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8 Best Leather Backpacks for Men

By Andrew Peloquin  |  Updated April 23, 2024

8 Best Leather Backpacks for Men
Courtesy of Kodiak Leather

Backpacks don’t have to be only about function; why not choose one that hits all the right form notes, too?

Oh, sure, a synthetic or waxed canvas bag will endure hikes, hunts, fishing trips, and mountain climbs. But what are you using to stroll the city streets or pack for a luxury weekend holiday?

Travel in elegance with a leather backpack, a choice that combines durability, versatility, and, most important of all, debonair style.

  • Form over function. Don’t get me wrong: leather backpacks are durable and incredibly practical. But because leather isn’t as versatile as synthetic fabrics, you typically opt for a leather backpack when you’re heading somewhere “on the grid”.
  • Beware of water. Most leather backpacks are finished with some form of waxed coating or oil that provides some water-resistance. However, it’s better to avoid taking leather backpacks anywhere you expect a lot of heavy rain, snow, sleet, or exposure to any form of water.
  • Built to last a lifetime. Leather develops a gorgeous patina as it ages, and it moulds to the shape of your body the more you carry it. Within a few trips, a brand new backpack will wear in and become your favorite travel item. And because of leather’s top-notch durability and heavy-duty stitching, a well-built leather backpack can last for decades of adventure and travel.

Now that my kids are young adults and out of the house, I’ve been trying to take my hard-working wife on more vacations—everything from long weekend road trips to week-long holidays to extended visits abroad.

Being the classy lady she is, she’s encouraged me to upgrade my travel gear from my old, battered everyday backpack to something with a bit more style.

Together, we’ve spent the last few years testing out a variety of leather backpacks, researching every option available online and in local stores. We’ve also combed over hundreds of product reviews and written more than a few ourselves.

After all this time and investigating, I’m proud to bring you a list of the leather backpacks that with her help, I’ve determined to be the very best of the best.

Best Overall

Harber London City Backpack

Why did I choose it?

Half-backpack, half-tote bag, this makes for the ultimate travel companion. Plus, the leather is gorgeous, butter-soft, and incredibly durable. What’s not to love?

Best Inexpensive Leather Backpack
Samsonite Classic Leather Slim Backpack

Best for Weather Resistance
Leander Everyday Professional Backpack

Toughest Leather Backpack
Kenneth Cole REACTION Manhattan Slim Laptop Travel Backpack

Best Overall

Harber London City Backpack


The full grain leather is butter-soft to the touch, the Spanish craftsmanship is supreme, and the design (half-backpack, half-tote) is versatile enough for work and vacation both.

It’s capable of fitting up to a 16-inch laptop along with my other work essentials, and even a water bottle (in a dedicated interior pocket). It even comes with a sternum strap to take the weight off my shoulders and give my back a break.

Best Inexpensive Leather Backpack

Samsonite Classic Leather Slim Backpack


I’ve been a die-hard Samsonite guy since I started traveling, so this backpack was an easy buy for me.

Features include tough full-grain leather, a dedicated laptop pocket (for 14.1” laptop), multiple slip and mesh pockets, a conveniently located front zippered stash pocket, and a spacious compartment where everything is visible and accessible at a glance.

Its 21-liter size makes it ideal for packing for a long weekend.

Best for Weather Resistance

Leander Everyday Professional Backpack


Custom-built ergonomic straps hug your shoulders and reduce strain on your back, while the spacious main compartment and dedicated laptop or tablet pocket gives you plenty of space for all your work essentials, with a cotton lining to keep everything safe.

The leather is finished with a weather-proof coating and waterproof zippers that shield your contents from rain or snow. With a lifetime guarantee, you can be sure it’ll last for years of daily use.

Toughest Leather Backpack

Kenneth Cole REACTION Manhattan Slim Laptop Travel Backpack


This is, hands-down, the toughest of the leather laptop backpacks I tested. The Colombian leather is incredibly sturdy, the stitches don’t fray or tear, and the interior lining adds an extra layer of tear-resistance that has kept the backpack intact while hiking the Canadian Rockies or lounging on the beaches of Mexico.

The backpack comes with built-in RFID blocking to keep the credit cards I’ve stashed in the passport pocket safe.

WP Standard The Ellis Backpack


This backpack is the ideal choice for the boardroom, courtroom, or luxury hotel.

Gorgeous full-grain leather, brass hardware, and a flap-top set it apart from every other backpack on the market, making it both unique and eye-catching. The design is as simple on the inside as the outside—great for minimalists and anyone who travels or commutes light.

Shinola The Runwell Backpack


Travel in peerless elegance with this luxury leather backpack. Its 17-liter capacity gives you space enough for a weekend away or your daily work essentials (including a 15” laptop), and the multiple interior and exterior pockets make for easy organization.

The natural grain leather will hold up under years of commuting, flying, or riding the train, and patinate beautifully until it becomes a true masterpiece of leatherwork.

Parker Clay Atlas Backpack


Sleek, streamlined, and incredibly tough. Built for adventure and elegance alike, the backpack uses premium full-grain Ethiopian leather, natural brass hardware, and a cotton interior lining to protect your travel items from inclement weather or rugged terrain.

The padded leather straps make it easy to hike, bike, or ride in style. Special pockets dedicated for your passport, tablet, and laptop make it great for the traveling working man.

Kodiak Leather Katmai Leather Backpack


Designed to be the ultimate outdoorsman backpack, it’s built using ultra-tough top-grain cowhide that’ll shrug off damp and rain.

Its padded straps, carrying handle, and luggage handle (slide it over your roller bag handles) make for easy carrying.

On top of the typical pockets (laptop, tablet, electronics, etc.), it’s got a dedicated zippered security pocket that’ll provide an extra layer of protection for your most important valuables.

FRYE Logan Backpack


For the experienced world traveler, you’ll love how this backpack looks as “seasoned” as you do. The leather is treated with a special finish that gives it an “antique” style, and it’ll feel broken in and ultra-comfortable right out of the box.

On the inside, though, you have a cutting-edge space-maximizing design with dual zippered compartments and multiple interior and exterior pockets that fit more into less space.

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