How to Make the Best Leather Messenger Bag
An in-depth look at our luxury quality messenger bags.
At the risk of disappointing our grandmothers and being entirely immodest, we’re going to go out on a limb here and say that our Jones series messenger bags are among the best leather messenger bags you can get today.
Not just Good. Not even Great. But the capital-b Best.
We know that’s a big claim, but let’s be honest here: We’re really proud of our bags because of the work we put into them. So in this short guide, we’re going to give you a look “under the hood” of our Jones series bags in the hopes that you’ll end up loving them just as much as we do.
How Much Should A Leather Messenger Bag Cost?
First, let’s address the elephant in the room here. A quick online search will return leather messenger bags at a huge range of prices. And as with just about everything, you really will get what you pay for — i.e., there are no shortcuts when it comes to making the best messenger bag around.
Here’s why. The overall cost of a leather bag comes down to two things: The quality of the materials, and who is making it. In short, the reason you can find leather messenger bags for $50 to $80 now is a combination of low quality leather and questionable manufacturing consistency.
That’s fine if you’re looking for a bag and don’t care about how long it will last — but if you want a leather messenger bag that you can use and abuse and have it look nice at the end of 10 years, it’s going to cost $400 or more. Let’s take a closer look at why that is, through the lens of our Jones messenger bags.
Leather for clothes and accessories comes in four grades: Full grain, top grain, genuine, and suede leather. And while it’s a common point of confusion, “genuine” leather isn’t what you should be looking for; only full grain and top grain will give you the quality, durability, and supple feel that you’re looking for in a heritage bag.
Our Jones bags use a combination full grain and top grain leather style, buffing away just a fraction of the surface of full grain to remove any imperfections and give an even softer feel. That’s treated with a pull up leather finish, further emphasizing the softness and suppleness and locking in the natural oxblood color.
The First Scratch
Because we don’t use any synthetic materials, dyes, or finishes on our leather, it will develop an absolutely gorgeous patina as you continue to use it.
But that comes with a tradeoff too: When you first get your Jones bag, its color will be almost perfectly uniform. As it goes through the rigors of your everyday life though, that natural leather is supposed to take on scratches and scuffs. It will develop into a unique expression of your carrying habits, all while remaining as durable as the day it was made.
That first scratch is a really tough thing, though, so we’d like to take a minute to talk about it. Even though our Jones series bags are luxury quality, they’re not meant to be babied — you should use and abuse them as much as you need, knowing that each scratch and scuff will give more character to your bag.
And if you’re really worried about what those first scratches will look like, you can always break the seal and christen your bag like a newly-appointed ship by scratching it on purpose.
Craftsmanship and Design
Where other manufacturers have sent most of their bag construction overseas, we’re proud to continue making ours right here in the United States. That’s about more than just pride in the place we live: It’s also the surest way to guarantee that every single detail of our Jones bags is finely tuned and perfectly placed.
In practice that looks like reinforced stitching, antique brass hardware, and precisely cut and fit straps with leather padding. We finish all of that off with a khaki canvas interior, whose contrasting color makes it easy to find whatever you have stored in your bag.
Size and Weight
Last but not least: We’ve put a lot of thought into the size and weight of our Jones bags, and want them to be both the most durable and the most comfortable bags you’ve ever carried.
It’s up to you to choose the 13 or 15 inch laptop-compatible size, depending on what size of devices you need to carry. But either way, our choice of leather and streamlined design keeps weight to a minimum: A little over two pounds for the Jones 13, and a little under 4 pounds for the Jones 15.
That’s a big point of differentiation between our bags and other luxury leather messenger bags: They’re still light enough to carry around, as opposed to bags that are almost bombproof but might weigh in at 6, 7, even 8 pounds. That’s just a whole lot of bag, and more than we’d like to be carrying; so the lightweight Jones bags are a Goldilocks perfect fit, as far as we’re concerned.
Thank you for letting us brag on our bags for a little while. That just about covers the ins and outs of how we design and build these bags, so if you’d like to take another peek at how they look, go ahead and pop over to our YouTube channel to see them in action!