Best Leather Backpacks 2020: Top Leather Bags for School, Work, Travel - Rolling Stone
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The Best Leather Backpacks for Travel, Work and the Outdoors

From rugged packs to business class carryalls, these leather bags can withstand any destination

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The idea of lugging your stuff from point A to point B doesn’t exactly spark excitement, but slinging on a sleek new carryall just might. Whether you’re commuting to work or school, boarding a flight, or just need a sturdy day bag, the best leather backpacks will carry your gear wherever you’re headed, and with style to match.

What Are the Best Leather Backpacks?

The great thing about a classic leather backpack is that it’ll look great season after season. The combination of luxurious, high-quality materials and utilitarian design means you’re investing in a timeless bag that never goes out of style. While some of the best leather backpacks are constructed from American or Italian cowhide, there are also plenty of animal-free options that are just as durable as the “real” thing.

When you’re shopping for backpacks, keep in mind things like your mode of travel, destination, and weather. If you’re hopping from train to train or exploring international sights, you may want something with convenient storage and security. For city dwellers seeking a pack that’s as fashionable as it is functional, or outdoorsy types in need of a durable bag that withstands the elements, there are plenty of options for those needs, too.

Here, we’ve handpicked a range of leather backpacks to suit a variety of styles and needs. From minimalist-cool to rugged and everything in between, read on for our top suggestions.

1. Frye Logan Backpack

If you dig the rugged, worn-in look, Frye’s hand-burnished Logan backpack has your back. The 1863-born heritage leathermaker’s antiqued leather carryall measures 17 inches tall, 11.5 inches wide, and 5.5 inches deep, and features comfy padded shoulder straps and a sturdy top hook handle that makes it convenient to grab your bag and go. We love that it delivers on storage and style: you can organize your stuff thanks to two exterior zipper pockets, two side pockets, an interior zip compartment, and it’s also fully-lined inside.

Best Leather Backpacks - Frye

Zappos

Frye Logan Backpack, $447.95, available at Zappos

2. Matt & Nat Fabi Faux Leather Laptop Backpack

This vegan leather backpack boasts a structured, streamlined silhouette, an easy-to-carry top handle, and zippered side gussets so you can conveniently expand the bag’s opening. It measures 15 inches tall by 10 inches wide by 6.5 inches deep, and the interior is lined with nylon made from recycled plastic bottles. The bag can accommodate 13-inch laptops, and interior and backside zippered pockets allow you to stow away your wallet, phone, and keys.

Best Leather Backpacks - Matt & Nat

Nordstrom

Matt & Nat Fabi Faux Leather Laptop Backpack, $185, available at Nordstrom

3. Tumi Alpha Bravo Sheppard Deluxe Backpack

Avid business travelers will appreciate the durability and plethora of storage compartments of this Tumi leather backpack. Measuring 17 inches tall by 14 inches wide by eight inches deep, this water-resistant travel backpack has a roomy main compartment that can hold 15-inch laptops, books, and paper files, as well as zippered pockets on the sides, front, and back.

Best Leather Backpacks - Tumi

Nordstrom

Alpha Bravo Sheppard Deluxe Water-Resistant Backpack, $475, available at Nordstrom

4. Dr. Martens Vegan Backpack

Best known for their punk rock-beloved leather boots, Dr. Martens also offers equally cool animal-free options – like this vegan leather backpack in a dark cherry shade. Measuring 15.5 inches high by 12 inches wide by five inches deep, this compact bag is made of a soft synthetic material that has a double-toned sheen.

The bag features a relatively roomy main storage compartment and an outer pocket with a heavy-duty buckle closure, plus a double carrying handle. It’s finished with a name card holder on the back that gives it an academia-inspired touch.

Best Leather Backpacks - Dr. Martens

Dr. Martens

Dr. Martens Vegan Backpack, $200, available at Dr. Martens

5. Timbuk2 Jet Set Convertible Travel Backpack

San Francisco-based bike bag brand Timbuk2 teamed with L.A. designer Phoebe Dahl (yes, granddaughter of Roald Dahl) on a collection of commuter-friendly bags, such as this convertible leather backpack. The unisex carryall can be worn eight different ways, thanks to its detachable straps and removable pouches that turn it into a shoulder bag, tote, or cross-body (to name a few configurations).

It measures 15.4 inches tall by 13 inches wide by 4.72 inches deep, and can hold a 13-inch laptop in the main compartment plus all of your accessories in the two removable interior and exterior pockets. We like that it also works well as a carry-on bag, and it’s available in a bright cobalt blue and neutral black.

Best Leather Backpacks - Timbuk2 x Phoebe Dahl

Timbuk2

Timbuk2 Jet Set Convertible Travel Backpack, $299, available at Timbuk2

6. Filson Weatherproof Leather Journeyman Backpack

Seattle-bred company Filson started out in 1850 outfitting gold rush pioneers, so it’s no surprise that modern-day adventurers look to the brand’s rugged outdoor gear. The label’s best-selling Journeyman backpack is no exception, thanks to its 3.5-ounce weatherproof and salt water-resistant leather — the same material used in their durable boots. (The waxed canvas version of the bag also happens to be a favorite of fictional CIA operative Jack Ryan).

The bag measures 17.5 inches tall by 12.4 inches wide by five inches deep, and the interior features tin cloth lining (which keeps your belongings dry) and a padded computer sleeve holds 15-inch laptops. The exterior has a snap pocket for extra storage, and it’s finished with tough brass hardware, leather bridle straps, and wool felt-lined shoulder straps for comfort.

Best Leather Backpacks - Filson

Filson

Filson Weatherproof Leather Journeyman Backpack, $925, available at Filson

7. Herschel Supply Co. Classics Dawson Backpack

If you prefer a cruelty-free option with leather-like accents, go for this classic silhouette by Hershel Supply Co. The carryall mainstay is known for its best-selling Dawson, an outdoorsy-inspired style with a drawstring closure and magnetic flap top.

Best Leather Backpacks - Herschel Supply Co. Dawson

East Dane

 

Herschel Supply Co. Classics Dawson Backpack, $75, available at East Dane

8. Common Projects Pebbled Leather Backpack

New York Common Projects is known for its minimalist-luxe silhouettes, and this textured pebbled leather backpack certainly delivers on that design front. It measures 16.5 inches tall by 11.8 inches wide by 5.9 inches deep, and the shoulder straps adjust to a maximum of 17.7 inches. As far as storage, you’ve got plenty of space via a main top-zipped compartment and an equally roomy zippered front section, both with wide zipper tabs for easy opening and closing.

Best Leather Backpacks - Common Projects

Farfetch

Common Projects Pebbled Leather Backpack, $1095, available at Farfetch

9. Brooks England Pickwick Small Leather Backpack

If you’re into the old-school cyclist look, look to legendary English leather goods company Brooks, which has been around since 1866. The brand’s sleek roll-top backpack is made of smooth leather that softens over time, while the interiors feature zippered pockets and a padded sleeve that can fit a 13-inch laptop. The top and chest buckles each feature a hook-fastening closure for security, and the durable woven shoulder straps add a comfortable finishing touch.

Best Leather Backpacks - Brooks England Pickwick

Mr. Porter

Brooks England Pickwick Small Leather Backpack, $400, available at Mr. Porter

10. Samsonite Business Slim Backpack

This boxy backpack by Samsonite will give you that buttoned-up business look with a stylish edge, thanks to genuine pebbled leather and sturdy nickel hardware. It measures 16.5 inches tall by 11.5 inches wide by six inches deep and features two main sections for holding files and a 15-inch laptop. There’s also a center compartment has plenty of interior pockets for keeping your pens, stationery, and other small items organized, plus a front outer zippered pocket.

Best Leather Backpacks — Samsonite

Samsonite

Samsonite Business Slim Backpack, $139.99, available at Samsonite

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