Nock Co. started life on Kickstarter with a series of pen (or pencil) cases over three years ago. They recently returned with a new Nock Co. product category, a briefcase. I backed it at the early bird level ($80) in late September and it arrived in May. It missed the April estimated delivery by a few days, which qualifies as on time for Kickstarter.
When Nock Co. started they made all their cases in-house. Now the Lanier, and many other cases are made by other manufacturers (still in the U.S.). Brad and Jeff still oversee production and quality control. All my original cases are still in fine shape and I expected the same quality in the Lanier even if it wasn’t technically manufactured in-house. I do expect the Lanier to take more abuse than my other cases.
What attracted me to the Lanier was its light weight and simplicity. It seemed perfect as a way to carry my supplies for the day. My current day bag is the Staad Attaché by Waterfield Designs. While I do love that bag it’s mad of woven canvas and leather which makes it on the heavy side. It also has a lot of room, which can actually be a negative, since I have a tendency to put things in it just because I can and I might need it. This makes the bag even heavier. So besides using lighter material the Lanier should provide some constraints so I don’t carry stuff just because I can.
When the Lanier first launched on Kickstarter there were numerous requests for a shoulder strap along with a couple requests for more padding. Both of these would have ruined it for me. It would duplicate the Staad and add bulk that I’m looking to avoid. I quickly backed the project but made a note to check back before it funded so I could cancel my pledge if these changes were made. But it soon became clear, both in the backer comments and Brad’s comments on the Pen Addict podcast that the design was pretty well locked in, and these changes wouldn’t happen. Not only would this keep the bag design what I wanted, but it would (hopefully) avoid any delays due to last minute design changes.
I picked the green version, which is an olive exterior and a lime interior. The exterior is water repellent (via a coating) 1000D Cordura. The interior is 400D pack cloth. There’s also 1/8″ interior foam padding. Full specs are on the Nock Co. website where the Lanier is now available.
A matching A5 pouch is included. The pouch fits in the front pocket of the Lanier. The pouch has two pocket notebook sized interior pockets.
The first thing I noticed is how comfortable the nylon handles are. My Staad Attaché has leather handles. The stiffness of these handles, along with the seam location, can make the bag uncomfortable to carry for anything more than a short time. While nylon can be uncomfortable that’s not the case here. The handles are 1″ wide nylon and are stitched to the bag so that there’s an arc to them and they are flat in my hand when I’m carrying the bag. My hand doesn’t get tired carrying the bag around. While I’m sure the lighter weight is a factor, I consider the strap design the main reason that the Lanier is comfortable to carry. The straps are a subtle design element that Nock Co. got right.
The Lanier is exactly what I hoped it would be. Some folks complained the color didn’t match the photos on Kickstarter. I didn’t pay that much attention. I figure between differences among monitors along with dye/variances between prototype and production I wouldn’t be surprised by some differences. The bottom line – I really like the color. I like green in general and I really like both the olive and lime greens used in this case. No complaints about the color from me.
I bought the case for my 12“ iPad Pro along with my analog tools. My 13” MacBook Pro also fits but other than to check the fit it hasn’t been in the Lanier.
My Typical carry includes the iPad Pro, a large notebook, a Franklin-Christoph Penvelope 6 and my Travelers Notebook in the main compartment. The notebook is a large notebook of 8 1/2“ X 11” Staples sugarcane paper, although the wire binding and thick covers adds about an inch to those dimensions. A Kindle also fits although it’s usually in the front zipper pocket.
The front zipper pocket doesn’t have any straps or pockets of its own. What it does have is a matching A5 sized zippered pouch that fits inside. The A5 pouch has two inside pockets appropriately sized for pocket notebooks. The pockets are a bit loose and won’t hold items securely. This isn’t a problem for larger items like pocket notebooks, but smaller items may work their way out of the pocket while being carried. Personally, I would have liked a couple pen slots but I admit this would go against the flexibility designed into the Lanier. Three-pen cases do fit in the pocket, at least all the ones that I have. Nock Co’s own Sinclair, Lookout, Hightower and Fodderstacks (regular and XL) all fit. My Visconti 3 pen case is the tallest case that I have and it just barely fits. I can close the zipper when the case is in the pocket, but just barely. The fit is fine if I don’t put it in the pocket. The Visconti case is about 6 1/4″ high. It would be nice to have the Nock Co cases in matching colors.
The pouch is curved on one corner to make it easier to get in and out of the Lanier’s front pocket. Right now I’m carrying miscellaneous items in the pouch. A portable battery charger (and associated cables), a Retro 51, a couple mechanical pencils, corded headphones, screen/glasses wipes and usually a granola or snack bar. The pouch is big enough for my Seven Seas Writer (or Crossfield) although I don’t have any need to carry those notebooks when I travel. While the pens do clip to the pocket, they do work loose.
The biggest complaint from people may be the lack of a shoulder strap. My Staad Attaché does have a removable should strap and I kept it attached all the time. It’s main benefit was that I could carry the bag and have both hands free. That bag was bulky and heavy(ish) so it was difficult to juggle the bag with just the handles. It was also slightly more comfortable than the handles for an extended carry. The Lanier is lighter and less cumbersome so I can juggle it with other items when I have to. I haven’t missed the shoulder strap.
The padding provides enough protection for my needs. It’s not going to protect my iPad from crushing abuse but it’s enough protection for my daily carry. I wouldn’t carry the bag on an overnight trip, but I would pack it in whatever bag I did use, then use it once I arrived.
The material does have a tendency to attract some dust, which can be seen in the photos, but it can be easily cleaned off.
I’ve been using the Nock Co. Lanier for about a month. It’s what I use when I need a bag or briefcase when I head out. The A5 pouch works well for the items I always want to have with me such as headphones and some writing implements. The simplicity of the bag makes it easy to quickly pack the other items I need for the day. The light weight makes it easy to carry.
The bag provides a lot of flexibility while also limiting my ability to pack everything except the kitchen sink. The bag is designed to be an easy carry during the days activities and suits that purpose well.