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Author Topic: Testing Waterproofness of Pen Inks for Field Use  (Read 433 times)
JC004
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« on: October 25, 2016, 09:25:55 PM »

I did some testing of pen inks for field use, looking for the best option for us to bulk-purchase pens for our members and offer most of what they need for their ES kits at a DIRT-CHEAP rate.

Here is what I got out of the test (regular paper - not waterproof paper).  Apologies for cell phone-quality photo:



The Uniball Vision Fine (Waterproof/Fade-Resistant) performed beautifully.  I can get bulk boxes, making the pens less than $2 a piece -- as opposed to, for example, the $15 or so for a Rite in The Rain pen (which didn't even preform as well).

I am planning to put these kits together for dirt cheap for our members (less than $10 for a complete first aid kit that meets requirements and also includes required items like sunscreen and insect repellent, for example).  Rite In the Rain notebooks for half the regular price (totaling like $3), etc.  If there's interest, I may offer these kits to members outside our unit as well.

Input is very welcome on pens, notebooks, forms paper, general waterproofing, etc. as we put these kits together.
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HandsomeWalt_USMC
Recruit

Posts: 27
Unit: NER-MA-019

« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2016, 10:10:42 PM »

"Waterproof it and take it to the field!" -my first CO. Something solidly in my lane! Motivating field craft, yo!

I still have a few of what we called MAF bags when I was on AD. I think they're properly called Materiel Return Bags. They're a much more rugged ziploc type bag that is perfectly sized for a small notebook and a few pens. I used to carry my wallet and other things I needed to keep dry in them. Fit perfectly in a flight suit leg pocket or cargo pocket. I've also seen them used as map cases, first aid kit bags, and many other uses. They're more expensive than normal ziplocs but still cheap. Googling around for just a minute I found them for less than a dollar a bag. You can probably order a similar type of bag from one of the various shipping supply catalogs for much cheaper.

Another thing I've done, and this would make a fun activity for cadets at a bivouac or something, is to make MRE waterproofing bags. Have them eat the MRE components and save the bag. Carefully wrap the outside of the bag in 100 mph tape,overlapping slightly and stopping 2/3 tape width from the open end. On one side of the open end, lay a bag width length of tape with about 1/4 of the adhesive side attaching the tape to the bag, leaving yourself plenty of adhesive for closure. Secure said tape to the top of the bag with a final wrap of tape.  Carefully fold over about a half inch of the closure strip on itself as a finger grasp. Now you can easily fold over the tape to close the bag, or fold the top of the bag over on itself and use the closure strip to hold it in place.

A similar technique can be used on traditional ziploc bags or the aforementioned MAF bags for extra durability and waterproof integrity. I have a handful of gallon ziploc freezer bags (heavier plastic) done up this way that I use to hold clean clothes in my pack and other gear.

Hope this helps, sir!
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Semper Fidelis
Fubar
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Posts: 571

« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2016, 11:03:55 PM »

Just wanna throw in my two cents that I think it's great you do this for your squadron (and outsiders too!). I'm sure they appreciate your efforts.
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SarDragon
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2016, 11:07:14 PM »

Pens - how about your good olde Bic Clic? It's oily ink, so it won't run when the paper gets wet, unlike most of the pens you showed, which have water based ink.

I just wrote on three types of dry paper,with one, and nothing ran after wetting, even with some rubbing. It did not write well on wet paper.

They are cheap - < $10/doz on Amazon; even cheaper in the 24 pack.
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Dave Bowles
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arajca
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Posts: 4,086

« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2016, 12:19:36 AM »

Check you big-box hardware stores. Lowes has some nice waterproof notepads, ~3" x 5.5", for $3. These do work well I have one that went through the washer and dryer (forgot to check pockets) and still works fine. Nothing bled on it. Home Depot should have something similar.
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JC004
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2016, 06:16:32 AM »

Pens - how about your good olde Bic Clic? It's oily ink, so it won't run when the paper gets wet, unlike most of the pens you showed, which have water based ink
...

One reason I did the experiment is because I had a log and a set of mission paperwork on which I used said BIC pens.  They didn't get dunked -- just wet -- and the ink turned to crap.  I dunno...  I still have the pen in my mission kit, so I know which one it was.  I bought the cases of BICS for the office.

"Waterproof it and take it to the field!" -my first CO. Something solidly in my lane! Motivating field craft, yo!

I still have a few of what we called MAF bags when I was on AD. I think they're properly called Materiel Return Bags. They're a much more rugged ziploc type bag that is perfectly sized for a small notebook and a few pens.
...

Another thing I've done, and this would make a fun activity for cadets at a bivouac or something, is to make MRE waterproofing bags.
...

Hope this helps, sir!

Are you talking about aLOKSAKs?  Those I DON'T like no matter how much they promote the military using them (and I know AF survival kits have them), but I strongly dislike them because of the really bad zip seal on them.  Or do you mean another sort of bag?

Just wanna throw in my two cents that I think it's great you do this for your squadron (and outsiders too!). I'm sure they appreciate your efforts.

They best appreciate it! Heh heh heh.   >:D   I am saving them A LOT of money, AND I have field testing gear before deploying it, so they don't get junk.   

Here are some examples of what I'm put together so far (it's just a start, of course):
  • 2 Antiseptic cleansing pads (First Sets FREE)
  • Antiseptic ointment (16 cents per packet.  4 packets per member.  total: 64 cents)
  • Moleskin, 2” X 4” (23 cents per piece from roll) (a pack of these alone is several DOLLARS at Walmart and the thickness of the regular brand-name padding isn't very good)
  • Roller bandage (First Sets FREE)
  • 2 Safety pins, large (included with triangular bandage - FREE)
  • 4 gauze pads (10 cents ea.  40 cents total)
  • 1 Triangular Bandage (50 cents ea)
  • Tape, first aid (I actually need help here, because I need to choose a good tape to buy in bulk...A LOT of first aid tapes really suck, including the "waterproof" kinds)
  • A selection of packets of over-the-counter medications to choose from (Antacids, Acetaminophen, NSAIDs, Antihistamine, etc.), based on what their parents have authorized on the OTC medications authorization form (Prices vary on these, but will likely be no more than 50 cents)
  • Rubber surgical gloves (two pair minimum) (First Sets FREE)
  • Insect repellent (DEET) ($2.97)
  • Lip balm, with sunscreen (93 cents each)
  • Sunscreen lotion (SPF 30) (60 cents each.  3 packets for 72 hrs per member.  $1.80/member)
  • 4 Moist Towelettes, clean, in foil wrapper (HOO-AHHS field towels) (30 cents ea; $1.20/member)
  • Penlight ($2)
  • Batteries in bulk at a rate to be determined

I also get the cadets a discount at a major outdoors store (brick and mortar type).  I am working on donations from local army-navy stores, local outdoors companies, etc.  I've already received donations from individuals.

If you went somewhere, even somewhere cheap, like Walmart, and bought a few boxes of bandages to get a few in different sizes, moleskin retail, a box of Nitrile gloves to get 2 pairs, a triangular bandage for a few dollars, 1 pen in a blister pack, sunscreen at full retail, a single triangular bandage, etc., we have what they need in the quantities they need, at good discounts, and a price list for refilling kits. 

Check you big-box hardware stores. Lowes has some nice waterproof notepads, ~3" x 5.5", for $3. These do work well I have one that went through the washer and dryer (forgot to check pockets) and still works fine. Nothing bled on it. Home Depot should have something similar.
What brand?  I did check those stores and what I found was Rite in the Rain, at Home Depot, at average price.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2016, 06:25:35 AM by JC004 » Logged
Eclipse
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2016, 10:59:05 AM »

Rite in Rain never seemed to be all that "right" to me - I guess it works, but it's pricey.

I was under the impression you were supposed to use it with a pencil, but one drop of liquid on the tip
and it stops writing.

Fischer bullet pens have always been in my kit, but these days everything is on a .PDF so all the pens and
the ream of RiR paper for the printer never get used.

I keep my mission notes in Google Keep and can complete a 106 in real time on my N7 or even the phone,
not to mention even the iPad 1 I still have.
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"Effort" does not equal "results".
The contents of this post are Copyright 2017 by eclipse. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

THRAWN
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Posts: 1,695

« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2016, 11:07:23 AM »

Is this really an issue? I can honestly say I've been on more than 1 real world mission over the course of the past 20+ years and this has never come up. Ever.
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Strup
"Belligerent....at times...."
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JC004
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2016, 11:24:40 AM »

I've used them a number of times and I have more than one notebook that has gone through getting wet in the field.  I suspect pilots for one don't have much reason to care.  Come to think of it, there was either rain or snow on my last 3 missions.  I'd have to look through my log to find out exactly how many.
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THRAWN
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,695

« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2016, 11:30:09 AM »

I've used them a number of times and I have more than one notebook that has gone through getting wet in the field.  I suspect pilots for one don't have much reason to care.  Come to think of it, there was either rain or snow on my last 3 missions.  I'd have to look through my log to find out exactly how many.

That's kind of my point. Missions never happen in sunny 70 degree weather with low humidity. At least not in ye olde NER...I've been cold and wet. I've been hot and wet. Never had an issue with my pen in either case. Just seems like a big deal out of nothing.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2016, 11:34:22 AM by THRAWN » Logged
Strup
"Belligerent....at times...."
AFRCC SMC 10-97
NSS ISC 05-00
USAF SOS 2000
USAF ACSC 2011
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THRAWN
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,695

« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2016, 11:33:26 AM »

Pens - how about your good olde Bic Clic? It's oily ink, so it won't run when the paper gets wet, unlike most of the pens you showed, which have water based ink
...

One reason I did the experiment is because I had a log and a set of mission paperwork on which I used said BIC pens.  They didn't get dunked -- just wet -- and the ink turned to crap.  I dunno...  I still have the pen in my mission kit, so I know which one it was.  I bought the cases of BICS for the office.

"Waterproof it and take it to the field!" -my first CO. Something solidly in my lane! Motivating field craft, yo!

I still have a few of what we called MAF bags when I was on AD. I think they're properly called Materiel Return Bags. They're a much more rugged ziploc type bag that is perfectly sized for a small notebook and a few pens.
...

Another thing I've done, and this would make a fun activity for cadets at a bivouac or something, is to make MRE waterproofing bags.
...

Hope this helps, sir!

Are you talking about aLOKSAKs?  Those I DON'T like no matter how much they promote the military using them (and I know AF survival kits have them), but I strongly dislike them because of the really bad zip seal on them.  Or do you mean another sort of bag?

Just wanna throw in my two cents that I think it's great you do this for your squadron (and outsiders too!). I'm sure they appreciate your efforts.

They best appreciate it! Heh heh heh.   >:D   I am saving them A LOT of money, AND I have field testing gear before deploying it, so they don't get junk.   

Here are some examples of what I'm put together so far (it's just a start, of course):
  • 2 Antiseptic cleansing pads (First Sets FREE)
  • Antiseptic ointment (16 cents per packet.  4 packets per member.  total: 64 cents)
  • Moleskin, 2 X 4 (23 cents per piece from roll) (a pack of these alone is several DOLLARS at Walmart and the thickness of the regular brand-name padding isn't very good)
  • Roller bandage (First Sets FREE)
  • 2 Safety pins, large (included with triangular bandage - FREE)
  • 4 gauze pads (10 cents ea.  40 cents total)
  • 1 Triangular Bandage (50 cents ea)
  • Tape, first aid (I actually need help here, because I need to choose a good tape to buy in bulk...A LOT of first aid tapes really suck, including the "waterproof" kinds)
  • A selection of packets of over-the-counter medications to choose from (Antacids, Acetaminophen, NSAIDs, Antihistamine, etc.), based on what their parents have authorized on the OTC medications authorization form (Prices vary on these, but will likely be no more than 50 cents)
  • Rubber surgical gloves (two pair minimum) (First Sets FREE)
  • Insect repellent (DEET) ($2.97)
  • Lip balm, with sunscreen (93 cents each)
  • Sunscreen lotion (SPF 30) (60 cents each.  3 packets for 72 hrs per member.  $1.80/member)
  • 4 Moist Towelettes, clean, in foil wrapper (HOO-AHHS field towels) (30 cents ea; $1.20/member)
  • Penlight ($2)
  • Batteries in bulk at a rate to be determined

I also get the cadets a discount at a major outdoors store (brick and mortar type).  I am working on donations from local army-navy stores, local outdoors companies, etc.  I've already received donations from individuals.

If you went somewhere, even somewhere cheap, like Walmart, and bought a few boxes of bandages to get a few in different sizes, moleskin retail, a box of Nitrile gloves to get 2 pairs, a triangular bandage for a few dollars, 1 pen in a blister pack, sunscreen at full retail, a single triangular bandage, etc., we have what they need in the quantities they need, at good discounts, and a price list for refilling kits. 

Check you big-box hardware stores. Lowes has some nice waterproof notepads, ~3" x 5.5", for $3. These do work well I have one that went through the washer and dryer (forgot to check pockets) and still works fine. Nothing bled on it. Home Depot should have something similar.
What brand?  I did check those stores and what I found was Rite in the Rain, at Home Depot, at average price.

Careful with batteries. Be aware of the rules for shipping batteries, the restrictions, limitations and risk. Putting my regulatory hat on for a second, you can't just toss a handful of batteries in a box and send it off.
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Strup
"Belligerent....at times...."
AFRCC SMC 10-97
NSS ISC 05-00
USAF SOS 2000
USAF ACSC 2011
US NWC 2016
HandsomeWalt_USMC
Recruit

Posts: 27
Unit: NER-MA-019

« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2016, 11:40:21 AM »

Not aloksaks, these are heavy duty ziplocs designed for shipping documents. The zip tops work very well, and poking around on the uline website last night they even have similar bags with the awesome plastic zipper top. A 4+ mil thickness bag can be had cheaply and will be much more durable than standard ziplocs. Buying them in bulk saves even more on cost.

Link to military MAF bags, but expensive: http://store.armyproperty.com/products/return-materials-document-envelope-pack-of-100-nsn-8105-00-334-4120.html

ULine 8 mil 6x9 inch ziplocs: https://m.uline.com/h5/r/www.uline.com/Product/Detail/S-14414/Poly-Bags-Reclosable/6-x-9-8-Mil-Reclosable-Bags
« Last Edit: October 26, 2016, 11:49:21 AM by HandsomeWalt_USMC » Logged
Semper Fidelis
JC004
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Global Moderator

Posts: 4,515

« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2016, 11:53:01 AM »

We don't ship batteries, but we receive batteries.  I'm not concerned about shipping batteries.

Not aloksaks, these are heavy duty ziplocs designed for shipping documents. The zip tops work very well, and poking around on the uline website last night they even have similar bags with the awesome plastic zipper top. A 4+ mil thickness bag can be had cheaply and will be much more durable than standard ziplocs. Buying them in bulk saves even more on cost.

I will have to look into these.  I am getting input from a lot of places on the best items to get.  I got the allegedly wonderful aloksaks and was severely disappointed with the seals.  I mean....I can get a better seal on GENERIC, crappy sandwich bags.
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