It should be no surprise to you that I love the look of leather accessories. They’re simple, classy, stylish, and crazy functional. The main problem I – and most people – have is that there are just so many leather accessories out there to choose from. And they range from the kind that will fall apart after a month of light use to designer quality with a lifetime guarantee.
I’ll warn you right now, this compilation of mini-reviews is for higher end bags that are created by smaller scale craftsmen. If your budget is less than $100 then you’ll have better luck checking out some of these bags on Amazon than reading about the ones highlighted below. I personally like the look and feel of the bags in this review because they’re both durable and incredibly classy looking. But we’re all in different places in life, and no matter how cool they are, it isn’t worth not being able to pay the bills in order to have a snazzy leather bag.
However, if you are looking for higher end stuff then this is the place for you. These brief “summary reviews” will give you the lowdown on three of my favorite places for leather laptop bags, starting with the one that’s most affordable.
There’s no denying it; this bag is gorgeous. Personally, I think that the stitching, in particular, is really eye-catching, and the bookmark-style closure really pulls the whole ensemble together nicely. There’s an effortless elegance to the bag that I’m convinced would complement every look, from suit-and-tie to casual Friday to a working vacation.
Aesthetics aside, the bag is thin and lightweight at only 1 lb, which will make your arms breathe a sigh of relief. I was impressed that Pad&Quill managed to create a bag that was so light but still had the capacity to carry pretty much any day-to-day necessity. With all the pocket space they’ve included, it’s not difficult to fit a charger cord, two pencils or pens, and maybe even your tablet or a small notebook inside with your laptop.
Even though it’s lightweight, Pad&Quill hasn’t sacrificed any durability, as evidenced by their full-grain leather and parachute-grade stitching. The bag also comes with a 25-year warranty, so it’s safe to say it’s going to last a while. And it’s made with leather from American cows (God bless them). Unfortunately, this bag is made almost exclusively for MacBooks, which is a real bummer for those of us who own PCs that are too thick to fit inside it. It’s also a minimalist bag, so if you’ve got lots of things to carry and can’t really travel light, then this is not the bag for you. This is especially true if your stuff is heavy because the front flap can come undone if you overload your bag. Depending on your needs and wants, the 25-year warranty might serve your purposes, but if you’re looking for an heirloom-type piece that you can pass down to your kids, you might want to take a look at our other options.
Pros & Cons
Great price, especially for the quality
Space for both a laptop and its accessories
No over-the-shoulder strap
Only made for macbooks
When fully loaded, the front flap can come undone, making for awkward carrying
Roughly 1 lb (depending on model)
Models fitting Macbook models 11-15
Easy Access Opening (Can be a good or bad thing)
By far the most aesthetically outstanding part of this bag is its simplicity. If you’re going for a sophisticated look that easily fits in anywhere, this is your bag. Jackson Wayne touts the leather’s rich color and beautiful natural marbling, and they’re right to do so – it’s obvious that they’re using the highest quality materials to make these and boy, does it show. The bag is made from large, continuous sections of hide, which means that there’s hardly any weak points because the number of seams is kept to a bare minimum. And the thick, full grain leather only contributes to the bag’s durability.
The double buckle flap provides a lot of safety for your expensive laptop or important documents. Sure, it takes a couple seconds longer to fasten them than a simple button or clasp, but once they’re buckled there’s no way they’re coming undone, no matter how heavy you load it. That’s reassuring for someone that has a heavier-duty laptop or has to carry lots of things. They’re not kidding when they say it’s designed to last; the handle and buckles are stitched so thoroughly that you’d be hard-pressed to remove them even if you wanted to.
One downside of this bag is its lack of organization. There’s tons of room in the main pocket for a laptop and a notepad and a charger cord and the book you’re reading for fun to fit with room to spare. But there’s only one pocket for extras like pens, pencils, USBs, and other small things that you may need to have on hand. With only one place to put them, they’ll all mush together in that small space. However, that may not be an issue if you don’t need a lot of organizational space for small items. The price makes this bag more of an investment, but one that’s probably worth it if it fits your needs.
Pros & Cons
Built with large continuous pieces of leather (leads to increased strength and durability)
Simple Clean Appearance
Very high quality leather
No shoulder carrying option
May be outside some people’s price range
Harder to organize extras like pens, documents, and chargers
Two front buckle latches (secure, but slow)
Made in the U.S.A
Name: Thin Front Pocket Leather Briefcase
Colors: Tobacco, Dark Coffee, Chestnut, Black
I’ll admit, the price tag on this one is a little daunting. But the adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is an adage for a reason, and this bag is no exception. Saddleback guarantees this briefcase for 100 years, so you could easily pass it along to your child, grandchild, nephew, niece, etc. if you wanted to. And odds are, it would still look great as well as being entirely functional. This bag is also made from large pieces of continuous leather, requiring fewer seams and therefore having hardly any weak spots. And the seams that are necessary are stitched with marine-grade thread. There’s no doubt in my mind that this bag really is going to be functioning for the next hundred years.
This bag is also very versatile. It can be carried by its handle, the shoulder strap, or fashioned into a backpack. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend wearing it like a backpack because it’s honestly not very comfortable when it’s carried that way. But it is doable. And the bag really does look awesome; if we had a compliment counter it would be putting up some great numbers from our jaunt down the street. Family, friends, acquaintances, and even random passersby all seem to love it! There’s also so much storage space that I didn’t really know what to do with it all. But if your job involves carrying a lot of stuff, this can fit it all. And if you’re a frequent traveler, this could happily function as your personal item.
One of the drawbacks of this bag is that it weighs in at a whopping 5 lbs. empty. Yes, it takes some getting used to and your shoulder will feel it at first. Additionally, it’s all but impossible to access anything in the front pockets of the bag without undoing the giant main pocket first, so quick access is not a strength here. Overall, if you’re looking for an extremely durable piece that’s also super stylish and can carry your entire office in it, this is the perfect option. But if cost, convenience, and weight are issues, this may not be the right bag to buy.
Pros & Cons
Can be handheld, carried on shoulder, or worn as a backpack
Tons of storage space
Heavy duty and super durable
Incredibly heavy at over 5 lbs empty
Can’t access small front pockets without opening the large pocket
Total of 6 pockets
Removable Shoulder Strap
Comes in 15″ and 17″ sizes
Did We Miss Anything?
There are so many awesome leather places out there that it’s hard to get them all. If you know someone who makes awesome leather stuff, let us know in the comments so we can feature them on LeatherFacts.
Tell us what you think of the review, whether in the comments section or by using the star rating system below. And as always, feel free to share this with your friends!