The Lamy Safari is the most recommended beginner-friendly pen in the FP world at the moment. This review aims to illustrate why.
The Safari comes in a variety of colors: pink, yellow, black, red, blue, grey, and white. Lamy also introduces new, limited edition colors each year. (They’re a special treat for the eyes, so watch out for them.) Their nibs are inter-changeable, and their sizes range from the precise EF nib right up to the character B nib.
This particular pen was a gift from my grandfather. The pen is pink in color, with an F size nib. The Safari comes pre-installed with a Lamy Blue ink cartridge. My particular pen holds a special place in my heart, and that’s only one of the reasons it is in my set of DRPs (Daily Rotation Pens).
QUALITY & CONSTRUCTION:
The Safari is a solidly made pen. It feels sturdy when you hold it, but very light as well. During long note-taking sessions, the lightness of the pen prevents hand fatigue (believe me, I take lots of notes for school). It’s perfect for my tiny fingers, but for those with larger hands, this may be a noticeable issue.
Unposted, the Safari becomes almost cloud-like in its weight. It becomes quite short as well. Even for me, the unposted pen is difficult to write with and unless I have to jot down a quick note, the cap is either over the nib or on the rear of the pen.
When the cap is posted, the Safari is a workhorse. The weight is balanced, and you’re wielding a lean, mean, writing machine. It’s willing to take harsh falls onto concrete (yes, in a moment of heart-stopping horror, that actually happened) and emerge without a scratch, then write like a frenzied madman in order to win its place in your fountain pen collection.
- Weight: 1.1 ounces
- Body Material: Plastic
- Clippable?: Yes
- Clip Material: Metal
- Converter-Compatible?: Yes
- Diameter-Grip: 11.8 mm
- Diameter-Max: 12.4 mm
- Grip Material: Plastic
- Ink Refillable?: Yes
- Filling Mechanism: Cartridge/Converter
- Length-Capped: 13.9 cm
- Length-Posted: 16.5 cm
- Length-Uncapped: 12.9 cm
- Nib Length: 17.2 mm
- Nib Material: Metal
NIB & PERFORMANCE:
Now, Lamy nibs are notorious for being on the dry side. My Safari lives up to that reputation. I’ve cleaned and flushed the pen several times, so I’m certain that the problem isn’t just grit and junk stuck in the feed. Besides that, the Safari performs quite well with certain inks. But not so much that it resolves the scratchiness of the nib.
One could argue that the dryness of the nib enhances its beginner-friendly status, as the light ink flow allows for the pen to be used on cheaper, thinner papers. Which is a good thing. Still, I prefer wetter nibs, and the Safari doesn’t fit the bill.
Lamy nibs are also known for writing a size larger than other nibs of the same type. The nib on my Safari writes more like a medium than a fine. It’s not much of a concern, but worth mentioning.
Also, the nib has quite a large “sweet spot.” You can hold the pen quite close to the slots in the body, and still not lose the pen’s writing ability. You could turn the pen upside down, and it would still write. (Seriously, I tried it.)
APPEARANCE & DESIGN:
The Safari is simplistic. Modern. With the Lamy logo etched into the rear. It makes the pen look a little cheap, which it is (by FP standards). The logo isn’t visible when the cap is posted, so it’s not much of an issue if you’re concerned about it.
The finger grip is a helpful guide. It’s this unique feature that makes the Safari stand out in the sea of beginner FPs. When you don’t know how to write with a fountain pen (*raises hand*), writing with this beauty will teach you how.
The slots in the body of the pen show the converter (or cartridge) inside. It’s pretty cool. Sometimes, when I’m bored, I like to watch the ink slosh around. It reminds me of a lava lamp. I’m easily entertained, I know.
The metallic clip is quite functional, especially for students. It has an ease up to 1/4th of an inch, but it takes a bit of yanking. The clip keeps the pen attached to anything: notebooks, backpacks, even the front of your shirt.
This pen doesn’t require a lot of TLC in order to function. Practically anything you could do to this pen, it can take. It’s virtually indestructible. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve dropped this pen a couple of times, and you wouldn’t even know it.
So far, I haven’t experienced any clogging issues while following basic fountain pen maintenance. If my Safari starts acting up, I’ll let you guys know, and update this post as well.
The steel nib needs a little taking care of from time to time, but nothing special is required. Ink will sometimes creep onto the nib (as it does most, if not all, FPs). Also, fibers from cheap papers will collect in the nib, interfering with ink flow. To clean the nib in between regular cleaning sessions, simply take a plain tissue and wipe off the nib gently.
(If you want to read about maintaining your FP, click here for an excellent article.)
The Lamy Safari is a flawed pen, but not unforgivably so. It’s the perfect beginner pen, a mainstay in the fountain pen world, and I certainly won’t be giving mine up any time soon. Highly recommended!
Any questions about the Lamy Safari? Ask me in the comments section, or send me an email!
Do you have a Safari? If so, are you happy with it?