Ah, leather travel bags.
Admired the world over. A real premium accessory. They truly show the world that you've arrived.
There's just something about real leather for travelers that screams a 5 star stay.
So, you're looking for a real leather bag for traveling? Well, we'd love to help you there. At The Real Leather Company, we're experts in all things leather. And we love using our leather bags when we're on the go. We try our very best to ensure that our bags don't just give off a premium look, but are also super convenient just when you need them to be.
But there's so many choices with travel bags right? Do you need a backpack or a duffle? What kind of size do you need?
And then there's the question of leather. Is it right for what you need? Just why is leather so prized? Well, these are all questions we'll endeavor to answer in the first part of this guide.
If you're already settled on what you need, skip to the end of this guide where we go over the top 7 leather travel bags for men this year.
Or are ready to shop now? Here you can check out our full collection of leather travel bags.
A big question. You can easily grab another bag made of nylon or polyester and it'll probably be a little cheaper too. Well, those can be ok options.
But leather is different.
True high quality leather is crafted to last a lifetime. That's right. A whole lifetime. It's entirely possible that if you look after your leather bag properly, it'll be with you for the long haul. We've heard so many stories of men passing down their quality leather bags as heirlooms. Back in the day, you might have passed down your leather bag you used in the war to your children or even your grandchildren.
True leather will develop more character over time. It'll actually become more attractive as it ages. So many of our customers look for a bag that has that distressed look. To put it plainly, the best way to get that is to allow the leather to develop a natural patina over years. There's nothing quite like a thick leather bag that is decades old.
Buying a quality leather is an investment in something that will last. It shows you're a person that values the hard work and patience is takes to create something that is built to hold up over the long term.
But not all leathers are created equally. It's really important you know what to look for. Be sure you get a leather that is made to last - not all are.
Buffalo hide vs Cow hide
You'll typically see that these are the two most common types of leather animal hide used.
Put simply, buffalo is thicker and generally will last longer. If you're really looking for something that will last, buffalo is a great choice. Do note though that this is significantly heavier. If you're planning on carrying your bag over longer distances you might find this too heavy.
Cow hide tends to be a good mix between durability and weight. It's the most popular material and will be comfortable to carry.
Full Grain Leather
After you've chosen the type of animal hide, you need to select a grade of leather. Full grain is the best of the best. It's the very top layer of the hide and permits no chemical processes. You can think of full grain bags as the direct hide of the animal with nothing applied after the tanning process is complete.
This means the fibers of the hide are still fully intact. Therefore, this type of leather will last the longest. Full grain buffalo leather is considered to be the longest lasting leather you can get.
Be wary that in full grain, there will be blemishes and imperfections. This is because those imperfections appear on the actual animal hide and no processes are permitted. Some love this and see it as a talking point and enjoy how this develops into a really unique patina over time. Others would prefer a uniform look and for those top grain leather can be a better choice.
Check out our full grain leather travel bags here.
Top Grain Leather
This is still the very top layer of the hide, however this time chemical processes are permitted. This means imperfections and blemishes will be removed. A really smooth uniform surface will be the result. If you see a leather bag that has a really consistent pattern you can assume this will be top grain leather.
This sacrifices the fibers of the hide, and does mean the durability will be slightly less. However, for many this is an acceptable trade off to lose that rugged look and instead get a more premium, professional look.
Check out our top grain leather travel bags here.
Firstly, this is still real leather. It's not the very top layer of the hide, so isn't quite as durable as full or top grain. However, the properties of leather still apply. It's still built to last over the long term and won't rip or tear like nylon or polyester equivalents.
You'll find genuine leather is the cheapest of the real leather grades.
Here you can check out our genuine leather travel bags.
Bonded or PU or Faux Leather
There are many names for fake leather. But essentially, we'd recommend staying away from them all. They are in essence a mixture of chemicals and have none of the properties of real leather.
These bags won't last over the long term and will be very quick to wear out.
These fake leathers are becoming more and more popular, but don't let their weaker properties turn you off from real leather! If you'd like more information as to why real leather is better choice check out our guide to faux leather.
What Size do I need?
Well, obviously I should just get the biggest I can right? Well, with real leather travel bags for women and men that is often not the case.
Think about what you're going to use your leather traveling bag for. Is it going to be for overnight stays? Weekends? Whole week trips? Something even longer? You're actually going to want something that is the right size for the specific trips you'll go on.
That's because real leather is heavy. If you've never owned a real leather bag before it'll probably be way heavier than you're expecting. A good travel bag might be 3-4 lbs. Some of our bigger ones even go over 5lbs. It sounds basic to say, but this was real animal's hide. It was designed to protect the cow or the buffalo from the elements in tough conditions. That makes your bag super durable, but also means it's thick, tough and yes - heavy.
So get something that is built to fit your gear for a day, or a weekend or a week. A good rule of thumb is to take the volume of the bag in litres and use this to see how much gear you can fit. We find a good guide for the average man is:
- 30L = leather overnight bag
- 45L = leather weekend bag
- 60L = leather 1 week+ bag
Is Organization Important?
I mean come on. Organization? I'm a man. I'll just shove all my gear in right? Well, you could, but there's a better way.
We try to design our travel bags thoughtfully. We often include pockets just for your shoes (if they get dirty they won't mess up your clothes and devices). Then other pockets just for your devices (you'll want good zipper pockets to keep these from moving around).
Pro tip: look for a men's leather travel bag that has a convenient outer pocket. Something that will easily snap open so you can store your airline ticket or smartphone without needing to open up the whole thing.
If you're the type of guy that sometimes needs to work on trips, you'll also want something that can fit your laptop. Many travel bags in our collection have special padded laptop sleeves. Check out this one on the underside of The Denali.
A thoughtful pocketing system can actually save you a bunch of time when looking for stuff. To be honest, we still shove a bunch of gear in ours wherever we like, just don't make it as disorganised as your girls handbag, we beg...
Duffle or Backpack?
A tough one.
Duffles tend to be more popular, but backpacks have their advantages too.
Duffles tend to be a little more impressive. They give off a really classy look and when held by the handles can really complete a look. They tell the world you're rugged and can usually hold a whole bunch of gear. If you're going on a road trip or just to the gym, you can easily throw this in the trunk and not have to worry about carrying it far. Unfortunately if you are going longer distances, these can be a little wearisome to carry as all the weight will be on your shoulders.
Backpacks are definitely more comfortable to carry. The weight is on your back and waist and they're much more ergonomic. For hiking weekends or fishing trips, leather backpacks can be perfect. You can still get a bunch of gear in, but you'll have no problem walking too.
Leather Travel Accessories
Leather fanny packs, journals, wallets and toiletry bags are all necessities for so many men now.
Grab a fanny pack for your city day trips to keep your stuff secure. A journal to capture all your thoughts as and when you get them. A minimalist wallet keeps your cards organized. And a toiletry bag is a must.
These are all available in our store and made from the same premium leather with all the lasting properties we've already mentioned above. Grab these accessories, stick them in your bigger travel bag and not only match, but you'll also show everyone that all your gear is built to last.
How to care for real leather travel bags
As we've mentioned, these bags are built to hold up over the long term. But you still need to care for them to make sure this happens. We recommend applying a leather conditioner every 6 months to your leather bag to keep the fibers in good shape. This keeps the leather in a full, rich condition and will help to extend the life of your bag even further.
For more information, check out our guide to leather conditioner and leather care.
We recommend this leather conditioner on our leather bags.
Top 7 Leather Travel Bags for Men in 2022
Built from the highest grade leather, The Full Grainer is built to last a lifetime. It's real premium bag.
The rewards of the hard work put into crafting this bag will be seen by your friends and family for decades to come as the patina and character of your bag continues to develop.
This duffle is handcrafted by expert artisans that have passed down the art for generations. The distressed leather gives the ultimate vintage look.
Along with the premium leather, this bag also uses YKK zippers and brass hardware, along with multiple metal studs in the bottom of the bag. These help to keep extending the lifespan of your duffle.
The water resistant lining keeps your gear safe and the thoughtful internal zippers and holders keep all your gear organized.
Perfect as a leather weekender bag or even an everyday gym bag, The Full Grainer is the ultimate in premium classic leather bags.
Built for those weekend trips, The Lifelong is set to be your traveling companion for decades.
This duffle is made from full grain buffalo leather. That means that even though it's very difficult for our expert artisans to work with, it will outlast any similar bag. The leather on this bag is built to last a lifetime - hence The Lifelong.
It's got multiple compartments inside and outside and even a separate pocket just for your shoes. This is super convenient if you're a man that likes the outdoors. After a day hiking, stick your dirty shoes in the shoe compartment, then load up the truck. All without dirtying any of your clothes or valuables in the main compartment.
Magnetic closure on the outside of the bag allow you to easily grab the stuff you need fast. If you're using this as a carry on, you can store your airline ticket or cell phone in here and grab it fast. The two convenient outer zippers (premium YKK metal) let you store your valuable stuff with total security.
Built for whatever a life of adventure can throw at you. Grab The Lifelong today.
Built to make travelling a breeze, The Denali is the ultimate leather duffel for those who love to travel.
Sick of always having to check your luggage when you travel? The Denali is the perfect carry on size!
Crafted to get you through airport security with total convenience, the advanced design of The Denali means you can easily remove your laptop, shoes and other items from the specially designed compartments.
Made from premium top grain buffalo leather, you'll know this duffel bag is passionately handcrafted by the best in the business.
Created with durable, extra-thick, stylish leather and with a comfortable, removable shoulder strap, you’ll know it's built to last.
The XL is large and in charge.
This leather duffle bag is a huge 32 inches and is built to carry everything you could need. It's perfect for everything from a weekend away to a week plus.
Made from premium cowhide leather, you'll know this duffel bag is crafted passionately to last.
With four extremely spacious compartments, The XL can hold all your gear and more. Specially designed for those longer trips for at least a few days, you can easily fit your clothes, shoes and toiletry bag in the main compartment. There's also extra room in the two side zipper pockets for your accessories. Plus, anything you might need easy-access to can be stored in the buckle front compartment.
Created with durable, extra-thick, stylish leather, brass hardware, premium zippers and with a comfortable, removable shoulder strap, you’ll know The XL is built to last.
The ultimate vintage leather backpack, The Rucksack is built to be rugged, rough and ready for anything. Whether you're going on a weekend away, or a day hiking, this backpack will be your new favorite companion.
Made from premium full grain leather, this leather backpack is designed to go the distance. This is one bag that won't give out.
Ideal for everyday use, this extra large backpack is perfect for carrying everything you need for a day outdoors or a trip away. Easily fit in the main compartment your clothes, along with your headphones, other devices and books. Then use any of the four convenient exterior pockets to keep your wallet, phone, passport and keys.
Throw out everything you expect from a backpack. The Kobuk men's leather backpack brings together that classic leather look you crave with the practicality you get from a thoughtfully crafted backpack.
Made from premium top grain buffalo leather, this leather roll top backpack is designed to go the distance. This is one bag that won't give out.
Ideal for everyday use with a padded laptop sleeve, this backpack works just as well for that weekend camping trip too. Simply roll the bag up or down depending on how much gear you need to carry.
Multiple interior and exterior pockets mean you can keep your stuff organised and the specially designed easy-access outer pockets keep your crucial items always within reach.
Created with extra-thick, stylish leather, premium brass hardware and with comfortable backpack straps, you’ll know this backpack is built to last.
Looking for a premium bag to hold your shaving kit and other bathroom essentials? Look no further than The Toiletry Bag.
Made from premium top grain leather, this men's dopp kit is the perfect accessory for a weekend break. It's made from premium leather and designed to last - no matter what you put it through.
Keep your shaving kit, creams and self-care items in the double zippered main compartment. Then store anything you might need quick and easy access to in the front zipper (great for a quick toothbrush stop when you're on the road!). This toiletry bag secures neatly with a magnetic end closure.
So there you have it. Our full guide to leather travel bags for men in 2022.
Interested in seeing full collection? You can see all of our travel bags here.