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Best Leather Duffle Bags for Men and Women

Best Leather Duffle Bags
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Updated January 22, 2024

There comes a point in every adult’s life—perhaps when you finally get off your parents’ plan and start paying for your own cell phone—that you realize it’s time to upgrade that ripped gym bag you’ve been using as a carry-on for decades.

An elevated duffle can take the place of your favorite weekender bag and best carry-on luggage (as long as it meets airline size requirements, of course) with enough pouches and pockets to efficiently stash your clothes, toiletries and whatever else you feel the need to tote along. If you’re looking for a carryall that will outlast your next passport, it’s hard to beat the rugged sophistication and durability of leather. Like fine wine, a good quality leather bag will only get better with age and will hold up no matter how many times it’s stuffed in an overhead bin. We asked a team of style pros to share the best of the haul.

What to consider when buying a leather duffle bag

Leather

Quality is key here, says fashion stylist and founder of Le Catch, Marlien Rentmeester: “Aim for supple, soft, malleable, and one that ages well. You don't want anything too precious or pristine because it will get scuffed and scratched.”

Style

If this is more of an investment piece, opt for a neutral shade and a more classic cylindrical or oblong shape, suggests Rentmeester. A piece “that will stand the test of time and trends.”

Function

Don’t forget to consider factors like storage and ease of use. “The first thing I look for in a duffle is going to be ease of travel,” says Rachel Boedecker founder of The Style Edit Co, a Chicago-based company that offers personal styling for men and women and custom clothing for men. “If I’m not rolling it, I’m carrying, so comfort is key. I like to make sure my bag has a comfortable crossbody or shoulder strap as well as a handle.” For Azoulay it’s all about the compartments. “For my toiletries, phone chargers, laptop—interior pockets are a must.”

Also think about how you might use your tote. “Will I be using this bag for quick weekend trips? If so, a medium size weekender bag is suitable,” notes Boedecker. “If I’m going on a longer trip, I'd look for a large bag with more room. I also think of the functionality. Am I using this bag for the gym and need a storage compartment for shoes? Or is this a bag I'm using for work and I need a padded compartment for a laptop or tablet?”

Our top picks for the best leather duffel bags  

Best large leather duffle and best customizable leather duffle: Leatherology Kessler Large Duffle

Crafted with durable full grain leather, this roomy pick gets the nod from both Rentmeester and Boedecker, featuring four interior and exterior pockets, a cotton twill lining and elegant details like nickel hardware all wrapped up in a buttery soft package.  Stake your claim with one of three personalization options (debossing, hand painting or trapunto quilting) for this roomy tote. 

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 14.2 inches x 25.6 inches x 12 inches
  • Weight: 8.8 pounds
  • Type of Leather: Full grain leather
  • Colors: 6

What we like:

  • Reviewers rave about the supple, soft full grain leather
  • Several options to personalize
  • Convenient exterior and interior pockets

What we don’t like:

  • Since personalized items aren’t returnable, you’ll want to be certain before you commit

The bottom line: 

Leatherology’s duffle is the perfect size for traveling and comes with three personalization options.

Best large leather duffle and best customizable leather duffle
Leatherology Kessler Large Duffle

Leatherology Kessler Large Duffle

Best small leather duffle: Cuyana Medium Travel Bag

Small(ish), but mighty, the smart design of Cuyana’s overnight tote (crafted by world-class artisans at a family-owned factory) makes it an ideal travel companion. Two zippered external pockets are meant to hold laptops, books and other essentials while a luggage sleeve allows it to slide easily on top of a roller suitcase. Inside, the Italian pebbled leather piece, a favorite of Boedecker, has one large and two small pockets for easy organization, plus plenty of open space to fit everything from a makeup bag to souvenirs. Shopping tip: Cuyana routinely ranks high for quality, making our lists for the best work bags, the best designer bags, and the best travel totes.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 13 inches x 19 inches x 5.5 inches
  • Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Type of leather: Italian pebbled leather
  • Colors: 2

What we like:

  • Plenty of zippered pocket options for efficient packing
  • Crafted by artisans using Italian pebbled leather
  • Sized to fit under most airplane seats

What we don’t like:

  • The 5.5-inch depth may be too shallow for over-packers

The bottom line: 

A plethora of pockets makes Cuyana’s Italian pebbled leather pick perfect for quick trips.

Best small leather duffle
Cuyana Medium Travel Bag

Cuyana Medium Travel Bag

Best weekender leather duffle: Clare V. Weekender

Elegant details like a chambray lining and colored zippers are what make this Los Angeles-made pick a standout for Rentmeester. Whether you opt for the more classic camel hue or the bright and bold yellow, the lightweight, soft, and durable Italian leather will patina delightfully over time. You can change up the style by purchasing one of the brand’s patterned detachable straps.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 25 inches x 13 inches x 8.5 inches
  • Weight: N/A
  • Type of leather: Italian leather
  • Colors: 2

What we like:

  • Made using soft, durable Italian leather
  • Bold hues and various detachable straps make this a style standout

What we don’t like:

  • With only one zippered interior pocket, it may not be for the everything-in-its-place sort

The bottom line: 

One of the best totes roomy enough to pile in all your travel essentials, Clare V’s weekender also boasts eye-catching details.

Best weekender leather duffle
Clare V. Weekender

Clare V. Weekender

Best budget leather duffle: Rustic Town Sasha Carry On

Hand-crafted from pliable genuine buffalo hide, this pick just under $150 features distinguished natural marbling for a vintage vibe. Add in exterior and interior pockets (including four card slots, two pen loops and a phone holder), brass fittings and fast, free shipping and you’ll get why Boedecker tapped it as her favorite budget-friendly pick.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 20 inches x 9 inches x 12 inches
  • Weight: 3.75 pounds
  • Type of leather: Genuine buffalo leather
  • Colors: 3

What we like:

  • Distinguished, natural marbling
  • Interior pockets to keep the essentials organized
  • Budget-friendly with free-shipping

What we don’t like:

  • Some users noted the interior could use more pockets

The bottom line: 

Rustic Town offers a sturdy, genuine leather carryall at a wallet-friendly price.

Best budget leather duffle
Leather Travel Duffel Bag - Airplane Underseat Carry On Bags By Rustic Town (Medium, Brown)

Leather Travel Duffel Bag - Airplane Underseat Carry On Bags By Rustic Town (Medium, Brown)

Best splurge leather duffle: Bottega Veneta Medium Intrecciato Duffle

The luxury house’s signature Intrecciato woven construction in supple Italian leather makes this investment piece a worthwhile splurge for Jen Azoulay, founder of vintage clothing label Jen Wonders Studio. While the price tag is steep, the handmade craftsmanship paired with opulent details like a removable suede pouch, rolled top handles and durable hardware makes it the sort of bag that can be passed down for generations.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 10.6 inches x 19.7 inches x 9.4 inches
  • Weight: N/A
  • Type of leather: Italian leather
  • Colors: 3

What we like:

  • The brand’s signature weave and luxe Italian leather make it a standout piece
  • Comes with a suede pouch to hold smaller essentials
  • Hand-crafted by skilled artisans

What we don’t like:

  • A hefty price tag means it’s inaccessible for a lot of people

The bottom line: 

Hand craftsmanship and luxe Italian leather comes at a price, but this elegant Bottega Veneta piece will last lifetimes.

Best splurge leather duffle
Medium Intrecciato Duffle

Medium Intrecciato Duffle

Best vegan leather duffle: Pottery Barn Max Duffle Bag

Buttery soft and ultra-durable, nobody will believe the home good brand’s offering isn’t real leather. Not only does Azoulay’s pick look like the real deal, but it’s lightweight and features a roomy satin-lined interior with a few extra pockets for all your necessities.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 24 inches x 10 inches x 14 inches
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Type of leather: Vegan leather
  • Colors: 3

What we like:

  • Vegan leather makes it an animal-friendly choice
  • Lightweight, but can fit up to 30 pounds of stuff

What we don’t like:

  • No exterior pockets

The bottom line: 

Pottery Barn’s animal-friendly twist on the classic leather duffle is lightweight, roomy and easy to organize.

Best vegan leather duffle
Pottery Barn Max Duffle Bag

Pottery Barn Max Duffle Bag

Best leather alternative bag: Mark & Graham Mercer Carry-On Rolling Duffle Bag

While Mark & Graham’s luggage piece isn’t leather, it’s made of a durable waxed canvas that wears like it, developing a beautiful patina with age. It comes with a side compartment meant to store shoes or other small pieces and can be monogrammed for a personal touch. The standout feature is definitely the option to wheel using the telescoping handle.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 21 inches x 12 inches x 10 inches
  • Weight: 6.6 pounds
  • Type of leather: Partial leather and waxed canvas with a polyester twill lining
  • Colors: 1

What we like:

  • Side pocket to hold shoes and other smaller essentials
  • Made with durable waxed canvas, meant to age beautifully
  • Easy to drag through an airport or other travels

What we don’t like:

  • Since it’s not fully leather, it may not be for the customer desiring that classic look
  • At 6.6 pounds, it’s definitely on the heavier side

The bottom line: 

While this Mark & Graham piece is light on leather, it does feature waxed canvas that ages like fine wine and a wheeled bottom.

Best leather alternative bag
Mark & Graham Mercer Carry-On Rolling Duffle Bag

Mark & Graham Mercer Carry-On Rolling Duffle Bag

Best leather duffel bag for traveling: Time Resistance Leather Garment Bag

While this full-grain leather bag looks like an ordinary duffel, it unzips to reveal that it’s actually a garment bag spacious enough to safely hold a suit—and then some. There are two roomy pockets to secure your shoes, plus a built-in hanger. Designed for traveling with ease, the bag meets the carry-on bag size limits for most airline carriers. Bag getting heavy? While the reinforced padded handles are comfortable, you can take a load off by attaching the included shoulder strap. 

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 13.8 inches x 22.8 inches x 9.4 inches
  • Weight: 5 pounds, 1 ounce 
  • Type of leather: Full-grain cowhide leather
  • Colors: 1

What we like:

  • Safely carries and protects your nicest clothes
  • Unpacking is easy—just unzip and hang

What we don’t like:

  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t offer the most flexibility when packing

The bottom line:

This gorgeous leather bag transforms into a hanging garment bag to make packing (and unpacking) a breeze.

Best leather duffel bag for traveling
Leather Garment Bag Travel Duffel Bag for Suits and Dresses Carry-on Suitcase for Clothes Protection – Time Resistance (Cognac)

Leather Garment Bag Travel Duffel Bag for Suits and Dresses Carry-on Suitcase for Clothes Protection – Time Resistance (Cognac)

How we selected the best leather duffle bags

Along with scouring the Internet to check out the offerings from a wide range of brands and reading reviews and customer critiques, we asked stylists Azoulay, Boedecker and Rentmeester to share what makes a quality duffel bag and their favorite options.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How can you tell if a leather bag is good quality?

For Rentmeester, it’s all in the details. “I always examine the stitching at the seams,” reveals the stylist. “They should be tightly intact.” She adds, that “the leather should not be too shiny or stiff.” Azoulay likes to zero in on the handles, which should be secured “by metal rings,” she says, “or under a flap.”

Boedecker recommends gravitating toward a bag made with a full or top-grain leather because they’re super durable “and will extend the life of your bag.” Don’t forget it’s what’s inside that counts.“The interior should be lined with a durable and easy-to-clean fabric,” Boedecker adds

How do you care for a leather duffle bag?

“The beauty of leather is that it looks better over time,” notes Boedecker, “but if you do need to clean you have options.” She recommends wiping it down using either a leather cleaner or a cloth lightly dampened with mild soap and water.” Don’t forget to condition it once or twice a year, she notes, “so it doesn’t dry out.”

How do you wash a leather duffle bag?

While your leather doesn’t need regular baths, if you do get a stain, you can see if your local dry cleaner has a leather specialist that can treat it. Another option, says Azoulay, “take it to a shoemaker in your area to touch it up. They are experts on leather.”

Are leather duffle bags good for travel?

Of course, as long as the travel isn’t, say, hiking up a mountain. “I typically use a leather duffle as a carry-on, to hold and transport what didn't fit into my suitcase,” says Rentmeester, who gravitates to those “that can sit on top of my suitcase as I am dashing through the airport!” Echoes Azoulay. “Personally I love to adventure with my family, even if for a weekend or a one-night escape and I always pack light to keep it simple. A great leather duffle bag is the perfect solution, so long as it’s structured and sturdy enough to last.”

Are leather bags worth it?

If you like the style, absolutely. A high-quality leather piece “can last forever,” says Rentmeester, “and the worn-in patina just gets better with age.” Agrees Boedecker, “A leather duffle bag is a classic and timeless piece that will never go out of style and the material can truly stand the test of time.”

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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