For those with heavy loads to carry, we understand that finding a good quality backpack will make our journeys far easier. Whether you’re carrying books for college or taking your baby supplies with you, a leather backpack is durable, lightweight, looks good, and can take some weight.
That said, the market is flooded with many different models to choose from, so finding the best leather backpacks can mean trawling for hours on the internet. Luckily enough, we’ve composed this guide that shows you what to look for in a backpack, the type of backpacks you may find, and the pros and cons of some of the best designs out there. Check out our comprehensive guide below.
Best Leather Backpacks Comparison Chart
P.KU.VDSL Canvas Backpack, AUGUR Series Vintage Leather Rucksack, 17" Laptop Backpack, Military Satchel Backpack for Men Women Traveling Hiking
Solo Reade 15.6 Inch Vintage Columbian Leather Backpack, Espresso
Kenox Vintage PU Leather Backpack School College Bookbag Laptop Computer Backpack
Handmade World Brown Vintage Leather Backpack Laptop Messenger Bag Rucksack Sling for Men Women
S-ZONE Vintage Crazy Horse Genuine Leather Backpack Multi Pockets Travel Sports Bag
What Makes a Good Leather Backpack? Are All Leather Backpacks the Same?
Not all leather backpacks are made equal. As with most modern world commodities, leather backpacks can be of high-quality or low-quality, and the price often reflects this.
When considering a purchase, first look at the materials. You are looking for high-quality leather that’s thick yet moves well. The flexibility of the material will stop it from tearing, while the density will ensure that it can hold a decent amount of weight. Equally, the flexibility means it will be a little more comfortable. Rather than just sitting solidly on your back, a flexible leather backpack will mold to your back and hang without digging in. Ask yourself if it is real leather, whether it is thick enough to be durable for your needs, and whether it has any kind of protection against scrapes and stains.
Next, consider the stitching. Look for double stitching to show strength, using thicker threads and tight machine work. Bad stitching will cause the backpack to unravel. Look closely at the stitching around the top of the backpack by the straps as this is the most vulnerable area. Moreover, consider the stitching around the bottom of the bag. Is it protected from scrapes on the floor?
Also, consider how the straps are made. Those without leather straps may use cotton or fabric straps which are prone to tearing under weight.
The fastenings should also be of high quality. Consider whether they are snap poppers, zips, or buttons. Remember that cheap zippers will get stuck or split, while poor quality buttons can pop off or break in half.
Desirable Features of a Good Leather Backpack
If we’re asking ourselves what we’re looking for in a leather backpack, we can begin to paint a picture of the final product. The important features to look for depend on your lifestyle and what you’re using your bag for.
That said, you should consider the design. The aesthetic appeal of the bag will certainly be what catches your eye. Are you looking for a plain, traditional design that’s low key and matches anything? Perhaps you are looking for a patent leather bag for a little shine and shimmer, or perhaps a glitter painted leather for a little added flair. Have the coloring and design in mind when you begin looking.
Secondly, think about comfort. If you are carrying heavy loads in your bag, you’ll want wider straps to distribute the weight so they don’t dig into your shoulders. You’ll also want a bag that’s wide to spread the weight across your back. A more structured bag will hold weight better and pockets will allow you to organize the heaviness better.
Next, think about pockets in detail. Do you need some organization inside your backpack? If so, look for a backpack with compartments. Perhaps you like to keep a few things handy, like a wallet, keys, and phone. Pockets on the outside give quick access to your necessities. Some even come with phone holders and money wallets.
Size is important when we consider what we’re taking with us. If we’re carrying school books, a pencil case, binders, and all the other study trimmings, we’ll need something larger. If you commute on public transport, you’ll perhaps want to consider a more compact design.
Other features to look out for include the sturdiness of the zippers, buckles, poppers, and other clasps. If these break off easily, you’ll have a broken bag that won’t shut or you may lose your belongings. Equally, you might want different carry handles. Some leather backpacks can convert to messenger bags or briefcases, appearing more suitable for versatile situations.
For an understanding of the durability of a particular backpack, you can start by looking at reviews online. This should give you an idea of a backpack’s lifespan and how well it holds up under pressure.
What are the Different Types of Leather Backpacks?
The type of leather backpack you’re searching for will be determined by your use of it. If you’re a frequent traveler, you may be looking for a carry-on case for the airplane. If you travel light, flying with only hand luggage to make the journey easier, yet something with enough storage and organized compartments to make sure all your possessions are in order is essential.
Or those looking for a school or college bag, you need a durable backpack able to carry heavy loads. You’ll often find these designs to be more traditional in shape with symmetrical features. Designed for school bags, these leather backpacks are usually affordably priced.
Some women hate carrying a purse. Swinging at your side while dancing in nightclubs, afraid that someone will pull it off you in a crowd, and scared of constantly losing it - carrying a purse can be a nightmare. However, a small leather backpack can pop onto your back and be safe at all times. A mini leather backpack is big enough to hold essentials but small enough not to get in the way.
What are the Different Types of Leather Used on Backpacks? What Type of Leather Stands the Test of Time and Survives the Elements?
OK so while some backpacks might proclaim they’re made of leather, not all leather is the same quality. Let’s start by saying that faux leather, show leather, fake leather, imitation leather (and so on) are not real leather. Usually fashioned from synthetic materials, this type of leather does not come from animals at all.
Equally, on the same subject, vegans and eco-warriors can look for some forms of ‘leather’ made from mushrooms. Fungus leather is fast becoming an animal-free alternative.
For those looking at real leather, you’ll find it lasts a long time and is very durable. You either find cow leather or lamb hide in the making of leather backpacks. Now, while both are good quality, the grades can depend on how long the bag will last. Full grain and top grain leathers are the most expensive and best quality. Corrected grain, patent leather, and split leather are of lower quality.
That said, thicker leathers with coarser grains and patent leathers are more resistant to the elements as they can withstand water. Softer leathers, while high quality, are not so durable to wet and cold, and stain easily from dirt, grime, and oil.
Quick Take: The Best Leather Backpacks
Before you get any further, here are our recommendations for the best leather backpacks:
Review of the Products
Made from durable materials, this backpack combines canvas with cow leather for a vintage military aesthetic. The plus-size backpack measures 32cm by 46cm by 20cm. It has a whole host of pockets and can easily accommodate a laptop.
A great bag for everyday use, this backpack allows you to carry books and laptops easily, without worry of it breaking. The main problem is that there is a lot of canvas on the bag - especially the bottom, which weakens its overall longevity. However, it has great reviews and looks very stylish.
With a five-year guarantee, this full grain leather bag is of top-quality. It features a beautiful blue lining that compliments the coffee exterior and has a neat finish which hides a quick access pocket and zip-down organizer.
While the lining is a little more eye-catching than one would expect, this smart bag is well-organized and can carry heavy loads. Made from top-quality leather, this backpack can handle heavy loads and has padded straps for a more comfortable experience.
Measuring 17 by 12 by 5 inches, this leather backpack is designed for sturdiness with heavy-duty zippers and padded straps. The bag includes back support and is gender neutral with a sophisticated finish.
Once the smell fades away, this lovely, shiny leather bag is a unisex simple design that can carry heavy loads. With a wide back and support, this model is great for those with back and shoulder problems. Careful of putting big objects in the front pocket, though, as it is a little sensitive to deformation.
This stunning leather masterpiece is handmade and measures 38cm x 27.9cm x 12.7cm. While each bag varies slightly as they are made to order, they come with three partitions, four outer pockets, and two zippered pockets. The bag can be either a backpack or messenger bag and the buckles are steel.
This stunning bag is a beautiful, versatile piece which compliments any outfit, both professional and casual. It is handmade, stitched from the finest leather, and includes various organizational pockets.
Measuring 17.3x12.6x5.1 inches, this large-sized leather backpack includes a myriad of pockets with strong zippers. It is made from top-quality leather and is suitable for outdoor sports, mountaineering, camping, and hiking. It can hold a large laptop, as well as having carry handles and organizational pockets inside.
Beware of loose stitching on this bag, but aside from this, it’s an ideal choice for the office worker who hikes on the weekends. With a whole bunch of pockets and dividers, it has great organizational potential, as well as strong zippers and leather for long-lasting durability.
Is There a Need to Purchase a Leather Protector/Spray?
Leather comes from a living animal and needs care like our skin. Leather protection sprays work to safeguard leather against the harmful elements in our environment.
Leather protection sprays condition the leather to stop it from getting brittle and dry, saving it from cracking. Secondly, leather protection sprays create a barrier against dirt and grime, which also helps to prevent stains and some abrasions. You may also find that some protective sprays make leather fire retardant.
It is not compulsory to buy a leather protection spray; some backpacks may come with one for free. However, a protection spray will increase the longevity of your leather bag as it stops the leather from wearing away so easily. In this sense, it can save you money on having to purchase a replacement bag so quickly.
Not only does it expand the lifetime of your backpack, but a protection spray will also improve the aesthetic of your bag while you use it. Protection sprays often give the leather a gleam that highlights its cleanliness, while also allowing the leather to stay flexible, for a more comfortable experience.
How to Choose the Best Leather Backpack for Your Needs?
Now when you’re making this choice, it has to come from you. In this sense, no matter the pros and cons, if they’re not related to your life, then they’re irrelevant. For example, a leather backpack with complicated fixtures to stop kids getting in is of no use if you don’t have children.
Ask yourself a few of the following questions:
- Is it all about style?
- How soft should it be?
- Are you tall, short, fat, thin - therefore do you need long or short straps or a wide or narrow bag?
- How long should the bag last for?
- What will you be carrying in the bag?
- How long during each day will you carry your leather backpack?
- What is your overall budget and can this be stretched?
- Do you need child-proof features?
- Are you looking for extra pockets or features such as a money wallet or a phone holder?
- Should you buy a protective spray to increase the lifetime of the bag?
A leather backpack will certainly serve you well as a durable and timeless vessel for carrying your goods. Whether you're hiking at the weekends or carrying a heavy laptop to work, leather has the strength to hold it together, and the flexibility to still provide you comfort. Consider what you’re carrying, any back ailments you may have, and any extra pockets you made need. Always check the zippers and the stitching and look out for adjustable and padded straps. You don’t need to splash out a great deal of money, but understand that not all leather is of the same quality, so the better quality you are seeking, expect to pay more money - but you’ll be rewarded with a far longer lifespan.