Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter Organiser and Notebook Cover Review7 May 2015
The Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter is a notebook cover/organiser on steroids. It costs anything from €69 to the equivalent of a small house, depending on your configuration (more on that later). The one I’m reviewing here cost €109.
The Taschenbegleiter has a huge number of options. So many, in fact, that Roterfaden provide a TASCHENBEGLEITER KONFIGURATOR.
The Konfigurator is fatal to your wallet.
Here is what happens: you visit the page and you start looking at all the different options. You start off cheap, configure it just how you want it, see what it now costs, blanch a little, re-configure, think that’s not too bad but it’s still a little too much, and then leave it.
The next day, you come back and play around with it a little more. After a few weeks of doing this, when you’re waking up in the middle of the night wondering if pocket combination 1 is more suitable to your needs than pocket combination 4, you come to terms with the fact that you are never going to get any peace until you buy one of the things.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Now: there’s no escaping the fact that it isn’t cheap but when compared to similar products it’s priced similarly and it offers features that are hard to find anywhere else. This is what I’ve been telling myself, anyway (but a little research does suggest it’s true). A classic Filofax, for example, costs the same but is much more limiting in how it can be used.
First there are the sheer number of options.
Size: A4, A5 or A6
Cover: Leather (black, light brown, dark brown) or ‘Dancefloor’ (a sort of vinyl kind of thing) (black, pigeon blue, green, red)
Lining: Suede (dark grey) or felt (orange, red, turquoise, light grey, blue, fuchsia, dark grey, green)
Elastic (to hold it closed): two tone grey/black, black or red
Clips (more of which later): none, three or four
Five different ways of organising the pockets, including options that will hold tablets (iPad mini size with the A5; iPad size with the A4)
Plus an option to have text or an image embroidered on.
While a few options are only available in certain combinations, this is nevertheless enough to make anyone happy. Or mad. Or madly happy. And if it’s not enough for you then you can contact Roterfaden for additional options (such as a larger pen loop).
This is what I got: A5, dark brown leather cover, orange (of course) felt lining, pocket combination 4, standard elastic, three clips.
In my work I go to a lot of meetings and I take a lot of notes. Many of these notes are confidential but need to be kept. The system that works best for me is to take these notes on an A5 Rhodia notepad, tear the page off when I get back to the office, scan it and then shred the note. I wanted a nice leather cover for the notepad. Also, being out and about quite a lot, I liked the idea of having a mobile office: a notepad, a notebook or two, pens and pencils which, combined with my phone, would let me get on with most jobs wherever I might fine myself.
With my particular Taschenbegleiter I can stick an A5 Rhodia notepad in the back pocket. (I need to trim about 1/8” from the side of the cardboard backing.) I keep an Inspiration Pad, two notebooks (one linked to projects, one for planning and thinking and working out), some plastic pockets (in which I keep Nock Co index cards to use with the Chronodex system), a Nock Co Lookout tucked into a front cover along with a ruler/etc set, and finally some business cards.
With this lot in it’s quite fat but it copes perfectly. It’s just a shame the Inspiration Pad sticks out a little but that’s no-one’s fault. The Clairefontaine Age Bag notebook I have in there is quite a chunky and heavy notebook but the clips cope with it without any problems.
The clips are really quite fantastic. They fold over to keep just about anything in place. I fold papers and tuck them in. Notebooks, big and small, stay put. Roterfaden have done a good job with these: it’s as easy as anything to swap paper and notebooks in and out but once in they just stay put. Most organisers use proprietary systems which tie you into the manufacturer’s own products. This can be expensive and limiting. Roterfaden’s clips work with just about anything.
The elastic is nice and stretchy so expands to hold even my bloated Taschenbegleiter together. The pen loop will hold a slim pen securely in place. I don’t use it much because it’s on the outside and I don’t want my pens banging about on desks and in my bag.
I found the cover to be a little disappointing. It’s a soft suede type leather and I wanted something a little less suedey and a little more leathery. That’s my personal preference of course but it’s a shame a classic leather cover isn’t an option. It also picks up marks and oils from skin and from your hastily eaten working lunch. I don’t mind this, myself, and think that over time the leather could well develop character and become something lovely (though not MTN lovely).
The felt lining is good. A nice bright orange and stronger than you might expect felt to be. It’s had a lot of use and hasn’t shown any signs of fraying at all.
The overall quality is extremely high. This isn’t going to fall apart before I do.
I’m very happy with my Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter. It is expensive but it’s comparable to similar products. The Taschenbegleiter is a workhorse. It has a job to do: it has to keep all my stuff together for me and make it easy for me to use. It does that job perfectly.
You can find some more reviews of the Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter on Pennaquod.
I don’t remember where I first heard of the Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter, but I have been lusting after one ever since. It doesn’t hurt that the name is so much fun to say! I’m liking the A5 with Pigeon Blue exterior and dark gray felt interior, but I go back and forth on the pocket configuration.
One thing that has held me back (aside from the fear that I’ll spend so much money and it’ll be the wrong configuration) is the question of how comfortable it is to work in something so thick. I’m a huge fan of Leuchtterm notebooks for the way they take fountain pen ink, so I would probably have a Leuchtterm to carry, plus maybe one of the Moleskine Volants for my Bullet Journal, and then a thin monthly planner to slip in a third clip.
With everything in your Taschenbegleiter, can you comfortably write in the topmost notebook for very long? Do the individual notebooks lay flat when they’re open?
Hi Stephanie. Funnily enough today I tried mine with a hardback A5 Leuchtturm, plus a Dot Grid Co notebook (slim) along with the Inspiration Pad, with a Nexus 7 tucked in the back. The cover copes with it well but the clips struggle with the Leuchtturm when it’s all opened out. I think if I play around with how I’m organising it all I’ll be able to sort that out. At the moment though I can’t say for certain that this is a setup I’m going to want to stick with. I think a softcover notebook is probably better.
On the whole the notebooks behave as well as they do when not in the cover. Notebooks that open out still open out and vice versa. I don’t have a problem writing on the topmost notebook but the ones at the bottom are more comfortable so I put whatever it is I’m using the most at the bottom. I’ve never felt I’ve needed to take a notebook out to use it but the clips do make it really easy to do that if you want or need to do that.
By the way, have you tried a Rhodia Webnotebook? The paper is better for fountain pens than the Leuchtturm. However the covers are thicker and the Taschenbegleiter probably wouldn’t cope with one. (I’m giving the Leuchtturm a try because it has some interesting features (it’s a whitelines version) and because I’m going to be reviewing it in a little while.)
I don’t know if I’ve tried a Webnotebook specifically, but I do have a Rhodia notepad at home — I need to try my fountain pens on those! I tend to prefer a wider, wetter nib, which seems to be unusual based on all the bloggers I read. 😀
I actually prefer softcover notebooks, and for my Bullet Journal, that’s fine, because I use a Hi-Tec-C multipen for that, rather than a fountain pen. But for my writing notebook, I want to be able to use my fountain pens. I probably ought to try making my own notebook out of some Tomoe River paper!
On the whole, your review and answers to my question has made me even more inclined to covet a Taschenbegleiter!
I’ve become very fond of the broader nib. The Leuchtturm struggles with them but Rhodia paper copes really well.
Stephanie: I used an A5 RT w/large softcover Leuchtturm 1917 (1st clip-Perfect fit!) + Roterfaden notepad (2nd clip) + smaller notebook and Roterfaden plastic pockets (3rd clip) when I was Treasurer to a state senate campaign last year. Worked like a charm, saw hard use, and looks as good as the day it arrived. Mine is in a (frankly strange-colored) blue green Printing Blanket material, which is similar to Dancefloor. I kept a PVD Black Ti2 Techliner in the pen loop–fearful that it might catch on something in my brief case–but it never did!
Oh, fantastic! I’m totally convinced now that I need to save up and buy one! 🙂
Thanks for making me aware of this product, I’ve never heard of them before, I’m very grateful I don’t need anything quite as sophisticated (and expensive), but it does look the business.
You were right – the review was definitely worth the wait! 🙂
Thanks for a really good review of what looks like a really interesting system. I had never heard of it before, and it could be just what I have been looking for as I need something like this. I particularly like the fact that it comes in A5 size, and looks very customisable (if that word exists).
I was drawn to your review by the beautifully worn edge in the first photo! I’ve been using an A5 Taschenbegleiter with my Hobonichi Cousin for a few months and I’m very happy with it. The only thing that keeps it from being perfect is the leather. I was disappointed by the suede/nubuck feel to the leather, but your photo gave me a bit of hope that it may develop a patina over time. Terrific review. Thanks!
Has anyone from the U.S. ordered and had one shipped ? When I ran the configurator, the shipping showed more than the notebook!
I hope I was doing something wrong. Any help or guidance is appreciated.
I ordered one and while the shipping was pricey, it certainly wasn’t more than the notebook. BTW, I have a new one, never used for sale (dance floor black, A5, turquoise felt) if you’re interested.
Thanks Laura. I’m thinking A4 is the size I need.
I will have to rerun the configurator and see what options. Come up on shipping. Another person suggested clicking the DHL vs the UPS option.
I might be interested. Can you tell me what you are asking for it?
I’m asking $125 which includes shipping w/in the US.
I forgot to mention that the Taschenbegleiter is brand new, never used. It has 3 clips.
Is this still for sale?
Yes it is. I can send you photos if you like.
Hi, I can’t recall whether I already replied to his or not. I do still have the A5 Taschenbelgeiter for sale. I’m asking $120 including shipping within the US. Let me know if you are interested.
LW I may be interested if I could see pictures. Don’t really want to post email addresses, though. How…?
Try these links to my Flickr stream:
thank you. it seems nice but I don’t think this particular one is for me. thanks again
Hi Sam, if you haven’t already noticed, check the shipping method that you were given by default. I was given UPS and it was in fact more than the RT. I switched to the other option (DHL I think) and the shipping was reasonable.
I still haven’t received mine yet, but looking forward to it.
[…] this notebook review on Pens!Paper!Pencils! of the Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter Organiser – wow, now that’s an organiser! A tad expensive but looks really rugged and well built. […]
I am putting off getting one myself. I am waiting for Nock Co to release their folio option before deciding. Your great review is not helping my resolve.
Your description of the ordering process is SPOT ON. I could only buy one by telling myself it was my birthday/Christmas/graduation present… and because I told myself “Might as well be hung for a horse as a sheep,” I ordered four clips and embroidery. Worth it. I have to say that even the scratch pad sold by Roterfaden is fountain-pen friendly and makes pretty decent stationery.
The shipping took FOREVER, though.
I feel you on the suede-y leather thing. I was worried that it would be harder to keep clean. Interestingly, though: in my infinite absent-mindedness I managed to put a soft banana and my Taschenbegleiter in the same bag, resulting in very ripe banana smashed all over the organizer. After I finished wailing in agony, I wiped off the banana, got a damp cloth and sponged it completely clean. Amazing.
Love your photos. That orange with the light brown leather is so ’70s!
For thos who live in the USA there are two shops in Phoenix and L.A., in Canada there is one in Cambridge, Ontario (http://www.roterfaden.de/en/Find-a-Dealer/). Maybe they even would post it from there shops?
Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with Roterfaden except I use them since 2010 (A5 and A6) 🙂
Thanks for the info. Michael. I may try the Phoenix location before trying overseas shipping.
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Lovely review! I have been using a Midori and love it, but still find myself lusting after the Roterfaden. Apart from the leather, what are your thoughts on the Roterfaden vs the MTN? Is there a way to carry more than four notebooks (I don’t think there is an option to select more than four clips)?
I think it would be difficult to fit more than four notebooks in. If they’re slim notebooks then you could put one inside the other but that isn’t ideal. (I do this with the plastic wallet insert – it goes inside the Inspiration Pad.) It may be that Roterfaden would make you a version with more than four clips if you contacted them. I daren’t think how much that might cost though!
As for a comparison, I find the Midori speaks to my heart and the Roterfaden to my head. The latter is more practical for my purposes (at work) but the Midori is more beautiful and lovely.
I have had mine since February, an A5 size / 3 clip, with grey interior, and I love it !!!
This was just the type of close up review I needed of this product. I wanted to know if it would hold a thick Moleskine type book and from your images I can see that it easily does. Superb!
An ridiculously expensive notebook cover with low grade leather, pre-stuffed with a mattress (the felt).
But at least you feel special when you try to pronounce Taschenbegleiter
I use mine continually at work and continue to like it very much. But what would you recommend instead?
Do you still have this available? I also use the hard-cover Leuchtturm (have filled six since July and have several more before my rainbow is complete; I already have the remaining ones waiting on my shelf, so wouldn’t want to switch brands until that happens.) I didn’t realize until I just now read your review that these would even accommodate this size of journal. Your pictures look gorgeous. I’m not sure if I’m in the market, but if I have any $$ left after going to the Atlanta Pen Show next week, I’d be very interested.
I have the leather in brown with orange inside, plus another A5 in the lilac dance floor, which I prefer to use outside the house. I use two soft cover Rhodias, plus two of Rotenfaden’s notebooks. It works fine in my 4 hook setup. I am now thinking of getting a B5 size customised.
So how long is too long for shipping? I want to order one, but I’m still on the fence.
oh-and I’m in the US
Can someone explain what the thick felt is for?
It provides a bit of extra structure to the cover and it looks pretty.