I'm going to start this review with a couple of disclaimers:
- I consider Brad and Jeff friends. Good ones, in fact. They're amazing dads and husbands and all around swell guys. Love 'em both.
- The product in this review was provided to me free of charge for the purposes of this review.
Neither of these things has influenced my decision at all and this review will be just as honest as if I'd picked this product up with my own cash from a guy I didn't know from Adam's house cat. There. Now that the hoopla is out of the way, we can talk about Nock Co.'s latest product, The Lanier. And it's a doozie folks. So settle in. I got a lot to say.
If you’re not familiar with Nock Co., it’s a small company started by Jeff Bruckwicki and Brad Dowdy a few years ago. Their first releases on Kickstarter consisted of a handful of well-made, brightly-colored pen and notebook cases. Since then, they’ve added a few paper products (index cards, pocket notebooks and A5-sized notepads) to their lineup as well as a few new cases. They’ve also retired a case or two. As much as we hate to see a company like theirs discontinue a product, it shows Brad and Jeff are listening to their market and adjusting their products accordingly; always changing and growing as the needs of their customers grow and change.
You can say many things about Nock Co., but you can never say that they’re boring because their product line is always changing.
Up ’til now, Brad and Jeff haven’t entered the tech market. They’ve focused almost solely on traditional pens and paper. True, some of their cases could double as an iPhone holder or the like, but that was never the intention.
But Nock Co., never being one to just settle for what is, has introduced what I think is their best product to date (seriously) — The Lanier Briefcase.
The Lanier comes in two colorways (black/teal and olive/green), and like all Nock Co. products, is made from durable, resilient Cordura nylon exterior, mold-resistant padding and a vibrant pack cloth interior with beefy mil-spec nylon straps and big ol’ sturdy #8 YKK zippers. They’ve engineered the hell out of this bag, but it’s still svelte and efficient and perfectly suitable for use in the office or the field.
The Lanier is suitable for carrying a 13” laptop and suits my 13” MacBook air absolutely perfectly. Nock Co. isn’t pushing one computer brand over the other, but doggone it, this thing feels like it was MADE for my computer. There’s a little wiggle room inside the main compartment, but for the most part, it’s a perfect fit and would likely suit just about any 13-14” computer you could toss in there. Or, if you’re not a computer person, throw a sketchbook or drawing pad in there. Or one of them fancy iPad Pros with the massive screen. Or a tray of brownies. Whatever it is you carry, if it’s about the size of a 13” laptop, it’s likely to slip right in. And you know it’ll be safe and sound because you’ve got a pair of YKK zippers securing the top and some mold-resistant padding to keep it (suitably) safe from daily carry.
Note: I wouldn’t throw my computer off of a very tall (or very short) building with this and expect it to survive, but I have no issues tossing it in my truck and carrying it around work with me, in and out of buildings, etc. It keeps the finish of my computer protected and it resists normal bumps and bruises extremely well.
On the front of the bag, you’ll find a full-sized pocket. A pocket? No big deal, right? Wrong. Inside this pocket, Brad and Jeff have tucked a rather unique little zippered bag, perfectly sized for an A5 notebook, iPad Mini, smaller tray of brownies (backup brownies are a must when you’re on-the-go as you never know when you’ll be able to refill your brownie supply), etc. I carry a Nanami Paper Seven Seas Writer notebook in mine.
It’s got one rounded corner, which makes it easy to slip in and out of the pocket and inside are two smaller pockets, perfectly sized for pocket notebooks (like the ones Nock Co. sells which feature their very own, very awesome dot-dash grid, fountain-pen-friendly paper in a reporter-style, top-bound package) or a three-pen case from Nock Co., etc.
As cool as this extra little case is, this is the only part of the bag that I don’t love 100%. I love it, like… 92%. And here’s why:
- I wish the zipper ended on the other end of the bag, at the bottom of the rounded corner. Where it is now, I sometimes have to fiddle with it to get it tucked in so I can zip the main pocket closed. I understand why it's not (the design prevents this), but it's a small thing to note.
- I wish one of the inside pockets was replaced with three or four pen slots. As it is now, it’s two big pockets and while I can clip pens in there, they move around a lot and don’t stay standing upright.
To be fair, including pen slots would potentially take sales away from other awesome Nock Co. cases. And I suppose I could just throw one of my other Nock Co. cases in there and call it a day, but when I threw my Sinclair case in, it added a bit of bulk that I didn’t love. I do carry the small Chimneytop case in the front pocket alongside the A5 case, though, with a few knockaround pens inside for those times when I’m on the go and forget to snag a pen off my desk or whatever.
It’s not a deal-breaker, but I’d have loved some pen slots. And if not pen slots, then gimme a Lookout in a matching colorway (please?).
All-in-all, this case gets a very, very glowing recommendation from me. And not to detract from their previous products, because they’re amazing as well, but this really and truly feels like a premium product. If I had picked this up from a rack at my local office supply store or luggage retailer, I wouldn’t know that it was designed and built by a two-man team in a shop the size of a one-car garage. The materials and craftsmanship utilized in The Lanier are far above and beyond anything Nock Co. has released to date. You can tell that Brad and Jeff have hit their stride and they are putting out high quality, well-made, beautifully functional, American-made products. I’d heartily recommend anything from the Nock Co. lineup. From the cases to the paper to this latest briefcase, you absolutely cannot go wrong with their products.
The Lanier, in my opinion, is Nock Co.’s best, most versatile, most well-made product to date and it makes me so excited to see where they go from here. Perhaps a messenger bag that I can slide my Lanier into? Brad, Jeff… You listening?
Check out The Lanier on Kickstarter. There’s two weeks left to snag yours and at less than $100, it’s sure to become a staple in your daily carry arsenal. I know it has for me and it will remain as such for the foreseeable future. You know, until I get that messenger bag to put this in. Seriously y’all… It's not a question of, "Do I want this?" It's a question of, "Which color do I choose?"
Thanks from the bottom of my heart to Brad and Jeff for sending this piece over for me to review. And as always…
Thanks for reading,