Well Tanned: 15 Best Leather Backpacks

Apr 3, 2018

Category: Gear

Backpacks are great – but even the nicer ones can sometimes feel a little too dressed down for their own good. Thankfully, there are some solutions out there. Namely, leather backpacks.

At their best, these bags combine the utility, comfort, and casual look of a traditional pack with the high-end pedigree of leather material. Whether you’re looking for something a little more old-school to sport for daily wear, or a pack you’d be happy to bring into the office – these types of backpacks will more than suit your needs. If you’re looking to pick up a leather backpack, though, be ready to drop a healthy sum of cash. These bags aren’t going to offer you up a whole lot more utility than even a high-end bag made from synthetic materials, but they do have a look that just can’t be matched by a pack made from anything less than high-end leather. Take a look and see for yourself what you can get your hands on.

WP Standard Rucksack

One of our favorite brands using leather today is without a doubt WP Standard. They consistently manage to produce classic styles with a contemporary flair. This pack is a great example of this approach. Modeled after a pack developed by the U.S. Military and used in different iterations in both Korea and Vietnam, this pack features both real utility and comfort. Made from a high quality full grain leather and boasting adjustable straps – it has just about everything you could want from a throwback leather backpack.

Purchase: $275

The Goods The Shell Pack

While a lot of bag makers indulge their sense of nostalgia when designing a leather backpack, L.A.-based brand The Goods opted for a decidedly more futuristic look. Their leather shell backpack has a minimalist, rigid construction cut from a vegetable tanned leather and paired with a metallic clasp that gives it a kind of sci-fi vibe.

Purchase: $300

Fossil Estate Casual Leather Backpack

Just because Fossil is one of the biggest producers of consumer goods in the U.S. doesn’t mean they can’t still make a mean pack. Case in point, the estate leather backpack. The bag has an unassuming, simple construction but with a few twists. It features a 15-inch leather laptop sleeve, a canvas backing (so you won’t heat up too much), and a series of compartments for holding smaller items.

Purchase: $328

Jack and Mulligan Welles Backpack

It is hard for bag makers to resist going the more ornamental route when designing a leather backpack. Ornate buckles, wild looking zippers, and old-timey straps are all fun additions for packs that aren’t trying to be in any way contemporary. Jack Mulligan, however, takes a different approach with their American made Welles backpack. The bag has an unmistakable minimalist look to it. The interior of the bag, however, is not quite as sparce as the exterior design would lead you to believe. It features a water repellent nylon lining and plenty of interior pockets and sleeves to meet your everyday carry needs.

Purchase: $365

Korchmar Lewis Backpack

The construction of this backpack is pretty straight-forward; there is a main compartment for holding your larger items, a 15-inch laptop sleeve, and an exterior compartment for things like chargers, notepads, and other items. But that isn’t what makes the pack attractive for everyday carry. What truly makes this stand out is the fact that it is made from full grain American leather and features solid antique brass hardware.

Purchase: $445

Michael Kors Bryant Leather Backpack

Straightforward leather not quite high-end enough for you? Consider this pack from Michael Kors. Made from a special pebbled leather, the backpack has a soft-to-the-touch feel and an overall upscale vibe. The interior is lined with a cotton and polyester blend for keeping marks from things like pens and pencils from damaging the bag during daily carry.

Purchase: $448

Cole Haan Saunders Backpack

Cole Haan made a name for itself by combining classic styles with contemporary utility in mind. Take for instance their Saunders Backpack. It has a classic look and build (the pack is cut from a high end pebbled leather) paired with a series of internal pockets that make it ideal for contemporary carry. Namely, we’re thinking of the internal card carrier, laptop sleeve (although, it is unpadded), and slots for pens and everyday carry notebooks.

Purchase: $500

Welsh Mountain Rolltop

Over the past few years we’ve seen a handful of brands make classic packs that are geared towards outdoor usage. And by classic, we mean that instead of making packs from a ripstop nylon or similar synthetic fabric, these brands make packs from waxed canvas or leather. Welsh Mountain’s rolltop falls into that latter category. Cut from a 5-ounce double tanned Latino leather the backpack boasts an uncomplicated large main compartment and small exterior for storing smaller items.

Purchase: $545

Frye Oliver Backpack

This pack doesn’t offer as much in terms of utility as others do on this list – but its high end construction more than makes up for it. The full grain leather used to make this bag was sourced from Italy and tumbled for a softer feel and a look that won’t show its age as quickly as untreated leather.

Purchase: $598

Hardgraft Honest Backpack

When it comes to leather goods, hardgraft is king. Whether it be sneaker bags, iPhone X cases, or laptop sleeves – the brand has a way of adding a real high quality feel to even the most basic of items. It is unsurprising then, that this backpack of theirs has turned out so well. Available in both large and small sizes, this Italian-made leather backpack features an exterior cut from a washed vegetable tanned leather and a contrasting webbing along the straps and compartment zippers. The interior of the pack has a padded laptop compartment for storing your tech, as well as a smaller exterior compartment for small items. These packs are made in very small runs, meaning that when this thing is released – you’ll have to jump on it very quickly before they disappear forever. Consequently, this is also the reason we don’t, as of publishing, have a price for this pack.

Purchase: $ TBD

Killspencer Utility Special Ops Backpack

This leather backpack from Killspencer embodies the severe urban style that the brand has forged. Made from an uncorrected black full grain leather paired with a large Swiss-made Riri zipper, the pack looks both sophisticated and brusque. The interior is lined with a IFAC class 1 fire retardant and waterproof black lining, features a mesh internal compartment for your smaller items, and a laptop sleeve.

Purchase: $720

Filson Weatherproof Leather Journeyman Backpack

Filson’s take on the everyday carry pack is a fun one. Their leather backpack features a rather traditional build with its main compartment paired with an exterior snap-closure space for smaller items. What separates it from your common Jansport, though, is the weatherproof leather sourced from the Pennsylvania tannery Wickett & Craig, as well as the custom cut brass zipper and snap closure. A great American made backpack if we’ve ever seen one.

Purchase: $795

This is Ground Venture 2 Backpack

Out of all of the packs on this list – this may be the one best suited for the nomadic worker. This leather pack from This Is Ground, a brand that made its name by producing leather goods for organizing and storing our tech, is purpose-built to store for neatly storing everything from your tablet’s stylus to a laptop and its charger. To list all of the pack’s features would be too long winded – but a few key features include a slot for a Tile tracker, a TSA approved ‘tray’ for your laptop, and an exterior pocket for your smartphone.

Purchase: $925

Tumi Kenton Foldover Leather Backpack

If sporting a leather backpack isn’t by itself unique enough for you, consider this pack from Tumi. The bag has a truly one-of-a-kind opening that folds down like a rolltop pack, but unzips along the side for a wider mouth. The inside is lined with an electric blue material to make it easier to find pens, keys, and notebooks, while the exterior has an attractive dark black leather construction. An ideal pack for the frequent traveler.

Purchase: $945

Shinola Runwell Backpack

Shinola has always embraced a more classic look – whether that be with their bikes or their watches. The same could be said for their leather backpack. The bag retains an old-school look despite the fact that it is purpose built for the modern guy – complete with a laptop sleeve, compartments for modern tech, and detachable key fob.

Purchase: $995

30 Best Everyday Carry Backpacks For Men

Looking for something a little more utility driven than a leather backpack? There are plenty to pick from. In fact, there are so many that 30 of them ended up on our list of the best everyday carry backpacks for men. Whether you are looking for a commuter or an office pack – you’ll find something in here to meet your needs.

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