Review: Etchr Nano Satchel - Smaller and lighter portable body easel

Etchr Lab has just released the Etchr Nano Satchel and I have received one for review purposes. This is the company's 5th product from their carry range. The previous four are:

The main selling point is you can turn this satchel into an easel that straps to your body so that you can stand and paint or sketch. This can be useful if you need to stand and sketch, such as in tight spaces, or when you don't want to bring a portable stool along. I personally prefer to sit and sketch, and usually have my portable stool with me, so this isn't really a product for me.

Price of this new satchel is USD 49.99. Shipping may or may not be included depending on where you buy it from.

External dimensions are 26.7 x 18.7 x 6.6cm, and internal dimensions are 24.4 x 16.1 x 3cm.

This satchel is noticeably smaller than the Etchr Slate Mini which has external dimensions 35 x 25 x 6cm, and internal dimensions 32 x 22 x 5cm.

One downside for the earlier satchels from Etchr Lab is they are not lightweight enough even without packing anything in. This new satchel is much lighter because the materials used are lighter, and also it's smaller.

The satchel is big enough to hold an A5 sized sketchbook.

It can even hold an 11-inch iPad Pro (with no case) even though this isn't really designed for that. But the Apple Pencil has to be stored somewhere else.

Material used is water resistant and vegan friendly. Stitching for the logo is a nice orange against gray.

The zips are designed to keep out water.

The front pocket is deep and uses velcro for the flap.

The interior has fabric texture. One side has six small holders and one big one, all elastic. The other side has two long elastic band and a elastic pen holder.

There's enough space to hold at least six pens. The larger holder can hold a 80ml water mister bottle.

I use the water mister bottle to wet my watercolour paint, and I pour the water out into my palette to wash brushes. If you want to fit a bottle like that, you will have to use a square sketchbook that's smaller than 16cm or 6.2 inches. The white cover square format watercolour sketchbook above is the 6 x 6 inch Etchr Sketchbook.

There's another pocket, deep and flat, in the main compartment on the same side as the two elastic bands. One limitation of this satchel is there are only two pockets.

This is how thick the satchel when packed with a sketchbook, the water mister bottle, pens, watercolour brushes and a small watercolour box.

The back has four rings for the strap.

The clip for the strap looks good and can swivel. You can clip the strap any two of the four rings depending on how you want to use the satchel.

The ring looks like it's made of plastic and it's feels hard. I just hope it's durable enough.


You can watch the video above for a clearer understanding on how to set up the satchel.

It took me some time to figure out how this satchel can be set up.

I am right handed, so I have the strap and the strap adjustment on the left shoulder. This allows my right hand to move freely.

The satchel has to be unzipped first. And before you open it, make sure there aren't things that will fall out.

Next turn the opened part (with the pens) around and under the other part, and use the velcro strap to hold the two parts together.

This is how it looks with my sketchbook on the satchel. I have clipped the Micro Portable Painter watercolour box to my sketchbook.

It is important to know whether your watercolour box can be clipped to your sketchbook. One main selling point of this satchel is you can stand and paint, so if your watercolour box cannot be clipped to your sketchbook, I don't think it make sense to buy this satchel.

The sketchbook was also clipped to the satchel so that it does not move.

This was my quick sketch drawn with the sketchbook on the satchel. I didn't really expect any issues except I poured too much water in my box which was prone to spilling out onto the page.

I am happy to report that my shoulders did not feel the strain even after carrying this for almost two hours, for the recording of the video and while I was sketching. So maybe not having that many pockets is good in the sense that you can't pack that many items to weigh you down.

Can I recommend the Etchr Nano Satchel?

The design is certainly functional.

This is good for these uses cases:

  • Working in tight spaces
  • Working at places where there are no seats
  • Where you don't want to bring along your portable stool
  • For looking over obstacles because the seated view is blocked
  • To draw for a higher elevation when the lower elevation does not work

My recommendation is to look at your sketching or painting habits and decide whether this can fit your workflow, instead of buying this and then try to fit your workflow around it because who knows you may not like to stand and paint or sketch. It's like buying a guitar only to find out that you actually like to listen rather than play the instrument.


The Etchr Nano Satchel is currently available at Blick Art Materials (USA) at the time of review. It should be available on Etchr website soon.



Etchr has quality products

Etchr has quality products that are well thought out! Your video review is exceptional as always!!!

I made a similar sketch satchel from a crossbody messenger bag but have the front flap set up like the Darcie Beck Satchel (another wonderful review video you shared). I use it when I'm out for a walk in the woods to do small quick sketches which I back up with a quick photo so I can complete the sketch back in my studio. It has several more pockets than the Etchr Nano and I can place my sketchbook farther out on the flap away from my body for easier access (I find having the sketchbook rest against my body a bit difficult for women). For various attachment options, I glued magnets and hook and loop strips to the bottom of my micro Portable Painter palette. Like you, I don't stand and sketch as often as I sit and sketch but it is nice to have the option to stand.

One thing I love about the Etchr satchel is its sleek design and the cloth in the interior that you can adhere hook and loop attachments to. I added the VELTEX-style high pile loop fabric to the interior of a different satchel I converted to an easel.

Judging by the size of this

Judging by the size of this satchel and the way that is supposed to be attached on the body I would 't say that this sketching satchel was designed with ladies anatomy in mind...if you know what I mean! The only way to see it working for female sketchers is to attach the watercolour box on their bra, rest their brushes in and push the sketchbook further away.. Well... It might work this way!

The best and more practical

The best and more practical sketching bags are IMHO the small/ medium crossbody messenger type ones with a couple of external pockets and a flap type cover for closing. The best type of closing is velcro because this is more secure and easier to open than plastic or leather straps and/or zippers.

In such a type of bag the sketchbook goes to the maIn compartment, pencils, pens and brushes are attached in one of the external pockets and a small watercolour box along with a collapsible water container and a small flat bottle (alcohol flasks are great for this job) go on the other pocket or the dedicated for water bottles external pocket if there is one.
Magnetic clips are the best clips for attaching metal watercolor boxes on a sketchbook. The plastic ones can be attached with a regular paper clip.

The crossbody bags when they are properly adjusted for your height work like a large pocket on your side. It is very easy and very fast to take out your sketchbook, grab a pencil/ pen from the pockets draw and then throw back the pencil and attach the watercolor box on the sketchbook while you are sitting or you are standing up. And of course this type of bags have space for your other stuff, as keys, wallet, phone, hat, sunblock, glasses etc. There is no point to carry a bag and not have space for your keys and phone and have to carry them in your pockets.
Finally crossbody messenger style bags are super affordable particularly the nylon or canvas ones. You don't need the most expensive over engineered bag for carrying your things.

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