Posts filed under Bag Review

Nomadic NF-01 Tote Shoulder Bag Review

Nomadic NF-01 Tote Shoulder Bag Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter. And check out her first novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, now available where books are sold!)

I love bags every bit as much as I love pens, but I'm way pickier when it comes to bags. I've mentioned before that one of my favorite hobbies is my quest for the perfect bag. And when this Nomadic NF-01 Tote arrived, I was immediately and genuinely worried. Was my quest over? The mixture of joy and dread was real.

Thank goodness--after a few months' use, I can say that it's not perfect. But it's close--close enough that it had me worried for a while. And certainly close enough that I can say that I love this bag.

Nomadic NF-01 Tote Shoulder Bag

This is not the bag for a minimalist and that's obvious immediately by the way it proudly wears its pockets on the outside. In fact, I'd say that's the main downside to the bag: It's odd-looking. Okay, maybe even a little ugly. But for me, pockets > pretty, so I have no problem with the way this bag flaunts its practicality.

Pockets are definitely the theme here. If you like keeping your things organized and in place, this bag does the trick. All told, there are 14 compartments. Bliss. On the front, there's a zip pouch large enough to hold an A5 notebook or two, and it in turn contains two neoprene padded pockets and two mesh pockets. On the front of that is a voluminous snap pouch, zipper pouch, and tall padded phone pouch with another slip pouch on the front of that. On one side of the bag as a slim slip pocket, and on the other is a TARDIS-like zippered water bottle pocket. On the top of the bag, a double-zipper leads to the main compartment that includes a padded slip pocket. Next to the main zipper is a small, shallow zipper pouch perfect for keys or cards.

Nomadic NF-01 Tote Shoulder Bag Inside

With this bag, you always know where everything is. There's no fishing through cavernous pits of debris. Everything just fits. And because the pockets are built onto the outside of the bag, they don't take away from the space inside. I can fill those exterior pouches to capacity and still have the same volume available in the main compartment.

This volume availability is wonderful, but also another downside for me. It's great to have that capacity when I need it, but it's dangerous when I don't. I'll use whatever space a bag has (often filling it with books), and with a shoulder bag this size, that's a short trip to backache city. Especially because there's no padding on this shoulder strap. I know, "that sounds like a you-problem, Sarah, not a bag problem" and yes--that's true. But it's a problem I can solve with the right bag, and this bag is a total enabler. That being said, it's perfect for those times when I do need a bigger bag, like traveling or long day trips. It's just a bit too much to be my everyday bag.

Nomadic NF-01 Tote Shoulder Bag Front

However, if your everyday is a commute or day trip, this may be perfect. And it's certainly built to handle heavy use. The fabric is tough, water-resistant ripstop nylon with a reinforced bottom. Many of the pockets are padded. Everything is stitched well and the zippers are sturdy and smooth. The shoulder strap clips on and the fastening swivels to prevent twisting. I used this bag daily for over a month and took it on several trips. It's certainly looking a little rumpled, but it's otherwise unharmed.

Nomadic NF-01 Tote Shoulder Bag Side

The bag costs $87 at JetPens, which is very reasonable for what you're getting. I've seen similar bags cost twice as much. I've even used some of them, and I think this one is better than most. If you're looking for a high-capacity, highly organized commuter bag, and practicality is your number one priority, this bag is a total winner.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Nomadic NF-01 Tote Shoulder Bag Back
Posted on May 23, 2019 and filed under Nomadic, Bag Review.

Maruman Sketch Bag Review

Maruman Sketch Bag Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter. And check out her first novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, now available where books are sold!)

My recent trip to New Orleans was the first time my husband and I have ever traveled without our kids. To celebrate not having to carry diapers and car seats through airport connections, we decided to pack as lightly as possible. Our five-day trip would include everything from riding pontoon boats through swamps, to 5-star, jacket-required dining. With that kind of wardrobe variety, minimalist packing can be a bit tricky, but we were determined--no checked bag, no suitcase, no wheelie-that-won't wheel--nothing for the overhead bin that just gets checked anyway because (surprise!) your flight is oversold. Just a backpack each. A challenge, yes, but it can totally be done, if you have a good backpack.

Maruman Sketch Bag Front

The Maruman Sketch Bag is a good backpack. It was the perfect travel bag, and it is now my official journey bag. I have four more trips planned over the next three months, and I know I won't need anything but this backpack for all of them.

The first thing I noticed about the bag is that it is extremely light. The fabric is a PU-coated nylon that's so thin it almost feels like tissue paper. The structure of the bag is created with thin, light foam. It feels fragile, but it's not. I did not go easy on this bag--I was actually curious to see if it would tear, so I put it through plenty of abuse, but it doesn't even show a scratch. My return flights from New Orleans were not nearly as minimalistic as my flights there (heh), and I can tell you that you can cram this bag full of cans of chicory coffee and books and drag it out from under airplane seats, and (somehow) it holds up just fine. The only downside to that ultra-light fabric? Sometimes it gets caught in the zipper. It doesn't happen if you're careful, and it's a small price to pay for a bag that's light enough that you can fill it full of books and still lift it.

Maruman Sketch Bag Inside

This backpack has an excellent balance of small and large pockets. There's one main large compartment that's great for clothes (or books). Inside that main compartment is one large pocket and two small mesh pockets. Behind that is another large compartment, this one with some foam padding for a computer. The specs say it will fit a 15" laptop, but you could totally fit a desktop computer in there if you wanted to. It's roomy. Or, you know, more books. On the front of the bag is another large zipper compartment with two small pockets inside and one pen pocket. And on the front of that is another small zipper pouch, great for fast-access items. On each side of the bag is a drawstring pouch, fit for an umbrella and water bottle. And on on the side facing your back is yet another padded, medium zipper pouch, perfect for valuables and small electronics. I did use a Lihit Lab bag-in-bag and a few NockCo cases for some extra small-item organization, but I do that even in my everyday purse.

Maruman Sketch Bag Straps

The straps are well padded with foam and very comfortable. There is a sternum strap with a buckle, as well, to help support the weight of all those books. It can be adjusted by width AND height, for which I am very grateful. I'm quite short, so I often can't use a sternum strap. It was very nice to be able to make use of this one.

The only time I had any difficulty with the bag at all was trying to get it out from under the seat on the smaller plane on the way home. When stuffed totally full, it barely fits under the seat in front of you, and I may have had to remove the floatation cushion on my seat to get it out. This is, of course, a fault of the ridiculously small seating space of the airplane and not a fault of the bag--but a travel issue nonetheless. It's possibly also the fault of whoever decided to buy that many books on vacation, but whatever.

Maruman Sketch Bag Side

I'm very happy to have what I feel is the perfect travel bag. And I'm already planning what to pack for my next trip--to the Chicago Pen Show! I hope to see you there! And speaking of packing books, I'll have copies of my novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, with me to sign and sell at the show. Hit me up if you're interested! And feel free to find out how many will fit in your backpack. If you've got a Maruman Sketch Bag, you could have them all and then some--just remember that your seat cushion can be removed in case of water landing or book overload.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes. This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Maruman Sketch Bag Bottom
Posted on April 11, 2019 and filed under Maruman, Backpack, Bag Review.

Lihit Lab Smart Fit A6 Carry Pouch Review

Lihit Lab Smart Fit A6 Carry Pouch Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

You can never have too many bags. This is a dangerous motto to adopt, but it does carry a certain truth. As humans, we're wired to sort and store our stuff so we know where it is and to make it easy to transport. This can sometimes get us in trouble because bags and cases can get expensive, but that doesn't stop the urge to collect all the bags.

But what do you do when it comes organizing the inside of all these great bags? Well, one option is to use a bag-in-bag system. A smaller, slim bag that slides into your larger bag to provide compartments to stow your belongings is a great system. It's much cheaper than buying new bags, but it also moves between your bags easily.

Lihit Lab Smart Fit A6 Carry Pouch

With the Lihit Lab Smart Fit A6 carry pouch, you're afforded a small organizing pouch that can slide into your bag, but it can also be used with a shoulder strap as a stand-alone bag. There are some nifty attachment points on the back of the pouch that allow you to strap it to your belt, but I haven't tested out that particular carry method yet (doubt I will). Instead, I've been incredibly happy with using this pouch in my GORUCK GR1, which has MOLLE straps on the interior of the bag for organizing the cavernous compartment. The carry pouch isn't quite as robust as the ruck, but it's incredibly useful for storing small things in the main compartment instead of losing them down in the bottom.

No matter how you use it, there's plenty of space in this little A6 pouch. The front flap secures to the pouch with velcro, and the velcro strip is long enough to give you plenty of expansion room.

Lihit Lab Smart Fit A6 Carry Pouch Top

Moving around the outside, there are two D-rings on both sides of the top, and then two snap straps on the back. The snaps are strong and hold on even when you pull the flap open.

The inside of the pouch has one main compartment that has enough depth to store a couple of A6 notebooks, a Kindle, or something else of a similar size. In front of the main compartment, there's a slightler shorter sleeve pocket that goes to the bottom of the pouch. Finally, there are two small pockets on the front. One is wide enough for some phones, while the other is wide enough to comfortably fit a single fountain pen (possibly two gel pens if they have slim bodies).

Lihit Lab Smart Fit A6 Carry Pouch Loaded

The stitching and materials are well done. The Cordura fabric should last a long time inside other bags and being thrown around. The velcro could use some additional strength, as I find it a bit too easy to open. On the plus side, it's also very quiet for velcro.

Lihit Lab Smart Fit A6 Carry Pouch Size

All in all, this is an extremely useful pouch. It's small, but offers a surprising amount of capacity and organization. With several options for carrying and stowing, it makes a great companion to your other favorite bags. The price point makes it attractive as well. There are several fun colors to choose from, including the Olive featured here, Orange, Houndstooth, Navy, Camouflage, and Black.

If you're looking for something with more space, there's also a similar pouch in the B5 size. This seems like more of a messenger bag, but it is still small enough to fit inside most bags.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Bag in Bag
Posted on March 27, 2019 and filed under Lihit Labs, Bag Review.