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embossed leather handbags (77 items)
Handmade Leather Backpack with Traditional Embossed Motifs
Andean Traditions, Handmade Leather Backpack with Traditional Embossed Motifs
Artist: Kathiana Quispe
Tumi Motif Embossed Leather Sling from Peru
Inca Mythology, Tumi Motif Embossed Leather Sling from Peru
Artist: Berardo Santos
Handcrafted Floral Leather Sling Handbag from Peru
Daisy Bouquet, Handcrafted Floral Leather Sling Handbag from Peru
Tomato Red Embossed Leather Passport Holder from Mexico
Cardinal Traveler, Tomato Red Embossed Leather Passport Holder from Mexico
Paulina and Maria Jose
Artist: Paulina and Maria Jose
Red Embossed Leather Wallet from Bali
Red Croc, Red Embossed Leather Wallet from Bali
Croc Embossed Black Leather Wallet
Black Croc, Croc Embossed Black Leather Wallet
Artisan Crafted Genuine Embossed Leather Sling from Mexico
Embossed Cinnamon, Artisan Crafted Genuine Embossed Leather Sling from Mexico
Artist: Ricardo Hinojosa
Rose Motif Adjustable Leather Sling from Peru
Rosy Style, Rose Motif Adjustable Leather Sling from Peru
Paradise of Flowers
Handcrafted Adjustable Leather Sling Handbag from Peru
Paradise of Flowers, Handcrafted Adjustable Leather Sling Handbag from Peru
Machu Picchu Journey
Handcrafted Leather Backpack in Black from Peru
Machu Picchu Journey, Handcrafted Leather Backpack in Black from Peru
Efficient in Brown Crocodile
Men's Embossed Handcrafted Brown Slim Leather Wallet
Efficient in Brown Crocodile, Men's Embossed Handcrafted Brown Slim Leather Wallet
Lush Impressions in Black
Handcrafted Black Embossed Leather Handbag from Mexico
Lush Impressions in Black, Handcrafted Black Embossed Leather Handbag from Mexico
Artist: Fabiola Gonzalez
Embossed Leather Sling in Chocolate and Espresso
Brunch, Embossed Leather Sling in Chocolate and Espresso
Road to Adventure
Andean Style Leather Shoulder Bag
Road to Adventure, Andean Style Leather Shoulder Bag
Bouquet of the Field
Floral Embossed Leather Sling Handcrafted in Peru
Bouquet of the Field, Floral Embossed Leather Sling Handcrafted in Peru
Pre-Hispanic Embossed Leather Sling from Peru
Tumi Cosmovision, Pre-Hispanic Embossed Leather Sling from Peru
Field of Roses
Floral Motif Embossed Leather Sling from Peru
Field of Roses, Floral Motif Embossed Leather Sling from Peru
Adjustable Floral Leather Sling Handbag from Peru
Lovely Tulips, Adjustable Floral Leather Sling Handbag from Peru
Colonial Floral Motif Brown Leather Sling from Peru
Flower Adventure, Colonial Floral Motif Brown Leather Sling from Peru
Embossed Floral Copper-Toned Leather Handbag
Casual Carnation, Embossed Floral Copper-Toned Leather Handbag
Handcrafted Colonial Leather Sling Handbag from Peru
Fairy Dance, Handcrafted Colonial Leather Sling Handbag from Peru
Embossed Floral Copper-Toned Leather Shoulder Bag
Casual Alyssum, Embossed Floral Copper-Toned Leather Shoulder Bag
Handcrafted Floral Leather Handbag from Peru
Floral Executive, Handcrafted Floral Leather Handbag from Peru
Hand-Embroidered Embossed Honey Suede and Leather Sling Bag
Andean Jungle, Hand-Embroidered Embossed Honey Suede and Leather Sling Bag
Almond Beige Leather Sling Bag with Embossed Pattern
Guadalajara Tote, Almond Beige Leather Sling Bag with Embossed Pattern
Redwood Brown Leather Sling Bag with Embossed Pattern
Redwood Tote, Redwood Brown Leather Sling Bag with Embossed Pattern
Leather Shoulder Bag in Brown with Embossed Andean Motifs
Andean Totem, Leather Shoulder Bag in Brown with Embossed Andean Motifs
Floral Ebony Tote
Ebony Black Leather Sling Bag with Embossed Floral Pattern
Floral Ebony Tote, Ebony Black Leather Sling Bag with Embossed Floral Pattern
Suede Leather Tote Bag with Hand-Embroidered Embossed Motifs
Cusco Flowers, Suede Leather Tote Bag with Hand-Embroidered Embossed Motifs
Olive Floral Artistry
Olive Green Embossed Shoulder Bag with Zippered Pockets
Olive Floral Artistry, Olive Green Embossed Shoulder Bag with Zippered Pockets
Black Leather Cell Phone Shoulder Bag from Ghana
African Kite, Black Leather Cell Phone Shoulder Bag from Ghana
Artist: Musah Abdallah
Black and White Leather Accent Cotton Handle Handbag
Elegant Embellishment, Black and White Leather Accent Cotton Handle Handbag
Artist: Arti Sharma
Midnight Floral Artistry
Midnight Blue Embossed Shoulder Bag with Zippered Pockets
Midnight Floral Artistry, Midnight Blue Embossed Shoulder Bag with Zippered Pockets
Road to Machu Picchu
Inca Motif Leather and Suede Backpack
Road to Machu Picchu, Inca Motif Leather and Suede Backpack
Saddle Up in Brown
Saddle Up in Brown, Artisan Crafted Genuine Embossed Leather Sling from Mexico
Embossed Floral Copper-Toned Leather Sling with Front Pocket
Casual Begonia, Embossed Floral Copper-Toned Leather Sling with Front Pocket
Embossed Floral Copper-Toned Leather Sling from Mexico
Casual Petunia, Embossed Floral Copper-Toned Leather Sling from Mexico
Hand Loomed Wool and Leather Backpack
Inca Treasure, Hand Loomed Wool and Leather Backpack
Llama-Themed Multicolored Leather Sling from Peru
Cusco Traveler, Llama-Themed Multicolored Leather Sling from Peru
Handmade Wool and Leather Wristlet
Llama Trek, Handmade Wool and Leather Wristlet
Handmade Leather Tote in Chestnut and Espresso from Mexico
Contemporary Espresso, Handmade Leather Tote in Chestnut and Espresso from Mexico
Handcrafted Leather Cell Phone Shoulder Bag in Black
African Rabbit, Handcrafted Leather Cell Phone Shoulder Bag in Black
Embossed Brown Leather Briefcase Handmade in Mexico
Aristocrat, Embossed Brown Leather Briefcase Handmade in Mexico
Artist: Gabriela Veronica
Llama Pattern Leather Accented Suede Sling in Brown
Mountain Llama, Llama Pattern Leather Accented Suede Sling in Brown
Handcrafted Wool Accent Leather Sling from Peru
Trail Companion, Handcrafted Wool Accent Leather Sling from Peru
Hand Crafted Orange Leather Shoulder Bag with Wool Accent
Solari, Hand Crafted Orange Leather Shoulder Bag with Wool Accent
Leather and Suede Backpack Crafted in Peru
Mountain Journey, Leather and Suede Backpack Crafted in Peru
The Llama Way
Brown and Teal Llama Pattern Leather Accented Suede Sling
The Llama Way, Brown and Teal Llama Pattern Leather Accented Suede Sling
Brown Leather Sling Bag with Adjustable Strap & Wool Accent
Andean Flair, Brown Leather Sling Bag with Adjustable Strap & Wool Accent
Pre-Hispanic Leather Sling Handbag from Peru
Chimu Style, Pre-Hispanic Leather Sling Handbag from Peru
Lotus Carrier in Mahogany
Floral Pattern Leather Shoulder Bag from Bali
Lotus Carrier in Mahogany, Floral Pattern Leather Shoulder Bag from Bali
Leather Sling Handle Bag with Wool Accent Removable Strap
Flowing Elegance, Leather Sling Handle Bag with Wool Accent Removable Strap
Handcrafted Tiwanaku-Inspired Brown Leather Sling Bag
Tiwanaku Trends, Handcrafted Tiwanaku-Inspired Brown Leather Sling Bag
Baroque Floral Chocolate Leather Tote Bag and Wristlet
Classic Chocolate, Baroque Floral Chocolate Leather Tote Bag and Wristlet
Artist: Alejandro Villanueva
Baroque-Inspired Floral Honey Leather Tote Bag and Wristlet
Classic Honey, Baroque-Inspired Floral Honey Leather Tote Bag and Wristlet
Handcrafted Natural Fiber Handle Bag with Garnet Stones
Perseverant Sunrise, Handcrafted Natural Fiber Handle Bag with Garnet Stones
Onyx Floral Artisan
Floral Pattern Leather Backpack in Black from Mexico
Onyx Floral Artisan, Floral Pattern Leather Backpack in Black from Mexico
Route to Adventure
Burgundy Leather Sling Bag with Hand Loomed Wool Accent
Route to Adventure, Burgundy Leather Sling Bag with Hand Loomed Wool Accent
Brazil in Black
Black Leather Travel Bag with Handles and Adjustable Strap
Brazil in Black, Black Leather Travel Bag with Handles and Adjustable Strap
João Carlos Silva
Artist: João Carlos Silva
Handcrafted Leather-Accented Suede Sling with Llama Motifs
Andean Procession, Handcrafted Leather-Accented Suede Sling with Llama Motifs
Deep Olive Traveler
Army Green Embossed Leather Passport Holder from Mexico
Deep Olive Traveler, Army Green Embossed Leather Passport Holder from Mexico
Brown Leather Wallet with Embossed Inca Sun Symbol from Peru
Cusco Sun, Brown Leather Wallet with Embossed Inca Sun Symbol from Peru
Ancient Bird in Espresso
Handcrafted Leather Wallet in Espresso and Tan from Peru
Ancient Bird in Espresso, Handcrafted Leather Wallet in Espresso and Tan from Peru
Henry and Carlos
Artist: Henry and Carlos
Necessities in Brown
Hand Crafted Brown Leather Card Wallet
Necessities in Brown, Hand Crafted Brown Leather Card Wallet
Artist: Maura Parra
Necessities in Black
Black Leather Card Wallet
Necessities in Black, Black Leather Card Wallet
Llama-Themed Red and Black Suede Leather Sling from Peru'
Cusco Llama, Llama-Themed Red and Black Suede Leather Sling from Peru'
Handcrafted Leather Wallet in Solid Chocolate from Peru
Chocolate Style, Handcrafted Leather Wallet in Solid Chocolate from Peru
Golden Brown History
Handcrafted Leather Wallet in Espresso from Peru
Golden Brown History, Handcrafted Leather Wallet in Espresso from Peru
Handcrafted Crimson and Black Leather Backpack from Peru
Ancient Elegance, Handcrafted Crimson and Black Leather Backpack from Peru
Yellow Leather Wallet with Crocodile Texture
Yellow Croc, Yellow Leather Wallet with Crocodile Texture
Bifold Leather Wallet for Men or Women
Fire Garden, Bifold Leather Wallet for Men or Women
Artist: Vikram Uberoi
Baroque-Inspired Floral and Leafy Chocolate Leather Wallet
Chocolate Arcadia, Baroque-Inspired Floral and Leafy Chocolate Leather Wallet
Baroque-Inspired Floral and Leafy Black Leather Wallet
Dark Arcadia, Baroque-Inspired Floral and Leafy Black Leather Wallet
Baroque-Inspired Floral and Leafy Honey Leather Wallet
Honey Arcadia, Baroque-Inspired Floral and Leafy Honey Leather Wallet
100% Genuine Leather Card Holder in Brown Made in Armenia
Fortunate Brown, 100% Genuine Leather Card Holder in Brown Made in Armenia
Artist: Armen Tovmasyan
Little Red Llama
Red Llama Suede Sling with Adjustable Leather Strap
Little Red Llama, Red Llama Suede Sling with Adjustable Leather Strap
Armenian Handmade Men's Fold-Over Leather Wallet in Brown
Stylish Brown, Armenian Handmade Men's Fold-Over Leather Wallet in Brown
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Featured Reviews on embossed leather handbags
Leather sling, 'Lovely Tulips'
Perfect Gift and Absolute Steal
The workmanship is amazing and the bag is an absolute steal. I have purchased 3 and am wait listed for a 4th. I will give to my granddaughters for Christmas. Everyone in my office loves them. I will treasure the one I have which is a different style but same artist.
Men's slim leather wallet, 'Efficient in Brown Crocodile'
Sanchit, The receiver of your leather wallet, Brown Crocodile uses his wallet every day. It is very, very well made. Im sure that it will hold up for a very long time. When I need another one, Ill look up your site on Novica.
Leather backpack, 'Machu Picchu Journey'
Makes a lovely unique gift. My daughter loves having something not many have…a beautifully crafted leather purse/backpack.
Looking for something even more uniquely Texas? Check out our Texas luxury luggage: cowhide travel bags and custom embossed leather business accessories all with a let’s celebrate Texas theme. The quality and style of our luggage cases always reflect the best of Texas: toughness, beauty and pride. Carry these leather bags around the globe to show you are proud to be a Texan! Volume discounts available. For more details about these Texas leather luggage items, click on any picture. #TexasTravel
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Extra Large Tooled Leather Backpack
Tooled Leather Cosmetic Train Case
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The 12 Best Leather Duffel Bags of 2024
Equal parts fashion and function, a duffel bag is a versatile travel essential.
In This Article
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Travel + Leisure / Alli Waataja
Whether you’re looking for a daily commuter bag, a standalone weekender, or an additional piece that fits easily on top of a rolling suitcase, a leather duffel is a versatile, one-stop solution. In contrast to canvas bags, duffels are distinguished by a zipped top closure and large main compartment plus multiple smaller pockets for sorting essential items like toiletries and electronics. Typically fitted with handles as well as shoulder straps for easy carrying, they’re suitable for both everyday use — at the gym or the office — as well as a great variety of travel.
Beyond function, a well-made leather duffel bag is one of the most fashionable pieces of gear in your arsenal, lending a timeless sartorial touch to any airport outfit and travel occasion — from a casual outing to a weekend getaway or a business trip. There are an infinite number of styles, depending on your preference of silhouette, leather finish, and hardware. And unlike some other forms of luggage, a leather duffel ages gracefully. Indeed, a well-made leather piece will develop a rich patina, or glow, that proudly showcases its sense of history. Our list compiles the best leather duffels for every need and style.
Royce new york leather duffel bag.
Royce’s chic yet hard-wearing pebbled leather bag is a workhorse travel companion with ample space for weekend trips and beyond.
It’s a bit taller than the average cylindrical duffel or rectangular weekender.
Established in 1974 with family roots tracing back to the 1880s, Royce is one of New York’s premier makers of leather goods and accessories found at the likes of Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, and Nordstrom. This sophisticated American-made weekender duffel is one of the brand’s hallmark items — a design unchanged for the last 50 years. It tops our list for the durability and craftsmanship of its full-grain pebbled leather, whose textured surface helps obscure scuffs, as well as its streamlined silhouette.
More vertically-oriented than the average cylindrical duffel bag, Royce’s duffel offers ample space for trips lasting even beyond a weekend — while still fitting on top of a small carry-on roller bag and stowing neatly in an airplane overhead bin. The bag is outfitted with a fabric inner lining, silver-toned zippers and accents, and metal feet to protect the bottom of the bag. It’s available in five classic colors including black, taupe, and dark green, and can be personalized with embossed monogramming.
The Details: 21 x 18 x 17 inches | 4 pounds
Bottega veneta medium intrecciato duffel.
Bottega Veneta’s signature braided weave pattern makes this calfskin bag a quietly luxurious statement piece for the upscale traveler.
The bag is no doubt pricey, even for a designer item.
If you’re going to splurge on designer luggage, you might as well get something that stands out — even in a quiet luxury sort of way. This Bottega Veneta statement piece reimagines the classic duffel silhouette through the Italian fashion house’s iconic intrecciato weave, braiding strips of calfskin leather together in a criss-cross pattern.
Inside, the main compartment of the bag comes lined with a sumptuous bonded suede. In addition to generous space for several outfits, the bag features an interior removable zipped container and built-in exterior zipped compartment. Carrying options include thick rolled leather handles and a detachable strap in case you prefer to sling it over your shoulder. It comes in five colors including black, dark green, and Barolo.
The Details: 19.7 x 10.6 x 9.4 inches
Quince nappa leather duffle bag.
It’s a genuine leather bag — big enough to hold up to six outfits — for under $200.
The design is overall utilitarian with a slightly slouchy form.
You likely won’t find better value than this sub-$200 genuine leather duffel that fits anywhere between two to six outfits. Produced by the direct-to-consumer lifestyle brand Quince — which specializes in organic, sustainably made clothes and accessories — the bag notably uses full-grain Nappa leather, which refers to leather that has been tanned for a softer, more pliable feel.
The sturdy, all-purpose duffel is equipped with a padded detachable shoulder strap, an organic cotton interior, slide pockets on both the inside and outside, and a handy key clip. For those who like their various pieces of luggage to match, Quince also offers a matching Dopp kit in the same black or dark brown.
The Details: 21 x 11 x 11 inches
Leatherology kessler medium duffle.
It’s available in several colors and two sizes — and with three different monogram options.
The thick zipper is not the smoothest sliding.
This classic full-grain leather duffel from crowd favorite Leatherology is notable for its customizability. The bag comes in dozens of different combinations ranging in sizes — medium, large, and a set of two — and colors, like cognac, black onyx, and navy blue. For those interested in personal monogramming, it can also be customized in three different ways: deboss, handpaint, or trapunto, which is similar to a quilted effect.
Wear it with a shoulder strap, or use the handles and fasten the buckles on either end. On the storage front, there’s an exterior slip pocket for quick-access items, two interior slip pockets, and one interior zippered pocket. The Kessler can be purchased in limited styles on Amazon, but you won’t be able to customize it as much there.
The Details: 22.25 x 13.5 x 10 inches
Officine Creative RARE 042 Supernero Black Leather Weekender
It’s got the stylistic hardware of a luxury handbag — with the capacity of a weekender.
It only comes in black.
For a visually distinctive yet still reasonably priced piece, this men’s bag from fashionable Italian leather goods specialist Officine Creative offers the shape and stylistic details of a luxury handbag in a larger weekender form. A bit taller than the conventional duffel, this brown-grained Italian leather bag can fit several changes of clothes inside its main compartment, which is secured with a top flap and metal buckle closure.
Carrying options include top handles and a detachable shoulder strap. For a more traditional cylindrical shaped bag, Officine Creative also offers a woven calf leather model that resembles the Bottega Veneta version — at a fraction of the cost.
The Details: 19.7 x 13.8 x 8.7 inches
Best With Shoe Compartment
Polo ralph lauren leather duffel bag.
This sleek, classic-meets-modern tote is emblematic of Ralph Lauren’s timeless designer heritage.
The dedicated shoe compartment is geared toward slimmer footwear.
Built in the archetypical duffel shape with a rounded top and flat bottom, this full-grain leather bag from Ralph Lauren comes equipped with a separate zippered compartment for storing shoes. Keep in mind: this pocket won’t fit chunkier sneakers or tall boots — it’s best for slim sneakers, trainers, and other flat shoes. The modern, streamlined silhouette is accented with traditional touches like the brand’s embossed logo and leather trimming.
For additional storage, you'll find a pocket with a hidden magnetic closure, a one slip pocket, and one interior zip pocket. Though it certainly works as a weekender, we found this versatile bag also serves as a nice preppy-luxe gym bag if you’re coming from work and need a change of footwear.
The Details: 19.8 x 11.5 x 10.3 inches
Best With Wheels
Piel leather duffel on wheels.
It can be hand-carried, slung over the shoulder, or rolled along.
The roller blade wheel system makes the bag a bit heavier than the average tote.
It’s always good to have the option to roll or carry a bag — especially on longer hauls. Fitted with a telescoping handle and roller blade wheels, this medium-sized duffel from Piel Leather packs a week’s work of clothes in its spacious main compartment. Made in Bogota, Colombia, the bag features full-grain cowhide naked leather that is soft to the touch and ages well over time.
The shape is classic, and so are the colors: it comes in saddle brown, black, and chocolate leather. There are two exterior zippered pockets on the front of the bag, and it can be monogrammed at an affordable cost.
The Details: 21.5 x 10.5 x 10 inches
The real leather company the xl.
The Real Leather Company
With multiple compartments and 32 inches to fill, this extra-large bag is perfect for longer trips.
It may be too heavy and clunky for weekend getaways and daily use.
For long hauls where you don’t want to be tied down to a rolling bag, consider this sturdy, oversized cowhide duffel from The Real Leather Company in place of a typical suitcase. With a main compartment stretching nearly 3 feet long, you could easily fit a week’s worth of clothes and more in here. Plus, it’s got a large buckled front pocket, two zippered side pockets, and a big interior pocket for separating your items.
Design-wise, the bag is pretty straightforward, offered only in a classic combination of a natural brown leather finish with brass hardware. Since it can be heavy when fully packed, this bag is best for trips where you don’t have to walk too much — it works particularly well as a road trip companion.
The Details: 32 x 11.5 x 10 inches
Cuyana Overnight Bag
It can hold multiple outfits, shoes, and a laptop — but is small enough to fit underneath an airplane seat.
The opening is a little narrow.
Billed as an overnight solution, this curve-shaped minimalist leather bag from Cuyana is actually flexible for commuter use — perhaps as a fancy gym bag — as well as a quick day trip or light weekend getaway with one or two outfits and even a pair of shoes. It notably touts large, laptop-friendly exterior pockets in the front and back, plus three pockets inside so you can easily separate documents, cables, and toiletries from clothes in the cotton twill-lined main compartment.
Carry the bag with the top handles or an adjustable shoulder strap, or use the trolley pass-through to affix it to a rolling bag. The Cuyana Overnight Bag is made in Turkey using Italian pebbled leather, though it also comes in a more affordable recycled knit version. For longer trips, there’s a slightly longer weekender style that could fit several more outfits.
The Details: 19 x 13 x 5.5 inches
Best Bowler Bag
Dooney & bourke florentine bowler duffel.
Dooney & Bourke
This subtle statement bag showcases fine Italian leather via a unique, en-vogue bowling bag silhouette.
Per the conventions of the bowler style, there’s no shoulder strap — only top handles.
Notable for its semicircular shape and top handles, the classic early-2000s bowling bag has seen a resurgence in recent years — appearing across handbags, totes, and duffels. As the name suggests, the style first emerged among bowlers, as the bags were once used to carry bowling balls and related gear.
Norwalk, Connecticut-based leather brand Dooney & Bourke offers a standout bowler-style duffel bag in its new Florentine collection, featuring pieces made with aniline-finish Italian Vacchetta leather that’s untreated and tanned using natural plant tannins. Popular among leather enthusiasts, this type of extra-smooth leather is more susceptible to marks and scratches — but also takes on a pleasant, soft sheen over time when exposed to sunlight and normal wear and tear. The bag features an 8-inch drop top handle and four interior pockets including one that zips. It comes in natural tan, black, or chestnut.
The Details: 21.5 x 12 x 8 inches | 3.25 lbs
Best Convertible Garment Bag
Lucchese cosimo garment duffel.
This rugged men’s bag can easily store two suits.
It’s a large bag at 24 inches wide, and only comes in two colors.
If you’re traveling for business or a special occasion, chances are you’ll want to pack a traditional suit or other formal wear. Named after celebrity-loved boot brand Lucchese’s second generation Italian shoemaker, this two-in-one duffel and garment bag is handmade in Italian leather and available in navy or espresso.
Equipped with two hangers, it easily unfurls into a garment bag so you can store your nice clothes where they won’t get wrinkled, then rolls back up in seconds for easy transport. The garment component also comes with pockets for accessories. In the style of Lucchese, whose founders reportedly sailed from Palermo to Texas, where the brand was established, the bag’s overall design combines Italian craftsmanship with the classic ruggedness of cowboy-centric leather goods.
The Details: 24 x 14 x 12 inches
Best Vegan Leather
Beís the premium duffel.
What it lacks in genuine leather, this bag makes up for in style and functionality.
There are no inside pockets, and it only comes in black or beige.
While genuine leather will always be timeless, there’s never been a better time to shop quality, sustainable alternative leather products as well. Made with vegan leather derived from nopal cactus leaves, this signature duffel from actress-entrepreneur Shay Mitchell’s Béis is a stylish yet functional option for both everyday use and travel. Built with a soft-top zip closure and dual zipper pullers, it can be utilized as a duffel or as a laptop-friendly day bag. For travel use, there’s a trolley pass-through that allows you to secure the bag to a rolling suitcase. And for longer trips, Beís offers a larger weekender model with a bottom shoe compartment.
The Details: 17.3 x 12.4 x 7.3 inches | 2.3 pounds
Tips for Buying Leather Duffel Bags
Think about how you plan to use it.
When shopping for a leather duffel, the intended use will determine the size. For example, a daily commuter, office tote, or gym bag will be smaller than one that you’ll use for multi-day travel. Since the terms “weekender” and “duffel” are sometimes used interchangeably, you’ll want to take note of the bag’s exact size specifications when making your decision. And keep in mind airline sizing requirements for carry-ons as well, since you don’t necessarily want to check in a pricey bag made of top-shelf leather.
Additionally, consider what kind of built-in organization you might desire for your key items, including sleeves and slide pockets for laptops, documents, electronics, garments, and shoes. If you need a separate shoe compartment, be sure to find a bag that has one. If you plan to stow your laptop in a backpack and use a duffel primarily for clothes, opt for one that has more empty space in its main compartment.
Consider the durability of the materials
Always seek out sturdy handles and hardware that will stand up trip after trip. Also, remember that some leather finishes, like pebbled leather, are more durable and scratch-resistant. If you experience shoulder pain, consider a bag with a padded leather strap or one with wheels.
To ensure its longevity, treat your leather bag like you would a luxury handbag. That means cleaning it with a damp cloth as opposed to harsh chemicals, and as needed, applying a leather conditioner to prevent cracks. When not in use, store the duffel in a cool, dark place. Most bags will come with a cloth or flannel bag for storing — don’t use a plastic bag as it may trap moisture. As with any leather item, the bag should also be protected from direct sunlight, rain, and snow. If you anticipate inclement weather, consider spraying your bag with a weather-resistant leather protector spray. Tip: waterproofing sprays for leather boots can also be used on leather bags.
Another somewhat common complaint about duffel bags is that the zipper is not smooth or gets stuck, which can often happen if you frequently overpack the bag, thus stretching the material and putting strain on the zipper. Overpacking can also affect the seams and handles over time. Try to use your duffel for trips under a week — otherwise, opt for a larger bag or rolling suitcase instead.
Yes, your leather duffel is an ideal primary carry-on item. Most airlines permit one personal item, to be stowed underneath the seat in front of you, and one carry-on stored in the overhead bin. Dimensions for a carry-on can vary, but generally sit somewhere around 22 x 14 x 9 inches. Most of the bags on our list are small enough to fit these sizing requirements for overhead bins. Remember: you generally don’t want your beautiful leather to be scuffed or damaged on the tarmac with other larger, harder checked bags.
We may be biased, but we think leather bags are 100 percent worth their cost. Sure, they’re a bit pricier up front, but a fine leather duffel is a true investment. Not only is it a timeless travel companion that will last for years — it will also improve with age as it develops that well-worn patina. That said, if you buy a higher-end bag, it’s worth putting it in rotation with another duffel, perhaps one made of canvas, depending on the duration and intensity of your specific itineraries.
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
Dan Q. Dao is an editor and writer with a decade of experience covering culture and travel. In addition to Travel & Leisure , his bylines appear in the New York Times , Condé Nast Traveler , Washington Post, Food & Wine , Texas Monthly and more. For this story, he researched dozens of different leather duffel bags, weekenders, and hold-alls across various price ranges and styles. He also tapped into his own experience exploring the world — often with a single carry-on bag — to anticipate common needs and wants for travelers of all kinds.
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How To Emboss Leather? Master the Art of Leather Embossing
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Are you tired of seeing the same old leather goods everywhere you look? Do you crave something unique, something that truly expresses your individuality ? Well, you're not alone. Many of us are yearning for a way to make our mark in a world of mass-produced items. That's where the art of leather embossing comes in.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll take you on a journey through the fascinating world of leather embossing. You'll learn everything from the basics to the nitty-gritty details, including different techniques , how to choose the right tools , and even how to troubleshoot common issues.
But why should you care about leather embossing? Well, it's not just about creating beautiful designs. It's about expressing your creativity , telling your story, and making something truly unique . As the famous artist Pablo Picasso once said, "Every act of creation is first an act of destruction." In other words, to create something new, we must first break away from the old.
So, are you ready to break away from the ordinary and create something extraordinary? If so, then this guide is for you. Let's dive in and explore the art and craft of leather embossing.
- 1. Understanding Leather Embossing
- 2. What Are The Different Leather Embossing Techniques?
- 3. How To Prepare for Leather Embossing?
- 4. Step-by-Step Guide to Leather Embossing
- 5. How to Stain, Dye, and Finish Embossed Leather?
- 6. How to Troubleshoot Common Leather Embossing Issues?
- 7. Frequently Asked Questions?
I. Understanding Leather Embossing
If you've ever admired a beautifully embossed leather piece and wondered, " How did they do that? " then you're in the right place. Let's unravel this art together, shall we?
1. What is Leather Embossing?
Leather embossing, in its simplest form, is the process of creating raised designs on leather . It's like giving your leather a tattoo, but instead of ink, we're using pressure. This technique adds a whole new dimension to your leather pieces, transforming them from flat and plain to textured and intriguing .
But here's the thing: embossing is just one of the many techniques in the vast universe of leather crafting. It's different from carving, where you remove layers of leather to create a design, or stamping, where you imprint a design onto the leather using a metal stamp.
Embossing, on the other hand, involves pressing a design into damp leather to create a raised effect. It's a subtle difference, but it's what gives embossed leather its unique charm.
2. The Art and Science Behind Leather Embossing
Now, let's delve a little deeper into the art and science behind leather embossing.
The Artistic Aspect: Creativity and Design in Embossing
On the artistic side, embossing is all about creativity and design. It's where your imagination comes to life. You can emboss anything from intricate patterns to simple shapes , or even lettering.
The sky's the limit! And the best part? Each piece you create is unique, bearing the mark of your creativity. It's like signing your artwork , but instead of a signature, it's your design that makes each piece uniquely yours.
The Scientific Aspect: Understanding How Leather Reacts to Pressure and Moisture
On the flip side, there's a scientific aspect to embossing. It's all about understanding how leather reacts to pressure and moisture . When leather is damp, it becomes more pliable , allowing you to manipulate it into different shapes.
And when it dries, it retains these shapes , giving you a permanent design. It's a delicate balance of moisture and pressure, and getting it right is what makes embossing such a rewarding skill to master.
That's a quick rundown of what leather embossing is all about. It's a blend of art and science, creativity and technique. And the best part? With a bit of practice, anyone can do it.
📷 Credit: Weaver Leather Supply's Youtube Channel
II. What Are The Different Leather Embossing Techniques?
Alright, now that we've got the basics down, let's explore the different techniques in leather embossing. Just like there's more than one way to cook an egg, there's more than one way to emboss leather. Each technique has its own unique charm and is suited to different types of projects. So, let's dive in and discover which one might be your new favorite!
1. Wet Molding
First up, we have wet molding. This technique involves soaking the leather in water until it's thoroughly damp, then shaping it around a mold. As the leather dries, it takes on the shape of the mold , giving you a beautifully embossed design.
Wet molding is perfect for creating three-dimensional designs and is often used in making leather masks, armor, and other sculptural pieces. It's a bit like pottery, but with leather!
2. Dry Embossing
Next, let's talk about dry embossing. Unlike wet molding, dry embossing doesn't involve any water. Instead, you use a stylus or another pointed tool to press the design into the leather.
Dry embossing is great for adding subtle texture and detail to your leather pieces. It's a bit more understated than wet molding, but it can add a touch of elegance to your work. It's perfect for when you want to add a little something extra without going overboard .
3. Heat Embossing
Now, if you're feeling a bit adventurous, you might want to try heat embossing. This technique involves heating a metal stamp and pressing it into the leather to create a design. The heat causes the leather to darken, giving you a beautiful, burnished effect .
Heat embossing is a bit more advanced than the other techniques, but it's well worth the effort. It's perfect for creating bold, dramatic designs that really stand out. Just remember to handle the heated stamp with care to avoid any accidents!
4. Foil Embossing
Last but not least, we have foil embossing. This technique involves applying a thin layer of metallic foil to the leather , then embossing a design onto it. The result is a stunning, metallic design that adds a touch of glamour to any leather piece.
Foil embossing is perfect for when you want to add a bit of sparkle to your work. It's a bit like adding jewelry to your leather - a little bit goes a long way!
Four different techniques to add a touch of magic to your leather pieces. Whether you prefer the subtle elegance of dry embossing or the bold drama of heat embossing, there's a technique out there for you.
📷 Credit: Whit + Park's Youtube Channel
III. How To Prepare for Leather Embossing?
Now that we've explored the different techniques of leather embossing, let's get down to the nitty-gritty: preparation. As with any craft, preparation is key to achieving great results in leather embossing. This involves choosing the right leather and gathering the essential tools. So, let's get started!
1. Choosing the Right Leather for Embossing
First things first, let's talk about leather. Not all leathers are created equal , especially when it comes to embossing. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing leather:
Thickness : Generally, thicker leathers are better for embossing as they can hold the design well. However, they can be more challenging to work with, especially for beginners. A leather thickness of around 4-5 oz (1.6-2.0 mm) is a good starting point for embossing.
Type : Vegetable-tanned leather is the go-to choice for embossing. It's stiff and durable, which makes it perfect for holding embossed designs. Avoid leathers with a glossy or slippery finish as they may not hold the design well.
For beginners, I'd recommend starting with a medium-weight, vegetable-tanned leather . It's relatively easy to work with and holds embossed designs well.
2. Essential Tools for Leather Embossing
Next up, let's talk about tools. Here's a list of the essential tools you'll need for leather embossing:
Embossing Stylus or Tool : This is the tool you'll use to press your design into the leather. They come in various shapes and sizes, so choose one that suits your design.
Swivel Knife : This is used to cut the outline of your design into the leather, especially for more complex designs.
Mallet or Hammer : You'll need this to strike your embossing tool or stamp to imprint the design onto the leather.
Leather Stamps : These are optional but can be handy for adding texture and detail to your embossed designs.
Cutting Mat : This will protect your work surface when you're cutting and embossing the leather.
When choosing tools, quality matters. High-quality tools will not only give you better results but also last longer. So, consider it an investment in your craft.
IV. Step-by-Step Guide to Leather Embossing
Great! We've covered the basics, and now it's time to get hands-on. Here's a detailed, step-by-step guide to embossing leather. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a complete newbie, this section will help you navigate the process with ease.
1. Preparing the Leather
Before we start embossing, we need to prepare our leather. Here's how:
Clean the Leather : Start by cleaning the leather to remove any dirt or oils. You can use a damp cloth and a mild soap. Be sure to rinse off any soap residue and let the leather dry completely. This step is crucial because any dirt or oils on the leather can interfere with the embossing process, leading to less than perfect results.
Condition the Leather : Apply a leather conditioner to keep the leather supple and prevent it from drying out during the embossing process. Remember, a little goes a long way! Conditioning the leather not only makes it easier to work with but also enhances the final look of your embossed design.
Dampen the Leather : Dampen the leather with a sponge or a spray bottle. The leather should be damp but not soaking wet. This makes it more pliable and easier to emboss. The key here is to achieve a balance - too dry, and the leather won't hold your design; too wet, and you risk distorting the leather.
2. Designing and Tracing the Pattern
Next, we need to create and transfer our design onto the leather. Here's how:
Create Your Design : Sketch your design on a piece of paper. It can be as simple or as intricate as you like. Just remember, the more complex the design, the more challenging it will be to emboss. If you're a beginner, starting with a simple design can help you get the hang of the embossing process before moving on to more complex patterns.
Transfer the Design : Once you're happy with your design, transfer it onto the leather. You can do this by tracing the design onto tracing paper, then using a stylus to trace over the design and imprint it onto the leather. Be gentle but firm - you want to leave a clear impression without damaging the leather.
3. Embossing the Leather
Now, for the fun part: embossing the leather! Here's a step-by-step guide:
Start Embossing : Using your embossing tool or stylus, start tracing over the design. Apply steady pressure to create a deep, even impression. It's a good idea to start from the center of your design and work your way outwards. This helps to prevent the leather from stretching too much.
Add Details : If you're using leather stamps, now's the time to add any additional details or textures. Simply position the stamp over the leather, then strike it with a mallet or hammer. Be sure to strike the stamp squarely to ensure an even impression.
Let it Dry : Once you're done embossing, let the leather dry completely. As it dries, the embossed design will become permanent. Resist the temptation to speed up the drying process with a hairdryer or heater - letting it dry naturally will give the best results.
And, of course, safety first ! Always handle your tools with care to avoid any accidents. Keep your fingers away from the path of the mallet or hammer, and always cut away from yourself when using a swivel knife.
📷 Credit: The Leathercraft Academy's Youtube Channel
V. How to Stain, Dye, and Finish Embossed Leather?
Alright, we've embossed our leather, and it's looking pretty good, right? But we're not done yet! To really make your design pop and ensure it stands the test of time , we need to stain, dye, and finish our leather. This might seem like a lot of work, but trust me, it's worth it.
1. Staining Embossed Leather
Staining is a great way to add depth and character to your embossed leather. Here's how to do it:
Choose Your Stain : Leather stains come in a variety of colors, so choose one that complements your design. Remember, the stain will darken the leather, so choose a color that's a few shades lighter than your desired result.
Apply the Stain : Using a sponge or a soft cloth, apply the stain to the leather. Work in small sections, applying the stain in circular motions to ensure even coverage.
Wipe Off Excess Stain : After a few minutes, wipe off any excess stain with a clean cloth. This will prevent the stain from becoming too dark and allow the natural beauty of the leather to shine through.
Let it Dry : Allow the stain to dry completely before moving on to the next step. This usually takes a few hours, but it can vary depending on the type of stain and the conditions in your workspace.
2. Dyeing Embossed Leather
Dyeing is another way to add color to your embossed leather. Here's how:
Choose Your Dye : Leather dyes come in a wide range of colors, so you can get really creative here. Just like with the stain, choose a dye that's a few shades lighter than your desired result.
Apply the Dye : Using a sponge or a dauber, apply the dye to the leather. Work in small sections to ensure even coverage, and be sure to get the dye into all the nooks and crannies of your embossed design.
Let it Dry : Allow the dye to dry completely before moving on to the next step. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day, depending on the type of dye and the conditions in your workspace.
3. Finishing Embossed Leather
Last but not least, we need to finish our leather. Finishing not only protects your leather but also enhances the look of your embossed design. Here's how:
Choose Your Finish : Leather finishes come in a variety of types, including waxes, oils, and acrylic resins. Choose a finish that suits your project and the look you're going for.
Apply the Finish : Using a soft cloth, apply the finish to the leather. Be sure to cover the entire surface, including the edges.
Buff the Leather : Once the finish has dried, buff the leather with a clean cloth. This will give your leather a beautiful sheen and make your embossed design really stand out.
You've just stained, dyed, and finished your embossed leather. It might seem like a lot of work, but the results are well worth it. Your embossed design will not only look amazing but also last for years to come.
📷 Credit: Dark Horse Workshop's Youtube Channel
VI. How to Troubleshoot Common Leather Embossing Issues?
As with any craft, leather embossing comes with its own set of challenges. But don't worry, we've got you covered! Here's a few tips to troubleshooting some common leather embossing issues. Because hey, we all hit a few bumps along the road, right? The important thing is to keep going and learn from our mistakes.
1. Addressing Incomplete or Uneven Embossing
One common issue in leather embossing is incomplete or uneven designs. This can be caused by a variety of factors:
Insufficient Pressure : If you're not applying enough pressure, your design might not imprint fully onto the leather. The solution? Apply more pressure! But be careful not to overdo it, as too much pressure can damage the leather.
Uneven Surface : If you're working on an uneven surface, your design might not imprint evenly onto the leather. To fix this, make sure you're working on a flat, stable surface.
Incorrect Moisture Level : If the leather is too dry, it won't hold the design well. If it's too wet, the design might become distorted. The solution? Dampen the leather just enough to make it pliable, but not so much that it becomes soggy.
2. Dealing with Fading or Cracking in Embossed Designs
Over time, embossed designs may fade or crack . This is often due to environmental factors like exposure to sunlight or changes in humidity. Here's how to deal with these issues:
Regular Maintenance : Regularly cleaning and conditioning your leather can help prevent fading and cracking. Use a leather conditioner that's suitable for embossed leather, and apply it according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Avoid Direct Sunlight : Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause leather to fade and crack. To prevent this, keep your leather items out of direct sunlight as much as possible.
Repairing Damaged Designs : If your embossed design has already faded or cracked, you might be able to repair it. Depending on the extent of the damage, you might need to re-emboss the design, apply a leather dye, or use a leather repair kit.
Every problem is an opportunity to learn and grow. So, don't be discouraged by these challenges. Instead, see them as stepping stones on your journey to becoming a master leather embosser.
And there you have it, folks! A comprehensive guide to the art and craft of leather embossing. From the basics to the nitty-gritty details, we've covered it all.
Whether you're a seasoned pro or a complete newbie, we hope this guide has inspired you to roll up your sleeves and dive into the world of leather embossing.
Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So, take that step today and start creating something truly unique. Happy crafting!
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of leather are best for embossing.
Vegetable-tanned leather is the best for embossing due to its stiffness and durability. It holds embossed designs well and is easy to work with. However, it can be more expensive than other types of leather. Chrome-tanned leather can also be used, but it doesn't hold embossed designs as well.
How can I prevent my embossed designs from fading?
Regularly cleaning and conditioning your leather can help prevent fading. Also, avoid exposing your leather items to direct sunlight for prolonged periods, as this can cause the color to fade.
Can I emboss leather at home, and what equipment do I need?
Absolutely! You can set up a home embossing station with a few basic tools: an embossing stylus or tool, a swivel knife, a mallet or hammer, and a cutting mat. You'll also need a piece of leather and a design to emboss.
How long does it take to emboss leather?
The time it takes to emboss leather can vary depending on the complexity of the design and your level of experience. However, you can expect to spend a few hours on a simple design, including preparation, embossing, and finishing steps.
How do I choose a design for embossing?
Choose a design that you love and that fits the size and shape of your leather piece. Simple designs are easier to emboss and can be just as striking as more complex ones. You can sketch your own design or find one online.
Can I emboss already finished leather goods?
Embossing pre-made leather goods can be challenging, as they often have a finish that prevents the leather from absorbing moisture. However, you can try removing the finish with a leather deglazer before embossing.
How do I fix a mistake in my embossed design?
Mistakes happen! If you make a mistake in your embossed design, you can try to smooth it out with a leather slicker. If that doesn't work, you might be able to incorporate the mistake into your design or cover it with a leather dye or paint.
How can I add color to my embossed designs?
You can add color to your embossed designs with leather dyes or paints. Be sure to choose a product that's suitable for leather and follow the manufacturer's instructions for the best results.
What safety precautions should I take when embossing leather?
Always handle your tools with care to avoid accidents. Keep your fingers away from the path of the mallet or hammer, and always cut away from yourself when using a swivel knife. Also, work in a well-ventilated area when using leather dyes or finishes.
Can I make a career out of leather embossing?
Yes, you can! There are many professional opportunities in leather embossing, from crafting custom goods to teaching embossing classes. With passion and dedication, you can turn your love for leather embossing into a rewarding career.
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Baptiste is an adventurer with a passion for urban and wilderness exploration and adventure, and a lover of vintage objects with timeless charm. As a Founding member of the Eiken team, he tries to share his passion and expertise for travel and vintage fashion through his articles.
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