The Best Leather Journals

For those who prefer the craftsmanship, quality, and aesthetics of real leather in a journal

Updated 14 August 2019

If you're looking for a durable, sturdy and amazing looking leather-bound journal, look no further. I've carefully reviewed and selected the best leather journals for your specific needs. This article covers the best leather journals for whether you're traveling, or interested in vintage looks, or if you are like me and just want the most bang for your buck.

Continue reading below for my top picks: these are the best leather journals in their categories.

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What's the best leather journal overall?

I don't want to waste your time any longer, so without further ado: here are the best hand-picked leather journals that I've selected.

Overall Best Leather Journal

Bottom line

If you're looking for great looks and the best leather, this is your journal. This leather journal from Abundance Gifts is made of leather of the highest quality and is beautiful, durable and great value!

This journal - and all the memories and stories that it will contain - will definitely outlive you!

Runner-up

Bottom line

Looking for something bigger? This 8.5 by 12.6 inch is best for those who want more space to draw or write. As you'd expect, this Wanderings Grande Leather Journal is made of the best quality leather that's been carefully crafted for the highest durability.

The big blank (and refillable) pages are perfectly suited for those that like to draw when journaling!

Best Budget Pick

Bottom line

Want that high-quality leather feel at a low price? Then this Moleskine journal covered in an Oleksyn Prannyk Leather jacket is what you need!

Despite the budget price, this journal comes with all the pro's that you'd expect from an authentic leather journal.

What's the best leather journal for your specific purpose?

In addition to the general use of journaling, you might be looking for a specific type of journal. Maybe you're interested in that wow-factor? Or you just want to carry your leather journal with you at all times? I've summarized my top picks for these specific uses below for your convenience.

Best Vintage Leather Journal

Bottom line

This journal is a piece of art. It's the most beautifully crafted leather journal on this list, and will easily put a smile on your face.

This Moonster journal is made of top quality leather and handmade leather bindings. It comes in different sizes and a unique type of environment-friendly paper.

Best Leather Journal For Travelers

Bottom line

If you're looking for a leather journal to take with you while traveling, this Sovereign-Great Leather Journal is yours.

It comes with a load of convenient extras, meaning you'll be able to keep journaling without interruption while traveling to the most remote areas of the planet.

Best Leather Pocket Journal

Bottom line

This Newester journal is the ultimate leather pocket journal. It is extremely durable and made of top-quality leather, something that's hard to find with these types of journals.

It comes with little features, which is a good thing for this size: simplicity is key!

Best Overall: Abundance Gifts Refillable Leather Journal

Let's face it: you're looking for a leather journal because you are looking for character and durability.

Then this leather journal could easily be your next journal. It is one of the sturdiest and well-crafted journals on the market and uses full-grain leather of the highest quality.

Specifications

Size (inch)6.0 x 8.5
Size (cm)15.2 x 21.6
Number of pages120
Refillable?Yes
Paper typeLined, no headers
Paper finishSmooth
Leather typeFull grain
Paper bleeding?Very little

In addition to the fact that this journal looks and feels amazing, it has some great features that you should know about.

First off, the build quality is top-notch. Everything from the stitching to the paper breathes quality.

The journal comes with a leather wrapping that covers the top side, which adds extra protection to the paper. Not only that, but it also adds character to this journal. There's nothing like wrapping up your finished entry after a nice writing or drawing session.

And it gets better.

The paper in this journal is of great quality, which means there's minimal shadowing and bleed-through when using fountain pens. With that said, big markers do show a bit of bleed-through, but good luck finding a journal that doesn't have this issue. The book contains 120 pages of lined paper, which you can refill as soon as you've filled it up. With this kind of leather quality, that means this journal - and your amazing memories and stories - will live on for a LONG time.

It's safe to say that this journal will probably outlive you! 😉

Pro's:

  • Excellent build quality
  • Beautiful design
  • Full-grain leather of the highest quality
  • Refillable
  • Leather wrap for that extra security and quality

Con's

  • No inner pockets or pen holder

Runner-up: The Wanderings Grande Leather Journal

Are you a creative artist in the making? Do you hate being contained by lined paper or a lack of space? Then look no further, because this journal might be all you need.

Specifications

Size (inch)7.5 x 11.3
Size (cm)19.1 x 28.6
Number of pages90
Refillable?Yes
Paper typeBlank
Paper finishSmooth
Leather typeFull grain
Paper bleeding?Very little

The thing I like most about this journal is its size.

Its pages are spacious and blank, and allow you to express every thought that enters your mind. Feel like drawing? Go ahead, there's plenty of room! You can go absolutely bananas with this journal! 😉

But in all seriousness, this journal has more than just the size going for it.

The 90 pages that are included when shipped are also refillable, so this journal will last a very long time when properly taken care of. The journal is made of full-grain leather, which is the highest quality you'll find (more on this at the bottom of this article). Everything about this journal screams quality, from the touch to the smell and from the looks to the paper.

This journal packs some serious personality. And even though it's the highest priced journal in this article, I still think it's cheap when considering the total package and build quality of this thing!

Pro's:

  • Big blank pages act as a perfect creative outlet
  • Still easily fits your bags or luggage
  • Full-grain leather of the highest quality
  • Refillable
  • Leather strip to protect your paper
  • Elastic closure doubles as a pen holder

Con's

  • No inner pockets

Best Budget Pick: OleksynPrannyk Leather Covered Moleskine Journal

You have probably heard of the famous Italian Moleskine journals. These journals are known for their simplicity and quality.

Oleksyn Prannyk has taken these journals and improved them with a great leather jacket. And it comes at a relatively low price! Therefore, I've selected it as the best budget leather journal.

Specifications

Size (inch)5.0 x 8.3
Size (cm)12.7 x 21.0
Number of pages80
Refillable?Yes
Paper typeLined, no headers
Paper finishSmooth
Leather typeTop-grain
Paper bleeding?Very little

It's hard to find a "budget" journal made of quality leather, as the market is flooded with faux (or imitation) leather journals.

This leather-covered Moleskine journal by Oleksyn Prannyk showed the best price and value, in addition to other great features.

This bundle comes with a Moleskine Cahier notebook, that is so often claimed as the most simple, yet elegant journal out there. These journals are great for capturing your personal thoughts, memories, stories, and experiences.

It comes with 80 pages of lined paper and the journals are easily replaceable once they're filled!

The leather cover that Oleksyn Prannyk has made fits this Moleskine journal perfectly. It looks, feels and smells amazing. The top-grain leather is of very high quality, even though it is not full-grain (the highest quality). But then again, I wish you the best of luck with finding a similar type of leather at this price point!

Also, the leather flap contains a wide pocket for your pens or loose notes.

Pro's:

  • Very nicely priced!
  • Great quality leather (especially for its price)
  • Moleskine journals are proven bad-asses
  • Refillable
  • Leather flap contains pocket

Con's

  • No full-grain leather

Best Vintage Style: Moonster Handmade Leather Journal

If you're like me and think that journaling is a form of art in itself, then you obviously care about how your journal looks. That's why I included the best "vintage" looking leather journal in this contest.

Even though this comes down to personal taste, I think this leather journal has the most authentic look of the bunch. No matter what you do with it, this journal is already a work of art!

Specifications

Size (inch)5.0 x 7.0 or
6.0 x 8.0
Size (cm)12.7 x 17.8 or
15.2 x 20.3
Number of pages120
Refillable?No
Paper typeBlank
Paper finishSmooth
Leather typeFull grain
Paper bleeding?Very little

This leather journal is the most authentic on this list, and it's probably easy to see why.

The leather straps and bindings all add to that vintage feel of this journal. In addition, this full-grain buffalo leather is handcrafted and built with extreme care. What this means is that your journal is already unique when it gets shipped.

It comes with 120 pages of blank, cream colored paper. The best thing about this paper is that it's handcrafted and recycled. The materials are selected with the end user (that's you!) in mind, meaning that it does not contain any traces of acid and is environmentally clean.

And it shows in the product. The paper is not like any other paper that you'd find in a journal. It's thick durable paper with an almost cloth-like texture. As a result, writing on this paper feels more sincere and authentic, which only adds to the feeling of creating a piece of art rather than just a journal.

The paper is not refillable according to the producer (but some people have done it with some creativity and patience) which means you'll eventually finish this journal to the brim. Once that happens, you'll have a beautiful piece of vintage art that will decorate your bookshelf for the rest of your life. 😉

Pro's:

  • Beautiful vintage design
  • Full-grain leather of the highest quality
  • Very well crafted and handmade
  • Comes in multiple sizes
  • Optional concealed pen holder
  • Environment-friendly paper with a unique feel

Con's

  • Non-refillable
  • Some people might need to get used to the texture of the paper

Best For Traveling: Sovereign-Gear Leather Travel Journal

Travel journaling is about capturing memories. Therefore, the focus on a travel journal should be convenience, as you want to take your journal with you at all times. You probably want to journal about something as soon as it's over, or maybe even as it's happening!

This Sovereign-Gear Leather Travel Journal is as convenient as a journal gets. It comes with a lot of additional handy features, which makes it a perfect addition for your travel packing list!

Specifications

Size (inch)4.5 x 8.5
Size (cm)11.4 x 21.6
Number of pages3 x 30
Refillable?No
Paper typeVarying
Paper finishSmooth
Leather typeFull grain
Paper bleeding?Very little

As said, this leather journal comes with a lot of useful features.

The paper is refillable, and it comes with 3 packs of premium quality paper right out of the box. So whenever you're filled up but still want to continue without having to visit a store, you can easily refill the journal with your pre-packed resupplies.

It also comes with a detachable metal clip with a pen holder, along with a cardholder and zipper bag. This allows you to easily carry maps, polaroid pictures or coins in your journal as well. It is by far the most convenient travel journal that I could find.

The leather is of high quality full-grain crazy horse leather, which is thick, soft and cut from one piece. It is therefore not stitched, which should only benefit its strength and durability. Yet another reason why this leather journal is great for you travelers!

The 3 packs of paper are lined, squared and blank, and each count 30 pages.

As a final selling point, this journal is shipped with a stylish faux leather pen.

Pro's:

  • Perfect for travelers
  • Durable and convenient
  • Full-grain leather of the highest quality
  • Comes with a lot of useful extras
  • Refillable

Con's

  • Leather might feel oily

Best Pocket Journal: Newestor Pocket Leather Journal

When you want to take your journal with you everywhere you go, you probably need a journal that fits your pocket.

This Newestor Leather Pocket Journal keeps all the advantages of a good leather journal, but packs it in a small enough size that fits your pocket! It's hard to find quality leather journals at this size, but this one ticks all the boxes!

Specifications

Size (inch)4.2 x 5.8
Size (cm)10.7 x 14.7
Number of pages32
Refillable?Yes
Paper typeDot grid
Paper finishSmooth
Leather typeFull grain
Paper bleeding?Very little

Don't be fooled by the size of this little journal, as the specifications are just as impressive as its bigger brothers.

It's made of the same high quality, full-grain leather that you've come to expect. This means that this bundle is very durable, and has a great look, touch, and authentic leather smell. This pocket journal can definitely take a beating.

Which is good, because a pocket is generally not the most comfortable and safe location for a journal.

The leather is also made from a single piece, meaning there are no stitches or anything.

The producer of this journal has kept it simple in regards to the features. And in this case, simple is good! Pocket journals need to be durable and easy to use, and this bad-boy is certainly that!

It comes with a 32-page insertable notebook with dot grid paper, which is easily replaceable.

Pro's:

  • Fits your pocket!
  • Very durable
  • Full-grain leather of the highest quality
  • Refillable

Con's

  • None (simple is good)!

What to look for when buying a leather journal

You know what's nice about leather journals?

It's that no two leather journals are the same. A leather journal is yours and yours only, since every marking, scratch and rough edge only gives it extra character. Journaling in a book that is clearly built with care and quality really adds to the experience.

As a result, you'll get to create a piece of art that will last you the rest of your life (and then some!).

If you're still wondering what leather journal is best for you, then let me explain what to look for during your search.

What kind of journal style do you have?

There's a lot of different ways to journal. Some people like to:

  • write walls of text about how their day went (I belong to this demographic)
  • draw or doodle their feelings or emotions
  • write stories, poetry or fiction
  • create to-do lists or calendars
  • bullet-journal
  • follow certain journal prompts

best leather journals for different styles

Hey, some people might even like to do all of this in separate journals.

Depending on your writing style, you need to think about what type of paper you want. If you like to doodle or sketch, then you'll likely want a journal with blank or dotted pages. If you write walls of text, then having lined paper obviously helps.

If you want to multiple styles in the same journal, you need one that is refillable with different types of paper.

Where are you planning to journal?

When I first started journaling, it was simply unthinkable to journal out in the open.

Therefore, my journal was always safely stored away (I hid it under my bed 99% of the time).

If you are looking for a journal, then you need to think about where you're going to take it. Are you planning on bringing it on your travels? Maybe you'll take it with you on a plane, or out on the ocean? Do you carry it around all the time, or can you safely store it away in your bookshelf?

You need quality leather if you're planning on using it a lot. Especially if you take it outside and carry it in a bag all the time.

journaling outside considerations

Types of leather

Leather journals are easily the most beautiful and premium-looking journals out there. I don't think many of you will disagree with me here.

However, it's important to know what types of leather are out there. Especially since the market is flooded with journals that claim to be "genuine" leather, but only turn out to fake when you receive them in the mail. Look out for cheap "leather" journals that are priced below $15,-. It's very likely that you won't get an authentic leather journal when paying this kind of amount.

In short, these are the types of leather that you often see in journals:

  • Full-grain or top-grain leather
  • Reconstituted, Bonded or Fibre Leather

Full-grain or top-grain leather

These type of leathers are the highest quality that you can find. They're the most durable and strongest of all kinds of leather because they retain the layer of skin which is found just below the hair, giving it breathability and resistance to wear.

Full-grain leather has not undergone any post-treatment, meaning that it's the most authentic and true leather out there. It's made of the upper layer of a hide and shows all the features that were originally part of the skin. This truly means that no two pieces will be the same. This is why full-grain leather is considered to be the best.

Top-grain is the second best type of layer. Top-grain leather is made of the same piece of the hide as full-grain leather but has undergone some degree of post-treatment - likely sanding or buffing - in order to cover imperfections. They are often cheaper and easier to handle compared to their full-grain counterparts.

tanning leather for the best leather journals

Reconstituted, Bonded, Faux or Fibre Leather

No matter how you put it, these types of leather are all simply artificial. This means that they might contain traces of leather, but have all been processed and mixed with several other fabrics in order to "fake" the real feel of leather.

Some of these types use the leftover pieces of leather and are then mixed with either polyurethane, cotton, vinyl or other synthetics and pasted onto a level surface.

Some producers go as far as to include 51% of the material with leather scraps and then decide to call it "genuine leather".

Of course, these products are a lot less expensive, which might be great for those who don't necessarily care about the quality and durability of real leather. But in general, these type of materials only emulate the look of leather and tend to degrade a lot quicker than their counterparts.

I've carefully selected journals that are made of the best quality leather in this article. You may find similar journals online that are cheaper, but it is very likely that these products won't be made of 100% genuine leather.

Please note that leather journals could still have a layer of excess oil on them. Leathers are generally finished (or tanned) with an oil-based substance, in order to increase its water resistance. That's why some leather products might feel oily when purchased new. This will gradually wear off over time. In the meantime, be wary of your leather journal when contacted with other fabrics, as this oily surface might leave a mark on your backpack or pockets!

How to take good care of your leather journal

If you have just bought a great leather journal, then you are probably interested in keeping it in good quality for as long as possible. That's why I've collected some tips on how to take good care of your new leather journal.

But first, let me be clear: leather is a VERY sturdy and durable product, and can sure handle more stresses than most other materials. If you are careful with your journal and treat it delicately, you will certainly enjoy your leather journal for many years.

That said, here are some of my tips for taking care of your leather journal.

The first thing that's important to know when taking care of a leather journal (or anything that's leather for that matter):

Treat leather like it's your own skin.

Leather is made of animal hide, so it's a biological product. This means that it will slowly degrade when it comes in contact with certain materials or situations.

  1. Keep it out of direct sunlight for prolonged durations
  2. Don't place it near a heat source (like a furnace)
  3. Keep it away from (excess) water
  4. Chemicals (especially cleaning soaps or acids) don't do well on leather

These type of materials all have a negative effect on leather. Being a biological product, leather contains a level of moisture by default. If this moisture is removed (by means of heating or sunlight) then the leather WILL deform. This could result in the leather becoming brittle or even starting to crack.

cracked leather best journals
Cracks in a piece of leather

Washing the leather with water is okay, as long as you don't sink the leather completely for a prolonged time. Leather will slowly absorb water, which means that the volume and shape of the leather will also change. When this water then vaporizes, you will be left with a deformed piece of leather.

This is also why most leathers are finished with an oil treatment, in order to increase its resistance against water.

It's best to clean your leather journal with a damp piece of cloth if you ever need to.

What about scratches?

In my honest opinion, scratches only add to the character and personality of your leather journal.

Think of them as scars. 😉

Either way, you will likely be able to rub most scratches off if you want to.

About the Author

Hey there! I'm glad you're reading this guide to buying the best leather-bound journals. I hope you found the information you were looking for.

That guy in the picture? That's me!

I've been journaling for 5 years by now, and have filled quite a number of journals to the brim. Leather journals have always caused a certain spark in me. I mean, what beats an authentic, bulky and smelly book filled with your personal stories?

For me, not a lot.

I am a journaling enthusiast that wants to inspire others to embark on this journey as well. Journaling and happiness are correlated, and I want you to see this as well! That's why I started Tracking Happiness and the Happy Blog.

Hugo Tracking Happiness Snapshot

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