Galen Leather, a small, handmade leathergoods company in Istanbul, Turkey, makes heirloom-quality notebook covers, sleeves, pouches, iPad covers, wallets, keychains, bags, and more. (And for those of you on the Midori notebook kick, they have a cover for you as well.) I’m always on the lookout for quality life solutions that will last, and Galen’s goods fit the bill. They will work very well for EDC enthusiasts as well. I got the chance to try out a couple of their products, and I was an instant fan.
All of the Galen Leather products are made by hand and are hand stitched. They use 2-4mm vegetable-tanned cow bridle leather and waxed thread, and the leather has finished/burnished edges. The products do come in several different leather finishes and colors, so they likely have something to fit your taste. Each one comes packaged in a sturdy, reusable gift/storage box.
The gorgeous medium-sized Leather Pocket Moleskine Journal Cover retails for $51 and measures about 6 1/4″ x 5″ when closed. Just supply your own Moleskine! It holds the smaller format 3 1/2″ x 5″ Moleskines, either the thin ones that come in a multipack, or the thicker ones that also come with their own elastic closure loop. Simply tuck your journal’s back cover under the elastic on the right side. There’s also a bonus pocket underneath where you can store your passport, cash, or anything you like. The elastic continues on the back outside, so you can either pull it around the front to hold the whole thing closed, or you can tuck other things underneath. Back in the interior, on the left side, you can store your phone or other similarly-shaped item under the strap, and there is loop for a pen and slot for an ID card or credit card or two. The pen loop is designed for pens that are about the size of the Lamy Safari—which I happened to have, and it fits perfectly. There is a second pocket on the left side as well, mirroring the one on the right, for a second passport, receipts, or the like.
Though I don’t generally store my phone in the cover, there’s no end to what it can hold: paper, other pens, erasers, small letters, spare tissues, sheets of stickers, or wherever your needs take you. The leather on the cover feels so nice that I find myself petting it periodically throughout the day. It is now my go-to small-format, um, thing. That “thing” that you carry that holds all of your stuff. It also pairs nicely with the second product I tried out (see below).
The leather on this gorgeous cover arrives generally un-mussed, but, as you use it, it will develop its own collection of scuffs and scratches. This won’t affect its usefulness, and mild oiling can minimize their appearance. This holds true for all of their products. For a closer look at this cover, the Galen Leather folks give a nice video tour.
If your bent runs to Field Notes, there are cover sizes for those as well. The product I was able to try out was the full-grain Leather Zippered 5 Slots Pen Case. It retails for $49 and measures just under 5″ x 6 1/2″ when closed. (Again, supply your own Field Notes or other slim A6 size notebook.) The inside of this one is lined with a velvet feel to treat your pens as they deserve to be treated. It holds up to five pens on the left side and a slim notebook on the right. You could then tuck something small and flat under the notebook on the right-hand side if desired. Though designed for fountain pens, any of your favorite writing implements would feel right at home in this case, as long as they are no longer than about 155mm/6.10 inches.
This product seems to be made of thinner leather than the Journal Cover above, but there is still ample room and padding to protect your pens, and the zipper opens and closes very smoothly. You can see a tour of this product during the beginning part of this video.
While this product is designed for a small notebook and a slew of writing implements, I’ve already envisioned using it for small craft projects in the future as well, since I don’t generally carry five pens at once. The full zipper closure would keep everything safely inside. But instead of pens, the loops could hold small scissors, crochet hooks, or rolled up embroidery fabric, for example. Or it could just hold a small sketch book along with a pencil, eraser, and different sized ink pens.
Each of the Galen Leather products also comes with its own gorgeous glass evil eye charm, which I found to be a quirky and fun touch to the experience. These can be hung from a bag, your phone, or a holiday tree, placed in a window, or put whever you have evil eye needs.
The guys behind Galen Leather are masters at producing quality goods that you’ll want to use for a very long time. Their extensive selection means that they likely carry something that would fit into your life. Check out their products on Amazon, or on the Galen Leather website. Any Galen Leather product would be an ideal holiday gift this year as well.
Note: I received samples for review purposes.