Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter A5 Organizer Review

Roterfaden Tachenbegleiter

I found out about this product back in December while listening to the Pen Addict podcast (thank you Myke Hurley).

If you don’t speak German, Roterfaden is the manufacturer and Taschenbegleiter is German for, “bag companion”.  This is without doubt the coolest organizer I have ever had the pleasure of owning.

Roterfaden Tachenbegleiter with early 1950s Aurora 88.
Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter with early 1950s Aurora 88.

The Taschenbegleiter is a custom made-to-order organizer that utilizes a unique clip system that allows you to clip in all sorts of notebooks and loose paper.

Tachenbegleiter clips
Taschenbegleiter clips

The Taschenbegleiter comes in three standardized formats: A4, A5, and A6.  For the outer cover you have two material choices (in multiple colors): dance floor and leather.  Dance floor is a synthetic material that was originally used for (you guessed it) dance floors.  I opted for the black leather option.

Roterfaden Tachenbegleiter

The black leather has a suede-like finish that is very soft to the touch.  The Taschenbegleiter has a wonderful organic hand-made quality to it.  Depending on the colors and options you choose it can be more casual look or more professional looking.

Roterfaden Tachenbegleiter
Few scuffs on the back from taking the Taschenbegleiter in and out of my bag.

For the inside material you again get two options for materials, suede and wool felt.  I chose the blue wool felt and I also chose to have my name embroidered into the felt in a light blue thread and Interstate font.  You can actually send them a picture and they will embroider it on the organizer!

Empty Tachenbegleiter with all the clips open
Empty Taschenbegleiter with all the clips open

There are various pocket configurations that include an option designed specifically for an iPad mini.  Instead of pockets on the back cover you get 4 elastics that hold the iPad Minis corners.  I chose the large pocket (which also fits an iPad) because it serves a dual purpose as a pocket for smaller notebooks like Field Notes and work as an iPad holder when I travel.  The downside of course is that you have to pull out the iPad every time you want to use it.

iPad Mini in the back pocket.
iPad Mini in the back pocket.

There are more options still.  You can have all the pen loops you want.  You can have them on the bottom the top or the side (as I have on mine).  If you like to use really fat pens you can specify the size of the pen you want to use and they will make the loops bigger.

Roterfaden Tachenbegleiter

You can also specify the number clips.  The standard is three but you can have none, one, two or four if you request it.  This is an important consideration because it will determine how much stuff you can put in your Tachenbegleiter and how fat it will be.  Mine is about 1.5″ wide with the three clips in use…but you can make it even fatter if you really stuff it.

Roterfaden makes various refills and inserts for the Tachenbegleiter.  They all look beautiful and are of excellent quality. Let me show you how I normally have mine loaded up:

I always fill from the back forward.  This is the notepad.  It comes with a cardboard cover and the pages are blank on one side and graph on the other.
I always fill from the back forward. This is the notepad. It comes with a cardboard cover and the pages are blank on one side and graph on the other.  The pages are perforated so they tear off easily.
Notepad cover
notepad cover
Next is the diary refill and three sheet protectors.
Next is the middle clip which I use to hold the diary refill and three sheet protectors.
Sheet protectors.
Sheet protectors.
Last up is the calendar.  The clips work beautifully as book marks.
Last up is the calendar. The clips work beautifully as bookmarks.
Calendar refill with optional cardboard cover.  Cell phone, memo pad and business cards in the cover pockets.
Calendar refill with optional cardboard cover. Cell phone, memo pad and business cards in the cover pockets.

Here are some more pictures of the unusual diary refill which has a stave on one side and a dot grid on the other.

Roterfaden Tachenbegleiter

Notice that you can see glue and the red stitching on the spine.
Notice that you can see glue and the red stitching on the spine.  Also notice all the lovely signatures!
This is right in the middle of the notebook.  Notice how flat it lies.
This is right in the middle of the notebook. It lies ultra flat.

I love the red stitching in particular.  The different booklets have different papers.  The calendar has 70g paper that does show some bleed through with fountain pens.  The 80g paper in the diary booklet holds up well to fountain pen ink.  If you write with a fat juicy nib you might get some light bleeding but nothing serious.

Roterfaden Tachenbegleiter

 

There is some minor show through and some pretty minimal bleed.
There is some minor show through and some bleed from the juicy OMAS nib.

I have not yet had the chance to sample the 120g drawing paper booklets.  Most of the larger booklets have an optional cardboard cover and while they are not necessary they are nice to have as the booklets are otherwise protected by paper only.

Because the Taschenbegleiter comes in standard A series sizes you can put pretty much any A5 notebook in the organizer.  I have also been able to put a standard Field Notes in one of the clips (top or bottom only).  The new larger Field Notes Arts and Sciences notebooks work beautifully.

Field Notes Sciences
Field Notes Sciences Notebook

 

A5 Kyokuto Notebook
A5 Kyokuto Notebook

I have been using mine everyday for the last five months and there are some downsides.  The main one being that it’s a pretty big organizer and its weight wont go unnoticed in you bag.  For personal travel I tend to take my smaller Midori Travelers Notebook with me (maybe I need to get an A6 Taschenbegleiter).

The clips are also great for loose piece of paper and receipts.  A folded A4 piece of paper will fit perfectly into the clips.
The clips are also great for loose pieces of paper and receipts. A folded A4 sheet of paper will fit perfectly into the clips.

The other downside is the price.  It’s expensive, especially if you start adding options like a leather cover and embroidery.  The basic A5 size runs 89€ or $120 USD (this includes VAT which is not applicable outside of Europe).  With options mine came to $182 USD but with VAT removed (because I live in the USA) the organizer cost about $150 USD.

Roterfaden Tachenbegleiter

While expensive, I do believe you will have a hard time finding a better quality organizer for double or even triple the price.  I have looked and I haven’t found anything close.  The Taschenbegleiter is completely hand-made in Germany.

Roterfaden Tachenbegleiter

I love my Taschenbegleiter.  It is a wonderful product and I recommend it to anyone in the market for a high-quality and highly adaptable organizer.

All clips closed.
All clips closed

 

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11 thoughts on “Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter A5 Organizer Review”

    1. You are most welcome! Thank you for reading. I have both sizes of the MTN and I still love them and think they are a bit more fun.

      The primary advantage of the Tachenbegleiter (apart from the materials) is the clip system that allows me to quickly and easily swap out notebooks. The MTN refills have better paper than the Roterfaden ones but you can pretty much put any A5 notebook into the Tachenbegleiter.

  1. Great review! I am torn between the A5 and the A6 version.

    Does the iPad Mini fit the back pocket if it has a smart cover on? Does the back pocket have much slack once the iPad mini is inside or is it a tight fit?

    1. I just tried and unfortunately it does not fit with the smart cover on. The iPad mini w/out the smart cover slides in and out quite easily but it is secure in the pocket. I can fit four fingers into the pocket with the iPad mini in the pocket.

      If I were to do it again, I might opt for the A6 size. I came to the Taschenbegleiter from the full sized Midori Travelers Notebook. You wouldn’t be able to fit an iPad into it though.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply. I will probably go for the A6 version. Now I need to save some money so that I can order mine!

  2. About six years ago, I got an A6 Roterfaden in Dancefloor Black w/Red Felt, in a pocket configuration no longer offered. This was BEFORE they corrected their website not to charge USA customers the confiscatory VAT. The early customers in this country suffered sticker-shock. The notebook seems to be better suited for a student/commuter/salesman lifestyle, over mine, which is sedentary and uneventful by comparison, so I was never able to get it to work for me. I returned to the website after learning of its mention on Brad’s podcast, and became obsessed with the A5 limited edition in blue-green Printing Blanket. The color really is plug-ugly, but I couldn’t get it out of my head and placed the order. It’s fantastic! The stave journal is maddening to deal with unless you’re writing music. I switched it out for an A5 Leuchtturm 1917 in Softcover, which fits the clips perfectly. I’m Campaign Treasurer for two candidates, which job requires complete details for each transaction, to be filed electronically to Hartford. The Leuchtturm works for the State Senate race, and occupies the first clip. The Roterfaden notepad goes into the middle clip. For the House race, I use the Roterfaden slim (cashier) notebook, together with the plastic pockets for check books, deposit slips, and to transport receipts. The slide pocket in back is great for stamp books & c. Extra paperwork can simply be dropped in & held in place by the thick elastic band, which makes it impossible for anything to slide out. With a 300+ page filing due both online & on paper next week, I can tell you I’d be lost without it. By the way, the elastic bands (cover & pen loop) on my A6 have been under stress all these years and show NO SIGNS of weakening!

    1. Hi David, thank you so much for sharing your Roterfaden experience! I am glad to hear yours has been holding up well. I agree with you that the stave journal isn’t really right for most people and upon returning to the Roterfaden website I noticed that they sell regular journals with dot grid, lined or blank pages in packs of three.

      There are some parts of the website that I found a bit confusing and the booklets section was one of them. For anyone interested here is the link to the more traditional journals sold in three packs:

      NOTE BOOKLETS 3-PACK

  3. Comments not going through. Hmmm. Here it is again…

    Can the RT clips accept an American 8.5×11 folded in half to make 8.5×5.5 books? Or is the separation between the clips too narrow (as A5 is about 1/4 inch shorter) in the standard configuration. I know that special orders can be made, but I wanted to know if the standard configuration accommodates this size.

    1. Unfortunately it is designed for folded A4 pages so the clips are too short to accommodate an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper. An A4 is only 8.27″ wide. I just tried with a single sheet of 8.5″ x 11″ paper and the clips scrunched the paper.

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