Rather than a regular review I’ve decided to start talking about the things I use regularly and why. The things I use regularly will be written about in the What I Use category.
I’ve been using Nock Co. cases since their Kickstarter campaign to launch the company. They’re pretty much the only soft cases that I use. Since I started working from home exclusively I’ve had to carry fewer pens and I’ve gravitated to carrying the Fodderstack XL since it arrived as May began.
I ordered the Steel/Blue Jay version. I like the color but there’s one unanticipated trait that I didn’t expect. It tends to highlight dirt and dust. Like all Nock Co. cases the material has a texture to it and this can hold on to dust and dirt. This is unnoticeable with other colors, such as my orange cases, but it’s very visible in this darker color. The clips from the pens can also discolor the material. None of this is permanent and can be brushed right out, but it doesn’t stay pristine for long. I don’t mind when the things I use show evidence of use, and I rather like it. So while I don’t necessarily want things to look dirty, this doesn’t particularly bother me. In the photos the case was brushed clean about a day before. The way I carry this case, in many varied environments, probably doesn’t help keep the case clean.
Like every other Nock Co. case that I have the build quality is first rate.
The Fodderstack XL is big enough to hold two good sized fountain pens. They do touch, which also doesn’t bother me. I have only a few pens where I’m worried about damage and those don’t get carried out and about in any soft case. Other than from each other, the case provides good protection to the pens. It’s a soft case so it won’t protect against aggressive abuse but there is padding from the material. Obviously there’s no protection for the part of the pen sticking out of the case.
The material is a bit thick so pens with tight clips take some effort to insert. I have a couple KarasKustoms Inks, which all have a stiff clip, where the clip is too close to the body to use with the case. They could probably be made to fit, but only after a bit of a fight.
The Fodderstack XL is sized for Nock’s DotDash Pocket Notebooks. This means that most standard pocket notebooks will also fit. This includes Field Notes and Doane Small Utility Notebooks, both of which I’ve used. Two DotDash Pocket Notebooks can be made to fit but it’s a tight squeeze and eliminates the ability to quickly remove and insert the notebook. A Field Notes Ambition and a DotDash Pocket could also be carried but it was also a tight squeeze. I don’t find the extra effort worth it just to have a second pocket notebook.
I typically carry one pocket notebook and two pens in the Fodderstack XL. I usually pick two pens for the day and carry those pens throughout the day. (And honestly, it’s been the same two pens all this week, so they don’t change every day.) One pen is a extra fine or thinner pen and the other is a fountain pen and ink suitable for regular writing sessions, so it can be a wider nib. This week I’ve been carrying my two Vanishing Points, one with a XXXF nib and Pilot black ink while the other is a left oblique nib with Pilot blue ink.
Lately I’ve been carrying the Nock Co. DotDash Pocket Notebook but have carried a Doane Utility Notebook in the past. I like the DotDash design but I’m finding a standard (meaning bound on the left) notebook suites my current usage more. My current pocket notebook carry is a mess and the notebook will change on occassion, but that’s another topic.
A typical day has me almost exclusively using these pens until the evening, where I may switch to a different pen if I do any writing. The exception is if I want an ink that’s not in one of the two pens, such as red. Since I work at home I’ll carry the case around the house if I change locations (office desk, patio if the weather is nice, or a chair by the big patio door if the weather isn’t nice but I want to see the world and daylight). This way I always have a couple pens and notepaper handy.
I also grab the case whenever I head out. It fits in all my shirt pockets. While it’s a little bigger than I prefer for a shirt pocket, it is very light. Little weight is added beyond the pad and paper. It also fits in my jean and trouser pockets, but I only carry it there if my hands and shirt pocket are full and I’m going to a nearby location, such as my car, where I then pull it out. It also slide nicely into my Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter so I can carry it in my mobile office.
I like having it with me so I did develop a habit of leaving it in my car at times, although now that hotter summer weather is here I carry it in a pocket more often with my preference being a shirt pocket, even if I’m heading into a store where I’m unlikely to need it. The notebook pocket is also nice for holding receipts, business cards and other scraps of paper collected throughout the day.
I do have to pay attention to the pens I carry. Two KarasKustoms Ink fountain pens do fit, but they are heavier than my preference for a shirt pocket carry, even without the case.
I like the style so much that I recently bought the smaller original Fodderstack, but I have different plans for this one which I’ll write about in a future what I use, article assuming I do use it. The original Fodderstack is smaller and can only hold one pen (unless they’re really thin pens) and it’s designed for the Nock Co. index cards.
What would I change? Nothing really.
While a different color wouldn’t show off dirt and dust I got this color because I wanted to carry it in my shirt pocket and I didn’t want anything bright, so I’m happy with it. It’s a business friendly color.
I sometimes wish it held three pens but that would make it thicker and heavier, and therefore less useful for me. Three pens in my shirt pocket annoys me even without the added case and notebook. I’ve gone back to carrying a Kaweco Sport with red ink so that gives me a pen to use with bright ink if I need to mark something up.
The Nock Co. Fodderstack XL works for me because it’s light and easy to grab and carry. I got it intending to have something I could easily toss in a bag or briefcase but I’ve found it’s something I use and carry all day. While I’ve always been happier carrying more pens, I’m finding that the right two pens works well for me and is easy and light to carry. Plus, it works throughout the day in any environment.
Write Analog (pre-production review)
Nock Co Fodderstack XL with a KarasKustoms Ink and Pelikan M805
Nock Co Fodderstack XL with a Retro 51 Tornado
Nock Co Fodderstack XL Steel/Blue Jay
Nock Co Fodderstack XL closeup showing so dust and discoloring from the pen clips. It all brushes out.
Nock Co Fodderstack XL with two Vanishing Points with the Nock Co DotDash Notebook in front of it.
Nock Co Fodderstack XL with two Vanishing Points with the Doane Small Utility Notebook in front of it.