A good backpack is roomy enough to hold all your stuff. A GREAT backpack helps you efficiently organize your belongings and can withstand the test of time.
WHAT TYPE OF BACKPACK IS THE BEST?
The first question to ask when searching for the right pack is how it will be used. While canvas and nylon packs may look like good money-saving alternatives to leather, they wind up being costly in the long run. Replacing an inexpensive backpack year after year adds up, and no one enjoys dealing with broken zippers, ripped stitching, or busted straps. A top-quality leather pack can handle years of hard use. The BEST men’s leather backpacks can last a lifetime if cared for. A quality pack is one that you can rely on for a wide range of activities:
- School – While a nylon or canvas pack works for toting books around, they’re not known for longevity. A top-quality leather bag, when cared for, will hold up rain or shine, year after year.
- Office – Not all backpacks are appropriate for workplace settings. A good leather pack is a must- leather is luxurious, and a well-styled leather backpack looks polished and professional. A quality backpack for the workplace will have designated compartments for important papers, a laptop, and any other workplace essentials. The Yukon Leather Backpack by Yukon is a perfect example – it’s a sleek, sophisticated pack with an urbane look that fits well into any office or work environment. The padded laptop compartment securely holds laptops up to 16” and the interior pockets keep your important papers and files well organized. The exterior pockets and built-in keychain holder keep essentials within easy reach. The plush embossing, vintage buckles, and brass and leather zipper pulls give this dapper case a distinctive look that shows you have arrived! Crafted of full-grain crazy horse leather, this sturdy pack is easily one of the best men’s leather backpacks for any business professional.
- Travel – When traveling, quality Before investing in a pack, check the quality of the stitching, the zippers, and the leather. Top-quality crazy horse leather can take a beating without losing its shape or sheen. Zippers need to glide smoothly, and meticulous stitching will hold a good backpack together in rough conditions. Although no leather is waterproof, crazy horse leather is the finest quality and has been specially treated to withstand moisture, bumps, and scratches. The key to keeping leather luxe is keeping it as clean and dry as possible and treating it to a good leather conditioner on a regular basis. Leather is also pliable – shove into an overhead bin on a plane or under the seat of a car, good leather will bounce right back into shape without showing signs of wear or tear.
- Hiking – Leather beats nylon and canvas when it comes to durability. For the best men’s leather backpack, look for one made of crazy horse leather. Crazy horse leather is top-quality full-grain leather that has been treated to a wax formula specifically created to help the leather survive spills, rain, bumps, and scratches while showcasing the beauty of the grain. Check the stitching, the thickness of the leather, and the zippers – the last thing anyone wants on a hike is a backpack that falls apart or zippers that jam. The Harper Large Backpack by Yukon Bags is an ideal pack for rugged adventurers – this hand-crafted pack is created of luxuriously thick full-grain crazy horse leather that can stand up to the elements. The spacious interior, built-in keychain holder, and handy interior and exterior pockets keep clothing and gear well protected and well-organized. The laptop compartment holds laptops up to 16” and provides solid protection for your valuable electronics. Padded caribou shoulder straps and a stout leather handle are a treat on long hikes when comfort is essential. The suede lining is detachable, making this hardy backpack easy to clean after exploring the wilderness. A cloth drawstring bag is included with this pack, making it a breeze to keep the Harper clean, dry, and safely stored when not in use. Rich embossing, burnished brass buckles, leather pull-tabs, and YKK zippers are combined to create a backpack that is both dashing and dependable.
- Camping – A top-quality leather backpack can survive rugged conditions. Look for crazy horse leather – it’s the only leather with the unique ability to transform scratches and bumps into striking multi-hued tones, creating a pack that develops a rich, vintage patina with time and use. Crazy horse leather is resistant to the elements, a vital consideration when selecting a pack that you can count on.
- Diaper Bag – Most daddies aren’t fond of carrying around a purse, tote, or diaper bag. A luxurious leather backpack looks professional while holding diapers, bottles, and anything else dad and the little nugget will need for the day.
Backpacks can do much more than simply carry books to and from school. A top-quality bag with sophisticated styling can easily replace a cumbersome briefcase. The newest packs have elegant lines and fit smartly into any work or office environment. The pack’s sturdiness is another crucial consideration – the best men’s backpacks should be able to go from work to play without losing looks or durability. Backpacks are ideal for business trips, traveling, work, and play – a great men’s leather backpack can withstand the bumps and scratches it’s subjected to on a hike or when camping while maintaining its luster and patina.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FULL-GRAIN LEATHER.
Leather takes the lead when looking for a rugged, reliable pack. Leather also has the advantage of its luxurious look – making it ideal for an office or work environment. When researching men’s backpacks, the quality of the leather matters. Lower quality leather items may look like a bargain - but will need to be replaced every year or so. An investment in a top-quality full-grain leather backpack is an investment in a pack that can survive a lifetime of wear and tear. Which type of animal hide is used also impacts the longevity of the backpack. Cowhide is the strongest, most durable leather. For a smart, stylish pack that can handle decades of use, look for full-grain leather. Leather labels can be confusing – “genuine leather” sounds great, but the quality is inferior to authentic full-grain. With so many leather grades to choose from, it’s important to understand what the labels really mean.
Here’s a quick guide on selecting leather:
- Full-Grain Leather: Full-grain leather is the highest quality leather. Authentic full-grain leather will have small irregularities that showcase the individuality of each hide. Hides are a natural material and the scrapes, insect bites, etc., that the cow acquires over its lifetime guarantee that every full-grain leather product is unique. Full-grain leather is the top, outermost layer of the hide. It is also the strongest, most resilient layer – making it the best choice for a men’s leather backpack. Authentic full-grain leather will develop an attractive vintage patina over time. Although no leather is 100% waterproof, full-grain leather does provide some water resistance. Crazy horse leather is authentic full-grain leather that has been treated to a special process to increase its strength and beauty while adding dirt, dust, and water-repellent protection. A stellar example of an authentic, full-grain cowhide crazy horse leather backpack is Yukon’s popular Frances Backpack. The sleek design showcases the beauty of the rich leather grain while providing ample organization and secure protection for laptops up to 16 inches. Padded caribou straps, ergonomic styling, and the built-in trolley handle make this the ideal bag for traveling comfortably. The clean lines, streamlined styling, and elegantly embossed leather are combined to design a handsome pack with a sophisticated aesthetic that easily travels from work to play. This is the perfect men’s leather backpack for the man who needs a smart, go-everywhere pack.
- Top-Grain Leather: Top-grain leather is the 2nd highest quality leather, and less expensive than full-grain. It is a popular option for anyone looking for quality that’s a bit more affordable but does not have the longevity, durability, or age as well as full-grain leather.
- Genuine Leather: Genuine leather can also be labeled Corrected Grain or Split-Grain Leather. This is the 3rd grade of leather – it is produced from the scraps that are left over after the top layers have been used for higher quality items. The lower-quality layers are fused together with glue, sanded, and artificially colored to mimic a natural grain. Genuine leather is cheaper than full-grain or top-grain leather and does not have the durability or luxurious look and feel like the higher quality grades. This type of leather is fragile and can easily be damaged.
- Bonded Leather: This is the lowest grade of leather. The leather shavings and leftover scraps are shredded, then bound together with latex or polyurethane. This cheap grade of leather can fall apart quickly and does not have the look, feel, or smell of the higher quality grades.
FOR THE BEST MEN’S LEATHER BACKPACK LOOK FOR CRAZY HORSE LEATHER:
Crazy horse leather is produced using only the highest quality full-grain cowhide leather. At Yukon, each hide is carefully inspected before being treated to the crazy horse process. Only the top-quality, superior hides are selected for our leather goods.
Once the hide is selected, our skilled leather artisans apply a natural wax that is specifically created to aid in protecting the leather from water, weather, and moisture damage. Next, the artists wax and polish each hide by hand. This painstaking process adds additional protection from normal wear and tear, dirt, dust, and scrapes.
Crazy horse leather is exceptionally durable and develops a striking vintage patina over time. The crazy horse treatment showcases the natural beauty of each hide’s individual grain. An amazing feature of crazy horse leather is its unique ability to transform scrapes, bumps, and so on, into gorgeous multi-hued tones that increase the leather’s rich patina over time. Crazy horse leather is the sturdiest, most resilient leather available. It has been revered for centuries due to its natural beauty and strength.
ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS WHEN SEARCHING FOR THE BEST MEN’S LEATHER BACKPACK:
When searching for the best leather backpack it is important to consider the quality of the hardware. Oftentimes people invest in the highest quality leather only to have the zippers, rivets, and stitching wear out before the leather does.
One of the first things to check is the zipper. The leather may last a lifetime, but not every zipper can stand the test of time. We all know how frustrating it is to deal with a jammed or broken zipper. At Yukon, we work exclusively with YKK zippers. YKK is a Japanese company that has set the industry standard for over 80 years. They have a global reputation for manufacturing the best zippers on the market. They supply half the zippers on Earth – a whopping 7 billion zippers each year! These sturdy zippers are so reliable that they were used in the astronaut’s spacesuits during the first moon landing. YKK builds their zippers from start to finish - they produce their own raw materials, utilize advanced technology, and finish each product in-house.
YKK uses self-locking puller technology, which makes each zipper easy to pull and lock without slipping. Thanks to their square tooth technology, the teeth never separate or jam. These dependable zippers will last for decades and have a solid reputation for consistently gliding smoothly time after time. Attention to detail makes the difference between a product being merely good and a product being great. YKK pays attention to every detail, including the zipper’s appearance. The surface of each zipper is beautifully plated and maintains this finish over time without fading or discoloring. For an exemplary example of a stylish men’s leather backpack that takes every detail seriously, check out the Napa Large Backpack. Meticulous attention to detail and top-quality materials are used to create this extra-roomy backpack that easily travels from work to play and the gym as well. YKK zippers, precise hand-stitching, and brass buckles and rivets are used by our talented leather artisans to build a dependable bag that is built to last. Ergonomic styling, adjustable leather shoulder straps, and a leather loop handle make this bag comfortable to carry anywhere and everywhere. The striking vintage patina of the luxe crazy horse leather becomes richer and deeper over time. Contrast stitching, brass hardware, elegantly embossed crazy horse leather, and matching leather pull-tabs are combined to create a bag with a suave style that fits in as easily at work or school as it does in the wilderness. The laptop compartment holds laptops up to 15” and ample interior and exterior pockets provide plenty of organizational space. If you are looking for a gift for a man-on-the-go, the Napa is one of the best men’s leather backpacks on the market.
The next detail on your checklist should be inspecting the quality of the snaps and rivets. Rivets are permanent fasteners that can be used to attach pieces of leather together. They can also be used to add a decorative flair. Low-quality rivets can fall apart – it is important that the snaps and rivets be high quality to produce a backpack that you can count on to hold together. Broken snaps or rivets can destroy the looks of a product and reduce its durability. How the rivets are attached is another important consideration – it takes a skilled leather craftsman to fix the snaps and rivets properly to create a backpack that you can depend on. At Yukon, our skilled leather artisans pay close attention to detail – we use only the highest quality brass rivets and snaps. Our leather artisans attach each snap and rivet by hand.
Stitching can make or break a backpack. Machine-made stitches can skip a stitch or apply weak loops. Sloppy stitching means the bag will fall apart with use. At Yukon, our leather artisans diligently sew every stitch by hand. This painstaking attention to detail results in a dependable backpack that can stand the test of time.
SELECTING THE RIGHT SIZED BACKPACK:
When shopping for the best men’s leather backpack, size matters. If the pack is going to be used for the gym, hiking, or traveling, you will need a roomy bag with loads of organizational space. A lighter pack can be ideal for short day hikes, or simply when running errands for the day. Finding the right-sized backpack doesn’t have to be confusing. Backpacks are typically measured by considering the Dimensions and Volume of the pack. To fit the body, you will need to measure your Torso and Hip size. The bag should rest comfortably on the shoulders and place most of the weight on the hips. Legs are typically the strongest part of the body, by letting the hips carry the weight you avoid straining the neck, back, and shoulders. The simplest way to find your correct torso size is to measure the C7 vertebra. You can find this by tilting your head forward and measuring from the bony bulge at the base of the neck to the top of your hips. The pack shouldn’t be wider than the hips – to find your hip size, wrap the measuring tape around the top of the hips, at the base of the waist.
The dimensions of the backpack are the pack’s measurements. On the Yukon website, you can find the dimensions for each pack beneath each photo. The dimensions are the height, width, and length of the backpack. The volume capacity is how much volume (weight) the pack can carry. The simplest way to calculate the volume is by converting the dimensions of the pack into liters. To convert the cubic inches into liters, use the following calculation: 1 liter = 61 cubic inches. Once you have calculated the bag’s volume, you have a great approximation of how much the pack can carry. The following is a list representing the approximate volume your pack should hold based on its use:
- 0 – 10 liters: This lightweight pack is ideal for short hikes or a day running errands. Light and easy to carry, a pack this size can comfortably tote a wallet, cell phone, snack, water, first-aid supplies, and a light change of clothing. The Macaulay Crossbody Backpack by Yukon is a great example of one of the best lightweight men’s leather backpacks on the market. This versatile little pack has adjustable straps that allow you to quickly convert it into a shoulder pack, crossbody bag, or messenger bag. The slim design and elegant streamlined style allow the rich beauty of the crazy horse leather to shine. The interior easily holds all your essentials, and the convenient interior and exterior pockets help you stay organized all day long. Have Yukon monogram this pack for an ultra-distinctive look.
- 10 – 30 liters: This size is ideal for overnight trips with room for everything the smaller packs can carry and additional space for your camping gear.
- 30 – 50 liters: The perfect size for business (or pleasure) travels and extended camping trips. A pack this size can store enough sleeping, cooking, and camping gear for trips lasting up to 5 – 6 days.
- 50 – 70 liters: This is a great size for multi-day backpacking or camping trips. The extra space allows plenty of room for extra gear, food, and water. There is ample space for additional items that you may want on a longer trip, like a pillow, books, or a laptop.
- 70 liters and larger: Ideal for longer trips where you may need more clothing, an extra pair of shoes, or space to carry your kid’s stuff. This is also a great size when you are planning a trip in colder conditions – you will need the extra space to pack bulky items like jackets, sweaters, a blanket or two, or snowshoes.
To estimate the best fit for your body, check that your body’s torso length is within the pack’s torso range. The backpack’s shoulder straps should conform to the back of your shoulders and the shoulder strap padding should end 2-3 inches below the armpits. Hip belts can support the majority of the pack’s weight. If you are using a hip belt, it should cover the top of your hip bones. Hip belts can be purchased separately at most retailers.
HOW TO CARE FOR A LEATHER BACKPACK:
If you have invested in a top-quality, full-grain leather backpack, you will want to take proper care of it. With a bit of care, this quality pack can last for decades. Because crazy horse leather is crafted of the outermost layer of the cow’s hide, it does have some ability to repel dirt, dust, and moisture. Keeping the bag clean and conditioned will offer extra protection from the elements and keep the leather soft and pliable. Leather is an organic material – like your skin, it needs to have vital oils replenished to stay soft and supple. A good leather conditioner will nourish and strengthen the fibers, restore vital oils, and keep your leather backpack soft and flexible.
A little goes a long way with leather conditioners. Over-conditioning your backpack can leave it too soft, causing the pack to lose its shape. Authentic full-grain leather is naturally resistant to moisture and dirt, however, if your pack is consistently exposed to the elements, it will need cleaning and conditioning more often than one that is used mainly for school or in the office. With normal wear and tear your leather backpack should only need conditioning 2-3 times per year. A small amount is all that’s necessary to use, you want it to be easily absorbed into the leather, not gobbed on the surface.
Authentic crazy horse leather is finished leather. Suede, nubuck, and other lower grades of leather are unfinished leather and require a different type of conditioning. You can purchase leather conditioner through a retailer or read our article to learn how to make a D.I.Y. conditioner at home.
A good leather conditioner serves the following purposes:
- Helps to clean and preserve the leather.
- Replaces vital oils the leather loses due to exposure.
- Keeps the leather soft, supple, and flexible.
- Prevents cracking, drying out, and peeling.
- Preserves the luster and sheen of fine leather.
Extra care needs to be taken if your leather backpack is exposed to water, moisture, or any form of liquid. Crazy horse leather is water-resistant, but this does not mean that it’s safe to leave your bag wet. If your backpack is subjected to spills or rain, always immediately dry it off with a soft, clean cloth. Do not let the pack dry off without first applying a leather conditioner. Applying the conditioner immediately allows it to seep into the pores and lubricate the spaces left by the evaporating moisture. If you allow the pack to dry without first applying conditioner, your leather pack can shrink, turn dry, and crack. When camping, hiking, or traveling, it’s a great idea to bring your conditioner with you.
Stains can be removed from full-grain leather by rubbing the area with a soft, damp sponge. Always wipe away any excess moisture, dirt, or grime with a clean, soft cloth. Never store your bag while wet – it only takes a minute or two to wipe it clean and dry!
Leather conditioner is simple to use – here are the steps to keeping your backpack looking as sharp as the day you bought it:
- Apply the conditioner to a soft, lint-free cloth (not directly onto the leather).
- Perform a spot-test on a small, inconspicuous part of the bag. Wait for the spot test to dry and check for discoloration. (Various leather conditioners can create differing results. It is a great idea to always test a spot first).
- Apply the conditioner going section by section, using a gentle, circular motion. A thin coat is all that is necessary.
- Buff away any excess conditioner using a soft, clean, dry white cloth. Allow the backpack to air-dry naturally, never use a blow-dryer or any heat to dry it with.
With a minimum of care, your crazy horse full-grain leather backpack will last for decades, possibly a lifetime. Now that you know what to look for – take the plunge! Investing in a fine leather backpack shows that you have arrived – and with care, you will have a reliable bag to keep you organized anywhere and everywhere!