I always look forward to receiving a package from JetPens. The website is the ultimate for pen and stationery geeks (this wood-barrel Spalding pen is one of my all-time favorites), and they also stock cool gear like backpacks and bags for organizing everything and carrying the stuff around. There are a lot of really unique things available on JetPens.com that you simply won’t find anywhere else. Which brings me to the Nomadic WD-37 Wise-Walker Waist Pouch — or as I think of it, the iPad fanny pack. Actually, that’s not fair. This is nowhere near as awkward as it sounds, although it does take a certain type of person to be able to pull this off (and I’m not certain I’m that person).
I’ve reviewed Wise Walker packs before and have come to respect the design that Nomadic puts into its products. There are always well constructed (no worries about a strap failing or a seam popping), every square inch of space is maximized and there are plenty of zippered pockets for safe storage.
The Wise-Walker Waist Pouch is no exception. The main pocket is big enough to hold an A5 notebook (or an iPad). There are also a pair of easy access zippered pockets, pen pouches and a large hidden zip pocket on the back. The belt/strap is adjustable woven nylon with a heavy plastic buckle. Construction is 210D nylon ripstop fabric that’s water resistant with a waterproof interior treatment. Zippered pockets are protected with cushioning. In other words, it’s the ideal pack for travelling where you might want to keep your passport, smartphone, wallet and even iPad handy.
However, if you do cart around an iPad, the drawback is the large, rectangular, unyielding form factor of a tablet translates into a pack that also juts out a bit, with hard, angular corners. Carry something softer — like a notebook – and the pack is quite flexible too and will lie flat. You could even wear it under a coat without much in the way of bulk.
What I would do to improve the Wise-Walker Waist Pouch? While it does an excellent job in its intended use, the time isn’t always right to wear something of this form factor. The one thing that would make the Nomadic WD-37 a home run would be to replace the sewn-on strap with a removable one. Without a strap it would make an extremely useful tablet case; attach a longer one and it could be used as a compact shoulder bag.
The waist-pouch approach may not be for everyone — and when worn with something large like an iPad stowed inside it’s a little unwieldy — but the Nomadic WD-37 Wise-Walker Waist Pouch is one of a kind, it’s very well designed, comfortable to wear and solidly built. And it sure beats trying to stuff an iPad in your pocket.
Nomadic WD-37 Wise-Walker Waist Pouch $64.50 at JetPens.com
Disclosure: JetPens provided a sample for testing purposes.