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  • Price $179 for the 109 Essential Case at
  • Material Full grain leather


This year, I re-committed myself to minimalism. I've always touted myself as a minimalist, yet I've let myself amass stuff upon stuff. My shelves are filled to the edges with clothes. Large MUJI storage trunks, filled with things I don't even remember, invade my already small study.

I tend to resort to organizing the problem away, but it is temporary. This year, I decided to confront it by doing a no-buy year and actively tackling my hoard. Almost the halfway mark and I've successfully resisted buying any non-consumables and decluttered more than 330 items so far.

With some space freed up, I've started to think about how to store the stuff I decided to keep. I was particularly inspired by Minimalist Sibu's way of storing them in organizers that look so good on shelves. So when GRAMS28 sent some organizers my way, I seized the chance to see how well they work.


Leather pouches aren't something new. Every other lifestyle brand has its spin on leather products. But when GRAMS28 organizers started appearing on my Instagram feed, I was drawn by their aesthetics. My weakness in marketing must be why my hoarding became a problem.

Each of the cases uses premium leather, but the Essential Case utilizes smooth leather, while the other three sizes have pebbled leather. I prefer the sleekness of the smooth leather, but the pebbled leather does not lose out in premiumness and reminds me of the style of Saint Laurent.

The pebbled leather is much softer, thus more forgiving if you tend to stuff your pouches to the brim.

The Essential Case is in a clutch style, while the other three sizes are oblong, probably only possible with the softer, pebbled leather. While there are some functional reasons for the differences, the shape of either looks good in its own right.

The branding on each case is just a text of “GRAMS(28)” followed by a code that corresponds to the style number, material provider, material type, and the craftsmen behind each creation. The thoughtfulness of this certainly appeals to someone like me who used to be obsessed with leather.

While I love how minimal the branding is and it reminds me a little of Common Projects, I thought they missed the chance to elevate the minimalist aesthetics of their cases by having the logo in gray or matte silver, rather than stark white.

While the cases look impressive, the beauty, to me, was in the details. I'm usually quite the purist and expect every part of products I use to be black. However, I do think that the matte, silver zipper hardware on the GRAMS28 organizers adds a touch of understated luxe.

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It was a pity that the D-rings for the shoulder strap were plastic, although I think they did a good job of keeping them subtle in black.

The Essential Case comes in four colors, but the rest of the sizes only come in black. Most brands like to offer the leather in its natural brown color to show off the patina, so I can appreciate GRAMS28's dedication to keeping the consistent black color.

Each of the organizers comes with a 25mm strap so you can double it up as a shoulder bag. I have experimented with double-purpose bags, like the TOM BIHN Packing Cube Shoulder Bag, but have realized that they aren't for me.

Double purpose means compromises have to be made such that it doesn't look quite perfect for one or the other. It feels that way here; it feels like you are carrying your dopp kit as a sling bag. I would rather just use my pockets or a backpack, instead of something in the middle like this that doesn't seem necessary.


The cases use full-grain leather which comes from the uppermost layer of the animal hide. Full-grain is often regarded as the finest type of leather for bags and pouches.

While there are better leather, like shell cordovan, these would be excessive and the premium would not be worth it for most. A parallel in backpack materials would be like using Dyneema over Cordura. In other words, you shouldn't be worried you aren't getting the best of the best when it comes to leather.

Full-grain leather is durable, breathable, and ages beautifully. Most leather lovers revel in how their leather ages. However, be warned that even full-grain leather requires regular maintenance. I use SAPHIR Medaille d’Or Oiled Leather Cream but the cheaper BICK 4 Leather Conditioner would work as well.


109 Essential Case

Recently, I've quite successfully minimized my electronic accessories to just a charger, the NOMAD Slim Adapter, and two USB-C cables, one long and one short. I knew instantly that the Essential Case was going to be perfect for them.

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In this case, there is a pocket for AirPods, phone, cardholder, AirTag, and Apple Pencil. The AirPods and cardholder slot are side by side, with the AirTag slot on the front of the cardholder slot. Opposite these is a large, full-width slot for your phone.

I use my Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds daily but reach for them so often that I prefer having them in the quick-access pocket of my bag. Instead, I have the Satechi 66W USB-C 3-Port Gan Wall Charger, which fits perfectly into the slot. For Singapore, my Anker charger with a UK plug was able to fit the slot but the case would not close.

My UK type charger only fit if you put it in sideways.

My Apple Pencil is affixed to my iPad so I don't have it in the case. I have my shorter USB-C cable in the cardholder slot and the longer one in the main compartment.

With only three items, it was easy to use the Essential Case as a digital nomad accessory pouch. The only thing I couldn't do was fit the adapter and the longer cable on the same side. However, I suspect most of you would have more than three items and might prefer the 132 Essential Pro.

131 Essential Pouch

The next size up turns the Essential Case into a pouch. There is more space but most of the features in the case remain.

I shuttle frequently between Japan and Singapore and this pouch holds my EDC for both countries. When I am in Japan, I leave all my Singapore cards, keys, and passport in it. It is the perfect size with the two slots fitting my Porter key pouch perfectly; I have one for each country.

I love that there is a zippered pouch that is perfect for putting my rings and coins. I would love to see a key loop like those that come with TOM BIHN bags or at least a D-ring I can attach my own to.

Unlike the underutilized pen slot on the 109, I have my NOMAD Pen in the slot here which comes in handy for filling up immigration forms.

132 Essential Case Pro

While each pouch comes with D-rings to attach a shoulder strap to, the size of the 132 is where I would start considering wearing it as a shoulder bag.

The others are just simply too small and might be fine for ladies, but the 132 and up will give me enough space for my essentials like wallet, phone, mobile battery, etc. Anything smaller, and I would rather carry them in my pockets.

While I've minimalized my electronic accessories to just a handful of items, I imagine this case would be the right size for most with a couple more cables and gadgets.

133 Essential Case Max

The max is the big daddy of the cases. Even though the form is structured, it fits a surprising amount.

As a multi-bagger, I have a Tortuga packing cube that I use to transfer essentials from bag to bag. It contains a face mask, portable fan, Snow Peak straw, Raen sunglasses, eco bag, and other skincare essentials like sunblock, calorie-limit pills, and lip balm.

I was able to fit all these in the 133 Essential Case Max.

The pen slot worked quite well for a metal straw although you had to insert it in strategically so it doesn't stick out of the case.

Snow Peak Straw in the 133 Essential Case Max.

I chose the Tortuga cube because I could just dump everything in but trying to find my lip balm in the pile isn't always easy. I was surprised that every item could fit into the 133. The organization lets me see every item at a glance.

The pouch with two padded dividers which lets me create a perfect-size compartment for the portable fan and sunglasses. Like the other pouches, two stretch slots were great for my sunblock bottle and lip balm. The items in this slot do push against the larger slot, so you'd want to make sure you balance the larger items out.

It is a little bigger and almost too beautiful for some casual situations where I bring this pouch along, like to the gym. Some might find it too bulky but I like that it fits nicely into most backpacks, even compact ones like the Able Carry Daily Backpack.

Which case to get?

The decision between the cases largely comes down to size. But here are a few extra observations that may help.

  • The 109 and 131 can't stand on its own
  • The 109 has a different type of leather that feels more durable. The pebbled leather on the other three feels much softer. However, I still prefer the 109.


When GRAMS28 bombarded my Instagram feed, I was skeptical. Leather pouches have been done to death and I had high expectations, especially at the price point.

However, it's the thoughtful, modern organization, elevated by masterful leatherwork that made GRAMS28 organizers stand out.

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