Jeffrey Bruckwicki and Brad Dowdy started their very successful Kickstarter campaign for their Nock Co pen cases last year. Unfortunately I missed out on the Kickstarter. Fortunately they opened their online store recently, and I ordered 2 of their products: the Brasstown, a deceivingly traditional pen case with a twist, and the Hightower, a foldable case with space for 3 pens and assorted notebooks. This is what I received after a very reasonable shipping period to Germany
I got the Hightower in the Steel/Blue Jay color combination. The build quality on these things is amazing. The material is a very durable nylon that you might find similar to the exterior of backpacks or laptop bags. It feels sturdy, the seams are clean, straight and the whole case gives of the impression that you could buy it at an expensive sporting goods store and hang yourself one-handed of the side of a mountain with only your pen case to support yourself.
The interior contrasts nicely with the steel-colored exterior, the light blue looks lovely and fresh. On the left you find a flap covering 3 slots for pens of all sizes. I had no troube fitting long pens like the KarasKustoms Bolt or wider pens like a Noodlers Ahab. The seams separating the slots go all the way down, a feature too often forgotten in leather(like) cases for 2 or 3 pens. The flap extends very low over the opening of the slots to cover the clips of the pens that you store there completely. Another very thoughtful and well-implemented feature that you don’t see too often in other cases.
The right side fits notobooks of roughly A6 size. The popular Field Notes Notebooks feel right at home, as do Moleskine Cahiers. You can fit up to 3 of these rather slim pocket notebooks in the Hightower, or you can fill it with one thicker softcover notebook like the small Leuchtturm 1917 that I enjoy at the moment.
If I can be perfectly honest for a moment: I regretted ordering the Hightower while I was waiting for my order to cross the Atlantic. I thought about my habits of carrying a notebook and a retractable pen of some sort. Do I really need space for 3 pens? Do I really want to juggle the case awkwardly while I try to take a quick note?
Let me tell you: I fell in love instantly when I saw the Hightower. I am now trying to create situations where I can use it. To me, this is the perfect “pack light” pencase. The Leuchtturm notebook has paper that takes fountain pen inks very well. With the 3 pens you get some options for colors and nib sizes when you head out for a weekend or a little longer. You don’t want to rely on just the tiny notebook with the thinnest paper and the reliable but not very versatile clicky pen? This is the case for you.
The Hightower has won me over and convinced me of its beauty and usefulness not even 5 minutes after opening it. It is that good.
High expectations for the second case, right? The Brasstown that I got has the Midnight/Foliage color combination. Mindnight is a deep, dark blue that I enjoy very much The Foliage interior looks grayish to me. I have partial color-blindness, so you should not ask me about reds or greens, but with a name like Foliage I would have expected the color to be a little more of an intense green. I guess missing out on the Kickstarter campaign does have it’s disadvantages, one of the special colors there was one of the greens that I would have chosen for my brasstown. The case opens with a big sturdy zipper with 2 sliders so that you can open it both ways.
The inside of the Brasstown is roomy and gives you space to throw in all kinds of pens, erasers, rulers, sharpeners or whatever your penlovers heart desires. The most outstanding feature is a piece of nylon fabric that separates the interior down the long side…
Yeeeees! Now that is what I am talking about. The roll offers you space for 6 pens. Again, the slots are very spacious, the seams go all the way down, so that your sensitive pens don’t touch, rub on each other and won’t get scratched.
At the very end of the pen roll you get some centimeters of extra nylon to fold over the first pen when you start rolling it up. That way you can always rest assured that all of your pens are kept perfectly separate. Another small detail that makes the case a delight to use and shows how much thought and expertise went into the design.
I had high expectations for the Brasstown and they were all met and surpassed. I am about to meet up with a fellow collector and I know what I will use to cary around some highlights from my collection already.
Get Nock’ed up!
If you can’t tell already: I love the Hightower and the Brasstown. One for surprising me in the best way possible, the other for being no surprise and just as awesome as expected.
The store over at nockco.com seems to have had a great start and the products are very popular. Chances are that some of their models are sold out when you get there. Don’t worry. They restock on several days of the week. So head over there, shop around, and get your pens some cases to travel in style and safety!