition to your EDC kit. This mini pressurized pen stays hidden until you slide it out to use it. It’s a little difficult to write with due to its small size but it gets the job done. Other mini tools include a knife, screwdriver (great size for electronics!), nail file, bottle opener, wire stripper, and light depending on the model you buy. $24-$31.
If you’re a pen fanatic or your daily life involves frequent switching between a tablet or phone, a pencil, different colored pens, or a highlighter, you won’t want to pass up the Zebra Sharbo X LT3. A multi-pen that combines a stylus, mechanical pencil, ballpoint and gel ink together in a sturdy brass housing. Refills are smaller than average refills, ship from Japan, and can be pricey. Can use D1 ink refills made in U.S. also. $22
The last thing you want to have to do in a SHTF situation is hunt for ink refills for your pen. The Memori pen is machined of solid brass to withstand everyday use. With the flexibility to use all G2 ink cartridges, you should always be able to scavenge a refill. Available on the Tanner Goods website and priced at $65.
If you want to carry a pen that will write no matter what the weather or your environment may throw at you, the Fisher Bullet Space Pen is worth considering. Designed to work under extreme conditions including underwater and zero gravity, made of matte black brass. Priced at around $12-$20.
With a sleek stainless steel body and the flexibility to modify so it uses all metal parts and is compatible with the well-known Fisher refills, the Zebra F-701 is a favorite with preppers. Get the best of all features with a grooved grip, retractable tip, and pocket clip. Priced right at just $5-$7.
Made by well-known knife maker, Rick Hinderer and weighing in at just over an ounce, the Hinderer Investigator is a popular EDC pen for many preppers. It’s a nice weight for pocket carry and can be waterproof with the optional O-ring modification in the tip. For a slightly longer pen, go for the Extreme Duty version, though it’s a heavier weight for your shirt pocket. Uses only Fisher Space refills. Several finishes. Available on the Rick Hinderer website from $60-$80.
Made of machined steel with a strong tempered tip this tactical pen can be used for self-defense or to shatter a window. Reliable enough to write under any conditions and in any position. $38
So new it’s still in the pre-order stage, the Grafton EDC Pen is made of 100% anodized aluminum with a rugged bolt-on brass clip. The grip and clicking mechanism have been improved. Built to stand the test of time, it uses either the popular Pilot G2 or Fisher Space Pen refills. $35
If money is no object and you seek a pen that will write reliably under any weather conditions and in any position, the Zero Tolerance Titanium Tactical Pen is the one to choose. This pen is made of machined titanium and includes a tip designed for breaking glass or for self-defense. Priced between $95-$166.
Made of stainless steel with a built-in key ring on one end the PicoPen is conveniently attaches to your keychain or lanyard. It’s a mini ballpoint pen at less than 3” in length. The cap is magnetized to hold the pen in place using a rare earth magnet. Uses Zebra F pen refills. Weighs a half ounce. Priced just under $20.
American made of brass by Machine Era, this pen is heavy but well-balanced. No plastic parts or moving pieces means less chance that something breaks. Removable cap threads onto opposite end during use. Uses the popular Pilot G2 cartridge. Priced at $38
Whether it’s cold as ice or sweltering hot, (anywhere from -30 degrees up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit), this is the pen you want to have on hand. Designed to write under just about any conditions, including upside down and even on wet paper. It uses the Fisher space pen refills and is priced right at $25-$35.
The Bolt Pen by Karas Kustoms
If you’re in the market for flash and function, consider the machined Bolt Pen by Kara’s Kustoms. You’ll be the envy of everyone in the office. Compatible with both the Fisher Space and Parker ballpoint refills. The stainless steel clip keeps it secure in your pocket until needed. Available on the Kara’s Kustoms website for around $65.
Tiny and lightweight, this pen weighs under an ounce and is under two inches long. It attaches to your keychain and the stainless steel housing extends when you are ready to use it. Priced at less than $10, it comes with four ink refills.
Never be without an ink refill for your pen with this handy inkless metal pen. It uses graphite and a customized alloy tip to give you smudge-free notes every time in any situation. The standard version comes with your choice of a barrel made of cherry wood, silver or black anodized aluminum. The keychain version has a stainless steel housing with threaded cap, a keyring, and comes in a metal gift box. for Priced at $30.
Choosing a pen has always been a personal decision. It’s crucial to assess your individual needs and environment as well as your habits so that you can select the EDC pen that will benefit you the most as part of your everyday carry. Make sure you consider weight, durability, writing quality, and price. Some preppers prefer one pen that will stand the test of time. If you are in the habit of losing pens frequently, you may want to buy less expensive models in bulk or ones that stay attached to your keychain at all times.
If you intend to rely on your EDC pen as a back-up self-defense or impact tool, make sure you have tested it out and are confident in using it. If possible carry it in different locations on your person for several days to determine whether the weight, balance, and ease of pocket carry are suitable. When you take all these factors into consideration, you will have a better chance of selecting the best EDC pen for you.