Earlier this year, I stopped by RoMa Craft Tobac’s new offices and on a desk in the conference room was a new XIKAR product, the Cigar Locker.
At the time RoMa Craft had made it no secret that it was working on a project with XIKAR—which was released as the Monolith—and the all-new Cigar Locker seemed destined to be part of it. XIKAR hadn’t announced it at the time, but it wasn’t hiding it terribly well. The company had launched the website cigarroadie.com, which had images and a description of the new product.
The Cigar Locker is a 10-count travel humidor. While it comes in a familiar molded plastic, the Cigar Locker is designed to hold more than just cigars and features two additional non-cigar storage components. The whole unit measures 10 7/16 x 5 1/8 x 3 3/8 and opens via a fully removable lid that attaches via two plastic clamps. Once the lid is removed, two of the three storage compartments in the Cigar Locker are revealed: the side pocket and the top part of a removable tray.
On top is the tray lid which measures 7 1/4 x 5 3/8 x 13/16 inches and is designed to hold lighters and cutters. These stay securely in place thanks to the egg carton foam up top and the soft, ever so slightly padded floor of the tray. As for the side pocket, it measures 2 5/8 x 5 1/2 x 2 11/16 inches and is billed as a universal storage component, though one that’s not necessarily supposed to be used for cigars.
The compartment designed for cigars is accessed by removing the lid where the accessories are housed. It measures 6 3/4 x 5 1/2 x 2 11/16 inches and seals thanks to a rubber gasket on the bottom of the accessory lid.
The Cigar Locker comes in three variants:
- Cigar Locker ($64.99) — Basic version.
- Cigar Locker LTO ($75) — A to-be-released holiday package from XIKAR that includes a specialized lid logo, Boveda humidification and a XIKAR Mini-Ashtray Can (Mini Ashcan).
- Monolith ($375) — A collaboration between RoMa Craft Tobac and XIKAR. It features specialized branding, RoMa Craft-branded XIKAR MTX scissors, RoMa Craft-branded XIKAR Xidris lighter and 10 CroMagnon Timelines.
It should be noted that none of these versions include a bluetooth speaker, something that at time of publishing is still being advertised on XIKAR’s cigarroadie.com website.
For the review, I purchased both the Cigar Locker and the Monolith and I can tell you that outside of the graphic on the top and the contents inside, they are the same.
I am a bit surprised that XIKAR didn’t use this opportunity—on the base model—to show off its new partnership with Boveda. An included Boveda packet wouldn’t have cost much and probably would make it clear to consumers that’s how XIKAR intends this product to be humidified, something that might actually make the company money in the long run.
The seal provided by the rubber gasket works well. There’s a noticeable amount of friction while opening and closing, but it’s a fairly easy experience overall. I also brought the Cigar Locker on a trip that involved a plane ride, as some cases often become difficult to open after flying due to changes in air pressure. For whatever it’s worth, it didn’t seem to affect the Cigar Locker at all, even without the use of a pressure release valve.
Due to the length of the sealed pocket, the Cigar Locker is not great for any cigar 7 inches or longer. At 7 inches, Churchills and lanceros will fit, but only placed diagonally, limiting the amount of cigars you can fit in the Cigar Locker. A traditional lancero at 7 1/2 inches will not fit, even diagonally. That’s not something that will be a deal breaker for most, but it is a bit of an annoyance considering the whole container is almost 11 inches long.
XIKAR also opted to forgo using any foam insert in between the two rows meaning that if you are traveling with just five cigars, they are prone to rattling around quite a bit. For cigars in cellophane, this probably isn’t an issue for normal use, but I certainly didn’t leave any non-cellophanes cigars in the Cigar Locker during my two and a half months of testing, where the Cigar Locker was stored in my backpack.
I was a bit skeptical about placing my lighter and cutter in the top of the case as I was concerned they would rattle around and hit each other during transport. It turns out the egg crate padding and tray floor combine well to prevent the lighters and cutters from sliding around. The one issue I had with the tray is that it won’t handle some thicker lighters, notably, a JetLine Super Torch, my standard lighter. It will fit thinner lighters like XIKAR’s Allume or Xidris and S.T.Dupont’s MaxiJet.
There obviously is a compartment that can fit a JetLine lighter with ease, the side compartment, but it’s not ideal. As durable as the JetLine lighters are, I wouldn’t want to have something that small rattling around in the case, which means that I would need to add substantially more items to the side compartment—items I really struggled to come up with, or possibly fill in the empty space with some packing material or other filler.
While the LTO and Monolith versions of the Cigar Locker come with a Mini Ashcan, the standard version does not—and that leads to the question of what to do with the side compartment. XIKAR’s Volta lighter fits in it, but that’s not something I travel with and I honestly never found a use for it. Sure, keys, a USB charger, a small USB battery, sunglasses and a host of other things will fit in the area, but none of those things outside of maybe a battery and iPhone charging cable are things I would think about storing in the Cigar Locker. Storing robusto-sized cigars was something I did for much of the time, but I wouldn’t do that if I wasn’t living in a climate that has been around 70 percent relative humidity of late.
Cigar Caddy ($20) and XIKAR ($35) both make 10-count plastic travel cases that hold just cigars at a significant savings over the Cigar Locker. My preferred method, an Armored Humidor, is also cheaper, though I cannot find it actively for sale anywhere. None of those are designed to hold anything but cigars, but you obviously could fit a cutter and lighter, even slightly thicker lighters like the aforementioned JetLine, though at the expense of additional cigars. More importantly, I think all three of the alternatives are substantially better at protection as they offer a strip of foam to separate the two rows of cigars.
The comparison isn’t 100 percent fair. The Cigar Locker is designed to do a lot more, but for me, it never really functioned as anything more. I will be the first one to admit that this is a solution to a problem that I do not have. I will either travel with just a cigar case—more often than not Visol’s carbon fiber option—or with a backpack that will have a larger plastic cigar case, my go-to is a 10-count Armored Humidor Sport model that hold 10 cigars in two rows of five. I’d much prefer to keep a lighter and cutter (the MTX is on my keychain) in my pocket and I’ve never thought about carrying any other cigar accessories with me on the go.
I think the LTO version at $10 more is a much better product. The Mini Ashcan—while perhaps not something I would regularly use—is a big plus for the overall usefulness of the Cigar Locker. If I was going camping for a weekend, admittedly not a regular activity of mine, I could see a lot of value in a single container holding cigars and an ashtray, but those situations are few and far between, particularly in my situation.
At $65, I’m torn. The Cigar Locker is a well-made product, but unless this product sounds like exactly what’s been missing in your life, there are far better options. The three aforementioned alternatives are smaller, hold more cigars, protect said cigars better and substantially cheaper. For me, the Cigar Locker is likely going to sit around until I go camping—and that’s probably going to be a while.