The Nock Co. Lookout Three-Pen Holster has been a key part of my daily carry for the better part of a year. I received it after Nock Co.’s very successful Kickstarter where I was a backer at the “all the cases” level. It was my first time backing anything on Kickstarter1, and one of my smartest decisions in 2013. All of Nock Co.’s cases are excellent, but the Lookout and the Maryapple are the two I use the most so far. This post is about the Lookout though. . . the case in which I entrust the care of three of my favorite pens (which changes relatively often).
The Nock Co. Dynamic Duo
Nock Co. is a result of Brad Dowdy (The Pen Addict) and Jeffrey Bruckwicki (Bruckwicki.com, H.L. Human, Beard Friendly) coming together to combine their interests, passions, and expertise. Mr. Dowdy’s love and encyclopedic knowledge of pens and Mr. Bruckwicki’s sewing wizardry and manufacturing background resulted in a synergy that designs and produces some outstanding (I’d even say best-in-class), fairly-priced, made-in-the-USA pen cases. I foresee Nock Co. having a very bright future in the world of analog tools, and I’m excited for potential upcoming product releases. My credit card is on standby.
Design & Construction
With the Lookout (which like all Nock Co. cases, is named after a mountain in Georgia), Nock Co. took a classic design and made it their own. The exterior is made of sturdy 1000D nylon, and the interior consists of a much thinner and lighter material they refer to as pack cloth. It’s also indicated that the exterior has a DWR coating, which stands for “Durable Water Repellant”. All these materials come together to create a pen case that looks and feels like it could survive some seriously harsh conditions. It’s comforting to know I can toss three of my favorite pens into my survival kit when the zombie apocalypse is upon us2.
I’m super happy with my color choice of midnight (dark blue) exterior and foliage (gray) interior. Don’t worry though, Nock Co. offers several different color combination options to choose from— there’s bound to be one that suits your taste. The black thread used for stitching together the exterior and interior material, as well as creating the three pen sleeves, was a great choice. It provides just the right amount of contrast to the dark blue and gray colors.
The stitching is also where it shows this is a product made by hand. That is by no means a knock— the quality of workmanship is top notch. An obvious example of this is the use of a bar tacker to create a super-strong attachment at the top of the pen sleeve separations. I love knowing Nock Co. cases are built by hand— perhaps by Messrs. Dowdy and Bruckwicki themselves.
The Nock Co. Tag
The tag adorning all the products Nock Co. produces also deserves special mention. It’s clear that much thought went into every aspect of it. The font rocks. The color and dotted background look awesome. The Japanese letters (which I assume translate to “Nock”) on the back of the tag are unique, and given Mr. Dowdy’s love of Japanese pens, meaningful. Maybe it’s a bit much to focus on such a small thing, but it’s such an excellent example of branding done right that it would be a shame to ignore it. The Nock Co. tag is a wonderful final touch to an already fantastic pen case.
To Carry & Protect
The Nock Co. Lookout excels at its two primary functions of carrying and protecting pens. I’ve yet to try a pen that doesn’t fit comfortably in the three sleeves. All the pens I’ve used in the holster fit neither too loose nor too tight. They have all been nice and snug with no worries of them sliding out or being difficult to remove. The only potential issue is for pens with tight clips— a little assistance may be necessary to enable clipping to the case. The only pen I have this issue with is my Pilot Custom Heritage 91. I have to pull the clip open a tiny bit to get it started over the case fabric. The alternative is to not clip the pen to the case and just slide it into the sleeve. Considering how well pens fit and are retained in each sleeve, the no-clipping option works great too.
Pens kept and carried in my Nock Co. Lookout are well protected. That really is an understatement. I often carry my two costliest pens, a Pilot Custom Heritage 91 and Pelikan M205, in my Lookout with no worries whatsoever. If I ever venture into more-expensive-pen territory, I’ll still use this case without hesitation. My Lookout travels from home to work and back again in my backpack every day. To me, it’s the ideal transport container to safely carry three pens. Sometimes my Lookout gets tossed about a good bit in its travels, but the flap always stays tucked in its loop (I can’t think of a better term), so I never have to worry about the case opening. I’ve been using my Lookout for a long time, and all the pens that have been inside it, as well as the case itself, look as new as the day I received them.
The Nock Co. Lookout Three-Pen Holster is now an established part of my daily carry. At this point, I can’t imagine leaving home without it or another product taking its place. Nock Co. came along at the perfect time for me— I was just starting to get into relatively more expensive pens. I remember waiting to get my Nock Co. Kickstarter package so I could start taking my nicer pens to work. I knew even before I received the Lookout, it was going to be the first case out of the bunch I was going to put to use.
I know there are other pen cases out there, but unlike the quest for the perfect writing instrument, I don’t need to keep looking for something to carry my three (current) favorite pens— the Nock Co. Lookout Three-Pen Holster is just right for the job.