I was contacted by Alter Manufacturing on Twitter a few weeks ago to check out a pen case they had just created called the Mod.02. It was an out-of-the-blue request, but once I checked out their story and noticed their proximity (ATL in the house!) I was excited to check the case out. A few tweets and emails later and I had a Mod.02 sample on the way.
When I first opened the package I was concerned. I'm not going to lie to you. I thought the case looked good, but it didn't feel all that substantial, especially since these retail for $30 (I received mine at no charge). I'm used to handling lighter weight nylon fabric cases from Nomadic that have more internal padding. It is a different feel in the hand for sure.
Once I finally got down to business and loaded it out, my opinion of the Mod.02 did a complete 180. I don't know my cloth density ratings at all, but the "PU Coated Cordura 1000D Exterior" feels as sturdy as can be without being stiff as a board. I loaded up 10 pens in it as fast as I could, and could probably squeeze in a couple more if I tried. The two right hand pockets fit three full-sized pens each, and the larger left hand pocket can fit a small notebook (like the Doane Paper mini Flap Jotter but not the standard memo book size of 3.5 x 5.5 inches). I went with five pens in that slot and could probably fit seven depending on the pen.
The inside of the pen case also contains a small horizontal pocket that can fit lead refills, ink cartridges, erasers, and the like. There is also a flap that partly covers the top of the pens to prevent them from sliding out if your case tumbles around a lot.
That right there is the key to the Mod.02. This is one of the most portable cases I have used from a design and construction perspective. Loaded out with pens, it still manages to fold impressively flat while keeping your pens and pencils stable and protected. The wide velcro strips allow you to stuff it even more full than I did and still have a tight closure.
If I was a mobile artist/urban sketcher type I would be all over the Mod.02. As it is, I am a backpack wearing, laptop toting cube jockey and this case suits me wonderfully. I can carry the right amount of gear and have all my bases covered and protected.
The now discontinued Nomadic Roller Pencil Case has been #1 in my case arsenal for years. Not anymore.