Part 12: My lightweight art kit for multi-day trips

For extended trips I want to reduce the bulk as far as I can yet retain my favourite mediums and as much actual materials to use over an extended period. A lot of compromise has to be accepted here. But I feel that I have retained exciting, good quality materials that are just perfect for journaling, sketching and recording a record of my trail.

I wanted to keep to my preferred materials and style, which is pen and wash, while also having something to maintain my trail journal. I kept to a limited watercolour palette to allow a greater quantity of individual pigments to be carried in my tiny home made business card case paint palette. A water-brush was the obvious choice in order to negate the requirement for the associated paraphernalia that accompanies a traditional brush. Despite the need to refill more often, I chose the smallest body waterbrush I could find and fitted this with a medium synthetic brush tip.

This is my complete art kit for multi-day hikes, other than my journal and a small ball point pen. The entire kit weighs 136g (4.8oz) and contains enough materials to last me many weeks

This is my complete art kit for multi-day hikes, other than my journal and a small ball point pen. The entire kit weighs less than 130g (4.5oz) and contains enough material to last me many weeks

My watercolour palette has undergone considerable revision and thought. It weighs 55g (less than two ounces) and pigments should last me some weeks as I am only indulging in small sketches with light washes and on an infrequent basis. There are nine single pigment paints and I have part filled two pans with one of these- Perylene Green.

I was able to include a small fountain pen with good quality permanent black ink. The pen is a modified Platinum Carbon Pen DP-800S. Intended as a desk pen, I have reduced its length considerably and not only does the cap now post, but it now fits both the small cuben wallet I keep it in and comfortably in my hand. This pen is fitted with Platinum Carbon Ink cartridges which makes it an ideal choice for the trail. I have included a small number of spare cartridges in the kit, these deliver a permanent ink that can be used alongside my watercolour washes.

A small good quality clutch pencil from Koh-I-Noor fitted my lightweight and waterproof case well, I loaded this with my chosen 2B grade graphite. A 102mm tube, originally from Acme that had contained six leads, was refilled with seven superior graphite sticks from Faber Castell (or later resupply sent to me could be from another of my favourite suppliers- Mitsubishi Uni) and a single red lead stick produced by Koh-I-Noor. The clutch pencil is a ‘shortie’ version made to take 90mm ‘leads’ but 100mm lengths will fit it just fine.

There is a little redundancy in the kit- a spare cap for the clutch pencil in case it gets lost (it couldn’t work without one), also an efficient sharpener that means I can sharpen indoors without creating a graphite mess everywhere. I will have to live with mistakes as I have only included a single, tiny eraser. This is one of the soft little erasers produced by Palomino for their classic wood pencils.

Almost all of my art kit is kept together in a small, waterproof, cuben packing cube case from Mountain Laurel Design. I keep my small journal separate, this has a pen loop fitted in which is slid a tiny Fisher Space Pen. This journal is kept in a waterproof cuben pouch with waterproof zip. This is slightly larger than strictly necessary as I invariably collect bits of paper and other paraphernalia along the way that accompany my journal, possibly eventually to be stuck in. The journal itself has the best quality paper I can justify in my lightweight set-up. Further weight is created by my inclusion of a hard back rather than soft back journal. This is to provide the necessary stiffness and support when sketching and means it will hold weather knocks and roughness on an extended hike better. It is one aspect of my kit where I could easily save on weight by the simple expedient of taking less pages, a lower quality paper, soft back covers or even no covers.

Contents Detail Notes Weight
Bespoke watercolor palette Home-made. Muji business card case  55g
Nine pigments Quinacridone Gold- (PO49). Daniel Smith

Hansa Yellow medium- (PY97). Daniel Smith

New Gamboge- (PY153). Winsor & Newton

Cupric Green Light- (PG36). MaimeriBlu

Perylene Green- (PBk31). Daniel Smith

Cerulean Blue- (PB35). Winsor & Newton

Ultramarine (Green shade)- (PB29). Winsor & Newton

Monte Amiata Natural Sienna- (PBr7). Daniel Smith

Permanent Rose- (PV19). Winsor & Newton

Two pans containing Perylene Green are only part filled
Waterbrush Pentel Aquash- 5ml reservoir. Medium tip 6.7g
Wristband Cotton/lycra For wiping water brush tip 18.6g
Fountain pen Platinum Carbon Pen DP-800S

With black ink cartridge installed

Cut down by 50mm in  length 10.6g
Spare ink cartridges 4 x Platinum Carbon Ink the only permanent black ink in cartridge form Each 2.4g

Total 9.6g

Clutch pencil Koh-I-Noor Versatle 5228, ‘shortie’ pencil, loaded with single 100m long Mitsubishi Uni or Faber Castell 2B graphite With integrated sharpener 11.4g
‘Leads’ stored in capped Tube 7 x Mitsubishi Uni or Faber Castell:  2B, 100mm

1 x Koh-I-Noor:       Red, 90mm

Tube is an Acme spare leads container with two caps.

Red primarily for annotating journal

6.5g
Spare sharpener cap Koh-I-Noor 1g
Sharpener (lead pointer) Mitsubishi Uni pocket sharpener 5.3g
Eraser 1 x Blackwing Palomino replacement 1.3g
Packing Cube Mountain Laurel Designs

Cuben Fiber: small

For storage of all items listed above 12.9g
Journal Rhodia rhodiarama, hard-back blank notebook: 90 x 140mm 96 sheets of 90gsm Clairefontaine brushed vellum paper  154.3g
Pen loop from Leuchtturm1917  2g
Ball point pen Fisher Stowaway Space Pen- Black ink Kept in pen loop on journal  4.7g