For the past few years I've been carrying around a small notebook to jot down notes from talks, research ideas, expenses, etc. (I guess I could do it on my phone but I prefer pen and paper.) I like writing with fountain pens, but don't care to carry around an expensive one: I don't feel I need to impress people with how much I spend on accessories, and I don't want to worry about losing it. I had been using disposable Pilot Varsity pens, but occasionally (especially if I took them on airplanes) I would end up with ink all over my fingers, so I recently tried switching to an inexpensive refillable pen, the Lamy Safari (fine point, with refilling attachment and Noodler's forest green ink). Below is a comparison of how my notes look with the two pens:

Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen on Moleskine squared notebook paper

Lamy Safari fountain pen with Noodler's forest green ink on Moleskine squared notebook paper

The Lamy feels less scratchy than the Pilots, but I didn't really mind the scratchiness. The more important differences in the way it feels to me are that the Lamy's bigger size fits my hand better and lets me hold my fingers a little farther away from the tip (making inky fingers less likely), and its triangular cross-section gives me a more consistent orientation, so I find myself holding the pen the wrong way less often. The writing comes out less blotchy, with better control of the line weight, and I don't feel that I have to write as large to make it legible. There's also significantly less bleed-through on the Moleskine square-ruled paper I've been using, although it's still nonzero.

I still don't know if these pens are more reliable in the air, but on the whole I'd say this is a big step up in writing quality.


Thanks for this nice comparison! I have rather small fingers. Which one of these two pens would you recommend for me? I quite like Pilots, but never tried this one before.
I think the Lamy would be a good choice regardless. Unless you have really tiny hands, it should fit well enough. It's not a huge pen, just a little bigger than the other one.
Thank you! May I bother you just with one more question :) What is kind of the notebooks these are? I am using moleskines, but would also like to learn about other good ones, as moleskines are quite expensive. :)
The ones in the picture? They're just Moleskines. I haven't really tried searching for alternatives very thoroughly.
Yes, I was asking about ones on the picture :) Well, Moleskines are great. I was just curious if there are any alternatives :) Anyway, thanks again for your answers. ;-)
What about reasonably priced notebooks? I love the moleskins, but it costs way too much for some dead wood.
Alternatives are not hard to find, I think. Alternatives that fit in a pocket, have a nice protective cover, and use square-ruled paper may be a little scarcer, I don't know. I like the Moleskines well enough that I haven't really tried looking for something cheaper.
I also like carrying around a fountain pen and paper to scribble math. I use a nemosine I ordered from Amazon (cheaper than Lamy, and it writes well, although I did accidentally manage to chip its cap pretty easily).

(Edit) - oh, I've never commented on livejournal. I'm not used to my openid gravatar not being automatically ported over. Having no portrait makes me feel less... legitimate or something. But I am!
Not worrying about chips and scratches is another good reason to go with an inexpensive one.

You're at Brown? I know some people there, but they're all in computer science, not math, I think.
You should try a sheaffer prelude 340 ! I too take a lot of notes, the sheaffer one brilliant fp (provided you don't mind its heavy weight).
Not bad looking, but about twice the price of the Lamy.