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Best Leather Backpacks for Men: The Top 7 Best Leather Backpack in 2022

Best Leather Backpacks for Men: The Top 7 Best Leather Backpack in 2022

Leather backpacks have come a long way. From its first inception to its modern designs, leather backpacks are bags for everyone. Likewise, it is a bag perfect for almost every occasion. It is fashionable and likewise for function. Throughout the years, the backpack’s design has evolved to cater to different needs. It caters to the likes for school needs, office needs, and popularly for hiking and trekking. It is a bag that you should definitely own.

If have yet to own leather backpacks maybe this is the year to do it. You might however feel overwhelmed by the different designs of the modern backpack. The type and quality of the leather will also matter. Its size and style are likewise important. Fortunately for you, we have curated the best of the best for 2022. Let us help you look for the leather backpack that fits you.

What to Look for in a Men's Leather Backpack or Rucksack

Are you new to leather? If you are planning to purchase leather backpacks then you should first know a thing or two about leather. For example, there are three types of real leather out there. When we say real leather we mean organically made leather. These three types of leather are full-grain leather, top-grain leather, and genuine leather. Accordingly, the quality of leather goes from the best to the least good.

The different type of leather you choose matters. This is because each type of leather will have its own advantages and disadvantages. Much of which will depend on the preferences of the buyer. Like for example, full-grain leather might be the best quality among the three but it is also the most expensive. Or that top grain leather is has a more uniform and refined finish in comparison to full-grain leather. Likewise, if you are on a tight budget, there are genuine leather backpacks that have the perfect balance of price and quality.

The style and size of your leather backpack will also matter. Leather backpacks are heavier in comparison to nylon or canvas backpack. Accordingly, the bigger the backpack the heavier it is to carry. Find a middle ground between function and comfort especially for those with a smaller stature. Never compromise one for the other. Do not worry we are here to help.

Best Leather Backpacks

Among the three types of real leather, full-grain leather is the highest quality leather. It is the strongest among all leathers. Likewise, full-grain leather is very durable. It can withstand the test of time. and it is not easily susceptible to wear and tear. It is also by far the most unique among all leather types. Its uniqueness comes from its patina. The patina develops a unique pattern borne from the imperfections of the animal's skin. Unlike top-grain leather and genuine leather, its surface is full of scars and blemishes.

Overall whether on leather backpacks, couches, shoes, or other leather-made things, full-grain leather remains to be the best of the best.

Best Leather Backpacks for Men

How can you tell if the leather is of good quality?

For the untrained eye, all leather might look the same. Telling the difference between the different qualities of leather might prove to be a difficult task. For one, high-quality leather-like full grain and top grain is much more expensive in comparison to genuine leather. However, the price is not conclusive nor is it a good indication for good quality leather.

The trick is to get intimate with the leather using your senses. By sight, you can discern full grain from other types of leather. Full-grain has unique patterns whereas the others are more uniform and refined. You can also tell by feeling the leather. Top grain, in comparison to full grain, is more flexible. Genuine leather is likewise more flexible than full-grain leather.

In some instances, you can also tell the quality of leather by its smell. Although it is not much on the quality of the leather itself but on the process of making it. More specifically during the tanning phase. Different methods of tanning, for example, vegetable tanning and chrome tanning, will affect the quality of the leather. We only use full grain vegetable tanned leather in our backpacks. This makes for a bag that can last for a very long time and age with a beautiful patina.

What are the best backpacks for high school?

The best backpacks for high school are those you are comfortable wearing. Of course, they have to be made out of light material for teenage kids to carry every day. Likewise, it must be strong enough to carry all those textbooks, papers, and occasionally a laptop or tablet. These backpacks must also have a compartment or two to store extra things. Moreover, backpacks for high schoolers should be durable. It must both withstand the daily use and the abuse. And last but not least, it should also look cool and with style. Nothing turns heads more in highschool than a cool-looking backpack. Sometimes you also need portability and that is where a mini leather backpack can come into play.

Best Backpacks for Highschool

Types of Leather for Leather Backpacks

There are three types of leather. Real leather that is. They are full grain leather, top-grain leather, and genuine leather. Each having different qualities. Real leather has the highest among the three. Next is top-grain and then genuine leather.

These three types of leather are made of animal skin or leather hide. The animal skin or leather hide goes through a long process of change. They are skinned, tanned, and finally cured to create the leather we all know and love. This process will either take a long time or a short time to finish. Depending on the leather making method. Different methods also produce different types of leather. These methods may involve sanding, splitting, or buffing the leather hide. Another is to assemble different leather hide scraps to make one whole fabric.

It is also important to distinguish real leather types from fake leather. Also known as faux leather, these "leather" are not made of real animal skin. On the contrary, they are a product of synthetic materials that imitate how real leather looks and feels. Thus they are fake. Even more so, we do not consider faux or fake leather as leather at all. An example of fake leather is PU leather. It is created from polyurethane, a plastic with a similar feel and aspect to real leather.

Full Grain Leather

What is full grain leather? Full-grain leather is basically, animal skin that is cleaned, tanned, and cured as is. "As is" meaning that the animal skin is left untouched and its natural grain remains intact. Full grain leather has the highest quality among all leather. It is stronger and more durable in comparison to top grain leather because of the natural grain. The natural grain contains most of the strong fibers that keep the leather strong and durable. In other words full-grain leather is tough. Its toughness however has its downside since it becomes harder to work with. Manufacturing full-grain leather requires more costs and manpower, which is one of the reasons why it is expensive.

Another interesting thing that full-grain uniquely possesses is the patina. Patina develops only for full-grain leather. It develops along the natural grain of the leather. It does however require time to age the leather into its beautiful vintage look.

Top Grain Leather

Genuine leather, the lowest quality leather among the three. Its strength is significantly inferior to the top-grain and full-grain. It is still however very tough and durable but not as breathable in comparison to the full-grain. Genuine leather's price is also significantly lower. It also has the least demand among the leather.

Genuine leather comes from the remains after the top layer is split off to make top-grain and full-grain leather. Splitting leather is often necessary especially if the leather hide is too thick to work with. Likewise, when it has too many imperfections that manufacturers can not turn it into full-grain leather.

The remaining leather goes through the tanning process just like top-grain and full-grain. Genuine leather however does not have a natural skin finish. Most of the time manufacturers use chemicals to give genuine leather a look similar to top grain leather. They use a combination of artificial grains, spray painting, and pattern embossing to imitate the top grain surface.

Genuine Leather

Genuine leather, the lowest quality leather among the three. Its strength is significantly inferior to the top-grain and full-grain. It is still however very tough and durable but not as breathable in comparison to the full-grain. Genuine leather's price is also significantly lower. It also has the least demand among the leather.

Genuine leather comes from the remains after the top layer is split off to make top-grain and full-grain leather. Splitting leather is often necessary especially if the leather hide is too thick to work with. Likewise, when it has too many imperfections that manufacturers can not turn it into full-grain leather.

The remaining leather goes through the tanning process just like top-grain and full-grain. Genuine leather however does not have a natural skin finish. Most of the time manufacturers use chemicals to give genuine leather a look similar to top grain leather. They use a combination of artificial grains, spray painting, and pattern embossing to imitate the top grain surface.

PU Leather + Vegan Leather Backpacks

If there is real leather then there is also fake leather. This fake leather is an imitation of the real organic leather. Unlike real leather, they are synthetic and not organic. Another name for fake leather is faux leather. Likewise, many people call fake leather vegan leather. Vegan because it is leather that does not involve harming any animals nor does it involve using any animal skin. PU Leather is commonly used in items such as a purse, handbag, or tote.

We commonly know two types of fake or vegan leather. These are PU Leather and PVC Leather. Both are made with synthetic materials. Accordingly, PU leather is polyurethane while PVC leather is from polyvinyl plastic.

If you value quality, it is wise to avoid any synthetic leather or vegan leather. They are significantly inferior to real leather. Inferior even in comparison to the lowest quality real leather. They are not as strong as real leather. Making them unfit to carry heavy loads. Fake or vegan leather is also not as durable as real leather. They easily crack and peel off especially for PU leather since it is made of thin materials

While they look like real leather and may feel like real leather, they are nowhere as great as real leather. Especially for leather backpacks. Leather backpacks are supposed to carry many things. They are also meant for various activities, indoors or outdoors. Thus the activities frequently expose leather backpacks to different elements. Elements that will harm them. A backpack should not easily be a victim of wear and tear. Especially leather backpacks. While they are indeed a cheaper alternative, they are not good investments.

Faulkner Backpack

Picking the Right Size Leather Bag

How do you buy the perfect backpack? Choosing what leather your leather backpack is one thing, knowing what size to buy is another. As there are different types of leather, there are also different sizes. The size of your leather backpack will not only play an important part in carrying your things but for comfort as well. For example, a large leather backpack may not be suitable for someone of small stature.

Size also matters especially if you are planning to purchase a leather laptop backpack. Obviously, you would not want to buy a leather backpack smaller than your laptop. You would necessarily want a backpack that will fit perfectly to your laptop. Common laptops have sizes of 13 to 15 to 17 inches. A leather backpack with a laptop sleeve or even a padded compartment is a plus. They will keep your laptop in place and protected inside and out. Look for the perfect leather backpack with the right size, utility, and comfort.

How to Choose the Right Style and Look

Of course, choosing the perfect leather backpack also comes with choosing the right style and look. You should be comfortable both with how you wear and what you wear. Choosing the right style and look however is very personal and will depend on the person's preferences. For leather backpacks, there are three styles, namely: vintage, modern, and rolltop.


Vintage leather backpacks are usually the most popular. Usually because of the vintage aesthetic. The vintage look also includes old school buckles and clasps to keep up with the style. It also gives off the sense that the leather is strong, durable, and old because of its look. Nonetheless of its style, the vintage look does not compromise on function.

old vintage back bag in the forest
Photographer: Aoumeur Abderrahmen | Source: Unsplash


Rising in popularity, modern style makes it possible to merge the vintage leather aesthetic with modern designs. The modern design entails more compartmentalization for storing. It offers space not only for clothes and books but for laptops, smartphones, and other devices as well. You will find multiple pockets in the modern style, with hidden pockets for your valuables too. This style is also more safe and secure because of its velcro straps and zipper. They are easily accessible as well.

Instagram - @andrewtneel | Donations -


It is a unique design, with a wide opening. It has often has two buckles that seal the backpack's rolltop opening. Unlike the other styles, the rolltop gives you the option to expand and retract the bag's size depending on how much you carry. For example, if you are carrying only a small amount of things, you can roll the top down to make the bag smaller. Likewise, if you are carrying more or larger things. Just roll it up and secure the end with the buckle. However, you won't probably see the rolltop style these days.

Top 7 Men's Leather Backpacks

With a variety of leather backpacks, it is often hard to choose which is the best. To make your decision easier we have made a list of the top 7 best leather backpacks in 2022 for men. Find the bag that is perfect for you in this selection.

The Hagen Backpack | Grain Brown Leather Backpack

A vintage-style leather backpack, the Hagen Backpack has the look of a true antique. It is strong and durable for everyday use, yet soft and lightweight for comfort. It has a spacious main interior compartment that can fit a laptop of up to 14 inches. Additionally, it has two exterior zippered pockets for things that you want to access easily. Besides being a great men's leather backpack, it has also been proven to be a solid choice for women's backpacks due to its smaller size. Make a great fashion statement and pair it with our Pathfinder wallet.

Best Leather Backpacks of 2021
The Hagen Backpack

The Helka Backpack | Vintage Leather Backpack

The Helka Backpack is made for everyday use. It is comfortable to wear and durable enough for school, work, or even outdoor trips. The Helka Backpack has a sleek and minimal design. It is a leather backpack that has a modern design with a vintage look. The Hekla Backpack will never go out of place both in an outdoor or urban setting. Moreover, this leather backpack offers a spacious main compartment. It works as a great laptop bag for sizes up to 15 inches. Likewise, the backpack has an external pocket that is easy to access with a zipper.

The Helka Backpack

The Asmund Backpack | Genuine Leather Backpack

If you are looking for a leather backpack with a truly vintage aesthetic then the Asmund Backpack is for you. This small backpack offers an effortless rugged look that has been around for years. However, it does not only offer looks but it is a quality leather backpack as well. It is strong and spacious enough to fit a laptop of up to 14 inches and other day-to-day items. It is also extremely durable and weather resistant.

The Asmund Backpack

The Freja Backpack | Handmade Classic Leather Backpack

A bag that will suit your daily needs. The Freja Backpack is a multifunctional shoulder bag perfect for school, work, and outdoor trips. Not only is it a large bag, but it is full of compartments and pockets as well. It can fit a laptop that is up to 15 inches wide. You can also find pockets in and out of the backpack. These pockets are also kept secure with zippers. Despite being a backpack meant to carry heaving things, its design has comfort in mind. The design, more importantly, focus on supporting the back. It keeps the weight evenly distributed across the body of the bag and you never have to worry about sore shoulders and it has a very comfortable shoulder strap.

Best Leather Backpacks of 2021
The Freja Backpack

The Vali Backpack | Handmade Convertible Leather Backpack

The Vali Backpack has a sophisticated yet simple design. It is a leather backpack built for efficiency and function. This leather backpack is ideal for school and work. Its frame and compartments are specifically designed to store books and papers. It can likewise store a laptop up to 15 inches wide. Its straps also provide extra comfort as it distributes the backpack's weight evenly despite its structure.

Best Leather Backpacks of 2021
The Vali Backpack

The Vernon Backpack | Genuine Vintage Leather Minimalist Backpack

The simplest yet most versatile bag on this list is the Vernon Backpack. Do not let its simple design fool you. This backpack has a very roomy feature to it. Its main compartment is able to secure a laptop of up to 15 inches with plenty of room to spare. It also has a secondary compartment or an exterior compartment secured by a zipper. It is strong yet lightweight. Highly functional without compromising on style. A bad that is very dependable and will definitely last a lifetime.

Genuine Vintage Leather
The Vernon Backpack

The Shelby Backpack | Handmade Leather Rucksack

A leather backpack of both style and utility. The Shelby backpack is the best of both worlds. Not only does it have a beautiful vintage look but it also provides huge storage space. It has a spacious main compartment built to house a laptop of up to 17 inches. Its laptop compartment also has padding for protection. It has several exterior pockets of various sizes for holding all of your smaller items. These compartments and pockets are secured by YKK zippers and buckles. It is quite a large bag, however, it is surprisingly lightweight. It is perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, however, it works for the daily commute as well. This bag would make the perfect backpack for travel.

Best Leather Backpacks for Men

Benefits of Buying Real Leather

What are the benefits of buying real leather? And most importantly should you buy real leather? The answer is definitely a yes. Real leather is strong and beautiful. It is a proven fact that its quality is far superior to its synthetic imitations. Likewise, real leather is very durable in comparison to fake leather. While both are vulnerable to the elements, real leather does not crack and peel of as easily as fake leather.

While they may look the same and feel the same, through daily use, you will notice very significant differences. However, because of the advancements of our technology, manufacturers have been making imitations as real as possible. It has reached the point that it has become a difficult task to tell them apart. This is very true especially for those who know nothing about leather.

It does not take an expert to tell good quality leather from a bad one. At most times it is as easy as checking the label and the price. Manufacturers often label their products with what kind of leather it is made from. Likewise, it is apparent for good quality leather costs more. These tips however are not very dependable. To get a conclusive answer in telling the quality of the leather you must have to get intimate with it. Use your senses to discern good quality from bad. Look at it. Feel it. Take a whiff at it. To know more about telling real leather apart from fake leather click on the link below.

Real Leather vs Fake Leather: How To Tell Them Apart

Hardware, Zipper, and Stitching

Of course, what makes leather backpacks great are not only the type of leather it uses. Hardware, zippers, and stitching also play an important role in its greatness. A quality leather backpack is only as good as its stitching. Imagine having to own a full-grain leather backpack, but it cannot handle the load you are carrying because of bad stitching? What use is the leather if what holds it together is not up to its quality? Therefore you must pay attention to every detail to ensure the leather backpack is of overall high-quality.

Moreover, high-quality backpacks use YKK zippers to close and secure the backpack. YKK zippers are generally known as a very dependable type of zipper. They are heavy duty and reliable. Most of the time they are found not only on bags but jackets, jeans, and other clothing as well.

How to Care for Your Leather Backpack

A very important aspect whenever you own leather backpacks or even any other leather product such as a briefcase is taking care of it. It is important yet many disregard it. Many think that just because leather is strong and durable that they can abuse it as much as they want. To keep your leather longer you must take care of it. But how do you take care of your leather backpack? There are two important steps in taking care of your leather backpack.


The first is cleaning. Cleaning your backpack is important because dust, stains, and other elements that attach to lInk stains for example are the worst things to happen to leather. If you do not clean it right away then it might stay there permanently. Likewise, you should know how to clean your leather. Cleaning leather is a very delicate process because the leather itself is also delicate. Despite its toughness and durability there are cleaning products that will ruin your leather. Even submerging your leather into water is a big no-no. While there are leathers that are water-resistant like oil-tanned leather, it does not mean that you should submerge them in water. Trust us, it will ruin your leather, especially if you do not try it off quickly.

If you want to know how to remove an ink stain from your leather backpack click on the link below.

Steel Horse Leather Co. | How To Get Ink Out Of Leather

What is oil-tanned leather?

Just a little segue, since we mentioned oil-tanned leather it is best to explain it as well. In the process of making leather there are three main steps: skinning, tanning, and curing. In the second stage, there are different methods of tanning. To name a few, there is vegetable tanning, chrome tanning, and of course oil tanning.

Oil tanning is the process of tanning leather after the initial vegetable tanning. This method uses natural oils, typically fish oil. Oil tanning makes the leather soft and flexible making it easier to work with. More importantly, it makes the leather highly water-resistant. Holding long exposures of moisture is really great quality for leather since water has degrading effects on the fabric. While it is water-resistant it is not waterproof. Make sure to dry your leather as soon as possible.


While cleaning is good for the leather it often leaves the leather dry because of the soap or other cleaning products. Conditioning your leather with a leather conditioner helps the leather renourish its fibers. This will keep the leather strong and durable for a very long time. It will also protect the leather from harmful elements such as sunlight. We suggest that you condition your leather at least two times a year. This practice will ensure that your leather is in tip-top shape. It also increases the longevity of the leather.

More on what leather conditioner does to your leather. Click on the link below.

Steel Horse Leather Co. | What Does Leather Conditioner Do?

How to Clean a Leather Rucksack

Cleaning a leather backpack is the same as cleaning other leather products. Taking care of leather is a delicate process. There are a few cleaning products that may be harmful to leather. Likewise, exposing your leather to water for a long period of time will degrade the leather. Thus, to clean leather you will need the proper tools and cleaning products.

We suggest you use saddle soap or other leather cleaners. If you have none you can use a mild shampoo or baby soap as alternatives. Handwash your leather, NEVER clean it on the machine for two obvious reasons. The first is that you will be submerging the leather in water. The other is the machine will be rough on the leather and it may cause the leather to tear. Just use a smooth clean cloth to dampen your leather and to dry the same as well.

After you clean your leather backpack and it is dry, make sure to condition it. This will protect your leather from dirt, dust, and other harmful elements. Conditioning also nourishes the leather fibers and makes the leather last longer. In conditioning leather backpacks, make sure to condition them regularly especially when you use them daily.

Nonetheless, no matter what type of leather your backpack is taking care of the leather is necessary. Whether you own a real leather backpack or fake leather clean it regularly at least. You can only however condition real leather since fake leather cannot absorb the conditioner.

Can a Leather Backpack Get Wet?

We get our things wet once in a while and leather backpacks are no exceptions. While there are leather backpacks that are water-resistant, they are in no way waterproof.

Being water-resistant means that it can hold of exposure to moisture for longer periods of time without the leather degrading. However, it can still get wet and will ruin your leather if left too long. Waterproof on the other hand means that exposure to moisture will have no degrading nor harmful effects to the leather. Raw leather is permeable and therefore absorbs water. While you can make your leather resistant to water, making it absorb less moisture you cannot make it 100% waterproof.

Real leather of all types should not get wet. Water of any type will have adverse effects on the suppleness of the leather. Moreover, leaving it untreated will turn the leather brittle and crack. To avoid any damaging we advise you to properly maintain your leather. Cleaning and conditioning are the first lines of defense. You may also use leather sprays to protect your leather from moisture. It is quick and convenient however it may change the hue of your leather. It is, therefore, best to avoid using leather sprays.

How to Store a Leather Backpack and Rucksack

Since leather backpacks are durable most of the time they can handle the abuse of wear and tear. However, it is best to store your leather backpacks where there is no direct sunlight. This may dry up and damage the leather. Likewise, you should not store it near damp or wet areas. Long exposure to any moisture will also damage the leather. It will turn brittle and crack or peel off.

You may also want to cover your leather backpack with a dust bag if you won't be using it for quite some time. We do however advise that you clean and condition your leather before tucking it away for safekeeping.

Tove Leather Backpack

How is Leather for Rucksacks Made

Leather rucksacks are rugged bags that are built to carry heavy and large things. They are made of the toughest and strongest leather in order to carry all that weight. How is that leather made and where does it come from?

Before we begin, there is only one kind of leather and that is real leather. Fake leather is not considered leather at all. There are however different types of leather of varying qualities. Leather comes from animal skin or leather hide. The leather hide commonly comes from the skins of cows and horses. Although they may also come from alligators, buffalos, and other exotic animals. They go through the process of skinning, tanning, and curing in order to turn into leather.

In the process of making leather the most important part is the tanning stage. Here the anima skin goes into a molecular change. The protein found all over the skin is permanently altered making the skin more durable. This also prevents the skin from decomposing.

What are the Benefits of Owning a Leather Backpack or Rucksack

Purchasing a leather backpack is a big decision to make. It is overall quite an expensive thing to own. And you might be second-guessing yourself on the big purchase that you are about to make. However, we can assure you that owning a leather backpack is a great investment.

While its price point is high leather backpacks offer quite a number of benefits. It is strong and we cannot stress that quality enough. It is reliable not only with its strength and the capacity it can carry but because of its water-resistant qualities as well. Leather backpacks are also very durable. They are made to last a lifetime and perhaps even more. This is something that they call the long-lasting heirloom quality. Because of its longevity, a leather backpack may be passed down from one generation to another.

Furthermore, we can assure you that our handmade leather backpacks are the best of the best. Here at Steel Horse Leather Co., we work only with the best Leather Artisans to bring you genuine, high-quality leather. And because it is handmade there is great attention to every detail.

Leather backpacks are not only an investment for you but for the next generation as well. With every year that passes by, it grows into something stronger and more beautiful. Not only is it a bag of style and function but it is also a bag filled with memories as well.

Handmade Leather Bags

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