There is no luck in creating a quality leather backpack, especially when it has to last for 100 Years. To geek out about the fine unseen or usually unnoticed details in design and materials that make this leather backpack maybe the longest lasting and most durable backpack in the world, read at the bottom of this page, just below the different backpack options. You'll also read the story of how these backpacks came about.
No Breakable Parts in our Leather backpack
This leather backpack has no breakable parts like snaps, zippers, buttons, velcro, or any other Hello Kitty construction parts. Just hard buckles and D-rings. Even a billion dollar submarine quickly becomes a worthless heap of junk at the bottom of the ocean if they build it with a cardboard hatch.
Full Grain Leather
Close your eyes for a minute and imagine a cow being killed. Now imagine it being skinned. Okay, now imagine that thick hide is sent to the tannery to be tanned, but it's too thick for most to use, so they split it in half, the top half from the bottom. Watch our video of how they tan and split leather, and also watch me ride a longhorn bull in my full leather suit. Now the tannery has two hides to sell to leather backpack makers. The top half is sold for a lot of money because it still has the top layer, which is made up of what is called the "grain". They are the toughest, densest, and most water resistant fibers of the whole hide. The same fibers that protected the cow its entire life and gave leather its bareknuckle tough reputation are the same fibers we use on each of our leather backpacks. It's called FULL GRAIN leather because it still has the FULL amount of GRAIN on it. So not only is it strong, but the thickness of our leather is a little thicker than boot leather. And then our thick wristed, calloused handed craftsmen make really durable and long lasting leather backpacks with it.
Reinforced Stress Points
Anywhere the leather backpack could get stressed, it gets a double layer of leather cut from the hardest part of the hide (the shoulder or along the back). There is also extra stitching, a rivet to back up the backpack's stitching, and usually, a reinforcing hidden Polyester strap sewn in for good measure. Even the best leather stretches over time (it's called creep), but with polyester strapping, it does not.
Instead of lining our leather backpacks with some shiny pretty nylon fabric that tears, we glued and then sewed on tough, smooth pigskin to the back of the already tough and thick full grain leather. Pigskin is not as tough as kangaroo skin, but it is stronger than cow skin. That makes our leather backpacks twice as strong as a normal leather backpack and much longer lasting.
Overkill Backpack Hardware
This is a BIG DEAL. It's akin to shooting a fly with a shotgun when you build a leather backpack with 316 Stainless Steel hardware, but we've never had a problem because the hardware has failed. It's not even Stainless 404 or 310. It's Stainless 316, which is an enormous difference for any backpack. Seriously, look it up. If you tell a metallurgist that we employ 316 stainless steel hardware on our backpacks, they'll gasp in surprise and then get furious before crying. It's pricey and overkill, but if your existence depended on the hardware of your leather backpack surviving, you'd want it to be one of ours. Our Stainless Steel is rated at 91 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale of 150 different types of Stainless Steel. The bottom straps' large buckles can support up to 750 lbs. It's one of the hardest, high-tensile-strength alloys, and it's what high end watches and Apple's most expensive iPhone casings are constructed from. It's a little pricey, but we decided not to have issues with our backpacks' hardware... EVER.
Low-quality nylon thread used in leather backpacks will deteriorate rapidly due to how such threads are constructed. Because the thread is made up of many very short fibers wound together to form one long thread, it breaks apart easily with friction, heat, or UV light. Things a backpack should be able to endure. Our top-quality German thread was developed to last and be durable. It's made of long continuous Polyester fibers with no breaks in between. We utilize the thicker double ought version for all of our leather backpacks.
FYI. Polyester is horrible when fabric is made with it but great when thread is made with it. In bed sheets and clothing, it causes poor sleep, infertility, and skin problems, but when a leather backpack is sewn with it, it causes great rejoicing in your life and big fights in your death. Check out my writing and findings about the evils of Polyester here.
Only Large Pieces of Full Grain Leather
HUGE KEY TO DURABILITY: These leather backpacks are designed with as few pieces of leather as possible. Usually, only two pieces for the body. This has taken a lot of thinking and failed attempts to get the backpacks to look and feel just right, but it was worth it. The reason is because seams are where backpacks always start falling apart. So we designed this leather backpack with as few seams as we could. Check out our fun video on measuring quality by Seam Feet, or how many feet of seems a bag has.
SURPRISINGLY IMPORTANT: A sewing machine is really just a big perforation machine, and each hole is the beginning of a tear. We set our beastly industrial Dutch and German sewing machines to stitch the backpacks at only five stitches per inch so we could get the needle holes as far apart from each other as we can without the backpacks looking dumb. If the holes are too close, the leather can tear like a sheet of perforated paper. Most leather backpacks I've seen are seven stitches per inch (I count them at the store sometimes). Our leather backpacks are stronger than anything you'll ever need it to carry.
Cheap Leather Backpacks
Grain is to leather what shingles are to a roof. Imagine you paid someone to re-roof your house. So they tore off the old shingles and then painted on shingles to make it look nice. Some might kick them in the ear. That's what happens when low quality backpack manufacturers buy that super low priced bottom half of the hide that doesn't have any grain on it (split or genuine leather). So they have the tannery press it and paint it to look like full grain leather, send it to their soft little tear stained handed workers who then make crap backpacks to sell to ignorant people. I actually did a video message to all of those low quality people and pirates here. And that leather backpack will dry out soon enough because the leather doesn't have that tough dense top layer to hold moisture in or to resist abrasions or punctures.
A Nylon Backpack or a Classic Leather Backpack
Sure, when you were a kid, a GI Joe nylon backpack or a Barbie nylon backpack was perfect for your toys and notebooks. And it was super cheap, which is what your parents were looking for, and at the time, you thought they were cool backpacks. But now that you're an adult (or at least mostly an adult), you want something a little more refined, timeless, and expensive because you know that quality costs money.
You are no longer excited about zippers, velcro, and a fun snap that will break in a week that the other backpacks have as bonus points for their cheapness. Just like a nice watch or a great spouse, a classic leather backpack will last you a lifetime if you take care of it, and it will only get better with age. So don't settle for a good backpack; demand the best. These are cool backpacks for those with a taste for quality and style.
The Best Leather Backpack
Everyone knows the best leather backpack comes from Saddleback Leather; if you are not part of everyone, it is essential to get one. But, of course, that is if you are into things that last.
A Saddleback Leather backpack is an investment. It will likely be the last backpack you ever buy. That is one reason they are the best leather backpacks. And it comes with a 100-year warranty. So if your great grandkids break it, send it back, and we will fix it for free. That's how confident we are in our design, materials, and craftsmanship.
Deep thinking and over-engineering are keys to the best leather backpacks
Saddleback Leather backpacks are made to last a lifetime and then some. We use the best materials we can find and design our backpacks to be as durable as possible. Our leather backpacks are made with only large pieces of leather, and we use heavy-duty stitching to ensure they will hold up to years of use. We didn't design one part of the backpack with how can we save a dollar. We designed them to be the best leather backpack you can find.
Which Color Leather Backpack Should I Get?
This is a question to reflect on yourself and decide on your personal style. But I will say that the brown leather backpack is the most common look when someone thinks about a leather backpack. And for brown leather backpacks, we have three options: tobacco leather, chestnut, and dark coffee brown. Of course, we also have black leather backpacks if that is what you enjoy.
When it comes to durability, all colors are on equal footing because it's the quality of the leather that matters the most, not the color. Read more below about the colors if you are still unsure.
A Brown Leather Backpack
The brown leather backpack is the most popular color because it goes with everything and looks good with any outfit. We offer three shades of brown: tobacco, chestnut, and dark coffee brown.
Tobacco Leather Backpack
The Tobacco Leather Backpack is the lightest shade of the three and is closest to tan. This fits the type of person that is laid back, easy going, and likes to be around people. They are also quite creative, inventors, and have a great sense of humor. So if you are looking for a more casual leather backpack, tobacco is the way to go.
Chestnut Leather Backpack
The Chestnut Leather Backpack is a redder brown and is the median shade between tobacco and dark coffee. If you are looking for something in between, chestnut is the perfect color. This type of person is more professional, reliable, and classy. They also tend to be perfectionists and have excellent taste.
Dark coffee brown Leather Backpack
This Dark Coffee Brown Leather Backpack is the darkest shade of the three and gives a more sophisticated look. This is the perfect color for someone that is an intellectual, a renaissance man, and loves adventure. They also tend to be independent and musical.
A Black Leather Backpack
A black Leather Backpack is perfect for someone that is a rocker or biker. It also works well for people who must carry black bags with their uniforms. Black leather backpacks also give off a more sleek, clean image than other colors.
When it comes to choosing a color, it depends on your own personal style and preferences. If you are looking for a backpack that is versatile and goes with everything, then brown or black is your best bet. If you are looking for something a little more fun and creative, then tobacco is the perfect color. And if you are looking for something in between, chestnut is the way to go. Our leather backpacks are sure to please no matter what color you choose.
Features of our Backpacks
Beyond the quality, let us talk about features. You need a backpack that you can trust with all your essentials. Beyond the main compartment, several of our designs have a laptop sleeve, as well as a front pocket, side pockets, and adjustable shoulder straps. You can pack your gear and essentials from the main compartment to the pockets and have a pocket to carry your accessories. Adjustable straps are essential because you want to be able to adjust the backpack to your body type and size. No two people are the same, so it's crucial to find a comfortable fit.
Our backpacks also have a top handle, so you can carry it like a briefcase if need be.
No matter what color or style you choose, our backpacks are sure to please, and you will enjoy wearing or carrying them. Their quality construction and features are perfect for everyday use, daily commute, travel as your carry-on bag, or even as a gift. So if you are shopping for the best, don't wait any longer. Order your leather backpack today.
A Leather Backpack That You Can Trust in the Rain
We use the same tanning method on our backpacks as the leather in a good pair of boots. Not the boots the kids across the giant pond make out of cheap material to be sold in a chain store, but the kind your granddad wore when he was your age. The boots that will last you a lifetime if you take care of them and might even outlast you.
When it comes to our backpacks, we use chrome-tanned leather made from full grain. This is the best in leather goods. The process involves using chromium to tan the leather, making it both soft and durable.
Not only that, but it is also a lot more water, heat, and stain resistant than vegetable-tanned leather. That is what helps it to be the best leather backpack you can trust in the rain.
Should I get a Backpack or a Briefcase?
This is another personal style question. If you want to do more than haul your laptops around, then a backpack might be what you are looking for. While most of our backpacks have a laptop pocket, a laptop was not my first thought. Don't get me wrong, the pigskin-lined laptop pocket in most of our backpacks was intentional, but the other pockets and compartments make me want to use one as my everyday carry.
If carrying your laptop is your most considerable thought, a leather briefcase might be for you. However, if you want to carry a laptop, other gear, and room for any other everyday essentials that you can comfortably wear on your back, then a backpack is your better choice. The adjustable straps make it so comfortable when wearing. From the daily commute to your carry on bag to shopping, this has a range of uses. There are no other options for this level of the finest leather craftsmanship in these backpacks.
The Story of Why I Designed Backpacks
When I was young, I didn't know what I didn't know. I was ignorant of a lot of things. But that's normal, and especially when it comes to backpacks. I rode my bicycle back and forth to school most everyday from jr. high through college and so a backpack was a necessity. And since it had never crossed my mind to get a cool backpack, I just got a Jansport backpack because they lasted for so long.
Nobody ever yelled from across the parking lot, "Hey, nice backpack" or stopped me at the park to ask "Hey, where can I get me one of those cool backpacks?". I didn't know backpacks that were cool were even a thing. And I don't think they were because I had never seen a cool leather backpack or had thought of owning a backpack that I would love. Have you ever dreamt of owning the perfect yard rake. One that you would fall in love with and secretly let sleep with it in your bed?
I didn't know what I didn't know, particularly about leather backpacks, until I designed my first leather satchel. I used to get compliments all the time with it. People stopped me 4 or 5 times a day to tell me how much they liked it or to ask me where they could get one too. It was surprising and actually pretty cool.
I took that leather briefcase with me on a 3 week hitchhiking trip around Southern Mexico as my only bag and it was so full that it got uncomfortable after awhile as I switched it from one shoulder to the other. Oh how I wished I had a leather backpack with me instead of a leather satchel. The shoulder strap on that first one was fixed in place, so I couldn't convert it to a backpack, but that gave me the big idea.
So, when I went to have some more satchels made, I had some improvements in mind. And one of those was a detachable shoulder strap that would feed through a center O-ring just behind the handle so it would make into a leather backpack. And boy did the compliments come flying in when people saw that cool leather bag on in backpack form.
That was great, but it didn't hold as much of the stuff as I needed a backpack to hold on longer trips. And that's when I went to work on designing my first official leather backpack. I designed it in 2008 and it was actually the first design we made when we opened our factory on October 13th, 2008. That leather backpack is now affectionately called "The Tank" among Saddleback collectors and aficionados. And it was rightly named. The thing was as thick as a backpack can get and it was heavy. If I recall, just the shoulder straps alone weighed about one pound each. But I didn't care. It was cool and I loved that backpack.
Over the years, I have made slight tweaks here and there to lighten the backpack or to make it more comfortable while maintaining the quality. In fact, I know I've raised the quality and comfort of that leather backpack in slight ways that most people would never notice. I have also designed a number of other canvas and leather backpacks that you'll see here. Not all of the rucksacks I've designed will you see here. I never want to offer too many backpacks because it keeps people from making a decision. So, when I launch a new one, I retire an old one. And this is what you see here. The best of the best of the best backpacks I've designed since 2008.
My wife, Suzette, has designed some backpacks for herself and other women here at Love 41. They have a slightly more feminine flair. My designs are just plain and simple, built for everyone. But generally for those with a little stronger frame.
My son, Cross, designed a much lighter weight set of backpacks out of pigskin, which is what we use for the lining of our backpacks. We worked together on them and I absolutely loved it. And so did he. They are very strong and very comfortable backpacks for kids, women and men. My daughter, Sela, is not into designing and we're totally cool with that. She's an incredibly coordinated girl who is compassionate and has a flair for retro. She's amazing. Anyways, I hope you'll check out our leather backpacks and fall in love with one. Maybe it'll be one of those things you didn't know that you didn't know. It happens to all of us and I hope it is about to happen to you.
If your life has to depend on a leather backpack, let it depend on ours.
You Found The Source For The Best Leather Backpack, Now Join The Newsletter
Now that you are done with the search for a new leather backpack, you have free time. So the question is what to do with that free time, well, I have a great answer. Join our Saddleback Leather Co newsletter to stay up-to-date on new designs and collections. We will have exclusive content and behind the scenes looks at what we are working on, so you can be the first to know about everything Saddleback Leather Co.