This bag surprised us – in a very good way. It is hard to come up with a truly innovative briefcase; something that maintains the high standards of a professional work bag but also takes on a different, less-formal role. The J. Panther Courier Ruc does just that. It’s a briefcase for guys who might not actually think they want a briefcase.
J. Panther Luggage Company was founded by Johnny Diamandis, an Englishman with a distinct vision of creating a brand that reflected his globe-trotting, bike-riding, New York lifestyle. His bags, totes, accessories and luggage are sold around the world at some of the coolest independent shops and regularly highlighted in leading menswear magazines. It’s one of those innovative brands you probably never knew about and, once you did, wish you heard of sooner.
J.Panther’s design aesthetic is the first thing you notice when looking at the Courier Ruc. Classic zip-around brief proportions and a visually satisfying balance frame out the bag. It looks just right; not too big or too small. Let me also point out that I almost always opt for browns over black, but the one we tested in black is definitely a new favorite.
The Courier Ruc is beautifully constructed and elegantly tough. The subtly textured body leather is sourced from the renowned Horween tannery. Of note are the organically shaped smooth aniline leather sections under the handles which visually soften the bag’s minimalist design. This element is repeated on the interior zippered pocket. Robust nylon zippers and substantive hardware indicate that this is not a dainty bag and herein lies one of its clever secrets.
Instead of one long shoulder strap, this bag comes with two shorter straps that can be used to quickly convert the briefcase into a rucksack. Obviously not meant for trekking the Appalachian Trail, this mode is perfect for city-dwelling commuters. Though beautiful to look at, these bags are designed to take a beating and live an active life.
We have tested the rucksack format several times and found it perfectly serviceable when on the move or lugging home extra bags. We also love that this is a purpose-built design element, not a gimmick. When needed, the bag is meant to be carried this way. In regular mode, stash a strap inside and use the other as a standard shoulder strap.
The interior walls are lined in a soft, durable bone-colored synthetic fabric, finished with contrasting grosgrain seam taping, and smooth Horween leather dividers and pockets. The sensible layout of the pockets, pen sleeves, and document slot make for easy organization. The full-length zippered exterior pocket is perfect for storing smaller important items like phone, wallet, metro pass, or keys. Speaking of keys, there is also a study key fob that can also be used as a handy wrist strap.
Overall, this bag is a great portable office, as we recently found out.
The J. Panther Courier Ruc is not an inexpensive bag by any stretch, but this Made-in-America bag is a great investment for someone looking to bring a contemporary twist and versatile functionality to their day.