Leather Goods will last a lifetime if properly cared for.
Rugged Material was created because our founder's father still uses a leather saddle that was made around the year 1905. Tyler grew up seeing that saddle get used, maintained and repaired upon occasion. "When I was younger I was embarrassed of my dad taking that old saddle to events and rides with our friends. Then when I was in college I realized how old that saddle was. I was amazed that it lasted so long and even more surprised when we did the math to see how great a value it was when you look at the cost per year of use of something that lasts more than 100 years. It was then and there that I started finding ways to use leather to make products for our modern lives!"
Here are a few tips on how to keep your gear looking sharp and staying strong.
First it is good to remember that leather is a natural material. Just like your skin, leather requires oils and moisture to keep it in top shape. If cared for properly your Rugged Material Leather Goods will stay supple, beautiful and functional for more than a century.
1. Clean the leather with a damp rag, then let dry.
By cleaning the leather you are ensuring that all surfaces of the leather will be treated evenly. This is especially important around areas that are load-bearing or where multiple layers of leather come together because these areas have more stress than others. Keeping these areas moisturized will keep them from drying out and cracking.
2. Apply an all natural leather cream with a soft cotton rag.
We have learned from experience that leather treatments that are meant to soften the leather are doing so by breaking the leather down. We do not want to break the leather down if we want it to last many years, we want to restore the leather to it's original strength. Leather Creams and Sprays that have chemicals in them are not good for the long term life of your leather goods. You should use something natural like the Skidmores Leather Cream that we sell. Bee's Wax, plant oils and tree sap are natural ingredients that moisturize and restore full grain leathers instead of "softening" i.e. breaking down the fibers of the leathers.
3. Remove excess cream with a clean rag then buff the leather.
When you treat your leather goods with a leather cream like Skidmore's Leather Cream the leather will temporarily darken. This is normal and usually only lasts a week or two on Rugged Material Products. Many people treat their Rugged Material bags more often than necessary because they like the rich color that the cream brings out. That is fine if you are using an all natural cream.
Removing the extra cream is important in order to keep your leather goods a similar color as it was originally but it is also important for keeping your clothes clean the next time you use the item. If extra leather cream is left on the bag, the bag's color may rub off onto your clothing. It is best to let the newly treated product rest and dry for 24 hours before use. Even then you should do a test rub with a rag or sock to be sure that you can use it without color rubbing onto your clothes. After everything is fully dry you wont have to worry about color fastness.
4. Enjoy your bag for another year.
All Rugged Material products are made from high quality full grain and top grain leathers that are usually made with some form of oil tanning process. This ensures that our products will not need treatment more than every 6 months. In many cases in temperate climates you may not need to treat yours more than every 24 months.
The best way to tell if something needs to be treated is to look closely at the leather. If if is waxy or slightly oily and still flexible then you don't need to do anything. If the bag is dirty or dry it will be good to give it some elbow grease.