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Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Nicks writing implement on 05/15/2013 18:02:29 MDT Print View

"And here I thought you used a quill and ink."

I can't find them. Last year I removed a quill from my cuben quilt, using one of my wife's pencils, but found the quill was rather short.

pencil

When I prepare for a hike I use a fountain pen along with my other prep gear.

old gear

The long white thingy is a slide rule I got in 1968. Never had to change the battery. The lantern doesn't use batteries either, nor the compass, map measurer or thermometer.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Let's just stop right there. on 05/15/2013 18:04:50 MDT Print View

I'm thinking this pencil conversation isn't considering a lot of factors. I just want to play devil's advocate for a minute and add some grams. Since I know I'm right, there's really no need to respond to this comment at all.

Broken pencils are a big deal, so as with anything you carry, durability HAS to be considered. I suggest going with the double-wide pencils they give kindergartners just for the peace of mind. I, myself, carry two, and I keep them in a case because I would hate for them to potentially get broken as they knock around in my cavernous 6lb backpack. There's a lot of empty space in there.

Cheers!

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 18:05:51 MDT Print View

Hi,

My local library has small cups of those short pencils on the counter for taking notes with. Try a library near you.

But, for me and the rest of my "Cuben" based gear I just took a piece of "Draftsman's" Compass Lead and wrapped some scrap Cuben fiber around the lead till it was thick enough to hold, sure. It goes really well with my Cuben Fiber Note Paper.

Do a computer search for "Draftsman's Lead" and check out Amazon.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Let's just stop right there. on 05/15/2013 18:07:54 MDT Print View

"Broken pencils are a big deal, so as with anything you carry, durability HAS to be considered."

But we are all lightweight hikers here, with the skills and experience to use "fragile" items, such as .31 cuben. Perhaps for those on the Backpacker Magazine forums, it would be relevant.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Durability Matters on 05/15/2013 18:11:02 MDT Print View

Nick, all's well and good until you're stuck in the woods with no titanium sharpener. Then you can come crying to me about the six chapters of your autobiography you couldn't draft up between food drops.

Edited by mdilthey on 05/15/2013 18:11:41 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Durability Matters on 05/15/2013 18:14:46 MDT Print View

Max you make a good point, about a dull point on the pencil. But you should go back and notice I asked questions about sharpening the pencil on the trail, as I don't think my Mike Clelland! razor blade is up to the task.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Nicks writing implement on 05/15/2013 18:28:41 MDT Print View

But Nick, that's a compass. I thought for sure you'd still be using a sextant for all your navigation.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Nicks writing implement on 05/15/2013 18:30:27 MDT Print View

"But Nick, that's a compass. I thought for sure you'd still be using a sextant for all your navigation."

I have been using a compass for a long time. I rarely bring a real tent, however that sex tent sounds promising. Where can I purchase one?

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 19:21:39 MDT Print View

"My thought is to purchase everyone one of the USGS Topo Maps for the JMT."

That's a lot of maps. You'll need more than one pencil. What about a carpentry pencil? Won't roll off trail. Big enough to use as a stake. Writes nice and bold. Good for old eyes.

Daniel Goldenberg
(dag4643) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwet
pencil lead on 05/15/2013 20:18:21 MDT Print View

lead

These are what I generally use. Just avoid the 0.5's, those are too delicate. 0.7's are easier to use and don't break. You can probably get fine with just 2 leads for the JMT.

You don't need the mechanical pencil, you can write just fine holding the lead with your fingers.

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/15/2013 20:38:58 MDT Print View

Am I the only person who has *actually* hiked the JMT ?

The carpenter pencil is too loud, and needs a knife to sharpen, and uses inferior lead.

The 602 writes silent, so the wildlife won't know you're sketching them. It has two sharpeners, one for the wood, one of the graphite. On a demanding trip like the JMT, it's nice to have a 1/16" graphite point with a 3/8" wood support cone around it. At least for writing while walking backwards downhill it was essential. At night you can reshape it to be 1/4" graphite point, with 3/4" supporting wood cone. It's a much less effective self defense pencil, but writes twice as fast.

The eraser on the 602 is rectangular so it won't roll away, and removable so you can bring only the amount needed.

No wonder people can't give Nick a straight answer, y'all are armchair JMT adventurers.

--G.B.--

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: pencil lead on 05/15/2013 21:51:14 MDT Print View

"You don't need the mechanical pencil, you can write just fine holding the lead with your fingers."

Yes, just as with using a 3 oz SUL pack, you will be fine as long as you are *careful* with the lighter gear. If you can't treat single 0.5 leads with the respect and care it deserves then maybe ultralight isn't for you.

Tip: break one in half to save weight and just use your resupply points to get more. Or cache the matching halves along the trail. Make sure you hide them well, Clark's Nutcrackers along the JMT are well known to make their own pencil lead caches in hollow trees after stealing other people's caches - pencil thieves are everywhere in this fallen world.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Was all this necessary in the gear section? on 05/15/2013 22:00:20 MDT Print View

"Now I am getting confused. I thought the pencils were made from lead. Are you suggesting it is actually iron? That sounds heavy. Perhaps someone makes a carbon fiber pencil; does anyone know?"

Actually, pretending to be a rube is a bit different than being ironic. Still I like it! You will obviously know best where your true talents lie.

Unfortunately it looks like the irony-challenged posts in this thread have largely dried up, which is very disappointing. Possibly all the sensible people have run for the hills.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Was all this necessary in the gear section? on 05/15/2013 23:01:35 MDT Print View

I'm all for humor, iron-knees, and even occasional sarcasm, but not so much at the expense of others--especially not in a personal and real sense e.g. making fun of actual actions and people that are posting on a forum.

Nick, if you are so much wiser, smarter, self actualized, aware, zen, and self sufficient than all of us, then why do you hang out here with us lesser beings? Just to get a laugh from us? You're already stated a number of times that you don't like people, ok-just the vast majority of people rather, so why not just spend all your times in the wilds where you can be alone which is what you so crave?

Because i'm noticing a growing trend or pattern in your posts of thinly veiled derision and intolerance of others.

Age does not necessarily bring true wisdom and maturity, but living and choosing compassionate love does, and maybe some lifetime you will learn that. Till then, you're just acting like a cranky old man with nothing better to do than to put others down while trying to appear wise and zen. "Be simplefied, like me, the man with a cuben poncho and tent" Yeah, i'm sure no thought or care went into those purchases, nor reading of others experiences. Just because you didn't "ask" others their opinions don't mean squat.

Real humor is lighthearted, and uplifts, at the expense of no one but maybe self. Critical, self righteous, judgmental humor is really not humor, it does not help to open up the hearts of others or of self- it does not come from the heart but from the shadow ego and is an indication and reflection of woundedness and self pain.

Well, we're all in pain Nick, all of us to varying degrees, some just deal with it better and don't try to add to others pain. You go to the wilds to try to escape it (not possible), maybe cover it over for a little while, but come back crankier than when you left.

P.s. I don't usually speak so bluntly to others or like this at all..but despite contradictory appearances from the above, i do have a lot of respect for you and do think you are wiser than the average person, which is why i have spoke so bluntly, personally and unusually.

Edited by ArcturusBear on 05/15/2013 23:03:42 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Was all this necessary in the gear section? on 05/16/2013 08:02:18 MDT Print View

Geez Justin,

I apologize for upsetting you.

I am just trying to find a suitable pencil.

If you had been around longer, you would remember a thread I started a few years ago seeking feedback on winter equipment. The experts here helped me put together a system that avoided a lot of trial and error, not to mention unneeded expense. That gear has worked out well, and I thank those who assisted me.

I will admit that not all the suggestions have been helpful in my pencil search.

However, Cameron has presented the features and benefits of what looks to be an excellent pencil, perhaps the best pencil ever made; the Blackwing 602. And I have taken his recommendation seriously. It appears that one needs to also purchase the separate Blackwing pencil sharpener for optimal performance, and spare erasers are also available. Not sure if this pencil will meet my backpacking needs, but it will probably be a fine addition to my office and enhance my daily work performance; perhaps even freeing up more time for backpacking through increased work productivity.

I did make a negative comment about France, and maybe that was uncalled for. The French did give us Brigitte Bardot, André the Giant, Victor Hugo, Hector Berlioz, Marquis de Lafayette, and of course - Champagne.

P.S. I am not in pain. My life is exciting and fulfilling. I look forward to each day!!

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Was all this necessary in the gear section? on 05/16/2013 08:42:12 MDT Print View

Whoa Justin, chill! Re-read the thread, all folks having fun and Nick must have too much time between trips. If he was in real pain he would use the Mike Clelland! razor blade and write his notes in blood!

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Which Pencil for the JMT? on 05/16/2013 13:40:30 MDT Print View

I didn't know they were being made again when I suggested it. They were precious at one time, but amazon has them now for reasonable prices. $6 for the two piece sample pack, and $25 a box.

Just a short while ago these would fetch $500 a box on eBay.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
SUL pencil for JMT? on 05/16/2013 15:21:47 MDT Print View

The answer is obvious: just use the lead from a mechanical pencil, and toss the rest away! Sure, you have to be a bit careful not to break the lead into too small a piece, but SUL folks are used to being careful with their gear.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: SUL pencil for JMT? on 05/16/2013 15:58:46 MDT Print View

"but SUL folks are used to being careful with their gear."

I don't know if we should trust advice from old guys with gray or white beards :)

How ya doing Stephen?

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: SUL pencil for JMT? on 05/16/2013 17:33:06 MDT Print View

Hey Nick!

I have to talk tonight to the Chief Financial Officer about spending part of our tax return on a certain new pack. She was asking me yesterday about what I wanted for my birthday, so.....!