Posts filed under Lihit Labs

Lihit Lab Smart Fit A5 Notebook Cover 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.)

I find most of Lihit Lab's bags and cases to be well designed and practical. Except for the Actact Stand Pen Case, I've enjoyed all of their products that I've tried. And the Smart Fit A5 Notebook Cover is by far my new favorite.

It's made of sturdy Cordura polyester. It has three outside pockets: a pen holder that fits even bulkier pens (my Pilot Custom 823 fits perfectly with a little wiggle room); a front pocket with a Velcro flap that's large enough to hold most phones (or a good-sized stack of Field Notes); and behind that is a larger slot that can hold a medium notebook, stray papers, or a whole fistful of gel pens. Inside the front cover are two card slots and a larger slot that's perfect for a pocket notebook. These pockets are on a firm band of fabric that can be used as an additional notebook cover slot--so the case can actually hold two A5 notebooks. The back inside cover has another notebook cover slot, and a folder pocket that can hold papers or can be used as a memo pad holder. The cover closes with an elastic band that's attached to the inside front cover and stretches around the long edge of the back. There are two ribbon bookmarks--one white and one brown.

This thing has not been more than ten feet from me since the moment it arrived. It's more than my everyday carry, it's my every hour carry. My carry-from-room-to-room. Here's how I'm using it:

I have my main pen-o-the-day in the pen slot, my phone and a pocket notebook in the front pouch, and a handful of other pens in the larger pocket. This pocket also acts as a catch-all for papers I gather through the day. I have all my important cards in the card slots (it doesn't fit many cards, but it easily fits the essentials), and a pocket notebook in the larger slot. I'm not using the front notebook cover holder, because I have a large notebook in the back holder. It's about 1" thick, but it fits in the cover nicely. It's my planner/bullet journal/diary, so it gets used about ten times a day. The two ribbon markers are in my monthly and weekly trackers, and I use a separate marker for my daily page. In the back folder I have my BuJo stencils and my planner stickers.

This packet of essentials is like my external hard drive. Every inch of it is imbued with powerful usefulness. +10 to productivity.

Of course, it isn't perfect. There are a few things I'd change. One--the Velcro. I'm a knitter, so Velcro is my nemesis. I can't put this in a bag next to my yarn without risking tragedy. Two--the ribbon markers are a little puny. This could really do with more substantial markers. Three--the notebook it comes with is awful. It has flimsy, weak plastic rings that don't like to line up properly or close easily, and the paper quality is pretty terrible. Even my rollerball had some slight bleed-through, and fountain pens were a no-go. Thankfully, it's easy to switch out, and with the A5 size, you can replace it with some of the nicest notebooks in existence.

This case is going to stay in use till it's falling apart--or until something comes along that improves on its weaker features. I'm sure there are already such things out there in the world, but I haven't found too many at this accessible price point. If you're in the market for an A5 cover that can also tote some of your tools, I highly recommend this one.

(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, which I am very grateful for.

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

Posted on February 16, 2017 and filed under Lihit Labs, Pen Case.

Lihit Lab Smart Fit Actact Stand Pen Case 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.)

You can always turn to Lihit Lab for stationery container innovation, and the Smart Fit Actact Stand Pen Case is definitely in keeping with that reputation. It's a tubular zip-top case made almost entirely of silicone. It's soft and pliable, but keeps its cylindrical shape. The base is reinforced, and it's designed to pop in like a button, lifting the pens above the zipper level, so that the case can also be used as a desktop pen holder. The design is fun and clever, and won an ISOT grand prize for functionality.

I think my favorite part of the case is actually the safety insert, which cautions against using the case as a pen launcher, and also suggests that you don't lean directly over your quiver of pens as you pop the bottom in. Of course, in the name of science, I tried breaking these rules so that I could fully report on the safety of the case. Leaning over the case as I popped the bottom didn't ever result in gouged eyes or even any facial contact with the pens whatsoever. I can see how it COULD happen, so definitely do not load this up with sharpened pencils and stare into it as you slam it onto the desk--but you also don't need to lean back or wear safety goggles or anything.

It works pretty well as a pen launcher. Holding the open case at about a 45-degree angle and popping the button in sent an unladen Staedtler Triplus Fineliner about three feet. Not bad for something that is actually supposed to hold all of your pens in one place. And by not bad, I mean not good, because it's supposed to hold all of your pens in one place.

As far as actually holding things, I think the case leaves a lot to be desired. It's slim, so it doesn't hold very many pens--especially if you're using pens with thicker grips or clips, like Zebra Sarasas or Pilot Juices. It's also too short to hold full-length pencils. And while the tubular design is nice in its simplicity, there is no interior compartment for accessories like erasers or leads.

The shape also makes it a bit awkward to carry in a bag. It doesn't collapse flat enough to slip into narrow pockets, so it either needs to take up space in the main compartment, or use the spot reserved for your water bottle. So I'm not wild about it for pen carry, and it doesn't hold enough to be storage. It does function well as a pen cup, but if I'm going to use something to just sit on my desk and hold pens, I'm more likely to pick a pretty mug.

I do like the fact that it's completely and easily washable. In fact, I'd recommend it for kids if it weren't for its ballistic capabilities.

So while I do think the design is clever and there is certainly an audience for a convertible case like this, it doesn't float my boat. But it could probably sink my battleship.

(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, which I am very grateful for.

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

Posted on December 30, 2016 and filed under Lihit Labs, Pen Case.

Lihit Lab Teffa Bag In Bag Review

I’m on the road more than ever these days, and having my essential gear organized and ready to roll when I am is important. My go bag is the Doane Paper + Topo Designs Mountain Briefcase, and within it lives the A4 sized Lihit Lab Teffa Bag In Bag.

I’ve used the A5 sized Bag In Bag off and on for a couple of years, but it never stuck full time. It’s an odd size related to the things I regularly carry, so it has ended up being an accessories bag more often than not. The A4 Bag In Bag, on the other hand, is a perfect match for my needs.

I didn’t realize this until I saw more than one person using this setup at the Atlanta Pen Show. In one instance it was a standard stationery bag, containing various pens and paper to use and share. In another instance, it was specifically built as a portable letter writing kit, with loose paper, envelopes, postcards, stamps, washi tape, etc. Seeing both of these as stand-alone bags as well as slotting into other messenger bags and backpacks piqued my interest.

I bounce between A4 and A5 sized notebooks frequently, and of course I like having my smaller pocket notebooks handy as well. The beauty of the Bag In Bag is it can hold all three, plus I can toss in my 13” laptop, iPad, or Kindle to give myself everything I need to work remotely. It is perfect when I want to head to a coffee shop and write reviews for example.

If I am doing that, I’ll just grab the Bag In Bag and head out. When I drive to Nock during the week, it slides perfectly into my Mountain Briefcase where I keep a few more items that need to head to the shop with me.

I’ve beat around my A5 sized Bag In Bag a good bit and it has held up well. Both the A4 and A5 size have a zipper around three of the four sides of the bag, allowing it to open fully along one of the long sides. This is good when you want to lay everything out and close it up, but not so great when trying to keep smaller items organized. I think that is why I prefer the A4 because I am only putting large items in the middle. Small items fall out of my A5 frequently.

As much as I like and use mine, there are a couple of minor nitpicks. First, the pen slots are tight and short. I have a hard time getting anything in them other than a standard width pen. The Copic Multiliner SP maxed out the pocket, and you can see in the pictures where the pocket is too short for it to clip. It is a tight fit, so I don’t expect it go go anywhere, but a deeper pocket would be nice. Secondly, the zippers are rough. I get stops and starts around the corners, and rough sliding in other areas. I can get past them most of the time, but a smoother track would help.

Those are minor issues in the grand scheme of what is a functional product. It is priced fairly too, with the A5 model selling for $14.50 and the A4 model for $21.00.

If you are need more organization for your daily carry, the Lihit Lab Bag In Bag is worth a look. If you want to see one filled to maximum capacity, be sure to check out the review by artist Nick Folz. That’s how you do it!

(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, which I am very grateful for.

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

Posted on May 16, 2016 and filed under Lihit Labs, Pen Case.