Want more cold-weather fashion, shopper-approved buys and the hottest trends? Sign up for Yahoo Lifestyle Canada’s newsletter!

I put Matt & Nat's vegan leather backpack to the test. Image via Instagram/MattandNat.
I put Matt & Nat’s vegan leather backpack to the test. Image via Instagram/MattandNat.

Yahoo Lifestyle Canada is committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. We may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

On any given day while I was heading to and from the office, not a day went by where I wouldn’t see one of Matt & Nat’s signature vegan bags and backpacks on the street. For years I’d come across at least a dozen stylish women sporting one of their chic and practical styles while I made my way along public transit, leaving me to wonder if I was missing out on something.

Fast forward to today, and I’m no longer riding the subway daily, but Matt & Nat’s iconic backpack still stands out in my mind as one of the best options for an eventual return to life on the go. That’s why, when I got the chance to test one of their bags, I knew I had to finally try one out for myself.

Brave Backpack. Image via Matt & Nat.
Brave Backpack. Image via Matt & Nat.

SHOP IT: Matt & Nat, $160

The details

The Brave Backpack is one of Matt & Nat’s most iconic styles, and is made from their signature vegan leather material. It’s available in a range of colours and finishes, and features silver hardware detailing throughout.

Click here to sign up for Yahoo Canada's lifestyle newsletter.
Click here to sign up for Yahoo Canada’s lifestyle newsletter.

With a convenient flat-bottomed design, the backpack is able to stand upright on its own which allows for easy access into its largest compartment. It also features two side pockets to stash your water bottle or umbrella, and a small front zippered pocket for easy access to your phone, keys, or other everyday essentials.

First impressions

This being my first-ever item from Matt & Nat, I was most impressed by the look and feel of their signature vegan leather. Unlike other brands that I’ve tried in the past, there’s no artificial or plastic-y smell to deal with, which is a major plus if like me, you’re sensitive to strong scents. I was also a huge fan of the nylon interior that’s made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles, a fact that’s featured on a neatly-printed reminder on the inside of the bag.

ALSO SEE: We put the ‘crazy-soft’ CloudKnit sweatpants from Outdoor Voices to the test — Here’s what we really thought

My partner considers himself a bit of a bag snob, making purchases only after reading reviews and performing a thorough inspection of the tiny details in construction. Safe to say, even he was impressed with the Brave Backpack, bringing up some important points that I never would have considered on my own.

Take for example the straps: Normally I would judge them based on the amount of padding or the width of the strap, both good indicators of comfort. With this backpack, I was instructed to pay closer attention to the seams, which in this case are reinforced with metal rivets at the shoulders to avoid tearing with regular use. Extra stitching also helps to keep the straps and handles securely in place, but only time will tell how they truly hold up.

Since I’m not currently commuting daily (which is how I would use this backpack most often in “real life”), it’s definitely not getting as much use as I’d like. It has been a great addition to my grocery shopping trips though, since I don’t have to worry about handbag straps slipping while I carry my haul home.

The verdict

Although I’m spending most of my time at home these days, I’m definitely a fan of the Brave Backpack for days when I need to go hands-free while running errands. Its roomy interior even fits my Macbook Pro, so I know that when the time comes to head back to the office, I’ll be reaching for this bag more than ever.

At $160, it might seem like an expensive choice for a bag not made from genuine leather, but as a cruelty-free and high quality alternative that’s sure to last, it’s a great choice for anyone looking to make a sustainable swap in their wardrobe.

Let us know what you think by commenting below and tweeting @YahooStyleCA! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram and sign up for our newsletter.