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Leather vs Canvas Backpack

leather vs canvas backpack

Choosing the right backpack is crucial for comfort and durability.

In the debate of the 'leather vs canvas backpack,' we'll dive into the key differences and similarities between these materials.

Leather offers unmatched durability and a classic look that ages beautifully, while canvas provides a lightweight and casual aesthetic. Additionally, leather typically outlasts traditional, untreated canvas, providing a better return on investment. 

At Andar, we specialize in handcrafted specialized canvas and full grain leather bags, setting the gold standard for quality and craftsmanship. 

This article will compare leather vs. canvas and explain how, in our expert opinion, leather and canvas can often be the perfect material blends for anyone looking for longevity, style, and value in a modern leather backpack.

Canvas vs. Leather Backpacks: A Comparison

Table: Comparison Between Leather And Canvas




Water Resistance

  • Natural and superior resistance
  • Requires treatment for resistance


  • Needs customized cleaning agents
  • Often machine washable


  • Requires a leather conditioner and leather cream
  • Requires water and minimal soap


  • High durability and ages well
  • Develops unique patina over time
  • Works well as material for bag interior


  • Classic
  • Sophisticated
  • Casual
  • Versatile

Everyday Usability

  • Structured and sturdy design
  • Stores electronics easily
  • Lighter material
  • Easier to compress and expand
  • Stores electronics easily

Cost Analysis

  • Higher initial cost (up to $400)
  • Longer lifespan
  • More affordable initially (up to $200)
  • May need replacement in the short term

Environmental Footprint

  • Full-grain leather is biodegradable
  • Low

Water Resistance

Our investigation demonstrated that leather and canvas typically provide superior water resistance when blended together in a single product or two.

For instance, The Dakota is crafted solely from canvas that’s been oil-waxed. 

We’ve crafted this Andar backpack in such a way as to: 

  • maintain the life and color of the premium, full-grain leather accents on the bag
  • provide ample water resistance protection for the entire product

Moreover, with The Manhattan, you also get the best of both worlds with impeccable water resistance from the leather on the outside and our specialized, oil-waxed canvas lining on the inside.


canvas vs leather backpack


Canvas backpacks like The Dakota can often be machine washed or cleaned using plain water and soap, then wiped down with a soft, microfiber cloth. 

In contrast, leather generally requires unique cleaning solutions, like our leather cream and conditioner, which can be found in our Andar leather care kit.

You can use plain water and our Andar cleaner for minor stains where the leather itself doesn't need to be specially treated with specialized products.


Leather backpacks demand regular leather care and maintenance to prevent drying and cracking, involving conditioning and careful storage.

While canvas can be less demanding in contrast, needing only occasional cleaning to remain in good condition, it can wear and tear more easily than leather with time.


Leather typically outlasts traditional canvas, aging gracefully and developing a distinct patina over time, while untreated canvas can get damaged quickly with excessive use.

That’s why we use oil-waxed canvas at Andar for added resilience to ensure that our backpacks remain your trusted companion for many years to come.


Leather backpacks like The Addison exude a classic, sophisticated style that matures in the long run. It's also suitable for both professional and casual settings, making it the best womens leather backpack.

Canvas, on the other hand, offers a more laid-back, versatile carrying option that fits well with casual, outdoor, or artistic environments.

Everyday Usability

For daily use, canvas backpacks are typically lighter and more adaptable to various contents, making them an excellent choice for students or commuters.

Take The Dakota, for instance. It has a customized tech pocket in its interior and convenient top-handles made of full-grain leather, helping you easily carry a laptop or other digital devices that are 10” or smaller. 

Conversely, our findings show that leather is more structured and offers better protection for electronics, making it ideal for professionals and people who travel frequently.

canvas vs leather messenger bag

Cost Analysis

Initially, leather backpacks may have a higher price point due to the quality and longevity of the material, ranging from $40-$400.

Canvas backpacks are more affordable (between $15-$200) but may require more frequent replacements over time.

Our research indicates that both materials offer significant value for their price based on different needs and preferences.

Environmental Footprint

Unlike traditional leather production involving tanning processes that can be harmful to the environment, we utilize full-grain leather at Andar in our backpacks like The Addison, which is 100% biodegradable

Canvas, often made from natural fibers, also has a smaller initial environmental footprint, which is beneficial for added durability in backpacks like The Dakota and The Manhattan.

Based on our first-hand experience, leather and canvas both offer superior durability, and trendiness, which can enhance a modern backpack’s aesthetic appeal.

Canvas vs. Leather Backpack FAQs

Can Canvas Backpacks Be Used For Hiking?

Canvas backpacks can be used for hiking due to their durability and ability to handle rough terrain.  

Our team discovered through using this product that The Dakota comes equipped with zippered pockets on the front and the back. This gives you immediate access to your hiking essentials so you don’t miss a beat. 

You can even make use of The Addison and its miniature version for easy to moderate hikes in urban settings.

Is Leather Suitable For Professional Settings?

Leather backpacks like The Manhattan are excellent for professional settings.

As per our expertise, it's the best mens leather backpack, offering a sophisticated and elegant appearance that complements a professional's attire well.

Leather's durability and quality also mean that your bag will maintain its stylish appearance for years, making it a wise investment for career-oriented individuals.

At Andar, we believe in providing products that cater to a wide range of needs as well as personal and professional scenarios.

leather vs canvas messenger bag

How Do Different Weather Conditions Affect These Materials?

Leather backpacks tend to be more water-resistant than canvas, making them suitable for light rain or splashes but not heavy downpours unless specially treated.

Canvas, if untreated, easily absorbs water but dries quickly and can be treated for better resistance. However, it's more prone to wear and tear than leather if used as a bag exterior, which can be problematic when coupled with excessive water absorption.

If you and your Andar backpack ever get caught out in the rain, we recommend carrying our leather care kit with you. This will give it added protection as soon as it dries to stop it from cracking and warping.

With The Dakota, you don’t have to worry about it getting damaged in rainy and dry weather due to its oil-waxed exterior, giving it added protection from the elements. 

How Can The Lifespan Of Canvas And Leather Backpacks Be Extended?

For leather, regular usage of our leather cream and conditioner as well as storing it away from direct sunlight are vital to prevent drying and cracking.

For canvas backpacks, here are a few things you can do to ensure they last longer:

  • don't fill it excessively with items as this can cause quicker wear and tear
  • avoid prolonged exposure to wet conditions
  • do periodic cleaning to remove dirt and grit

Overall, both materials benefit from gentle cleaning and proper storage.

Which Backpack Is Best For Traveling?

A leather backpack like The Manhattan and The Dakota offer durability and stylish looks that are suitable for business or upscale travel.

After putting it to the test, we discovered that they’re our top picks for the best leather backpack for travel, providing versatile organization and zippered protection for carrying clothing and a laptop in style.

At Andar, we value the unique qualities of both canvas and leather in our backpacks, understanding that each offers different benefits suited to various needs.

canvas vs leather bag


In our journey exploring the 'leather vs canvas backpack' debate, we’ve highlighted the benefits and functionality of a canvas and full grain leather bag and backpack and why they both work well in different scenarios

If you're seeking an aesthetic which stands the test of time, dive into our collection at Andar now. Together, we can walk the path of timeless elegance without compromising on your carrying experience.

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