Your survival tools should include some way of communication.
Electronics are wonderful, but consider a reliable pen and notebook. The Gerber Impromptu tactical pen may be what you need in your survival gear, and here is why.
by Leon Pantenburg
Disclaimer: Gerber supplied the product for this review. I was not paid to write it, and nobody had any input in this post. At the time of publications there was no sponsorship relationship between Gerber and survivalcommonsense.com. The following is my opinion. All I ever promise on any product review is a fair shake.
You need a reliable pen or pencil and a notebook. Don’t leave home without them.
For me, old habits die hard. For some 40+ years I was a working journalist, and always carried a pen and notebook. I never knew when something might need to be quickly written down that might later be used in a story or video.
Even though I’m retired from the media, I still carry those tools every day. For quick draw response, a pen and notebook has it over any electronic device. You don’t have to power a pen up, you don’t have to worry about cell phone coverage and a notebook doesn’t break if dropped. And you don’t have to worry about batteries or being able to see the screen in bright sunlight.
Most recently, I used my pen and notebook in the Kroger parking lot to write down the car tag number of a hit-and-run driver who scraped another car. This was after I called my wife from inside the store and wrote down the updated grocery list.
There is also an intimidation factor. Whip out a notebook from your hip pocket and start taking notes, and see how people suddenly start thinking about what they’re saying. (Here are eight reasons to carry a notebook and writing implement in the wilderness.) I still can’t go to public meetings without feeling that I should be taking notes.
So who needs a tactical pen that costs about $70? After all, you can get a pack of 12 Bic pens for about a buck at Walmart. The higher end pens can go for hundreds of dollars. But we’re looking for reliability here, a pen that can function under the most extreme conditions during emergencies.
Here are the Impromptu specs, according to the Gerber website.
- Rugged, machined steel body w/ Cerakote™
- Stainless steel pocket clip keeps the pen handy
- Integrated glass-breaker tip features tempered steel and is designed to get you out of trouble
- “Rite in the Rain” ink cartridge works in all conditions
- Reliable push-button mechanism deploys ball point pen
- Made in USA
- Overall Length: 5.59″ (14.19 cm)
- Weight: 2.4 oz (68 g)
My Impromptu and a Rite in the Rain notebook rode in my daypack all last summer on multiple day hikes and excursions. During that time, I never needed either of them. But if that combo had been needed, they would have been needed badly.
The good stuff
Smooth writing: For me, this is a must. In my reporter days, I often wrote for hours at a time, especially during court cases, and finger and hand cramps could occur. I carried pens of different diameters to switch out. I also carried pens with different color inks to switch out if several people were interviewed for the same story. Different interviewees got different colors.
Big button: This is a big deal if you’re holding the pen in a reverse hammer grip and using it as a defensive striking tool. Putting a thumb on that big button helps secure the grip. You don’t want a pen that has two sharp ends.
Glass breaker tip: I never needed to use this. The tip protrudes next to the point, and it is designed to break auto glass, or serve as a weapon. This could be a major consideration for a first responder.
Rite in Rain pressurized filler: The Rite in Rain notebooks and pens are designed for extreme conditions. The pen will write upside down, which may be important in some instances. The pressurized filler guarantees that the ink will flow.
Waterproof: Any first responder or EMT can tell horror stories about working in rain, snow and sleet at a traffic accident or during a disaster. At such times, notes on injuries, possible trauma or observations of injured people can be vital for quick treatment. A reliable, waterproof writing implement and notebook could be critical.
Weapon potential: I have no way of testing or knowing if this pen would be an effective defensive weapon. But the barrel is easily grasped, and the button end is not sharpened, so you could put your thumb on it for a better hold. It is way down the list on what I would consider weapons, but it is better than nothing.
Made in the USA: Every time an American made product is bought it contributes to our economy. Workers pay local, state and federal taxes, and the manufacturing facility provides jobs and additional taxes. Buy American!
The Impromptu costs about $66. It is probably overkill for most of your normal writing needs.
But you will be writing or signing something every day. One way to avoid COVID germs is to only use your pen. If you have a nice pen that in convenient to carry, you’ll be encouraged to take it along. Do you need an Impromptu? You decide.
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