A while back Moleskine released their line of Shell line of carrying cases which come in a few different sizes and colors. Today we will take a look at the Moleskine Shell XS in Orange, one of my favorite colors.
The Moleskine XS Shell measures 4.25 inches by 2.75 inches by 1.4 inches and has two zipper pulls that traverse along the entire edge except for about a 2.25 inch hinge on the left long side. The skin of the case is made of a soft water resistant leather-like material that is very similar to the smooth texture of a Moleskine notebook. The only non-orange that you see on the outside of the shell are the teeth of the zipper because even the cloth material used to sew the zipper on the case is the same orange color as the case itself. Even the rubber pulls on the zippers (there is also a tiny bit of black metal exposed on the pulls) are covered with a nice chunky soft orange rubber for enhanced gripability…which probably isn’t actually a word.
The back of the Moleskine Shell has a Velcro loop that passes through the inside of the case through two small slits in the back. I was excited for this feature because I was actually hoping that I’d be able to strap this to the aluminum crossbar on the handle bars on my mountain bike so I could throw my cash and keys in there instead of in my pockets. Unfortunately on this version, the strap is about 1/2″ too short to be able to do that comfortably. On the package, Moleskine actually suggests that this strap could be used to attach the case to the strap of a bag, which I’d highly advise against. In the picture on the package it shows it attached to the back facing strap of a shoulder bag, which to me is just asking to have someone unzip it and take whatever you have in there.
Once you unzip the Moleskine Shell to get to the inside you can see that it is lined with a fairly soft black material. It also includes a mesh elastic lined pocket on the left, a key loop on the right top side, and an elastic strap on the right side as well. Here you can also see the right side where the Velcro strap that feeds through the back is. In some pictures of this online I thought that strap was an elastic strap that acted like a pen loop or something, but it definitely is not elastic OR intended to hold anything. Here are a few pictures to show the various ways it can be used:
As a key holder you can either slip a key ring on the elastic loop at the top, which I found a bit too hard to do, or you can do what I did which was use a mini S-Biner size 01 clip on the key ring and hook that to the elastic strap. I’ve found those mini S-Biner clips come in handy for quite a few things, so its definitely worth grabbing a few to have around the house.
The elastic strap on the right hand side is great for holding loose items like this tube of lip balm in my case. The strap is a bit tighter and more heavy duty than what you find on the standard Moleskine notebook, so it feels like this will keep things in place with no issues.
The elastic pocket on the left is good for holding things like tubes of mechanical pencil erasers or extra led for your mechanical pencil. As I’m writing this I just realized too that it would probably make for a nice little accessory bag for a digital camera. The elastic pocket could hold your memory cards or an extra battery while you could tuck any data cables or microfiber cleaning cloths under the elastic strap on the right side. Either way though, there are probably a ton more other uses for the Moleskine Shell XS that you can come up with, and it seems pretty durable. I wouldn’t put anything in it that was incredibly fragile, but it certainly does offer a slight amount of protection with the somewhat hard front and back cover on the case. It wont protect things from getting crushed, but definitely good for keeping things protected from minor bumps, scratches, rain, and dust.
There are plenty of other sizes, formats, and colors for the Moleskine Shell, so dont let this simple extra small version limit your imagination when it comes to what you might be able to use one of these for.