Are Leather Backpacks Waterproof?

Are Leather Backpacks Waterproof

Leather backpacks have many benefits, including their comfort, elegant look and durability (you can read about the advantages of leather bags here). But are leather backpacks waterproof? Whether they are or not will depend on the type of finish the leather received.

In general, high-quality leather such as top-grain leather and full-grain leather backpacks will be water-resistant to some extent due to its high-quality nature. However, lower quality genuine leather and faux or bonded leathers must have some sort of treatments to make these bags waterproof and not break down entirely upon receiving higher quantity of water.

There is a difference, however, between being waterproof and resistant to water, and while high-quality leather can never be fully waterproof, there are treatments that you can apply to enhance its water-resistance without compromising the integrity of your leather backpack. We talk about whether or not leather is waterproof here, but if you don’t feel like reading another article, the one below will cover the basics and you will be good to go.

[Good Read: How to Identify Good Quality Leather Bag]

Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant

Waterproof leather backpacks are impenetrable to water. Because leather is not inherently waterproof, leather backpacks will typically have a treatment on their surface that will repel water, preventing the bag from being soaked through when it gets wet. This will prevent damage to the backpack, but it will change the finish of the bag because it is essentially a plastic-like coating on the outside of the bag.

While leather is not naturally waterproof, it is naturally water-resistant. When your leather backpack is water-resistant, that means the surface of the backpack will repel water, but only to a certain threshold. If the bag becomes too wet, it will soak through the entire surface. If this happens, the integrity of your bag may be altered, so you will want to make sure to condition it after the leather backpack dries. Leather may become stiff after it gets wet when not properly cared for, and that can lead to cracks or tears over time.

How to Treat Leather Backpacks

You can treat your leather backpack to enhance its water resistance. While it will never make your backpack fully waterproof, it will improve its resistance to water and prevent damage to your bag. Two of the most common methods are to apply a wax coat and to condition your leather.

Leather Wax

There are wax treatments created specifically for leather to help improve its resistance to water. This will help the water to pool off the surface by making it less porous. The fewer spaces the water has to fill, the more it will wipe right off the surface.

To treat your leather backpack, simply apply the leather wax in small circular motions until the entire surface is covered. Let the leather backpack dry for between 30 to 60 minutes. Do not use a hairdryer or throw the bag in the dryer as this could cause the leather to warp.

Buff off any excess, and your leather backpack is ready to use.

[Good Read: How Long Does it Take for Leather to Dry]

Leather Conditioner

A leather conditioner can not only prolong the life of your backpack by keeping the material pliable and supple to prevent cracking, but it can also add an additional level of water resistance to the surface of the backpack.

Unlike wax, you’ll want to apply the conditioner when your leather backpack is slightly wet to help the conditioner penetrate into the bag’s surface. Apply in small circular motions using a soft rag or your fingers and buff off the excess.

Your bag will feel brand new after you condition it, so make sure to condition it a few times a year to help prolong the leather backpack’s lifespan.

We have an amazing leather care balsam if you want to to have two-in-one type of leather cream. However, if you are looking for a kit that includes everything necessary to take care of leather, including a water-stop spray to make it more resistant to water, then our leather care product complete set will be a better choice.


So there you have your answer to “are leather backpacks waterproof?”. They are not all in by themselves, however, with a little knowledge and a tiny bit of effort, your high-quality leather backpack will last you for ages, whether or not it rains a lot where you live.

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