Alstad Goods Carry Review – $199

The passport sized notebook cover is a classic staple amongst leather goods, and there are many great options out there. However, most of them aim for a sort of rugged, outdoor feel, rather than a modern, formal one. With a sleek, minimal style and several small design factors to make use above-and-beyond the typical experience, the Alstad Carry is a high-end entry into the notebook cover category.



Formerly known as Avund, Alstad Goods is led by the tag team of Mika Bektor from Sweden and Tom Hayes of the UK. This pair of designers both aim for simplified, minimal utilitarian designs without excess, utilizing nothing but the best in terms of material and construction. They strive to take persistent designs and ideas and improve them, taking away anything not needed, and leaving only timeless, functional pieces.


Alstad pieces come carefully packaged and include a note with the date of creation and signature of the craftsman.



The Alstad Carry is made of full grain, vegetable tanned, 1.2mm (3oz) cow shoulder, sourced from the United Kingdom. Leather is  dyed through from both sides. Edges are saddle stitched with thick waxed polyester thread (thick to the point that “rope” may be a better word). Edges are hand beveled and burnished with a contrasting black color on my ‘brick red’ version.


Construction quality is immaculate. Stitching is uniform and strong, edges are all precisely lined up (compliments of the laser-cut leather) and beveled uniformly, color is rich and deep, and the overall feel is both elegant and extremely strong. Alstad products are assembled in New York City.



A quality sword is often said to have good “balance,” meaning the weight is distributed to help the user most efficiently use the sword in the way it was intended. This is the metaphor that comes to mind when I think of the Carry’s design: it’s very well balanced. The center of the Carry, where it folds, is the thinnest and lightest point. This allows the weight of the pockets on either side to lie flat both when opened and closed.


The leather used is thick enough (and quality enough) to be very strong, but thin enough to maintain a very sleek form. It’s a finished leather, and water rolls off rather than being absorbed as with less treated leather.

There are notebook pockets on both sides, with an additional card pocket layer on the front. The Alstad Carry is great for holding just your Field Notes, but can also be packed quite full, if needed. Though this definitely stretched the leather a bit, I’ve gone as far as to squeeze my iPhone 6s into one pocket, my passport in the other, one cover of the included Field Notes into the pocket with the passport, and some cards and cash in the card slots.


The pen closure is a great addition to the Carry. It securely holds a pencil or pencil-sized pen, such as the included thin ballpoint (which, while incidental, is also a very quality pen), and can be used to either lock the Carry closed or, if only one of the two loops is utilized, hold your pen in place when you’re between notes. The pen closure is what allows the Carry to hold many items when needed.

The notebook cover is overall a pretty simple product, but the Alstad Carry enhances it in several ways that makes it stand out functionally.


The high level of functionality is matched with a beautiful look. The brick red color of this Carry (Alstad offers a handful of colors) is a very true and rich red, and the somewhat contrasting black edges and white thread add some subtle variance.


Lines are overall very sleek and modern. While the Carry is, of course, more than tough enough to handle the adventurer’s backpack, at first glance you’d be much more likely to think of sliding it into the pocket of a suit coat or dark attache.

One thing that did occasionally distract from the overall seemingly flawless look was where the stitches inside, that separate the card slots, leave an impression on the leather visible from the outside of the Carry. This didn’t bother me, but it is certainly noticeable.

The Alstad Carry is a luxury product with a luxury look.


Lately the trend in many leather products is to go for a rugged look and feel. The Alstad Carry has all the durability of these goods, but vies for a best dress look, with the functionality to match. The high price of the Carry may be a hesitation point for some, but the skillful handmade construction, quality of materials, and careful design all combine to justify it. This is unquestionably a recommended, Buy It For Life product.


Deion Sanders once said, “If you look good, you feel good, If you feel good, you play good, If you play good, they pay good.”  For some reason, that quote came to mind when I first saw the Avund Goods Randi Small Shoulder Bag. More concerning to me, is that I’m a guy! I recruited my wife on this review whose own collection of purses is nothing to chuckle at.

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BestLeather has reviewed a number of Avund Goods….goods. Their Avund Goods Forsta wallet took the number one spot in our Best Leather Goods of 2014 wallet category. The quality construction continues with the Randi. Constructed from an aniline finished vegetable tanned shoulder cut of leather, the Randi is dyed and colored on both sides. Waxed polyester thread is handstitched to make up the main body. The shoulder strap has 4 notches to adjust the length via center bar buckle and is secured to the main body by rivets. The edges are beveled, then burnished with beeswax to a natural, high gloss finish. Dimensions come in at 7.5″ x 5.25″ x 2.0″ and the weight is 8 oz.


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The Randi is a get up and go type of bag. With just enough room to carry your essentials and compact enough to not get in your way. The adjustable shoulder strap really increases mobility. If I’m somewhere relaxed like the farmer’s market, I like the bag hanging low so I can access the contents easily. If I’m somewhere a little hectic (think New York subways) I like the bag high up by my elbow to keep it close, and with the Randi I can do that.

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There’s a small interior slot that keeps my phone and money separated from the main compartment which makes retrieval easier. I was skeptical that the strap would keep all my things secure, but it has yet to fail me. My only small issue is the flap is hard to get undone with one hand, it’s a fair compromise though given my contents are secure. Normally I pack heavy, so a smaller bag seemed like a no go. The Randi challenged me to pack intelligently, and I find myself preferring to go light.

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All of the essentials for a day out.

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The styling of the Randi is a welcome departure from the pattern print bags saturating the market. It’s simple and straightforward design mesh function and style seamlessly. The Avund patch on front is secured with rivets and accentuates the bag well. The clean look lets you wear whatever and get away with it, you don’t need to find an outfit that matches the bag. The more it’s used, the more character the leather takes on, making the Randi an ever evolving piece.

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Avund Goods Randi Small Shoulder Bag is a great looking bag at a smart price point. For $199 you get full leather construction and won’t need to worry about it going out of style or breaking a zipper. It’s compact nature will make it your trusted companion for when you just need to get out without taking it all with you.


Avund Goods iPhone 6 Sleeve + Wristlet Review – $99

There’s a plethora of iPhone carry options on the market. Even with all the varieties it’s still hard to stand out since everything available basically amounts to disposable plastic. Avund Goods iPhone 6 Sleeve + Wristlet presents itself as a quality alternative multi function accessory that you won’t want to toss after a week.

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As with most of Avund Good’s products, the iPhone Sleeve is made from aniline finished vegetable tanned leather that has been dyed through and colored on both sides. This is the whiskey colored model that will develop a naturally darker patina with use. Avund also offers this sleeve in black. Edges are beveled and burnished with beeswax. The main body is one piece of leather stitched together (Using waxed polyester thread) and one smaller piece stitched around that to form the pockets. The wrist strap is riveted around the metal keyring. The keyring itself is secured to the main body by a strip of leather that is double stitched. I really don’t see this ever coming apart.


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The iPhone 6 Sleeve + Wristlet is great for those who like to travel light. My iPhone 6 fit in nice and snug, so there was no worries about it slipping out. A little caveat for people who use cases, unless the case is very slim fitting, your phone won’t fit in the sleeve. The pockets on the front and back of the sleeve are incredibly useful. They are perfect for stashing cash and cards. I like to fold my money around my cards and insert that in the front and I store a small wet-nap in the back just in case. Once on my wrist the sleeve is hardly noticeable. With smartphones getting bigger and bigger and women’s pockets getting smaller and smaller, this case is almost a necessity.  The open bottom allows port access so you can charge your phone or listen to music with your earbuds unimpeded.


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Avund has mastered stylistic simplicity. The sleeve’s whiskey coloring blends well in all environments and will weather all fashion trends. The iPhone itself is such a sleek and elegant piece of technology and it’s great to finally have a carry option that looks just as good. If you like the look of the sleeve minus the wristlet, Avund also offers a sleeve only version priced at $79.


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If you don’t like being bogged down, yet still need a viable carry option for your cash and phone, Avund Goods iPhone 6 Sleeve + Wristlet is a perfect solution. Given the likelihood Apple will release a iPhone 6S at the same dimensions, this sleeve will serve you for repeated uses.


Avund Goods – Changer Review – $22

Once in a while you come across a product that is handier than it initially seems.  One such product is the Changer, by Avund Goods.  Meant to hold some spare change, the Changer can actually be used for many other things, as will be pointed out.  Avund Goods designs and produces fine leather products.  Avund was created by Mika Bektor and Tom Hays, who both graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design.  They pooled their collective passion for art and design knowledge and formed Avund Goods in 2012.

We recently reviewed their Forsta V Wallet and Marine Shackle and enjoyed the opportunity of spending time with some of their goods.  It has also been a pleasure to use and test the Changer, which is actually a by-product of producing their Forsta and Andra Wallet series.

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You can read on Avund’s site that their “products are designed for minimal material waste and efficient assembly”.  The evidence of this is the Changer.  Below is a picture showing the template for their Forsta Wallet and the Changer.  You can see that the Changer is simply the triangular cutout of the wallet, which allows access to the wallet’s card slots.  I love this ingenuity and focus on efficiency.


I can imagine the conversation between Mika and Tom, “What should we do with this triangular piece of left-over leather?  Throw it away?  No, one of our goals is to be efficient.  How about a cool little holder for change that we fold over and fasten with a button rivet, which will also be used to keep it closed?  Yes, that would be awesome!”  Whether it happened that way, I’m not sure, but I know that I like the result.


One of the first things I noticed about the Changer was how stiff the leather is.  This is due in part to the leather being vegetable tanned, which typically results in a stiffer leather.  The leather is four to five ounce horse hide.  The leather comes from what is called “North of Cordovan”.  It is the section of horse hide that is just outside what is used for Shell Cordovan, some of the best and most expensive leather you can buy.  It is tanned with the same processes that Shell Cordovan is tanned, and it yields a tight grain and unique pattern.

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The majority of the pictures you see in this review are of the Changer after I’ve used it for about eight weeks.  The leather is still very stiff and holds it’s shape very well.  The color of the leather is natural (which is essentially a light tan color).  This color of leather darkens over time and develops a beautiful, golden patina.  You can see from the pictures that the leather is already darkening a bit.

Like all of Avund’s products, the edges of the Changer are beveled and then the fine tip is burnished.  This attention to detail is commendable.  Very few of the products that we review receive that level of detail.  It makes the Changer feel more sophisticated and certainly makes your keyring a little more refined.

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The hardware for the Changer is quite simple.  There is a single, stainless steel eyelet, which the heavy duty key ring is affixed to.  There is a nickel plated, steel button rivet that holds together the two “wings” of the Changer.  A hole is punched into the “nose” of the Changer, which is used to fasten the Changer onto the button.  It really is a simple, but inventive design.


Initially, I looked at the Changer as simply a small pouch for a few coins.  It holds up to five quarters in fact, enough to purchase a can of soda from a vending machine, or enough for a really cheap do-it-yourself car wash.  The Changer is big enough to hold enough cash to buy a candy bar, but does not hold enough cash to take your wife out on a date, so you will want to consider it’s size if you think it is something worthy of acquiring.  It is meant to be a keychain accessory though, so you really do not want it to be too big.

Avund’s site also indicates that it is useful for holding a few guitar picks.  That got me thinking.  Coins, guitar picks, what else could the Changer hold?  It did not take me long to come up with a list of ten items that would fit in the 1.5” by 1.5” by .5” space (these are the external dimensions, the useable space is smaller).  Below is the list I came up with.  You will have to let us know if you can think of other uses.


10 – Pencil Sharpener – Nobody likes writing with a dull pencil.  Why not keep your sharpener close by.

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9 – High Powered Magnets – Because they are just plain cool to play with.

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8 – Earbuds – Not everybody wants to hear your music.  This way you can plug in anytime.

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7 – Crushed Red Pepper – You like heat.  Make sure your next meal has enough.

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6 – Stool Softener Pills- Need I say more?

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5 – Legos – Need a quick distraction from work.  A Gold Ninjago Ninja is the perfect playful distraction.

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4 – Bandaids – for the construction worker who is all too familiar with cuts and abrasions.

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3 – Starburst – You never know when you’ll need a quick sugar fix.

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2 – 2032 Batteries – In case your garage door opener suddenly stops working.

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1 – Coins – Hey, isn’t this what it was made for in the first place?

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I tried to stuff a Dum Dum sucker into the Changer, but it would not quite close.  It was worth a try.

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The Changer by Avund Goods is a clever use of some left-over leather.  It certainly does not feel like a “left-over” product when you get your hands on it.  It is designed for a beneficial purpose, and as I came to realize, it has many more uses than initially considered.  It would look great and serve a useful purpose on any person’s keychain.

Avund Goods Forsta V Wallet Review – $119

Avund Goods is an artisan leather goods maker with a singular focus on designing and crafting the finest leather goods. I have had the opportunity of spending the last few weeks with their Forsta V Wallet.Avund Goods Forsta V Wallet Review09


Packaging is often not a major consideration of most goods makers. There are exceptions to this though, and often when there is a lot of attention spent on the packaging of a product, you know that the product itself is going to be special (think Apple products or the Nest thermostat). Elegant packaging, elegant products.

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After opening the UPS package from Avund, I was welcomed by simple brown packaging paper, with the Avund Goods stamp, tied with blue lace. After opening the packaging, I was welcomed again with the wallet wrapped in a small burlap pouch. I immediately thought that this is a company that knows what it is doing and how to set itself apart. Needless to say, I was excited to get to the goods.

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attention to detail

It was clear after spending a few minutes with the Forsta V Wallet, that Avund spares no attention to detail. The wallet is made from 100%, full grain vegetable tanned leather, which arguably produces the most durable leather. The wallet is a gorgeous light golden brown leather, with a V-shaped slot in the middle, where you can keep several credit cards on each side. I currently have 4 cards per side and I could probably squeeze one more to each side if I wanted.

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The wallet is a classic bi-fold, with the bill compartment just tall enough for your cash. If I had it my way, I’d make the wallet about ⅛ of an inch taller, so I could carry a few more bills without them hanging over the edge, but this design forces me to not try and stuff more than I should in my wallet. The wallet is intentionally slim, but substantial enough to carry the necessities.

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Porsche of wallets

You can tell a big difference when you drive a finely tuned, precision machine like a Porsche and when you sit behind the wheel of a Chevy Sedan. Similarly, you can immediately tell a big difference between the Forsta V and your run of the mill leather wallet. The Forsta V is leaps and bounds more sophisticated and crafted. Every edge of the wallet has been either highly burnished with beeswax, or beveled to create an elegant look, and in most cases both. Even the finely beveled edges have been burnished to a crisp black. The blue, waxed linen thread is stitched evenly and is straight as an arrow. In fact, it took Avund three weeks of testing and prototyping to determine the appropriate hole configuration for the most pleasing aesthetics and performance.

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Avund Goods Forsta V Wallet Review - $11910

The Forsta V is made from one solitary piece of leather, folded over twice. This eliminates the need for unnecessary stitching and therefore less chance of a stitch coming loose or a seam breaking. This simple design further ensures that the wallet will last a lifetime. Also, the V that is cut out of the middle of this piece of leather, is actually used to craft another product that Avund sells, the Changer V. Talk about efficient use of materials.


The confluence of these details is analogous to the crafting and putting together of that famous little sports car, a product that is sure to please and is sure to work just like it is supposed to.

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bestleather conclusion

The Forsta V from Avund Goods is an expertly crafted wallet with high attention to detail and design. You would be hard pressed to find a wallet this is better made and that is more sophisticated. It really is the Porsche of wallets.

Click Here to Visit Avund Goods

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