Frankly, before I wrote this blog post, I wasn’t that familiar with hobo bags. After some researching, I’ve realized that hobo bags are a type of handbag characterized by a crescent shape, a slouchy posture and a long strap designed to wear over the shoulder.
Apparently, the name ‘hobo’ was attributed to the bags because they resemble the shape of a bindle on a stick, which hobos are seen carrying in both drawings and cartoons. This being said, you’re not going to look hobo-like with one of these bags… quite the contrary.
Hobo bags are super fashionable and rarely fall off trend. In addition to being oversized, hobo-styled bags have a chill, cool aesthetic making them perfect for daily use.
Plus, they’re easy to use!
What to look for in vegan hobo bags?
The most important thing you should consider before buying a hobo bag is the fabric. I don’t want to sound like I’m exaggerating here, but many of the hobo bags I’ve found are made of leather.
Instead, you want to look for bags that use some form of faux-leather, like synthetic nubuck, or bags that use more sustainable fabrics. Upcycled billboard vinyl is one example. While I admit it’s hard to find companies mass-producing sustainable bags at affordable prices, you can still find platforms where individual merchants sell handmade (and yes, vegan) hobo bags.
That’s why I’ll mention vegan hobo bags from those individual sellers, especially because they’re doing it in a platform that is truly credible.
Is faux leather ideal?
Faux leather is a name companies use for synthetic fabrics used to replace leather.
Among synthetic fabrics, there are two primary types: polyurethane (“PU”), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC – “Vinyl”). PU is typically softer, more flexible, and breathable, so it’s commonly used for high-wear products, like clothing, handbags, and upholstery. PVC is not as breathable as PU but is ideal for products that need to repel moisture, like cases for electronic devices.
However, faux leather is not necessarily a better choice. Yes, it’s kinder to animals, but it can still be dangerous because some types of faux leather make use of petroleum-derived materials.
PVC, for instance, poses a serious threat to humans and the environment. The production, use, and disposal of PVC results in the release of toxic, chlorine-based chemicals that build up in the water, air, and seafood. Studies show that the chemicals released by these plastics are linked to severe health problems like infertility, immune system damage, impaired childhood development, hormone disruption, cancer, and many other harmful symptoms.
Unfortunately, you ingest PVC through food or water contaminated with PVC, or food wrapped in PVC packaging or containers. You can also inhale emissions derived from manufacturing or incinerating PVC, or landfills. Or even touching products made from PVC.
Therefore, no, faux leather is not ideal, but it’s still kinder than buying products made from genuine leather. In addition, faux leather has its advantages.
Benefits of faux leather.
Besides being kinder to animals, faux leather is also more affordable than genuine leather.
It’s also durable and long-lasting. It can withstand scratches and scrapes, and it’s not prone to crack or peel, like genuine leather. Faux leather is also low-maintenance, so most products can usually be wiped clean with a cloth and warm water. Unlike genuine leather, faux leather does not retain moisture, so the items rarely get warped or cracked. Some of the new high-performance faux leather can remove ink or food stains only using a dry cloth.
On top of all those benefits, faux leather looks like genuine leather, but without the unnecessary killing and skinning of the animal. Conversely, faux leather does not stretch, breath or wear like leather. Despite being very durable, it does not develop the same patina over time.
Naturally, as a vegan, this is a no-brainer.
Can I find vegan hobo bags with fabrics more sustainable than faux leather?
Definitely. We now know that plastic-made materials are not only bad for human health, but also for the environment. That’s why, when possible, we should go for the most sustainable fabrics.
More sustainable fabrics include:
- Pinatex (Pineapple leather)
- Muskin (Mushroom leather)
- Organic hemp
- Organic cotton
- Organic linen
Not all of these fabrics seem to be used to make hobo-style bags. In fact, what I found was hobo bags made from polyester (PU), and cotton canvas. While kind to animals, these are not the most environmentally-friendly fabrics/materials.
Unfortunately, hobo bags made from truly sustainable fabrics are hard to come by, yet you can probably find a few if you look hard enough.
Ten Vegan Hobo Bags You Can Use Without Guilt!
1. Joy Susan Women’s Classic Hobo 2-in-1 Handbag
Do you want a hobo bag that works perfectly for almost every occasion? Whether you’re walking to work, a formal meeting, or a girls’ night out, the Joy Susan Hobo handbag adapts to both formal and casual atmospheres flawlessly. Being made from polyurethane alone, this 2-in-1 handbag is fitting for most vegans, unless you’re heavily against PU.
This is essentially one tote bag with a 6″11″ strap drop, a magnetic snap top closure, and one exterior open pocket. Plus, it comes with one detachable insert bag. The insert bag has one interior zip pocket, as well as two open pockets, in addition to the top zip closure. You can use the detachable bag as a liner, or you can have it as an additional crossbody bag.
Also, you can find this bag available in at least 10 different color combos, all of which are made of durable faux leather. Lastly, this is a fantastic handbag of exceptional high-quality faux leather that happens to be priced extremely affordably. You can find it here on Amazon.
2. Matt & Nat Maikki Hobo Handbag
This is a simple, yet luxurious hobo vegan bag featuring an interesting round design.
It’s made from a high-end, smooth vegan leather, and the interior is woven with 100% recycled polyamide (recycled plastic bottles), making it quite resistant to tear over time. It has a padded shoulder strap with topstitch details and a strap that is 12 inches long, which makes it very practical to use over your shoulder or carry it by hand.
The bag has a top zipper closure with rose-colored hardware, which adds a very feminine feel to the minimalistic design. While the bag is not filled with features, it’s a bag you can wear with literally anything and still come across as being luxurious. The large compartment has a zippered pocket, and a specific smartphone pocket to keep your belongings safe and hidden.
While I couldn’t find this hobo bag on Matt & Nat, it’s actually available at Nordstrom Rack for a reduced price. Unlike some of the bags mentioned earlier, this one is a bit more pricey.
3. Bromen Hobo Handbag
Bromen handbags are made from durable and high-quality vegan leather.
Depending on the color you choose, a Bromen hobo bag has a typical leather-look, or a more glossy, leather look. The first type is soft to the touch, with the pattern of the pores on the surface being quite visible. The second type is shinier, which is a result of burnishing vegan leather.
The bag itself is easy to carry as it comes with two shoulder straps, the woven strap being wide and quite comfortable to hold. However, unlike the narrower strap, the wider strap is not adjustable. The bag has an outside pocket where you can keep your smartphone (or keys), which may be discrete enough to pass as a safety pocket.
Bromen has also upgraded the magnetic buckle design, which has made the bag safer and more practical. Once you give a short glance inside the main compartment, you’ll note that the handbag is quite roomy, so it has enough space for most of your essentials. The reviews on the bag are also exceptional, which makes you wonder how can such a high-quality vegan bag go for such an affordable price. It also comes in 14 different colors, all of which are vegan-friendly.
You can find the Bromen hobo bag here on Amazon.
4. Amy & Joey Hobo Handbag
Amy & Joey’s hobo bag is a classic purse made from faux leather.
The bag has a top zipper closure and a rather short 11.5″ drop shoulder connected through silver-tone hardware. If you prefer a bag that sticks closely to your body and gives you a better reach for your wallet, this is a good bag. Otherwise, know that this bag has no adjustable straps.
You have a back zip pocket you can fit your lipstick in, and the main compartment is secured by a zipper closure. Inside the main compartment, you have two open pockets where you can tuck in your make-up products, and two zipper pockets for more precious belongings. This bag is available in 38 different colors and is actually very affordable.
You can get it here on Amazon.
5. Mia K Hobo Handbag
If you want an affordable designer bag made from premium vegan ‘PU’ leather, this is among the best (and most affordable) ones. This bag features a snap hook strap, and it can be used either as a hand or shoulder bag, which is an interesting feature if you travel often.
The bag also has a top zipper closure and a large, spacious main compartment with zippered pockets, where you can easily segment your essentials for more practical use.
Some of the reviews on Amazon also suggest that the colors don’t fade over time.
In addition, the bag itself is very easy to clean (a characteristic that is typical of faux leather), and the TC lining inside the bag is very durable. However, also according to some reviews, the edging on the straps is vulnerable to tearing after prolonged use. If you’re interested in the bag, you can find 15 different colors available on Amazon.
6. Everyday Handmade Vegan Hobo Bag
Despite being handmade in Europe, this everyday vegan hobo bag is affordable. The bag is very spacious, and shapely bag that can fit in an A4 folder with no effort. It also features two large pockets with hidden magnets that make it super easy to close the pockets.
Inside the bag, you can find three pockets (one with a zipper) to compartmentalize your essentials, and you also have enough space in the main compartment to store most of your essentials. In addition, there’s a strap designed to hold your keys, because we know how annoying it is to look lost while looking for keys right at our doorstep.
You can carry the bag on your hand using the shorter strap, or you can use it vertically, or diagonally across your shoulder by adjusting the long, wide strap. If I haven’t mentioned yet, this vegan hobo bag is made from synthetic nubuck, making it kinder to animals. If you’re interested in this bag, you can get it here on Etsy. For being handmade, I do feel like it’s affordable.
7. Vegan Slouchy Hobo Handbag
Want another handmade hobo bag in Europe? This bag is for people that have a bit of a hippy spirit, and a deep-rooted passion for the bohemian lifestyle. It features a super wide, non-adjustable strap that sets really comfortably on your shoulder.
The strap is also non-removable, so it gradually shifts into what looks like a very spacious bag. The inside of the bag is made from cotton, and it has two zippered bags to place your precious belongings, as well as an internal belt featuring a key ring with quick release. This little feature is valuable because a lot of people lose their keys by keeping them in their pants. (That has happened to me many times in the past)
The bag is sold in three different colors (black, beige and grey), and it’s well-praised for the quality has. Although, it isn’t surprising, considering it is handmade. You can find it here on Etsy.
8. Two-Tone Vegan Hobo Bag
Unfortunately, this bag is only sold with one color combination (burgundy and brown).
However, it doesn’t take away from the fact this bag is made from high-quality vegan leather. With its rustic, distressed look, you have a handmade bag that is soft, lightweight but extremely durable. It features two interior pockets and a zippered exterior pocket, which you can use to properly organize your essentials. In addition to the smaller pockets, it has a main compartment with plenty of room for your daily needs.
It also features an adjustable faux leather strap, so you can carry it over your shoulder, or use it as a handbag. Being handmade, the bag is only available in small quantities. What’s interesting, it that for a handmade bag, it’s quite affordable. That’s what is awesome about Etsy— you can get amazing handmade bags for surprising prices.
If you’re interested, you can get it here on Etsy.
9. Canvas Green Hobo Bag
This bag is available in two different sizes: Medium (12 per 10 inches) and Large (14 per 14 inches). It’s also worth mentioning they’re priced differently, with the Medium-sized bag being cheaper.
Unlike the other bags I’ve mentioned, this one has a hand-painted pattern made from thick natural jute and cotton combined with soft-brown artificial leather. With its adjustable shoulder strap, you can make it long enough to carry over your shoulder or morph it into a handbag.
Inside the main compartment, you have a black cotton lining with three pockets, one of which is zippered to keep your most valuable items. The size (and space) of the compartment depends on the bag you’ll buy— with the 14 by 14 inches (large) being the one with the most space. If you’re interested in this bag, feel free to get it here on Etsy.
10. Hobo Bag Made From Eco-Vegan Leather
Do you want a capacious bag that holds up well to everyday wear?
Here is a bag made from high-quality faux leather with plenty of pockets, including two outside pockets, as well as two interior pockets, of which two are zippered. Having a zippered pocket allows you to keep your essentials secure, so it’s a plus. However, I do feel like the front pocket should some type of hidden magnets to safely close the pockets, making them more discreet.
An additional pocket inside the bag would also help, but this is an already awesome bag if you consider the eco-friendly approach as well as the storage space it provides.
Furthermore, you can easily adjust it and choose to either carry it on your hand or shoulder. The strap is relatively wide, so it should feel comfortable on most people’s shoulders.
Again, this is a handmade vegan hobo bag, so you can expect a bag made from high-quality materials and fine attention to detail. This bag is also made in Europe, and you can order it here on Etsy.
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