I’m a big fan of Nock Co.— the company, the people behind it, their story, and their products. They’re doing things very right over at Nock Co. Headquarters in Georgia, USA, and the next product they’re going to release is a perfect example. At the end of April, your favorite pens and 3.5” x 5.5” pocket notebooks will have new way to ride in style when Nock Co. launches the Fodderstack XL.
The Nock Co. Lookout Three-Pen Holster and Maryapple Bi-Fold (which I was sad to see discontinued) have been my daily carry pen and pocket notebook cases for a long time. They’re products that look fantastic, but they’re the epitome of utilitarian. They just work. For me, Nock Co. cases aren’t merely containers. They are as important and necessary as the stuff carried in them.
I have every style of Nock Co. case. . . with the exception of the original Fodderstack. It was Nock Co.’s first new product to be released after their successful Kickstarter campaign. Like all the Nock Co. cases, it’s named after a mountain in Georgia. The Fodderstack is designed to hold a pen or two, as well as 3” x 5” index cards, such as Nock Co.’s own DotDash Note Cards. I almost bought a Fodderstack on a few occasions, but I’ve never been much of an index card user, so I didn’t follow through with a purchase. I’m curious to give index cards a try to see if I’d find them useful, but I have Field Notes and other pocket notebooks coming out of my ears.
So, when Jeff Bruckwicki over at Nock Co. reached out to me to test their soon-to-be-released Fodderstack XL, I was pretty darned excited. The Fodderstack is the same design as the original Fodderstack, but the XL is made to hold 3.5” x 5.5” notebooks— Field Notes Memo Books, Nock Co. DotDash Pocket Notebooks, Doane Utility Journals, and many more. The XL was the Fodderstack for me.
The Nock Co. gang has been releasing Fodderstack XL information and photos via their blog and Instagram feed. Listeners of The Pen Addict podcast have heard Brad Dowdy give some updates about it. Like many of you, I’ve been eagerly awaiting its release. After using a Fodderstack XL for a few weeks, it’s my pleasure to inform you that it surpassed my very high expectations.
Designed With Care
If you have an original Fodderstack, then you’re already aware of the fantastic design and quality I’m about to go on about with the Fodderstack XL. This case is simply a larger version of the Fodderstack. However, this change in size opens up the beauty and simplicity of the Fodderstack to users of 3.5” x 5.5” notebooks. As a heavy Field Notes user, I couldn’t be happier.
The design of the Fodderstack XL is exceptional. In a somewhat crowded market of things that can hold a writing utensil and a 3.5” x 5.5” notebook, it’s a standout. As nice as many of them are, I really don’t need a leather Field Notes holder, nor do I want to spend the relatively high price for one. There is some truly impressive stuff out there, but my stationery allowance1 isn’t unlimited, so I need to be judicious with my spending. The current price for an original Fodderstack is a reasonable $15, so I imagine the launch price for the Fodderstack XL will be a great value as well.
My Fodderstack XL is in one of my preferred Nock Co. colorways— midnight (dark blue) exterior and foliage (gray) interior. Nock Co. offers several attractive color options though, and occasionally they’ll offer a limited edition colorway or a small batch of a new color to gauge interest. Stay tuned to their Twitter and Instagram feeds for the latest Nock Co. news.
Oh, and I can’t write about a Nock Co. product without mentioning the awesome Nock Co. tag. I raved about how much I liked it in my previous review of their Lookout Three-Pen Holster. I realize with the Fodderstack XL there aren’t too many places they could’ve put the tag, but I love its placement— front and center where it deserves to be.
Built To Last
Like all my other Nock Co. cases, the Fodderstack XL is built like a tank. My three little kids couldn’t even damage it. . . trust me, that’s an achievement. Its construction quality and resultant durability make it an ideal everyday carry (EDC) case. Like other Nock Co. cases, they used the super-sturdy 1000D nylon for the exterior stitched with precision to the thinner pack cloth interior. If you examine the case closely, you can see and feel where they used their famous bar tacker to reinforce where the the top of the pen sleeve attaches to the front part of the case. There’s no chance of pen sleeve detachment. If you ever buy another Fodderstack XL, it will only be because you want a different color.
Like A Pack Mule
For its relatively small size, the Fodderstack XL can hold a bunch of stuff. I was pleasantly surprised with what I could pack into it. A Fodderstack XL can comfortably hold two 3.5” x 5.5” pocket notebooks (of normal thickness) and two full-size pens. You could fit more in the pocket, but you’d be limited to thin stuff like index cards and receipts. Depending on your current daily carry accessories, the Fodderstack XL definitely has the potiential to reduce your load. Considering how much can fit into a Fodderstack XL, without overstuffing it, its compactness is an awesome feature.
My Daily Carry Sidekick
I’ve had the opportunity to use a Fodderstack XL for a few weeks as part of my daily carry kit. It works like a charm. My backpack (an inexpensive Belkin), which I tote back and forth to work, always has my trusty Nock Co. Lookout and Maryapple2. So, I always have three pens and four 3.5” x 5.5” notebooks with me. While I admit to liking carrying lots of stuff with me (I may need it!), it’s often overkill. Sometimes two pocket notebooks and two pens is all I need to bring with me. In those cases, the Fodderstack XL is my case of choice.
The only thing I’ve noticed while using my Fodderstack XL is that I tend to use it to carry my machined pens and less expensive non-machined pens. Lately I’ve been using it to carry my Tactile Turn Mover and Cool Blue Platinum Balance. I worry a little about the exposed top part of a pen potentially getting scratched/scuffed while being transported in my backpack. However, I’m aware this is pretty irrational thinking on my part since I carry my Fodderstack XL in a pocket of my bag that is itself protected. And for the record. . . the pens I’ve carried in it have had zero side effects with weeks of use.
I would also recommend using the Fodderstack XL to only carry pens that have clips. If you had a large enough diameter clipless pen, it might stay put in the pen sleeve, but there still may be a risk of it sliding out. Having two pens in the sleeve would also reduce the possibility of a pen not clipped to the case slipping out, but again, I wouldn’t want to take the chance. I admit to being a bit of worrier about such things though.
The compact size of the Fodderstack XL makes it very portable. It’s small enough that it’s comfortable to carry in a front pants pocket, unless you’re into wearing really, really tight pants. If you really want to up your nerd cred, it also makes for an excellent case to carry in a front shirt pocket. I’m not sure if the folks at Nock Co. realize it, but they may have created the most spectacular pocket protector in the history of the world.
The Fodderstack XL is another home run Nock Co. can add to their already fantastic product catalog. I like the form factor so much that I want to get the original version, even though I’m not an index card user— it makes me want to try to incorporate index cards into my life in some way just to have a reason to use the case.
My recommendation is simple. If you’re a user of notebooks in the 3.5” x 5.5” format, and you use pens (or mechanical pencils), then you should seriously consider getting a Fodderstack XL. It’s a pen and notebook case with a specific function that it achieves with perfection.
Nock Co. is going to launch the Fodderstack XL at the end of April, so be on the lookout for more prelaunch news, reviews, and photos.
I’d start figuring out which color you want.
The Fodderstack XL in the photos above was provided by Nock Co. in order for me to use it before their official launch and provide honest feedback. Keep in mind though that I was already a Nock Co. fanboy before receiving this awesome product. All the high praise expressed in this post is my own.