Van der Spek Nomad TN – Review

The other day I published a series of photos of the making of this Van der Spek Nomad TN. Well it arrived on Monday morning and it was worth waiting for that is for sure.

It arrived in quite a large box but well padded. Inside was this presentation box.

Inside the box was the VdS Nomad wrapped in a cellophane bag. Nice and simple packaging, not wasteful and you know what you are paying for when you order one of these, the money is going in to the product not the fancy box etc.

I took a moment to admire it before slipping off the elastic closure loop.

A pleasant surprise, some more spare elastic in a small cellophane bag, so I put that to one side.

This particular Nomad is the basic cover but with just the option of the pen loop, I like my travellers notebook covers to be nice and simple in design, adding the pen loop adds to the practicality of the cover. Other options are of course available.

The configuration of the elastics gives you four equal length elastics. And by spacing them out like this you will see it controls the positioning of the booklets very neatly.

Turning it over we see the simple closure loop. Note that all the holes are eyeleted, this adds to the finish and helps with restringing if required. It also helps you get equal tension on all the elastics because they can move through the holes easily.

So to start with I put in the three booklets I had been using for journalling whilst on holiday in North America recently. These are Moleskine Cahier notebooks that I have trimmed down in width using the method shown by Ray Blake in his video. I’ve used this method several times and the results are excellent.

The pen is the pen I travelled with on holiday because they claim it does not leak on aircraft, it is a Uniball Vision Elite, it fits the elasticated pen loop perfectly without stretching it, and no it doesn’t leak!

From this angle you can see how square the spine is.

The texture of the leather which by the way smells gorgeous, shows up nicely in this oblique photograph. The stitching is beautifully accurate and equal in spacing.

The thread is Cuoio in colour a nice contrast to the olive green (Janet) leather, but without being as harsh on the eye as white stitching would be.

The pen loop is slightly off set, but this allows longer pens to be stored or a mechanical pencil even without any trouble.

I discovered I had some more more Moleskine Cahiers so I made another 3 books to try out the Nomad with 6 notebooks in it!!!


To add books 5 and 6 I had to join them with an elastic band and tuck them behind one of the other books.

As you can see the Nomad can hold six notebooks and the pen loop doesn’t get pushed outwards, and there is no overhang.

When I showed the above photos to Petra she said, it is really designed for 4 notebooks. OK but it takes six!

So I slipped out the two joined ones and put in four un-used books for some more photos.

Look how nice and even those books sit with the spacing of the elastics.


Again a sideways shot, no different to when it only had three notebooks in it really.

An overhead shot for completeness…

And finally a surprise… I had to try it… How many Travellers Notebook covers do you know that will stand upright on their spine?  The VdS Nomad will… and here is the proof..

Now if you think it is a trick photo? On a plain background that I use for most photos it is difficult to tell from what angle it has been photographed from.

So back at my desk I repeated the photo, yes my desk is that untidy tonight!

There are no bits of blue tac or anything else holding it up. It sits there!


I think Van der Spek are on to a winner with this Travellers Notebook cover, they have used their many years of experience of making leather goods including book covers of various types, of custom ring bound organisers to come up with a simple and elegant design for a Travellers Notebook cover.

With Van der Spek you have a huge range of leather types and colours to choose from. I worked it out the other day if you took all the combinations of interior leather and exterior leather currently available (August 2015) the number of different covers you would make without any two being the same is about 2400… so you know that when you order one of these it is being made to order, just for you.. and given that number of variations it is unlikely that there will be two the same! That doesn’t include the variations you add by choosing different options either!

New leathers and colours are added at frequent intervals too! This Nomad is in one of the new ‘Janet leather’ colours ‘Olive Green’  The smell and feel is identical to other brands of Italian leather TN covers.

You can order your Van der Spek TN cover on the VDS shop, it comes with a variety of options you can add to the basic cover.

If you find the choice a little bewildering then help is at hand over on Facebook where there is an active and friendly group dedicated to Van der Spek products, join today.

Thank you to Petra Van der Spek for supplying this review sample.

Here is her video explaining the details of the VdS Nomad TN


5 thoughts on “Van der Spek Nomad TN – Review

  1. Steve Morton

    It almost describes my 7 weeks in North America! Wandering from city to city… lugging a case and camera rucksack on a never ending quest to meet as many Philofaxy and TNT readers as possible… 🙂

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