Note cards weren’t the only item in the shipment I received from Nock Co last month — I ordered a Lookout Pen Holster as well. Now that the Lookout and I have had a few weeks to get acquainted, it’s time for a review.
The Nock Co Lookout is a pen case with slots for three pens. It’s made of 1000 denier nylon with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating. That’s a lot of fancy words for thick nylon fabric that’s water resistant, but the Lookout’s first impression is that of durability. The fabric looks and feels tough, and the case feels solid and well made. It reminds me of other high quality backpacking and motorcycling gear I’ve collected over the years.
I did a quick test of the DWR coating by dropping some water onto my Lookout while it was loaded with my precious pens. The things I do for science blogging!
I chose a Lookout with the Raven/Aqua colorway, and it has a black exterior and aqua blue lining. An odd thing I noticed is that the contrasting thread stitched across the exterior is a different shade of blue than the aqua colored interior. This clash of colors bothers my OCD tendencies and I wonder if it was intentional or not.
Such confusion could be avoided if the Nock Co website had better quality pictures of each of the available colorways. As it stands now, the photos on the shop page aren’t detailed enough, and they don’t show all the available color combinations. (Seriously, what colors are “Peacock/Coal”? Is Peacock blue? Coal isn’t black because Raven is black, so is it grey? Curious shoppers want to know.)
The Lookout is a fold-over style pen case that’s secured by folding a flap of fabric over the tops of the pens stored within, then tucking the end of the flap under a strap. The interior lining is lightly padded, with three slots sewn into it to separate individual pens. The slots seem large enough to hold most pens. My largest pen is a Lamy Vista, and it fits in each slot with plenty of room to spare. I don’t own any gargantuan pens like the Montblanc 149 or Sailor King of Pen, so I can’t comment if they’ll fit in a Lookout.
Overall, the Lookout is slightly longer than an A6 Hobonichi Techo and about 1cm more narrow.
I’m a tough customer when it comes to sewn products, a side-effect of my other addiction, motorcycling, where a poorly sewn seam on a jacket or pair of pants can mean the difference between getting road rash scrubbed out at a hospital or walking away from an accident without a scratch. I looked long and hard at the sewing on my Lookout, and I’m mostly satisfied. The stitching is excellent overall, but there’s an edge on the flap where the lining was cut too narrow. This is a cosmetic issue that doesn’t affect the protective properties of the case, but it’s worth noting.
In the short time I’ve had my Lookout, it’s become part of my everyday carry payload. I use an ancient Timbuk2 messenger bag to hold my stuff when I go to work every day, and the Lookout and my Hobonichi Techo are a perfect fit in one of its interior organizer pockets. Every morning, I pick out the pens I want to carry for the day and load them into my Lookout, and I’ve found that three pens is plenty for my purposes.
At $25 plus shipping, the Lookout is on the expensive side for a fabric pen case, but it’s not nearly as much as some leather cases I’ve seen. Fabric versus leather is a matter of personal preference, and the Lookout’s fabric is top notch. In addition, Nock Co has a good reputation in the fountain pen community, and its products are made in the USA. I don’t skimp on protective riding gear for motorcycling and I won’t skimp on protection for my pens. This is one area where quality is worth paying extra.
Despite some minor flaws, my Lookout has become an indispensable part of my EDC kit. My pens ride comfortably within its interior and I can carry them with me knowing that they’ll be safe and protected from the knocks and bumps of my daily commute. If you only need to carry a few pens at a time, take a look at the Lookout pen holster. I’m very happy with mine.
I purchased this Nock Co Lookout with my own funds. My opinions on this blog are always my own. Please see my review ethics statement for more details.