Ruitertassen is a company born from the fruits of Jacob de Ruiter, a Belgian craftsmen that started with nothing in 1925. His philosophy to craft durable and affordable bags for the hard worker together with his technical abilities brought him success in a period of worldwide economic crisis and war. Today, Ruitertassen bags are designed to be timeless in look and endurance. The company continues to respect Jacob’s heritage and philosophy by creating work bags worth every hard-earned penny. It’s latest venture is to open its online US store with offerings from its most popular and classic line in early 2015.
All Ruitertassen bags are handcrafted from full grain leather with practicality and durability in mind. The leather is sourced from a Belgium tannery and is shared by another well known company, Louis Vuitton. This tannery is located a few kilometers from the workshop and is the original one used by Jacob de Ruiter eighty years ago. The satchel leather is 100% vegetable tanned with natural extracts in a process that lasts for four weeks before being oiled. All the classic satchel designs have hidden German tuck locks which make unlatching the front flap a cinch. Each tuck lock feels sturdy and deep enough to prevent the latch from accidentally opening. For the diehard classics fan, there is still the option of opening each buckle manually and using the buckle just as a way to modify the height of the main flap. For strength, Ruitertassen uses the strongest nylon threads and double stitched corners of the outer pockets. The entire back and front flap is made from a single piece of leather and held to the side panels with automotive grade rivets as is the handle. Inside the bag, the dividers are made with flat rigid Texon strengthened with a layer of nylon lining. All the labor necessary to construct these bags is done in the Ruitertassen workshop using high-precision mechanized tools in Germany to keep quality control high and prices low. Ruitertassen is confident in their attention to construction and durability and will take any bag back from an unsatisfied customer for. Any repairs necessary in the first two years are done complimentary in the workshop after which repairs are done at an affordable price. For customers based in the USA, they will employ local craftsmen for repairs to avoid the hassle of returning the bag internationally for repairs.
There are three things you will notice about this bag. It is BIG. It is LIGHT. It is SPACIOUS. The bag is 12″ x 16″ x 6.” This is one of the smallest satchel designs but is still quite large on smaller framed individuals. One of the limiting factors for the size is that this is designed to hold 13’’ laptops. The showcase feature of this particular satchel is the padded laptop compartment which hugs my 13’’ Macbook Pro comfortably. The dividers stretch enough to add an additional laptop sleeve or case if desired. The satchel is also extremely lightweight at 4.85 lbs and is a welcome alternative for those with shoulders tired from carrying other leather behemoths to work. This is a good thing since shoulder pads are not included but can be purchased as an accessory. The compartments and pockets are designed to maximize carrying capacity. There are no space-occupying interior pockets whatsoever except for a side of stretch fabric for holding pens and other small objects. The exterior pockets are deep – deep enough to fit an iPad Air by itself. Oh and don’t forget, those tuck locks really do make a difference.
This understated bag is not meant to be a fashion statement. This particular satchel design is from the Heritage collection due to its closeness to the original Jacob de Ruiter designs from decades ago. It has a slightly rugged appeal but is clean and polished enough for casual business attire. The beauty lies in the pull up leather which easily distresses and can take a good beating while traveling. This bag feels more at place at a meeting in a coffee shop than in the executive board room.
The Ruitertassen Heritage Professor 13’’ Laptop Satchel is a well-priced working man’s bag. What it lacks in edgy styling, it makes up for in leather quality and smart design details. For those who care more about substance and practicality, this is one bag to put on your wishlist. Although the US store isn’t up yet, it can still be purchased from the UK site and delivered straight to your home.