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Nomadic PE-10

March 10, 2011

FAIR WARNING:

This is a post about a pencil case.  No really. If you follow this posterous/tumblr/blog for my tedious ramblings on cycling, photography and art, this may not be for you.

Nomadic are a Japanese company that makes a bewildering array of pencil cases, electronics cases and bags, with interiors that allow you to organise the stuff you’re carrying to varying degrees, and according to your preference.

WHY?

I’ve been carrying my writing stuff to work in a “pouch” style case, and latterly in the pen slots of my rather nicely designed Brompton “C” bag.  On the “normal” commute, I use a Carradice saddlebag, which is brilliant, but lacks any internal organisation at all.  With this bag, I use the aforementioned pouch style case, and having everything lumped in together led to some distressing scratches on my Rotring Esprit pen.

On switching back to the “normal” commute, this year, and thus the Carradice saddlebag, I figured I needed a better solution for organising things in the bag.

WHAT?

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The Nomadic PE-10, Closed

Nomadic’s PE-10 “Tri Fold” case (sometimes called the “envelope” case) seemed like the best bet for me.  Try as I might, I couldn’t find a UK supplier for these (note to UK suppliers – you could CLEAN UP selling these things here, they are BRILLS) so mine is from online stationery emporium “Jet Pens“.

HOW?

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The Nomadic PE-10, Open. Note the velcro strip down the side – the case closes VERY securely.

What appeals is the way everything can be given its own slot – no nasty scratches or fumbling about in the bag for me anymore!  The case also unfolds to lie flat, so everything is ready for use and nicely organised.

In the pen slots are:

Back Row, (L-R);

Staedtler Mars Micro 0.9mm mechanical pencil (but Staedtler lead is horrid and squeaky – use Pentel).

Lamy Safari EF fountain pen filled with Lamy Blue

Schneider Base LH fountain pen filled with Diamine Imperial Purple

Parker Jotter Ballpoint (with a Parker Gel refill in black)

Parker Jotter Fountain pen (although mine is the Stainless Steel “flighter” version)  filled with J. Herbin Perle Noire

Parker Jotter Mechanical Pencil (0.5mm)

Front Row (L-R);

Rotring Esprit (nifty telescopic fountain pen, now sold as the “Parker Esprit”) filled with Diamine Monaco Red

Worther Shorty Clutch Pencil (3.15mm lead) black

Worther Shorty Clutch Pencil (3.15mm lead) blue

Why so much? Well, at least partly for redundancy, should one pack up, I can switch to another. The fountain pens are there principally for the different colour inks, which help me make sense of my to do lists (I’m naturally horrendously disorganised, and my life would fall to bits if it weren’t for writing things down, and Mrs Monkey, of course). 

Pressure of space means that my planner of choice (a Filofax) is in the “Pocket” size, making an “F” or “EF” nib (like that on the Lamy) essential for effective use of the page.  “F” and “EF”s are a bit small and scratchy for meeting notes though, so for those I tend to use the Jotter fountain pen.

The mechanical pencils are for planner entries not quite definite enough for ink (the Jotter, mainly for this) and the others for sketching, should I get chance.

The ballpoint is for addressing envelopes, writing on “proper” ink unfriendly surfaces, and occasional “do you have a pen?” loaning – people really don’t like borrowing fountain pens, I find.

Whilst there’s nothing in there to set the pen afficionado’s heart a flutter, they’re all super reliable “workhorse” type writers, that’ll start without needing a minute of scribbling on scrap paper, and not dry up in between making notes.

The pen slots aren’t the whole story of the PE-10 though.

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Pocket 1 – Behind the Left hand Pen Slots

Behind the left hand side pen slots is an top opening pocket that extends about 3/4 of the height of the case.  I use this for spare cartridges, and “Post It” note tabs (these are fantastic little things, I use them for marking items of significance in books, diaries & planners, and as dividers in the “notes” part of my Filofax).  This pocket doesn’t have a closure, but I’ve yet to find that anything has “escaped” from here.

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Pocket 2 – at the top of the middle section of the case

At the top of the middle section is a small pocket, closed by a velcro strip.  This is just about large enough for a small Staedtler Rasoplast eraser, and my SanDisk USB MicroSD card reader.

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Pocket 3 – behind the middle section’s pen slots

Behind the middle section’s pen slots is a full length “slot” type pocket – I don’t keep much in here beyond a usb key and my headphones.  I’d really like this pocket if it had a zip closure, and/or was wide enough for a Rhodia 11 pad (it isn’t *quite* there, sadly).

IN SUMMARY

The PE-10 is great – a very practical way to organise my stuff & keep it safe, and I’ve not had the problems others have described with losing items from the case (although all my pens have pocket clips, and I do use those to clip to the case’s slots).  It has the advantages of a pen or tool wrap (separating your pens so they don’t scratch each other and can be organised), with an unfussy closure and some useful extras (like the pockets, and pen slots that are different sizes – Parker Jotters being slimmer than Lamy Safaris, or Worther Shortys).  The material is a tough “ripstop” nylon, the stitching is nicely finished, and the overall impression is of solid build quality.   Although the case isn’t padded, using the “slot” pockets (and putting the right things in them) should provide a degree of protection to the pens & pencils inside when the case is closed.

For perfection? Make that middle slot pocket a smidge wider, and zipped, and get a UK/European distributor!

A NOTE ABOUT LINKS

Provided on the off chance that you’re interested in the things I talk about here – I have no affiliation with the companies linked to, and will get no kickback from them if you purchase.  However, I have used these companies, recieved good service, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to you. 

The items I describe may not have been bought from the supplier in the link (some were bought in actual shops, many years ago, some came from eBay), but were all paid for by me long before this review was even a glimmer of thought in the back of my brainium.

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