One cannot fully appreciate the beauty of full grain leather unless one can use it daily and watch it age with all the character that normal leather simply cannot muster. Best way to enjoy a piece of chewy, thick full grain leather on a daily basis is to use a full grain leather bag. Contrary to what you may believe, despite the high quality of full grain leather, full grain leather bags are usually not excessively expensive. That’s because the brands that use full grain leather are usually leather aficionados, with a true passion for the craft and focused mainly on maximizing the potential of the leather rather than making a profit. Lucky for us! Here are some of my top picks for stylish, amazing quality full grain leather bags that won’t break the bank.
Stunning, isn’t it? This beautiful heritage leather was tanned exclusively for J. W. Hulme, a family business based out of Minnesota that has been handcrafting leather bags since 1905. Their leathers are sourced from small craft tanneries in Minnesota, Maine, Illinois, and Tennessee. Their exclusive leather selections are then tanned using old-school techniques that accentuate the full grain, color variations, and au naturale imperfections of each piece of hide. Each bag is thus unique and full of character. Available in Saddle (cognac), this brown, and black. Get yours here.
For those who prefer backpacks over totes, either for the style or because spreading the pressure over two shoulders is more comfortable than one, this continental backpack also from J. W. Hulme is a great choice.
Also made from a thick piece of full grain leather, this J. W. Hulme backpack is designed with modern lines but also oozes that use-for-a-lifetime vintage vibe. Polished enough for the work week, yet rugged enough for that fun weekend trip, this backpack would be a great addition to any bag rotation. Get yours here.
In the leather world, the brand Saddleback is practically synonymous with full grain leather. Measuring 11″x10″x4″, this Saddleback crossbody bag is the perfect little full grain leather fix for your day. It’ll hold all of your essentials and with an adjustable strap, it can even be carried 3 ways: handheld, single shoulder, or across the body. Either of the 3 ways makes carrying all your stuff effortless and easy, while you get to stare and pet this delicious piece of full grain leather all day long. Four colors are available, including Carbon, Chestnut, Dark Coffee Brown, and Tobacco (shown above). Get yours here.
This shot of the Piel Leather Shopping Tote isn’t glamorous and in fact is downright low budget, but don’t let that deter you from the actual bag itself. Termed the leaders of “naked leather,” Piel makes this simple, classic, absolutely no-fuss shopping tote for anyone who wants a top-quality bag that will last for a lifetime. Given that it’s “naked” full grain leather, the bag will only get more beautiful with age, absorbing the natural oils from your hand to develop a gorgeous patina. Get yours here.
Coming from practically a one-man show named Ryan Barr, this Vintage Tote from Whipping Post uses only full grain leather and that’s quite obvious even from a cursory glance. The striations, wrinkles, and imperfections on this leather cannot be replicated or faked; they can only come from the most natural, unprocessed full grain leather.
If you need a workhorse bag that you can also pet and admire each day, this Whipping Post Vintage Tote is it. No other tote on the market really matches up, whether it comes to the leather, the attention to detail (check out the darker colored handles and golden studs), or the quality. This is one of those totes you’ll use and love for a lifetime, then pass down to your children for them to enjoy in their lifetime. Get yours here.