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Picture of Adventure Bag!

Do you have an adventurous spirit? Do you long for the great outdoors? Do you want to look stylish while traveling? Do you have a spare $1,600? If you answered YES! to all of those questions then can I borrow $1,600?

This 'ible is all about showing that you can make a practical, stylish, durable and AFFORDABLE leather adventure/travel bag with very few specialty tools and very little experience. If you can use a knife, a needle and thread, and a ruler with any level of proficiency then you can make this bag or something similar or something better!

Step 1: The Goal

My wife and I have been establishing a 10 year plan of trips and vacations that our family will be taking to parts of the world that we'd like our kids to see before they become broke young adults and we become broken old people. One of my pet peeves about travel is that I like to be prepared for everything yet I don't like to carry more than one bag. I usually settle for the traveler's standard backpack. They're simple, affordable, and are allowed on pretty much any plane. Unfortunately they look like crap most times. I need a bag that is going to be durable (ten year plan), simple (like me), and allowed on pretty much any plane. I was cruising Pintrest and came across a bag from a leather shop called quite creatively, The Leather Shop, which caught my eye. It was just the right combination of rugged, old-timey, and stylish. I decided to recreate this bag as closely as I could with my level of skill. It also needed to meet the most stringent of airline carry-on bag size requirements. The bag could not exceed 22" x 14" x 9" (56 x 36 x 23 cm).

Harpaau4 months ago
Well done! This bag is absolutely stunnig!
Nick70587 (author)  Harpaau4 months ago
Thank you!
Cherzer4 months ago
I agree about the unpacking videos; My initial reaction is that they are stupid, but then I can’t tell you how many I have watched in the hopes of getting a view of a product at a different angle. Beautiful bag and very inspiring! Just curious, what was the final weight of the empty bag?
Nick70587 (author)  Cherzer4 months ago
It is a bit on the heavy side at 7 lbs. empty. The picture of me wearing it was on a couple mile hike when it was loaded with water and extra jackets for the kiddos but it was still comfortable.
Beautiful bag!
1170885 months ago
I'm curious: when you say that the side flaps are 9.5 *15.75 in. Does that include the overlap, or is that the measurement without overlaps?
Nick70587 (author)  1170885 months ago
That is the overall dimension of the flat piece of leather. It includes the 3/4" overlap on three sides for stitching and the 2" flap on the top.
117088 Nick705875 months ago
Thanks for the clarification.
Absolutely great!!!
ready to buy the pattern!
Search for DieselpunkRo on Etsy. He sells all sorts of leather patterns and has a bag similar to this one. It does not have the awesome convertible strap, though.
Yeah,I know ,but you're right, But he doesn't have an amazing convertible belt.
Nick70587 (author)  Andrey SpecialistK5 months ago
I'm sorry, I didn't make a pattern. I barely have the measurements anymore. :(
gdsmit15 months ago
Great looking bag. Now it's time to make your wife one.
Nick70587 (author)  gdsmit15 months ago
Thank you. The wife and kids have all asked for one.
gdsmit1 Nick705875 months ago
Well get to work. hehe
KatersGrylls5 months ago
I really like your idea about the shoulder straps! and forest green fits perfectly with this brown color!
Nick70587 (author)  KatersGrylls5 months ago
Thank you.
Ham-made5 months ago
Hey Nick!
Incredibly beautiful bag! Cheers for highlighting the importance of wearing gloves when working with leather dyes by providing photographic evidence of your martian fingers! It's a bit odd and perhaps a bit grim to think about, but we often forget that we too are made of leather...which is why the dye is so damn efficacious at dying our hands!
Mr. Ham
Nick70587 (author)  Ham-made5 months ago
Thank you! I was able to get a good portion of the green off but the brown dye stuck around for more than a week even after trying everything I had in the house to get it off.
gdsmit1 Nick705875 months ago
Harbor Freight. They sell some junk, but I use their gloves for all my staining and painting needs.
curiousgood5 months ago
Personally, I think your bag looks better than the one you were replicating. It would totally be at home on Middle Earth.
I was just thinking the same thing, the inspiration is nice, but this bag is magnificent.
Nick70587 (author)  curiousgood5 months ago
I really appreciate that. Thank you. I hope its big enough to hold breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper.
DaveO45 months ago
Great project! I'm new to leather work and I found your project very inspirational. Thanks for posting it.
Nick70587 (author)  DaveO45 months ago
Glad I could help. I've been doing leather work for a few years and I still consider myself "new" to it.
This bag is great! I love the green color you used :)
Nick70587 (author)  Penolopy Bulnick5 months ago
Thank you. Forrest green has always been my favorite color. Probably because I've lived in the desert all my life. :-\
BrianFarish5 months ago
Just an absolutely awesome project. In addition to the amount of work to do the actual project, the amount of work and care that it took to document and write it up this well is actually quite impressive.
I particularly enjoyed how well our perspectives aligned on the cost of purchasing a similar bag. I completely support artists and craftspeople being fairly compensated for their gifts, hard work and materials investments, but the sticker shock of what that comes to for quality goods can be staggering at times.
It helped that you picked a color scheme that I absolutely love (heh at the dyed hands photo... thanks for sharing that... It's something I'd do).
I think you've inspired me to try a smaller project with this as an ultimate goal someday.
Keep it up!!!
Nick70587 (author)  BrianFarish5 months ago
Thank you. I appreciate the comment about the level of documentation. I worry that the process is not clear enough since that is exactly what I find helpful about other instructables that I read. I'd like to be able to take video some times but I'm just not that sophisticated. Maybe my kids can help with that.
Jimichan5 months ago
Absolutely beautiful!
Nick70587 (author)  Jimichan5 months ago
Thank you!
skiedra5 months ago
Absolutely gorgeous bag & would be well fitted for Lara Croft herself.
Any chance you make and sell those on Etsy?
Nick70587 (author)  skiedra5 months ago
Thank you. Maybe when I'm old and retired I'll start a shop, but I wouldn't have the time now.
QforSomeone5 months ago
Hi, nice documentation. It seems like this project is a description of how to deconstruct and rip off a high-end leather manufacturer. What you built is beautiful and I also appreciate taking cups from fast food restaurants, but I'd encourage you to consider acknowledging what you're educating people to do and how it fits into the larger scheme of things.
You've done a wonderful job of explaining leatherworking and how to use (despised) unboxing videos to reverse engineer a company's product. I say this not because I don't want people to reverse engineer/hack, but just to make sure we acknowledge this. How do you think would feel about this? (FYI make sure to add the "The" to the front otherwise you'll end up at the very different than the NSFW site...)

They might appreciate it if you provided the name and link to their product for the lazy
It sure is beautiful however it is made.
Ysabeau5 months ago
Very nice project and instructable. And now, I want to work with leather :-). I really learnt how to work with leather with your instructable.
Thank you.
Nick70587 (author)  Ysabeau5 months ago
Thank you! Glad I could help.
FernMakes5 months ago
That green is gorgeous! Looks like an awesome bag.
Nick70587 (author)  FernMakes5 months ago
Thank you!