Ah, the leather satchel. The perfect accessory for the classic man.
Giving you that timeless look from the moment you unbox it, you’ll find a good leather satchel can be a companion for a lifetime.
But what should you look for in a leather satchel?
How can you know you’re getting something that will stand the test of time?
And most important of all, how can you know you’re getting the leather satchel that is just right for you?
In this guide, we’ve broken down what we think are the most important factors to consider when buying a men’s leather satchel. We’ve then went on to lay out our top 7 leather satchels this year.
What is a Leather Satchel?
The leather satchel is a real leather crossbody accessory bag. It’s built to hold the gear you need every day. They can be smaller and built just for your cell phone, tablet and any papers, or they can be larger and built for your laptop and multiple books and files.
Generally, you’ll want a leather satchel that is made from premium leather. You’ll see a lot of full flap leather satchels, but then there are some more in a messenger bag style, and others that look more like a briefcase. Read on for what to look for in these different styles.
Full Flap Leather Satchels
These are the most common type of satchel, and give a great minimalist, sleek look. No fasteners or buckles should be on display.
Full flap leather satchels are typically used by urban, city-going folk. They’re usually on the compact side, and may be crafted to fit your 13 or 15 inch laptops. As the flap of the satchel is going to be protecting all your gear, look for a premium top grain or full grain leather in a full flap leather satchel.
The choice between going for a premium or a distressed look is going to be important here. The leather will naturally distress after use, but think carefully if this is how you’d like it to start out.
Messenger Leather Satchels
Messenger satchels will be a little on the larger side than a full flap satchel. They may hold up to 15 inch laptops and are likely to have fasteners or buckles on display.
We find these are typically more of a throwback to classic leather craftsmanship. These bags will usually have an older look. If you told someone your messenger satchel was decades old, they likely wouldn’t bat an eyelid.
If you’re looking for something a little larger and more retro than a full flap leather satchel, these are a great option.
Are messenger satchels right for you? Check out our messenger leather satchels.
Briefcase Leather Satchels
If you’re looking for something a bit smarter for the office, briefcase satchels can be a great go-to item.
These will again be a little on the larger side, and you may find some can hold up to 17 inch laptops.
You’ll usually find fasteners and clasps on these bags, and sometimes even security locking mechanisms.
If you want a quality leather bag that holds all the gear you could possibly need for the day, these are always a great option. Do be sure to look at the weight of these bags though. If you’ve never had a real leather bag before, you’re likely to find it heavier than you might expect.
Looking for a seriously professional leather briefcase satchel? Check out our collection of briefcase satchels.
Picking the Right Size
Gents, this is one of those occasions where size IS important.
As mentioned, leather bags are heavier than you’ll be used to. You’ll want to make sure you’ve got room for all your gear, but perhaps be mindful that you don’t buy something that’s just way too big or heavy for what you need.
Our advice is to measure your laptop, and find something that it fits perfectly into. If your laptop is 15 inches in diagonal length (think how you’d measure a TV!), look for a leather satchel that claims if fits ‘laptops up to 15 inches in size’.
Be sure you’ve seen inside the bag before you go ahead and buy. We always like it when leather satchels have hidden inside zippers or a real thought-through compartment system. Look for something that can hold your laptop in a padded sleeve, but also might have compartments for your pens, wallet, cell phone, papers, files and books.
Measured your laptop?
Check out our leather satchels for:
Types of Leather
There are three main types of leather you’ll want to be aware of. The type of leather you choose will not only change the price, but also the wearability and the look of your bag.
Full Grain Leather
This leather basically comes straight off the animal onto your bag. It’s the very top layer of the hide, the most in demand and as natural as it gets. No chemicals processes are permitted.
Because no chemicals are permitted, this leather is really tough to work with – that’s why it’s the most expensive.
You’ll find full grain leather is super thick and maybe a little heavier than you’re expecting. This leather is 100% the natural skin, so you’re likely to find imperfections and blemishes – just like our own skin.
As no chemical processes are applied, full grain leather will usually be the longest lasting leather type.
Take a look here at our full grain leather laptop bags.
Top Grain Leather
This type of leather is still the top layer of the hide and super premium quality. However, this time chemicals and finishes are permitted.
This makes it easier to work with and means any blemishes and imperfections can be cleared away. You’ll find top grain leather bags have a perfect finish. If you’re looking for something smoother and blemish free, top grain leather is the way to go.
Most leather satchels we see are top grain leather – it’s often the go-to fashion choice.
Top grain right for you? Look here at our top grain leather laptop bags.
This leather is made from the remaining hide once the top layer of the hide has been used for full and top grain leathers.
It’s still real leather and will appear so, however it’s unlikely to last as long as full or top grain.
Chemical processes are usually applied to give a look similar to top grain leather and as it’s the least in demand, it is usually the most affordable variant.
Check out our genuine leather laptop bags.
Want to know more about the different types of leather? Check out our full guide here: Different Types of Leather: A Buyer’s Guide.
Top 7 Men's Leather Satchels
Feel like you know a bit more about leather satchels now? We certainly hope so! With that said, here are our top 7 leather satchels for men this year.
The quintessential leather satchel, The Prime is likely to be everything you’re looking for in a men’s satchel. It’s made from full grain leather, premium hardware and has room for a laptop up to 16 inches.
We’ve found The Prime has been one of our customer favorite leather satchels since its launch.
If you’re looking for a bit of a lighter colored leather, The Messenger can be a great companion. It’s finished perfectly in a top grain vegetable tanned leather and has a beautiful full flap finish. The padded laptop compartment will hold up to 15 inch screen display laptops.
Featuring somewhat of a unique look, you’re sure to stand out with The West End in a tan color. It’s made from full grain cowhide leather and it’s built with multiple inner compartments.
This bag is built to be ultra-lightweight and easy to carry, fitting laptops up to 15 inches.
Falling somewhere between the full flap and messenger satchel, The Buffalo is a truly unique piece. The top grain water buffalo leather gives a striking look, and the outer pockets are super convenient to get to.
Designed to fit a 15 inch laptop in the multiple inner compartments, The Buffalo is a wonderful everyday companion.
A full flap satchel designed to fit all your gear, The Kasilof is great for those days you need to carry a lot of stuff. Made from premium top grain water buffalo leather, this is one leather satchel that won’t give out.
This extra-large satchel will fit laptops up to 17 inches with no problem.
An instant classic since launch, The Daily is more a messenger satchel. With outer buckles and zippers, this satchel is a real vintage throwback.
Made from top grain cowhide leather and built to fit laptops up to 15 inches, this leather messenger is perfect for those looking for an alternative to the traditional full flap satchel.
More along the lines of a briefcase satchel, The Jones is perfect for all occasions. It’s great for the office or a casual day out, but it’s also built big enough to hold all your gear for a weekend trip away.
With multiple interior pockets, this full grain leather satchel fits laptops up to 17 inches and is built for those who are at it from dawn til dusk.
So there’s our rundown of our favorite leather satchels this year. Be sure to find your style and go for either a full flap, messenger or briefcase satchel. Check the sizes and weights carefully, and be sure the bag you’re getting is made from a real premium leather.
If you do all those things, we’re sure you’ll get a leather bag that is not just perfect for you, but will also be with you for life.