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Nock Cases Group Review


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A more complete version of this review (my wife calls it the TLDR version) is available on my blog.


There are plenty of reviews of the various Nock Cases lurking around the web. This one will have a different focus. I’m going to take a look at the cases as a group. Think of it like a review of a collection of short stories instead of just a single story.


I was a backer for Nock’s Kickstarter campaign. In the subsequent year+ I’ve had several of these cases come in and out of my possession, I’ve had several low-level email exchanges with Brad, I’ve manually modified two of the cases, and I’ve carried the cases every day. In short, I’ve had enough interaction with the cases and the company to give a thorough review.


To begin here’s a list of all the cases I’ve had. The ones in bold I still have.

  • Brasstown, Forrest/Sunshine: It gets used maybe 2-3 days each week.

  • Brasstown, Mandarin/BlueJay, Modified: Now holds larger items (harmonicas, knives).

  • Hightower, Steel/Mango: If I’m not carrying the Brasstown I’m carrying this one.

  • Hightower, Mandarin/BlueJay: Given away as a gift.

  • Hightower, Steel/BlueJay: Used, loved but sadly ruined by an oil puddle.

  • Lookout, Mandarin/Mango: Used when I’m carrying a larger pad of paper.

  • Fodderstack XL, Mandarin/BlueJay: Newest addition to my collection.


Appearance (Comments for all models as a group)

The Nock Cases have a rugged, casual look about them. These are cases designed for EDC—after all, they’re named after mountains.


The color combinations change from time to time—there are seven right now, and a few more have been phased out, or were used for limited runs. The interior colors are fairly bright—with one exception—while the exterior tend to be darker. In case Brad reads this…please make the new “Halftower” in a new Forrest/Mango combo.


Construction (Comments for all models as a group)

I’ve already said these cases are designed for EDC, so it’s no surprise that construction is where these cases shine. They are sewn with a variety of seams—exposed, hidden, reinforced, and bartack—and all of them are solid. I’ve now modified two cases by ripping out stitches, and ripping them out was no easy task. It took 5-10 minutes to get out a single seam to turn two pen slots into one. Looking inward from the seams, the two different grades of nylon are strong and even after a year of use don’t have any major wear.


Initially I was skeptical that the nylon used would we be gentle enough on delicate pen finishes. I’m much less concerned, now that I have the cases and have used them for a year. If I had any ultra-high-end, ultra-glossy pens, I still might be a little wary whether the nylon (strong, not scratchy, but not what I’d call soft either) might not dull the finish over time—BUT, and I can’t stress this enough, I’ve not had the problem with any of pens, ranging from Lamy to a Visconti Cosmos.


Price (Comments for all models as a group)

These are a remarkable value. Prices ranging from $17 (Fodderstack XL) to $35 (Brasstown) are refreshingly low (note: there are two cases lower than $17, but I don’t have either of them). The Lookout offers secure protection for three pens, for anything short of crushing, for $20. In 2015 that’s a steal.


Company (Comments for all models as a group)

One of the advantages of buying from a small company, be it a start-up or a maker’s shop, is the ability to connect with owner or employees of the company. Over the last year I’ve emailed Nock a couple of times with my questions and each time Brad has written me back within a day.


All of my cases have come marked with the Made in USA label. It’s a few people working together to make a good product to fill a need. It’s the kind of business I’m happy to support.


On to the actual cases…


The Brasstown

Holds: 6 pens with room for extras

Pros: Roomy

Cons: Noisy Zipper, No Notebooks


This is Nock’s largest case. Closed, it looks not unlike a traditional pencil case. But inside is a “tongue” that unrolls to reveal 6 pen slots. The tongue does not have a flap that folds down over the pens’ clips. The roll-up is large enough that even holding 6 pens there’s still a little room left over for small bits and bobs. It can be a bit large for everyday use, but it’s ideal for packing into a backpack, or into luggage for a trip.


The one criticism I have—and I’ll freely admit this is a quibble—is the zipper. It’s noisy. If I don’t silence the zipper and put it in my backpack, I can hear the zippers rattle with each step. It’s not difficult to fix this—Like I said…it’s a quibble.


The Hightower

Holds: 3 pens, 1 notebook

Pros: Notebook sleeve is roomier than Fodderstack XL

Cons: Can open in a bag


A small nylon folio, the Hightower opens to reveal three pen slots inside the front cover, and one notebook slot inside the back cover that’s perfect for my preferred pocket notebook, the Rhodia Unlimited 9x14cm 60 sheets, with enough room left over for index cards or a few folded sheets of paper or receipts.


Drawbacks? Yes, one. If I put this is a bag, it sometimes works its way open. I’ve never had a pen fall out—thanks to that flap—but I have had a notebook fall out on occasion. Otherwise I just love this case.


The Lookout

Holds: 3 pens

Pros: Small, Secure

Cons: No notebook


For me, this is the least versatile of all the cases. It only holds one thing—pens. Depending on the day this can be a plus or a minus. That said, if you’re packing your pens for later, the loop across the front of this case hold the pens very securely. If I toss one of these in my bag I know the pens aren’t going anywhere.


The Fodderstack XL

Holds: 1 pen (2 if you’re ok with them touching), 1 notebook and/or index cards

Pros: Crazy Convenient

Cons: Fairly limited in the size of notebooks and pens


I have frustrating relationship with the Fodderstack XL. For starters, it’s a ridiculously convenient case—holding one pen and one pocket notebook. If I just want to have somewhere to take notes or write down the stray thought, this case fits the bill. However, this is not a versatile case. If I want to use it I have to adjust to it—not vice versa. The problem is the very thing that makes it convenient—its size. I love that if I’m going to a business meeting this case tucks nicely into my Suit’s lapel pocket.


It was designed to hold the Nock pocket notebook (9x14cm), however, it doesn’t like my beloved Rhodia notebooks (also 9x14cm) because they’re just a tiny bit thicker than the Nock notebooks—the tolerances on this case are that tight. Similarly, using this case you need to be conscious of what pen you put in there. So if I’m carrying a large pen I can’t just toss it in my bag, but instead need to put it somewhere where the exposed end of the pen is protected.


Last Words

If you’re ok with the casual look and feel, these cases almost certainly have a good way for you to carry around a few pens. Whether it’s tossing your rollerballs and pencils in your backpack, or making sure you always have your favorite fountain pen at the ready, these cases are a good bet.


I’ve seen some of the teaser pictures for the new “Halftower” case which combines featured of the Hightower and Brasstown cases. Additionally I’d love to see a case that holds an A5 notebook or pad along with one or two pens. But first and foremost I’d love to see a new color combination—fingers crossed for Forrest/Mango.

"The Great Roe is a mythological beast with the head of a lion and the body of a lion, but not the same lion."

My Personal Blog | My Creative Writing Blog | My Heraldry Designs


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:thumbup: Two Lookouts & a Hightower here & I'm putting in an order for a Sassafras within the week to hold a trio of pencils & related gear. They take a lickin' &...then you stop licking them because they don't taste all that good, but they do hold up very well to the everyday carry abuse that I've put them through while guarding my pens from harm. Here's hoping I nab that Halftower.

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Thanks for the family review!


Clearly, the Nock products are well-made and fun. I have one each Brasstown, Fodderstack and Lookout. The Brasstown gets used mostly when I'm traveling. I think you hit its virtues well. The Fodderstack gets used very seldom. For notes, I carry a Rhodia No. 11 pad in a Rhodia cover, so it's the wrong form factor for the Fodderstack. BTW, I thought the Fodderstack was designed for 3X5 cards, not a pad or notebook.


My Lookout gets used the most. It is sufficiently protective yet less bulky than most of the leather 3-pen cases I have. However, at the moment, I am using it to carry two Visconti Traveling Ink Pots and an eye dropper. It's very cool to have these kept together and easy to find and carry, rather than rattling loose in a briefcase or suitcase. I may have to get another Lookout for pens.



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BTW, I thought the Fodderstack was designed for 3X5 cards, not a pad or notebook.


The Fodderstack is designed for 3x5 cards. The Fodderstack XL is designed for notebooks the size of Field Notes.

"The Great Roe is a mythological beast with the head of a lion and the body of a lion, but not the same lion."

My Personal Blog | My Creative Writing Blog | My Heraldry Designs


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I have just one - A Lookout, which I am very happy with. I looked hard for a three pen holder, and was delighted to find one at this price.

Pat (SCTechSorceress)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Nice review. I am a huge fan of their products.


I had two Lookouts (swapped the steel one and kept the mango one because those colors make me so happy).


I have a Brasstown. To be honest, I am not a fan-has nothing to do with the product quality. I felt like I was squishing my pens, so now use it for drawing supplies but not for my FPs.


I also use a Sassafras (again with the bright orange/mango). I use this case the most and I love it.


Nock co products are solidly built and very inexpensive.



Not affiliated with them, just a happy customer.

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  • 5 years later...

Anyone have a new/used Nock Co. Fodderstack original (3x5) or Fodderstack Mini for sale? I have the XL size already, so not interested in that size.


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