Best Leather Duffle Bags Buying Guide

Leather Duffle Bags, a combination of utilitarian design and painstaking craftsmanship. A marriage of form and function, a rarity by any standards.

From the conscientious businessman to the discerning traveler, it is loved by one and all.

It can stand up to the hazards of everyday travel, age like fine wine and blend seamlessly from the boardroom to the beach with equal élan.

All said and done, if you have never owned a leather duffle bag before, then here’s our complete guide to help you narrow down your choice, learn how to pick the right one and maintain it to ensure that you maximize your investment.

Editors Choice: Best Leather Duffle Bags

Irrespective of whether you like a sense of order while packing for travel or you are a procrastinator who grabs whatever you can and crams it into the bag 10 minutes before departure, you have to appreciate the versatility of the Duffle.

This innocuous looking glorified-sack has graduated from its humble origin in Belgium to becoming a travel staple in most parts of the world.

And if the easy access, ample space and lack of restrictive compartments weren’t enough reasons to drool over one, they started to make them in leather.

Choosing a Leather Duffle Bag

As travel becomes a necessity and travelers look to accommodate all their sundry details in a compact sized bag, duffles are now available in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Not all of them though, are built equal. With a billion different brands and models to choose from, let us help you cut through the bull and tell you what matters.

The Intended use

Undoubtedly, the most important factor is the intended use of the duffle bag. Are you a business traveler looking for a compact sized bag that can be squeezed into the teeniest cranny in an airline cabin?

Maybe you are a busy bee who jet sets from home to office to gym and need a flexible carryall with lots of space.

Understand the primary need of the bag to narrow down on the right one. The ideal duffle is one that can stretch a bit and then shrink back to size. Leather bags are not particularly famous for this quality.

But, being a duffle, you might still find what you are looking for.

The Size

If ever size mattered, it is while buying a bag. The good news is that you no longer have to pigeonhole yourself into buying something off-the-shelf.

Bags are now available in a lot more size options than the conventional standard sized choices. So, if you are looking for something that’s roomier, you’ve got options.

Look for bags with pockets to store small but useful personal details. On the other hand, if your main focus is airline travel, then you have wider bags with a smaller footprint.

Spot the Fakes

The market is riddled with scammers trying to peddle their counterfeit goods as real leather duffle bags. And it is becoming increasingly difficult to spot the difference between the two.

One of the easiest ways though is to look for a ‘full grain’ leather duffle that has not been masked or altered. A stamp that says ‘Genuine Leather’ is not an indicator of quality or authenticity.

Analyze the Quality

There are two main things that affect the quality of a leather bag, the hide and the tanning process. A quality leather duffle bag will feel soft to the touch unlike synthetics and fakes which have a rubbery feel to it.

Something like Vinyl. Synthetic bags can never have the durability and natural aesthetics of pure leather.

The Lining

While conventional duffle bags are characterized by their lack of compartmentalization, modern day leather duffle bags have perfectly placed functional pockets.

In a high quality bag, you’d expect these to be made of soft and durable material that can withstand the vagaries of everyday use. Anything cheap is a big red flag.


One of the most common problems with cheap leather bags is that they have flimsy hardware, which becomes troublesome after a season or two.

Look for zippers made of brass, possibly with a coating of nickel. You’d also want to take a close look at the zipper-tape fabric because it tends to wear out sooner than you’d expect it to.

If those were the factors to consider before selecting one, walking into a store or logging on to an online portal to buy a leather bag can be an exhausting experience, with more choices than one can skim through.

To end the conundrum, here’s are some of the common types of leather duffle bags that you’d encounter in one.

The Travelers Leather Duffle

Contrary to popular notion, leather duffle bags are not intended solely for the everyday commuter.

There are enough options with more detailed interior compartments, side pockets and zippered closures for organization.

Being tossed around in an airplane cargo hold demands additional reinforcement in the form of security applications like locks, sturdy shoulder straps and handles and scruff resistant bottoms.

The Wheeled Leather Duffle

The duffle was so perfectly designed that there was very little that could be done to improvise it. So, they added wheels.

The wheeled duffle is a travelers dream come true. It is large, spacious and when your hands cry out loud after carrying them for a while, you can use a collapsible handle to lug it around on wheels.

Wheeled Duffle bags also come with an optional detachable frame. Look for bags with large wheels that can easily glide along even on uneven surfaces without creating a ruckus.

A telescopic handle with two bars is much sturdier than other versions.

The Athlete’s Duffle

The large and roomy design clubbed with the ability to stuff a million things into it, make the duffle bag an athlete’s delight. However, considering that the environment in which athletes usually function is not exactly leather-friendly, very few athletes use leather duffle bags. They prefer synthetic materials like woven polyester or nylon which offer better resistance and colorful aesthetics. So, it is extremely unlikely that you will find something in leather for your gym locker room.

You may however, pick a durable leather duffle bag and take it to the gym with you. Modern day technology has made it possible to use leather even in your bathroom. So why not take it to the gym? It will need that extra bit of attention though, which we will cover later in the article.

The Carry-On Duffle

A leather duffle is the perfect choice for airline carry-on baggage. It looks sophisticated, can store more things than your average bag and offers perfect grab-and-go functionality.

But, you’d want to take a closer look at airline regulations while selecting one. The term FAA regulated is nothing but a schmancy marketing gimmick that you’d best steer clear of.

While different airlines have different carry-on bag dimensions, the most typical one used by airlines are 22” long x 14” wide x 9” tall, or 45” in total.

This may however change with domestic airlines in different countries. But this is usually the standard measurement.

History of Duffle Bag

Leather duffle bags are the best selling types of bags on the market nowadays. Duffle bag was named after the township in Belgium, in which the materials used for making duffle bags came from.

You will find various types of the leather bag designed for every requirement, including leather gym bag that has the capacity for many athletics equipment.

They are also an excellent alternative for those who would like to go kayaking, fishing or water-based activities. They have individual airtight compartments that help prevent water from entering.

Also, there is leather travel bag for those who have to bring heavy items without any discomfort. Leather bags are probably the most popular on the market, simply because of the stunning looks and its durability.

They come with a style of its own and definitely will always radiate the fascination even for several years.

Why You Need Leather Duffle Bag?

Nowadays, traveling requires strong and durable bags, particularly if you will head to the airport. An excellent way to stay away from waiting at the luggage carousel is to hand-carry your travel bag.

Duffle bags provide you with a fantastic way to make this happen. Leather bags likewise have the special protection of your stuff. They will safeguard your valuable stuff from dirt, spills or raining.

The leather is a solid, sturdy material; you will not need to bother about the bag being damaged or split. The leather is a material that never out-of-date.

It provides a sense of high-class and luxury. After some regular maintenance, a leather bag can supplies you with numerous years of service.

Despite the fact that leather might cost a lot more than others, if you think about the time of use the leather bag will give you when compared to one created from other materials, you’re going to be satisfied with your selection.

The Quality of Leather Duffle

There are plenty of great manufacturers who make high-quality leather bags. Believe it or not, the quality of the duffle bag relies quite a lot on the materials of leather that is being used for manufacturing.

It is well known that leather comes from the skins of numerous animals. Therefore, how they are handled will go quite a distance in figuring out the quality of the product.

It is important that you choose excellent brands which you could make sure with regards to the quality of the product.

Are Leather Duffle Bags Expensive?

It is very true that leather bags are more expensive than other bags made from other materials. Simply because it is a complicated process for manufacturing leather bags, it will take high workmanship to embellish designs and extra elements into leather.

Hardly any other duffle bag out there can guarantee the durability of a leather bag, low-quality bags will begin to wear out after some time, or they got no more luster, and you will probably need to buy a new one in just a year.

Leather duffel bags don’t have these kinds of the problem because of the high quality.

Caring for Your Leather Duffle Bag

Like a superhero once said, ‘With great leather duffle bags comes great responsibility’. Many people end up buying the finest leather without having the faintest idea of the upkeep that is needed to keep it looking fresh and young.

Some prefer to let the leather age gracefully and acquire a patina that comes naturally to it and adds to the look of the leather.

The fact is that Leather is like your skin and it takes regular cleaning, maintenance and moisturization to ensure that it doesn’t end up looking dry and withered.

If you have just bought a leather duffle and are twiddling your thumb wondering how to take care of it, then here’s our nifty little guide to help you understand.

1. Know the Leather

There are some types of leather which are more commonly used than other types. The most typical one is cowhide leather, known for its durability, easy availability and pocket friendly price tag.

Most leather duffle bags in the average price point are made of cowhide leather. Faux leather or artificial leather is preferred by people who do not wish to use animal skin for personal reasons.

Faux leather does have its share of advantages. But it is by no means, a replacement for authentic leather.

Saffiano Leather, with its wax finish and waterproof qualities is a very popular choice among travelers these days. The diagonal texture with the supple touch are some features which make it a desirable choice.

Italian Leather is considered to be on-par with the best in the world due to their stringent quality control during the tanning process.

2. Cleaning the Duffle Bag

Cleaning a leather duffle bag is not a very demanding chore that will eat into your leisure time. But it is a mandatory exercise that helps prolong the lifespan of your bag and lets it retain its beautiful natural grains.

You can use a leather cleaner available at most major boutiques that is apt for the type of leather bag you have chosen. For example, brands like Coach and Mulberry boast of their own range of leather cleaners.

The cleaner helps to remove dirt build-up with a simple wipe down. Never use baby wipes, upholstery cleaners or alcohol to clean duffle bags as they may be too acidic or alkaline and can react with the chemicals in the leather.

Ensure that you are aware of the type of metal used in the hardware to prevent exposing it to corrosive chemicals. Make it a habit to sweep the bag once every day with a soft cloth.

This simple activity goes a long way in preserving the natural grains of the leather.

3. Conditioning your Leather Bag

Conditioning is a crucial part of leather maintenance that nourishes it and keeps it from drying out. However, if it’s a new conditioner, then you’d want to test it in a small area that is usually hidden, to ensure that it doesn’t discolor the bag.

All you need to do is add a small dollop of conditioner and use a cloth to apply it on the bag. Do not lather it with conditioner in excessive quantities. Mink oil is a natural conditioner that triggers the release of the natural oils present in the leather.

While some manufacturers recommend drying the leather duffle bags in the sun for a week or two to even out the tan, avoid putting it in direct sunlight to prevent the color from fading.

4. Waterproofing Your Leather

Original leather can never be 100% waterproof. So, as a rule of thumb, you should avoid flaunting your $1000 leather duffle bag in rain.

Having said that, you can use a spray protectant to prevent water from permeating into it. It is invisible and will not alter the hue of the leather.

A stronger measure is using Beeswax, which may affect the color of the leather. So be cautious and try it out on a smaller area first.

5. Storing Your Leather Duffle Bag

If bad weather or increased moisture in the air forces you to stow away the leather duffle bag for a few months, then ensure that you store it in a dustbag and stuff it with butter paper, so that it maintains its shape.

Using newspaper for stuffing will smear the inner lining. The dustbag must then be stored in a dry place with silica gel to prevent mold.

Good quality leather duffle bags will last forever if you treat it with care. This makes maintenance a very crucial aspect of owning one.

If you value your purchase, then follow the above mentioned steps to let it age gracefully and develop a natural patina that only enhances its beauty.

This concludes our complete guide to leather duffle bags. We hope it helps you make an educated choice while selecting one and allows you to keep it conditioned and healthy for years to come.

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