I know the Atlanta Pen Show is over. I still thought sharing some of my preparations could be useful for people looking forward to other shows.

I do not travel all the time, but I do it enough to keep some things ready. I can pack my clothes and dopp kit in 15 minutes. This can even be done the night before which is good because I hit the road early to clear local morning traffic. The tally so far is one carry-on size rolling suitcase.

I packed my new camera and a GoPro. I did manage to make a pass through the show with the new camera to capture a little of the flavor. I could have saved a lot of space and weight because I never used the GoPro. The GoPro itself is small but the bag holds a lot of accessories for it. The cameras are in the second bag, a small messenger bag.

My normal computer bag will go with me. That gives me enough electronics to be as connected as I ever need. It also includes chargers and cables for everything. The computer backpack is the third bag.

The harder part is deciding what pens and inks to take and how to organize them. I have some pens I want to sell, so those are going. They are in their tubes and boxes. They went in a little larger messenger style bag that I brought into the show during the informal evening sharing. I will call this the evening bag.

I like to bring my Retro 51 collection. It has spread into two 36 pen cases but that is contained - heavy but together. I checked all the refills the night before I left. It is embarrassing if someone pulls out a pen that doesn’t write. Even more embarrassing is leaving these cases at home and not having them in Atlanta.

Anything new since last year and other pens I think other people would want to see need to go. I will put them in various cases. These went in the evening bag.

I am limiting my Lamy Safari and AL-Star collection to 6. If I find one I like better than what I have and I can get it as long as I sell the now extra one. So those need to come. They live in a Nock Co Brasstown so that is pretty easy. The Brasstown goes with the other cases in the evening bag.

I added two more things for Friday and Saturday evening - a bottle of Mystic Bourbon, distilled in Durham, NC, and some plastic cups for sharing it. The evening bag is the fourth bag.

I don’t have too many vintage pens, less than 15. They can all come. Sometimes I see something and want to compare to what I already have. I will usually load 3 vintage pens in a case and walk the floor show with them. It is a good away to find out more about the pens. I will switch those pens for different trips through the show rooms. I have a flat messenger bag for this. I keep a small amount in it. Even when the show is crowded I can carry it without bumping into other people. That is the fifth and final bag.

Final bag list:

  1. rolling carry-on with clothes, etc.
  2. computer backpack - electronics including cables and chargers
  3. messenger bag with cameras and accessories
  4. combo bag with pens and bourbon for the evenings
  5. small messenger to carry around in the show

I will say this modular packing worked out pretty well. I left the camera and evening bags in the car and carried either the flat messenger bag or camera in the show. I would go out to the car and swap including dipping into the evening bag to carry something different around the show.

Then there are the things to do while at the show. I like to have a list of the first things to do. It is so easy to get distracted.

  1. Pick up Anderson Pens order and give Lisa a small gift
  2. Get live podcast ticket at the Nock Co table
  3. Pick up a reporters style notebook

That list worked pretty well although I didn’t spot a reporter style notebook. I used a Maruman Reccer I brought for backup.

After that, I have a list of people to try and find, usually with something in particular to share with them. Also I try and make an effort to find various people from online to meet in person. It always seems I still miss some.

As far as shopping, I didn’t have a specific list. I am looking for some permanent inks for two projects I am working on. I am also considering some pens to keep inked with these permanent inks. Something that can be cleaned thoroughly every now and then.

Next up will be some posts about the show and a few things I picked up.

p.s. Write down the pens shows you want to attend.