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Why a leather duffel bag?
If we had to choose one single bag that would be the only one we could ever own, it would definitely be a duffel bag. A duffel can be used as an overnight bag, a weekend bag, a travel bag or even as both men’s and women’s gym bag.
If it stays inside the cabin luggage size restrictions of the airline in question it will be a stylish carry-on or even a personal item if it’s really small. Considering it would have to last a lifetime, the given choice of material would definitely be leather. Let us show you why!
Leather of the highest quality is the material that has the greatest longevity and durability for luggage. Because of that, and because it is completely natural and actually a by-product from the meat industry if you take care to choose the right kind, leather is also a material that is environmentally sustainable.
Leather luggage is equally suitable for the traveling nomad as for the strict business person. To us it exudes an air of sincerity, trustworthiness and relaxed confidence. Leather is classic and timeless and sometimes understated when compared to “modern” materials.
But enough with the fluff!
We have picked 5 great duffel bags of varying sizes and from different manufacturers. As always, read all the way through or jump directly to the bag that seems the most interesting to you. We also provide a comparison table for a quick overview. If we have left out a bag you think deserves to be mentioned with a review of its own, please let us know in the comments below.
(Psst! We also have an article about best leather backpacks!)
Quick Comparison Table Best Leather Duffel Bags[table id=5 responsive=collapse/]
Floto Monteverde Leather Duffle Bag
Exterior size: 14″ H x 11″ W x 22″ L
Weight: 5 lbs.
Warranty: Limited Lifetime Guarantee
- Full Grain Leather: The calfskin leather for this travel bag was hand-stained in the heart of Tuscany to soften, patina, and develop a silky touch. Only vegetable extracts and natural oils were used to create rich, vibrant color and a tender, semi-gloss finish. Over time this leather duffle bag will soften and develop a beautiful patina. Measures: 14" high x 11" wide x 22" long
- Inside Zip Pocket | Front Gusset Pocket
- Detachable Shoulder Strap (Adjustable 42-48") | 5 Metal Protective Bottom Feet
- Floor-to-floor Zipper for Easy Packing
We start with a travel bag from the import company Floto. They have been around since 2003, when the owner Joe Floto went to Florence. There he found his calling when visiting a family owned factory to have a bag made according to his wishes. Joe was enchanted with the athmosphere and the artisans work with the bags. He abandoned his career as an investment banker at Wall Street to start Floto Imports. Now he collaborates with that family factory and imports their products to the US.
Fun fact: In the movie The Amazing Spider Man a bag from Floto plays the part of the long lost leather bag of Dr. Richard Parker. It’s in a secret pocket in this bag that Peter finds the clues that sends him on a quest to find the truth to why his parents disappeared.
This leather duffel is made in Italy with Italian full grain calfskin (for leather qualities read our article about different types of leather) that has been polished to a semi gloss finish to prevent stains.
On the outside is a so called cargo pocket where you can put your passport and your cellphone. The nylon zipper goes all the way across the bag to create a large opening for easy packing. There are double top carry handles and a detachable and adjustable shoulder strap.
On the bottom of the bag are five metal feet. Our notion is that the leather will still touch the surface you place the bag on, but less than without the feet of course.
The lining is a nicely striped 100% cotton canvas. On the inside is one zippered pocket, otherwise it’s an open packing space, the way duffels usually are made.
The Monteverde bag comes in Black, Vecchio Brown, Olive (more like honey truth be told, see picture at top) and Tuscan Red.
The warranty, called Limited Lifetime Guarantee, means that the product is covered for manufacturing defects for its “natural life”. We are not quite sure how long that is supposed to be, but since Floto claims to “produce high quality leather bags for men and women” we reckon several years can be expected.
So, what do users have to say about this stylish duffle bag? We promise that we have tried our best to locate some negative reviews, but we have failed miserably. All reviewers praise the bag for being “the perfect weekend bag”, “gorgeous”, “a great travel duffle bag” and more.
The only really questioned feature on the bag is the “plastic” zipper, that is actually a so called nylon coil zipper. We are not sure that this is indeed a flaw. Nylon coil zippers are the zippers of choice for the luggage and outdoor industries because of the stronger horizontal strength.
Our verdict then? If it fits your style, go buy.
American West Retro Romance Duffel Bag
Exterior size: 13″ H x 10″ W x 18″ L
Weight: 3.1 lbs.
Warranty: Limited Lifetime Guarantee
- Shoulder strap length: 54"
- Handle has a drop of 5" and a length of 14"
- Includes interior back wall zipper pocket and two interior multi-function pockets
We have to admit something here. We have abandoned one of our main criteria when choosing a bag to review.
No, it’s not good quality or functionality. We see no problems there. But, we cannot find a lot of reviews for this gem. Why? We don’t know. The few reviews we have found are all (both, truth be told) 5 star ratings. Maybe this is not an every man’s or woman’s bag?
We did look around for reviews of other bags made by American West though. Their all leather bags generally are getting very good ratings and reviews. The only really negative reviews we’ve found was about a strap coming off, and someone who had posted on several items that she/he didn’t like fringes and the design reminded of the 70’s, apparently the worst time for fashion. Oh well.
We decided to include this gorgeous duffel despite of the above, because we simply fell head over heels in love with it. It combines best quality full grain leather and skilled craftmanship with amazingly beautiful design.
The functionality of it is quite simple, as it should be with a duffle. One compartment that closes with a zipper. Interior is lined with AW signature cotton, and features one zippered pocket and two open pouches.
you carry it with dual rolled handles or a removable and adjustable strap that drops between 22″ and 26″. That’s it.
As for the design, we leave the judgement of that to you. We have already made clear what we think 😉
It almost feels redundant to have a conclusion after all the love we threw on the Retro Romance Duffel Bag above, but for clarity:
Yes, we warmly recommend this bag. As far as we understand the quailty is topnotch. The guarantee/warranty covers for manufactural defects for as long as you own the bag. if you love the design as much as we do, there is no reason not to buy it. We truly believe it will make you happy!
Leatherfocus Leather Travel Luggage Bag, Mens Duffle
Exterior size: 12″ H x 8.8″ W x 22″ L
Weight: 4.9 lbs.
Warranty: Limited Lifetime
- ✔Please Identify the LEATHFOCUS brand, As other replicator have same picture and text; Leather bag may have wrinkles, scars, scratches which makes the bag retro and unique, Premium YKK zipper which are reliable and secure
- ✔Rolled top handles with removable ID tag, adjustable and detachable shoulder strap with padded Shoulder which may release when carrying things heavy
- ✔Features a large main section, inner slide padded pockets for iPad/ tablet as well as three small pockets for Pens/ Phone/ Travel Wallet/ Credit Card/ Passport and so on. A classy must-have for Business Travel, Weekend Getaway, Camping , Sport & Gym etc
- ✔Size:22''*8.8''*12''; Complies with TSA size regulations for carry-on luggage
- ✔Retro Multifunction Leather bag. Suitable for short-distance travel, business trip, sports; It Is Also Can Be As A Wonderful And Practical Gift Or Present For Valentine'S Day,Father'S Day,Teachers' Day,Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthday Or Almost Any Other Occasion
In a rush? Then click here to go directly to Amazon to check price and availability!
In contrast to the duffel above this is a well reviewed one. And we would not have chosen it unless it was highly rated. Our aim is after all to introduce you with the best travel gear we can find on the web. It has a whooping average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars!
The bag is made of full grain leather. It will apparently arrive with some “wrinkles, scars, scratches which makes the bag retro and unique”. We like it! You can order it in brown or black, we much prefer the brown, it feels way more authentic and cool.
It has a well organized interior: one main compartment for books, clothing and other larger stuff, one padded sleeve with clip band for a tablet, three smaller pockets for phone, wallet and the like, and finally a small zippered pocket for credit cards or coins.
And on top of that, there is a dedicated shoe compartment that opens from the side of the duffel bag. This keeps your shoes away from the rest of your gear. Smart thinking!
The zipper is a metallic YKK one, which means minimum risk for zipper breakdowns. NOTE: the manufacturer used a less sturdy zipper to begin with, but has since (in October 2019) changed that to a quality matching the sturdiness of the full grain leather.
There are double carry-handles, that are rolled to be gentle to your hands, and a detachable and adjustable leather shoulder strap with a padded portion.
To top it off, there is a leather ID-tag that you have to unbuckle to view the address. Adds to the retro feeling!
We are very happy with this bag! From all the reviews we have seen, we are convinced that the quality of this bag is indeed high. 91% of the ratings are 4 or 5 stars.
Any drawbacks discovered then? Well, there is no lock. If this is a problem or not depends on how you will use it.
The few negative reviews on Amazon are all about the zipper. But, if you read the text above, this issue has been solved since the zipper now is a sturdy metallic YKK. So you don’t need to worry about that!
So you like the look? Then this is the travel duffel bag for you 🙂
Beast Leather Duffel Bag from Saddleback Leather
Exterior size: 34″ W x 14″ H x 15″ D
Weight: 12 lbs.
Warranty: 100 years (wow!)
If you are in a hurry, click here to check it out right away!
Now this is a BIG travel duffel! Most certainly NOT a carry-on size, this one needs to be checked in. But the choice to include it here was easy, this is top of the line quality as far as leather luggage go.
So what’s the big deal then about this bag?
Saddleback always use full grain leather for their products (read article on leather qualities here). The Beast is made from only two biiig pieces of hide, to have as few seams as possible. There are no zippers or wheels that can break and leave you stranded.
There are no exterior pockets, but inside are two large open ones on each end. A really neat feature with the bag are the adjustable closing straps. You just pack the bag, and then you adjust the straps so the flap closes tight and snug.
Watch the video below to see Dave Munson himself (founder and owner of Saddleback) present the Beast!
Click here to read more about the Beast Duffel and see all three colors at the Saddleback site!
Speaking of colors… the bag is available in three colors: tobacco, dark coffee brown and chestnut. Which is your favorite? We have a soft spot for the tobacco…
Oh, alright then, we can’t refrain from letting you see this video too, featuring a much younger Dave. It’s fun because it’s filmed in Africa and besides Dave also features an African drum!
(Note that it’s no longer possible to carry the beast like a backpack like Dave does in this video.)
As we said in the beginning, this is a huge bag. Really huge. But we love it because it is sosimple and straightforward, and extremely practical if you can handle the size and weight. There are no negative reviews concerning the quality. The only 2-star rating there is at the moment closes the review with this: “Enjoy it, just understand this may not be an “everyday/every use” bag”.
So if you need a big bag that will stand by you til the end of time (almost), you have found it.
Three Strap Leather Duffle Bag a.k.a The Baby Beast
Exterior: H = 11″ W = 19″ 1/4 D = 9″ ¾
Weight: 5.5 lbs.
Warranty: 100 years (yes, it’s true!)
If you want to go the Saddleback site right away you can do so here.
This beautiful and top quality duffel is like a mini version of the Beast Duffel Bag above. As they say on the Saddleback site, “If our massive Beast Duffle spawned a carry-on, this would be it. The Three-Strap Duffle (a.k.a. The Baby Beast) is designed to hold a weekend’s worth of stuff while still meeting all guidelines for carry-on luggage. Also makes a great gym bag.“
We are surprised how light this bag is, something you would perhaps not expect from a full grain leather bag. One reason for this is probably because it has only two pockets, both on the inside along the end sides. This leaves a lot of space to pack in, and if you want to divide stuff a bit further you can always use packing cells.
The bag body is made from only 3 pieces of leather, which makes it very durable since there are few seems that can fray.
You can carry the Three-Strap Duffle in your hand with the comfortable rolled handles, cross body, or over your shoulder with the adjustable and detachable shoulder strap! Someone has done some serious thinking when designing this piece of leather luggage.
If you like, watch this video to see the Baby Beast IRL (almost).
The utility duffel is quite versatile in more ways than how to carry it. You can have a tall object (umbrella perhaps?) sticking out at the side, and still close it tightly. The three buckle closure (one at each side and one front) allows you to overpack and still be able to have it securely closed.
It’s not a secret we love the products from Saddleback. (You can read a bit more about their briefcases here and backpacks here.) They are well designed in a no-nonsense way to make them durable and longlasting, yet beautiful. The materials are high quality, and the fact that there are no zippers or wheels means that there are few parts that can break and cause catastrophic situations at the airport.
The real question here is: Do you fancy the style? If you do, you need not hesitate and wonder whether it’s a good buy or not. It is.