The Fisher Space Pen is a pen that most (if not all) pen enthusiasts are familiar with, if not most people in general. It's a common premium pen that can be found at some big-box retailers in the US. Outside of the pen, the refill is also just as famous and easy to swap into pens that take the standard Parker-size refill.
Because of that recognition, it's exciting when the company releases new products. In this case, it's the Backpacker Key Ring Pen, or the Backpacker for short. The Backpacker is a pocket-size pen that features a capped design and contoured writing grip inside of a colorful, durable metal package. It's similar in size to the ubiquitous Bullet pen, but a bit longer and wider. The main differentiating feature of the Backpacker is the inclusion of a keyring on the top of the cap. Unlike the Bullet, which has the option of a pocket clip, the Backpacker can be attached to things and uncapped from those things for jotting down quick notes.
The Backpacker feels a bit cheaper in general compared to the sleek brass body of the Bullet, but it also costs less. The ends of the pen are plastic and feature an embossed Fisher logo, which is hard to make out due to the small size. The body and cap are mostly metal, but the grip section is also plastic. The grip has a nice contour that makes writing more comfortable.
The Backpacker definitely feels like a sub-$20 pen, but it's still well-made. Capping the pen is secure and take a good bit of force to uncap, which means you don't have to worry about the pen coming loose and falling out of the cap if it's attached to the outside of a bag. On the other hand, when posted the cap to the rear of the pen, I've been less than impressed with the tolerance of this connection. It takes a great deal of force to fully seat the cap onto the rear of the pen, and an equal amount of force to remove it. It's a chore, and I don't enjoy that process. For all I know, this issue is isolated to the review unit I've been using, but it's worth pointing out.
Writing with the pen is fairly comfortable when posted, and it's also usable without the cap posted. It's about the length of a Kaweco Sport body when unposted. I certainly wouldn't be comfortable after writing several paragraphs, but it's perfectly suitable for a quick note. The Fisher refill behaves as expected, but you can also easily swap it out for another color or size. The pen ships with a black medium refill.
Overall, this is a great addition to the Fisher Space Pen lineup. It's different enough, both visually and functionally, from the Bullet to justify its existence. In practice, I've really found the addition of a keyring helpful. I've put it on my main keyring, secured it to the inside of bags with the assistance of a small carabiner, and also attached it in my Tom Bihn Daylight bag using the included key strap. It's an extremely useful pen, and the reliable, durable nature of the refill solidify the Backpacker as an excellent portable, stow-able pen that you can use anywhere.
The Fisher Backpacker is available in Silver, Red, Blue, Orange, and Black, and costs about $18.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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