Posts filed under Nomadic

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.)

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

Nomadic PF-15 2-Story Pen Case: A Review

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(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

The Nomadic PF-15 2-Story Pen Case is a padded, zippered pen and art supply case. The outside of the case is made of nylon and polyester with a woven, heather-like look.

Outside of Case.jpg

The case has two zippers for easy opening and closing.


Inside the top flap is a webbed pocket that is perfect for a small ruler, flat scissors, or pens and pencils.

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The main compartment consists of two parts. The first “story” can hold several pens plus there’s a pop-up pocket for an eraser or small pencil sharpener. You can also press the pocket flat to accommodate larger objects like scissors.

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The second “story” is a flap with three elastic pen/pencil holders. This allows you to put certain pens or pencils on top for easy access.


Overall, I like the design of this case. The bottom compartment can hold ten or more pens (ballpoint, rollerball, gel, or highlighters), and the top flap sets apart three pens or pencils for easy access. The mesh pocket in the top is perfect for flat items like a ruler, though you could certainly put more pens there.

Pen Case.jpg

However, I’m not so fond of the pop-up pocket. It is useful to hold an eraser or a small pencil sharpener, but it doesn’t really lie flat when it’s not in use, so it just seems to get in the way.

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I wish the top flap held at least four pens (there’s plenty of room for one more slot). I also think that the flap should be longer so that it completely protects the pens or pencils from the supplies underneath. Because the flap is short, any pens in the slots will knock against the pens/pencils underneath, which could lead to scratches. It would also be helpful if the flap was detachable so you could have easier access to the pens in the bottom compartment. As it is, you have to hold the flap out of the way to access the pens in the bottom compartment.


I do not recommend this case for fountain pens. The elastic loops in the pen flap are fairly tight and will accommodate only the slimmest fountain pens. More importantly, because the flap is short, your pens will hang over by about an inch or so, leaving them exposed to any pens or supplies underneath.

For regular pens, pencils, and art supplies, this pen case will work well. It is small enough to fit in purses and backpacks, and the nylon/polyester exterior should stand up to all sorts of abuse.

You can purchase the Nomadic PF-15 2-Story Pen Case from Jet Pens in either black or navy blue for $19.00.

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

Posted on December 1, 2017 and filed under Nomadic, Pen Case.

Nomadic BC-51 Biz Comp Brief Tote 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.)

In my quest for the perfect bag, the most common criticism I have is "not enough pockets", so when I saw the plethora of pockets on the Nomadic Biz Comp Brief Tote, I swooned a little. The product description says 8 pockets, but if you count the interior and side pockets, it's actually fourteen. FOURTEEN.

On the front of the bag, there are four zippered pockets. The bottom two are deeper and easily fit smaller notebooks or planners, pen cases, or even small tablets. The top two are more shallow, but easily fit several pocket notebooks, or phones, keys, or a wallet.

On either end of the bag are tall, narrow zipper pockets treated with polyurethane. These are perfect for a small water bottle and umbrella--or, if you go the diaper bag route, they're great for bottles or sippy cups. They're waterproof and isolated from the other compartments, so no condensation or spills reach your other items.

The top of the bag is also polyurethane. Set into the top edge are two small zip pockets. They're just deep enough for a pocket notebook, phone, iPod, or wallet. They're very handy for anything you might need to grab quickly. Between these small pockets is the main compartment. It is one large space with no internal pockets. It's large enough to fit a 14" laptop, plus a few A4 notebooks or a textbook.

On the back of the bag is another zip compartment big enough for file papers or more notebooks, and inside that are four pockets in a stretchy padded foam. They're all different widths, from narrow enough to hold a few pens to wide enough for a pocket notebook. (I'm uncertain at this point if "pocket notebook" is my new favorite unit of measurement, or if this bag was just made for pocket notebook fanatics. Possibly both.) There are no individual pen pockets, so if your pens can't touch, you'll need to use one of the other pockets for a pen case.

So, four on the front, plus two top, plus one main, plus two sides, plus one back, plus four interior equals fourteen. You know what? This bag has enough pockets. It's the ultimate notebook vehicle. Maybe even the notebook clown car.

The materials are good--sturdy and practical. The Cordura nylon may outlive us all. I'm unsure about the longevity of the polyurethane--I've had similar materials crack or tear on other bags. The rest of it is so well made that I wonder if including this material, as useful as it is, shortens the lifespan of the bag. Only time will tell, there. Alas, the materials only come in boring (though nice) colors: navy, wine, and black.

The zippers (of which there are ten, guys, TEN--and not a scrap of horrible velcro anywhere) operate smoothly and come with nice cord-and-toggle pulls. The stitching is strong and even. The bottom of the bag is reinforced with rigid plastic and has five metal feet. The strap has swiveling clips that attach to plastic D-rings and can be removed if you want to carry the bag by the briefcase handles. The strap is adjustable and has a ventilated foam cushion.

Despite all these durable materials, the bag is surprisingly light. Until, that is, you fill all fourteen of those pockets. And that's where this bag stops being my daily carry. After a joyful pocket-filling frenzy, it's just to big and heavy for me to carry around all day. If it had backpack straps, or if it was slimmed down just a little--maybe scaled down to 12" laptop-size, that might do the trick. Or maybe you're not supposed to fill it with that many notebooks.

One of the ways I stay organized is by using a different notebook for each of my clients or projects. This gives me a practical excuse to buy all the notebooks, but it also means that I sometimes have a lot of them to carry around. I fit all my current projects, plus my laptop and an A4 Rhodia pad, plus a 200-page spiral bound manuscript into this bag, and I didn't even use any of the interior pockets or any of the top or side pockets. It's very rare that I run out of work before I run out of bag space. Not on a bag without wheels.

Even though I don't carry it every day, there are some things it's especially great for. -Day trips with the kids. This is the bag that will carry our adventure survival kit. It makes a phenomenal diaper bag, and diapers weigh less than notebooks. -Travel. With this many pockets, you'll know exactly where everything is, which will help minimize the blood loss to your brain as you spend less time painfully contorted, searching for your book mid-flight. -Work away from the office. I can fit everything I need for a full day's work in here. Several days, probably.

What I'm carrying instead: -Tom Bihn Co-Pilot. Smaller, still has lots of pockets (and pen pockets), and comes in fun colors. I carry this every day. -Topo Designs Mountain Briefcase. Slightly smaller, but with far fewer pockets. Some of the main compartment is taken up by a bag-in-bag so I can get the pocket organization I require. The main advantage to this one is the backpack straps.

Both of these, however, are considerably more expensive than the Nomadic. I'd put the Nomadic nearly in the same league as these bags, but at half the price. It can't boast the made-in-America provenance that the others can, but if you're looking for a great bag at a really good price, this one will delight you.

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

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Posted on November 10, 2016 and filed under Nomadic, Bag Review.