The Pen and the Sword


Looking for just the right gift for that special father?  Think “tools.”

But don’t limit yourself to hammers and ladders – tools come in all shapes and sizes for a variety of jobs.   Today I am reviewing two of my favorite tools:  a pen and a pocket knife.

The Pen

I will always remember the day that I was introduced to the Zebra F 301 Fine Point Pen.  I was at a conference and forgot my pen, so I asked my colleague (Jim) if I could borrow his.  And the rest was history.

It is a thin, lightweight barrel, and has a nice fine point.  It writes well and is reliable.  I really dislike when a pen requires you to write a few words before the ink starts flowing, and this pen does not have that problem.  It is pretty durable, although the black part of the barrel is made out of plastic which is breakable. 


The Zebra F-301

 Zebra Website: $2.77 for one

Office Max Website: $5.49 for two

Walmart Website: $4.37 for two

I did not know this, but it also comes in blue, red, and green ink.

Warning:  Do not buy the Bold version.  It seems like a great idea, but it does not write very well at all! 

Ever since the drug companies stopped giving out free pens I have added this to my annual Christmas and birthday list.  They are handy tools for any situation.  Their thin barrel allows them to slide into my spiral notebooks that I take with me, which is an added bonus.

If you are looking for an even fancier pen, the F701 is a beauty.  It is all stainless steel, and I really like the grip.  It writes beautifully, and I think it looks cool too.  At $8.23 on the Zebra website or $5.52 at Walmart it is a little pricier, so you don’t want to leave this one lying around.


Zebra F-701

The Sword

No matter if you are buying for a mountain man or a city boy, a pocket knife is never a bad idea.  My dad always has a pocket knife at the ready whenever a tag needs to be clipped or a Christmas present needs to be opened.  And it is amazing how often it comes in handy!

My preferred knife that I always carry with me is the Gerber Powerframe Serrated.

Gerber Website: $27


I wanted to get a knife that was big enough that I could really use it, but wasn’t so big that it was bulky or that crossed the line into ‘carrying a weapon.’  I think I can legitimately say that it is a pocket knife, not a weapon, and it definitely is big enough for any job that I need to do.  The serrated blade is very important, because that helps it to cut through cardboard or tougher material.  It is very light (3 oz according to the website) and has a great clip to hold it in your pocket or inside your waistband, depending on how obvious you want it to be.  It is only 3/8” thick (1/2” with the clip), so it is easy to carry with you. It is very sharp and I have not really had to sharpen it during all the time I’ve had it.  Plus it is promoted by Bear Grylls, so what’s not to love?!?


The only con is that it is tricky to open and close one-handed.  I can do it, but it takes some practice, and since the frame is open you have to be careful not to cut yourself.  I have also gotten it hung up on my pocket before, again because of the open frame.

Gerber has all kinds of knives here:  So, if you are looking for one that is a similar design but larger or smaller, they have what you need.

As a guy, you want to be prepared for any and all situations.  These are two tools that I use often and recommend highly.

What thoughts do you have?  What recommendations for pens, knives, or other useful tools?

3 thoughts on “The Pen and the Sword

  1. Kristin says:

    I echo your thoughts on the pen. When I graduated from nursing school I received two from my Grandma, who had, at that point, been a nurse for almost 50 years. She said once I used a zebra, I would never want to use a different pen. She was right! 🙂

    1. Nate says:

      Awesome, Kristin! Having the right tool is important. I’m glad you listened to your Grandma!

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