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The 15 Best Leather Backpacks for Your Everyday Adventures

Lugging around your gear never looked so good.

shinola runwell backpack, lotuff leather zipper backpack, and johnston murphy leather backpack
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We’ve all got places to be — and things that need to come along for the ride. Laptops, notebooks, pens, a spare mask or two, the odd bottle of allergy meds (you know, just in case). And to put it quite simply, you won’t find a better, more convenient way to carry these necessary supplies than a backpack. The best backpacks are all about function: They free up your hands while you travel for all manner of activities, from swiping your Metrocard to holding hiking poles, while redistributing the weight of your gear so it doesn’t feel like you’re carrying a ton of bricks on your back. But if you want to add uncompromising style into the mix, a leather backpack might just be in your future.

Built with all the same functionality as your go-to canvas and polyester bags, leather backpacks turn the style dial up to an eleven by using materials that lean that much more luxurious. (I'm talking genuine leather, calfskin, suede, cordovan—basically anything that comes from a hide.) Which should you choose, though? I've weeded through all your options to help narrow down the search and find the perfect leather backpack to suit your needs.

Why Buy a Leather Backpack?

Before I go any further, let’s get one thing out of the way right from the jump: Leather backpacks will be, by and large, more expensive than your average daypack. Most of that’s to do with the materials. Leather’s just more pricey to produce than cotton or synthetic fabrics. But try not to get too off-put by the price tag because there are real benefits to biting the bullet and buying a leather backpack.

Most importantly, aside from looking cool as hell, leather’s also way more durable than other fabrics. Think about your favorite pair of leather boots — they can take one hell of a beating without compromising anything in terms of integrity. The same goes for a leather backpack. Get yourself a good one, and you can rest easy knowing that you don’t have to worry about an errant tear leaving your valuables accidentally strewn in the street. On top of the durability component, you’ve also got the fact that leather tends to get even better the more you use it, developing a fine, one-of-a-kind patina over time.

All this is to say, think of a leather backpack like an investment in the future of your personal style. And one you definitely won’t regret.

The Best Leather Backpacks


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    Best Overall Leather Backpack
    Runwell Backpack
    Shinola

    • Classic backpack style with premium leather details
    • Lots of pockets for organization
    • Padded shoulder straps for comfort

    • Pricy, but justified

    Shinola may be known for their watches, but their leather goods don’t miss a beat. Named after their iconic timepiece, the Runwell Backpack’s classic styling is built from soft, buttery natural grain leather that will patina beautifully with age, and vachetta leather trim to match. You won’t be disappointed with the storage in this bad boy either. The relatively slim design manages to house a padded compartment that comfortably fits a 15” laptop, a dedicated cell phone pocket, and plenty of room for notebooks and accessories. Cap it all off with padded shoulder traps and matte nickel brass hardware and you’ve got one hell of a backpack.

    Dimensions: 17 x 10.38 x 6 inches

    Best Upgrade Leather Backpack
    Leather Zipper Backpack
    Lotuff

    • All-leather construction with brass details
    • Handcrafted in New England
    • Available in a range of colors

    • Not much padding to protect electronics

    There’s nothing quite like American craftsmanship. Like all of Lotuff’s leather goods, each of the brand’s Leather Zipper Backpacks is handmade in New England using only natural, vegetable-tanned leathers. Like they’re made entirely from leather (meaning there’s not much padding throughout to protect your equipment, if that’s something you’re worried about). Lotuff guarantees that they’ll only get better with time though, and based on the quality of the leather, I'm inclined to believe them.

    Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 4.5 inches

    Best Affordable Leather Backpack
    Leather Backpack
    Johnston & Murphy

    • Low price point for a leather backpack
    • Soft calfskin leather body
    • Extra-padded shoulder straps

    • Not as high quality leather as other options

    Don’t want to break the bank picking out a leather backpack? This option from the team at Johnston & Murphy should do the trick. Yeah, it’s on the simpler side but think of it as the grown up version of a Jansport. Nothing at all wrong with water-resistant calfskin leather, a bunch of organization pockets, and comfortable padded shoulder straps.

    Dimensions: 15.5 x 11.5 x 6.5 inches

    Best All-Weather Leather Backpack
    Holton Leather Pack
    Tanner Goods

    • Water-resistant lining and cinch keeps water out
    • Heavy-duty aluminum hardware is built to last

    • Unpadded shoulder straps take time to break in
    • Not an excess of storage

    The Holton is Tanner Goods’ first all-leather backpack and they brought their unique blend of rugged outdoor expertise to designing it. It’s got the features you look for in a pack: an interior laptop pocket, genuine leather construction, a slim profile. What I love about it, though, is the ripstop lined drawcord cinch that’ll prevent water from getting inside and messing with your goods. Because you never know when you’re going to get caught in the rain and the last thing you want is waterlogged electronics on your hands. Oh, and did I mention the aircraft-grade aluminum hardware that can handle the harshest conditions on the planet?

    Dimensions: 19 x 16 x 4 inches

    Best Leather Backpack for the Boardroom
    Belgrave Full-Grain Leather Backpack
    Dunhill

    • Premium quality full-grain leather construction
    • Clean, minimal meets classic design

    • More style than function

    Think of the Belgrave as the briefcase of the backpack world. What I mean by that is that it carries the gravitas of an old-school attache case while still having the function of a backpack. Dunhill’s made it in Italy from full-grain leather and canvas with a clean, minimal look that’ll perfectly adhere to any office dress code. Is it overly functional with tons of storage and technical specs? No, but that’s not what it’s all about. What is it about? Looking like a boss in a backpack.

    Dimensions: 16.5 x 12.8 x 4.7 inches

    Best Heritage-Inspired Leather Backpack
    Heritage Leather Backpack
    Polo Ralph Lauren

    • Immaculate vintage-inspired vibes
    • Handsome tartan plaid cotton lining
    • Quality brass hardware

    • Not much in terms of internal organization
    • Webbing shoulder straps don’t provide much cushioning

    Looking for something a little more traditional? Polo Ralph Lauren’s got you covered with this Heritage Leather Backpack. The vintage full-grain leather design feels like it could be something out of Dead Poets Society (in the best way, of course), with brass buckled flap pockets and a leather drawstring opening the main compartment. I wouldn’t wear this one if you’re shy around playing with Ivy League style, but you do you. There’s always a place for old school, in my view.

    Dimensions: 16.5 x 17.75 x 6 inches

    Best Everyday Leather Backpack
    Logan Backpack
    Frye

    • Multi-pocket construction for exceptional organization
    • Heavy-duty leather can take a beating

    • Antiqued brass hardware and hand-burnished leather can be limiting, style-wise

    Frye’s iconic boots are known for their durability and the Logan Backpack carries on that tradition of hard-wearing leather goods. Whether you’re carrying books to class or your laptop to and from the office on a daily basis, the bench-crafted leather body and multi-pocket design will keep everything secure and organized — not to mention looking sharp. Just note: the antiqued brass hardware and hand-burnished leather lend a bit of a vintage feel to the whole thing, so if you lean a bit more modern this might not be for you.

    Dimensions: 17 x 11.5 inches

    Best Recycled Leather Backpack
    Earthen Recycled Leather Backpack
    Maverick and Co

    • Eco-friendly and sustainable recycled leather
    • Tons of internal organization
    • Water-resistant to better protect your gear

    • Low-profile design limits storage

    If you care about the planet as much as I do, you’ll be happy to know that the Earthen Backpack is made from 100 percent recycled leather, making it the most eco-friendly and sustainable option on this list. That doesn’t mean that it sacrifices style or function, though. The low-profile leather design is sleek and modern, not to mention water-resistant. And you’ll still find a host of pockets and organizers inside, plus a laptop sleeve that can fit up to 16” machines. Good for the environment and a great backpack? Don’t mind if I do.

    Dimensions: 15.7 x 12.2 x 3.9

    Best Travel-Ready Leather Backpack
    Arrivé Larson Backpack
    Tumi

    • Structured leather body projects all your valuables
    • Storage and organization out the wazoo
    • Luggage sleeve slips onto the handle of your carry-on

    • It’s heavy, weighing in at 3.63 pounds

    For a backpack that’ll keep what’s inside really, really secure, look to the Arrivé Larson. The luggage pros at Tumi built it with a structured body that’ll protect all your essentials from damage on the road. If I'm being honest, this bag falls somewhere between a backpack and a carry-on with a ton of storage and organization, as well as TUMI Tracer tracing technology in case your bag gets lost or stolen. The flip side of that being that it’s not exactly a lightweight bag, probably better for longer trips than everyday commuting.

    Dimensions: 15.5 x 14.5 x 4.75 inches

    Best Boldly Colored Leather Backpack
    Gotham Backpack
    Coach

    • Colorful pebbled leather and calfskin construction
    • Breathable mesh back and shoulder straps

    • More playful than professional

    Just because a backpack is leather doesn’t mean it can only come in brown or black. The Gotham Backpack offers an alternative, with its rich green pebbled leather and refined calfskin design. And the Gotham is just as functional as it is eye-catching, with multi-function compartments and exterior pockets. Point is, if you’re looking for something on the bolder side, here you go.

    Dimensions: 19.25 x 11 .5 x 6.75 inches

    Best Rucksack-Style Leather Backpack
    Keystone Leather Rucksack
    Ezra Arthur

    • Wax- and oil-finished leather is incredibly durable
    • Classic design really shows off craftsmanship

    • All-leather design could be more comfortable

    The artisans at Ezra Arthur know what they’re doing when it comes to leather, and the Keystone is proof of that. Crafted in a traditional roll-top rucksack design, it leaves behind liners or embellishments— aside from nickel hardware and wood(!) feet for durability — and really lets the leather do the talking. The result is one stunner of a vintage-inspired backpack. I will say that the leather shoulder straps leave something to be desired in terms of comfort (at least until they mold to your body over time).

    Dimensions: 18 x 10.5 x 6 inches

    Best Suede Leather Backpack
    Tyson Suede Backpack
    Ted Baker

    • It’s a suede backpack

    • Suede won’t do well in the rain
    • Minimal organization inside

    You know what’s even one step further than leather? Suede. Ted Baker London leans into that with the Tyson Backpack. I've never felt more luxurious than while wearing this gorgeous backpack, crafted from 100 percent bovine leather and suede with a premium cotton lining. I don’t know what more to say here. Sure, it might not be the most technically advanced backpack out there, but who needs tech specs when you’re bathed in suede? I rest my case.

    Best Fashion-Forward Leather Backpack
    Intrecciato Leather Backpack
    Bottega Veneta

    • Made in Italy from water-resistant Hydrology leather
    • Unique, eye-catching design

    • Not necessarily made for carrying things

    This Bottega Veneta backpack boldly goes where others don’t and asks, “What if backpacks were about all style and very little substance?” Just look at it. Made in Italy from interwoven strips of water-resistant leather, it’s basically just a box on your back. You could carry things in it if you wanted to, or you could just wear it as a fashion accessory. With this backpack, function isn’t necessarily the point. And there’s something kind of beautiful about that.

    Dimensions: 14.2 x 9.6 x 8.3 inches

    Best Classic Leather Backpack But, Upgraded
    City Leather Backpack
    Saint Laurent

    • Premium materials everywhere you look
    • Classic design leans luxury but not too flashy

    • Not a ton on the organizational side

    Say you want a classic backpack design, but better. Like, a lot better. Saint Laurent’s City Leather Backpack fills that need by taking a classic bag design and reimagining it in the best materials they could find. Think supple premium black leather throughout, with a breathable back panel and comfortable padded shoulder straps. They’ve even thrown in a headphone port, in case you’re still using corded headphones. And if you’re not, there’s plenty of space to store your Airpods in the front pocket or the spacious, lined main compartment.

    Dimensions: 16.9 x 12.2 x 6.7 inches

    Best Slim Leather Backpack
    Slim Laptop Backpack
    Harber London

    • Slim design keeps things low-profile
    • Two sizes to choose from depending on your laptop

    • Not ideal when you need more space

    Sometimes all you have to carry is your laptop and a few small accessories. For those moments, Harber London got rid of all the extra backpack bulk while designing this Slim Laptop Backpack. Its super low-profile silhouette keeps your laptop and documents close to your back, while still housing them in handsome full-grain cowhide leather. Plus, you can pick one of two sizes, depending on whether you’re working with a 13” or 15” laptop. Who doesn’t love a little customization?

    Dimensions: 13.4 x 10.2 x 1.7 or 15.7 x 11 x 1.7 inches

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