We’re headed North, and by North…I mean wayyy up north. Not quite to Alaska, but to the northern tip of Washington State. It is an incredibly beautiful area and vastly different than the deserts we are used to. Over the past year or so we’ve been scoping the area for the perfect place to set up the workshop. As it turns out it’s not as easy as it used to be to fit all my leather and tools in one spot and finding just the right place was quite the challenge. In fact the challenge will really just begin when we get there – I still need to set up some electrical, plumbing and get some heat into the place before the fall. Lots to do this summer and I plan to document a lot of it on the blog for those that want to follow along.
Anyhow, while the shop is being disassembled, packed, moved, unpacked, and reassembled I am offering everything in the shop at 10% OFF. There’ll be a bit of a delay on orders, so hold yer horses! I am estimating that everything should be back up and running and orders will start shipping out on July 2nd.
I will continue to make and ship orders until the morning of June 13th for all of those last minute father’s day shoppers.
In Part 1 of this tutorial, we did a lot of cutting, shaving, hole punching and generally prepping the leather for the next stage. Here in Part 2 of this tutorial we are going to glue things together and stitch them up. Above I have taken the deer skin and the shearling of the upper and put glue between them only on the part just underneath those clips. I chose not to glue the whole piece together as the glue may wear over time and it could be visible on large flat surfaces. By only gluing at the top – we are just securing the pieces together long enough to punch the stitching holes and stitch them together. the other edges with the holes punched in them will be laced together and do not need glue.
On the body of the moccasin I clipped both the deer skin and the shearling together first to line things up. Then I carefully glued between the pieces on the back end of the leather and replaced the clips. Make sure to wipe off any glue that seeps out after replacing the clips.
These past two months I’ve been hard at work creating an entire new line of leather keychains. The two original keychain designs have been updated with my thicker bag leather and now have 7 different hardware options to choose from. All keychains feature a mix of stainless steel hardware, solid brass rivets or snaps and my finest U.S. Full Grain leather.
In addition I have added several new designs to hold your keys in every possible way. I’ll take a few words and go through each of them below with y’all:
First and foremost here’s one of the original designs – the belt loop keychain. Shown above with all 7 current hardware options. This style was meant to clip around your belt, but you can attach it to a water bottle, bag, or whatever else is convenient.
The Key Pocket comes in two sizes – the small will hold several regular keys and the large was made to hold most electronic car keys plus a couple of regular ones too.
The Adjustable keychain easily fits over any sized belt and has a bit of classy Western Style infused into the buckle system. You can adjust it up or down as needed. The stainless steel clip at the end makes it easy to attach your keyring as needed.
The Leather Wrist Keychain keeps those keys conveniently close at hand and also includes the 7 hardware options. Slide your hand through the loop and walk off, or drop it into a bag – it’ll be easy to find later on.
Here’s a modern take on a classic key holder design. The leather Key Wrap holds around 6 regular keys and the cover snaps in place to keep them from jingling around too much. You may be able to fit a smaller electronic car key in there…or if you’re unsure, just ask us to install another split ring and it’ll work just fine on the outside.
The Keychain Tag is the simplest one yet – put a name or initials on it for a simple gift, or add a word on there to remind you what the keys are for in the first place! This keychain is made from my ultra thick belt leather, just about 3 U.S. quarters in thickness.
Some of us have just a bit too many keys to manage…that’s where the Jailer’s Keyring comes in. A very large stainless steel ring will hold hundreds of keys on the attached smaller stainless steel keyrings. Some choose to use this the other way around and use the clip to attach their keyring, then use the large ring to wear on the wrist.
This past Winter break, as the holiday leatherworking season was coming to a close, I set off on the interesting and challenging journey of making my own fur lined moccasins. I like to dive into projects where I lack certain skills, just so I can learn them along the way – this project is actually great for that. It’s not so hard that a beginner shouldn’t try it and by the end you will have a pretty clear understanding of several skills including patterns, cutting, punching, skiving, sewing, lining, and lacing. Plus, you get even warmer feet for the next winter! I put together this fully photographed step by step tutorial on how to make leather moccasins to help everyone out there that’s interested in making more than just a keychain. Projects like this typically take me several months to photograph, record and put into a blog, so I have broken things up into three separate posts, this being the first. The others will follow soon, but there’s a fair amount here to get started!
Above is the first moccasin I made…we actually it’s the second, I completely screwed up the first one I made in several ways…gave up the project for 1 full year, then decided I would not accept defeat and gave it another shot this past winter. Below are a few photos of the first failed attempt:
Above, my first attempt sits next to my original pair of Minnetonka’s. I struggled through every single step of this first try…hours and hours of work…only to find that the finished result was a hair too small due to excess fur in the inside, as well it didn’t feel durable on the outside as this is just a shearling’s skin exposed as the ‘flesh’ side out. It’s very brittle and tears easily. I worried about stepping on a rock and the thing splitting in half!
Above is a close up of that failed attempt, the fur was a big problem for all of the stitching work and lacing. Causing stitching holes to be way off and making it nearly impossible to pull lacing through at the end. I gave up and started anew below. Read on to see how my second attempt (and your first) will be a success.
So you’re going to need a few tools to get this project completed. Above from left to right: Paper towels, small exacto knife, rolling blade, leather scissors, utility knife, pen, pencil, ruler, rotary hole punch.
The above tools apply more on the stitching and lacing end: Electric Pet Shaver (yep mine’s a cheap one by Wahl designed for grooming pets), pliers, maybe 30 rubber coated mini clips to aid in gluing, Fieblings leathercraft cement or other PVA glue, stitching pricking iron, lacing needles x 6, harness hand sewing needles x 6 with blunt tips, single stitching awl, waxed stitching thread, mallet. (not shown here: stitching cutter – used to take your own store bought moccasins apart for pattern making, and poster paper used for tracing the pattern onto)
For this project I use a Top Grain deer hide bought on ebay, it has a thickness of 3 to 4 oz. Look for one with minimal holes and tears. I also purchased a shearling hide for the liner, also available on many online stores. You don’t necessarily need the liner, but this tutorial shows how with one, so modify at your own risk!
I kind of like this time of year. The holiday order rush has dwindled, the New Year is upon us, and there’s finally a bit of time to sit back and reflect over the happenings of this past year. It’s interesting how the feeling of today will vastly differentiate itself from that of tomorrow, Jan. 1 2018. A single day change, and suddenly we will all be off to the races to improve, modify and hopefully make our lives better in more ways. I too am like this, and admittedly I too also falter on quite a few of those changes after a few weeks! That said, I think change should be thought of more as a continual process that has no beginning date or end date. Just a constant modification to improve our lives and those of others as well.
Alright – that’s enough philosophical rambling for now, so here’s a peek at the actual changes in the workshop this past year:
The most obvious thing to start with are the new leather goods designs created this past year. I initially spent a significant amount of time looking into stitching a line of bags, even came out with one design for a few weeks as a test sale. Alas – I decided I am not quite yet ready to stray from my trusty rivets.
I still do like that design above, perhaps it’ll reappear at some point in the future. After that bag, came a whole slew of new ones here:
Even a few updated designs for the ladies, with a snap closure for the Tote, and anew handbag:
Then I decided to make an entire line for gear suited for all your doggies. This involved months of research into the best type of leather and hardware to be used on items that will undoubtedly see extremely rough treatment. It turns out, U.S. Latigo leather (highly resistant to weather and wear) and a new style of solid drilled brass rivet (near impossible to separate without ungodly amounts of force), and stainless steel hardware (the toughest you can get), all make for fine quality collars and leashes built to last:
A lot was learned in running my small workshop as a business this year. Namely – you really can’t sit back and just enjoy the spot you’re at too much. I mean you can, but as a business owner you really need to keep innovating and pushing the load uphill. If you relax too much, that load will push back on you and run ya over! Each year I learn little lessons like that, this year the lesson was, simply put, today’s world changes incredibly fast. Marketplaces can change from one month to the next so you got to be on your toes and change with it!
Another thing I learned is that running a business can be all-consuming. It’ll eat up all your time if you let it. Truth is, there is always something to be doing or working on next. For the next year I aim to come to peace with that and know that at the same time, it all doesn’t have to be done right now. Perhaps some gets done after a nice long walk, or after a full weekend has been spent with the computer off, or maybe sometimes that work will wait until after a short trip through the desert with my backpack.
Trips and R&R
Speaking of which, quite a few fun trips were made this year:
The year before I may have over-promised on my ability to post many more tutorials for y’all. As it turns out it takes a long time to build a tutorial for the site that I feel merits sharing with everyone. Ever notice how on other tutorial sites here and there, the stuff is shoddily built, corners are cut, or it’s just not a product made to last? Well, I only post techniques and builds that I am proud of and of sufficient quality. This means that for some things it can take over a month for me to finish. Heck, I don’t usually have all the skills myself to complete the project, but it is certainly worth taking the time to learn the new skill and build it the right way, so that you can have a handmade item for a long time to come. Here are a few from this year:
I’m not sure this one above counts completely, but there’s some good info in there. I hand stamped a leather belt with a scene from the desert. I have worn it every day since. Stamped Leather Belt.
I know there wont be too many people with a need to make the above western style gun holster, but for me I have been working on some items to use as decoration in the shop. In the above tutorial quite a few new skills are passed on to you the reader. In-depth saddle stitching included. Leather Gun Holster Tutorial.
Coming into the new year I am working on some new moccasins to keep my feet warm. Now, technically I started these an entire year ago and gave up due to several technical complications. Well, I am happy to say that I finally figure out a way around those issues and have the right foot down below. I am photographing the entire process of making the left foot, so it will be a tutorial on the site within a few weeks time.
As for a look into what’s to come next year, well a lot really! I am planning a ton of new items for the shop. Look forward to several new wallets and accessories and perhaps even a few more bags too. I have quite a few in the works, so keep an eye out. Also – for those who enjoy the tutorial section of my blog, I will have a couple more scattered throughout the year depending on the time I have for it. Something even bigger may be happening this year, as once again I am looking into moving the workshop. Greener pastures await!
Thank you to all my readers out there and those of you who spent your hard earned cash on my leather goods. As a very very small business I truly appreciate you and your support, I wouldn’t be able to do it without ya!
Cheers to all of you in the New Year and good luck to you in your endeavors!
Today the Mr. Lentz shop would like to remember and celebrate all those veterans out there serving our country. We appreciate your service here in the shop and are truly grateful. In honor of all those veterans out there we have a shopwide sale today through 11:59 pm Saturday evening. Everything in the shop will be 15% off for all.
Over the past few weeks I had the urge to update a few designs in the shop. One popular request was for a simple Women’s Handbag with straps on either side. Above is my take on that idea, a simple and elegant bag made with high quality Full-Grain Leather and no stitching to break! The leather gives it a rustic feel as you can see some imperfections on the surface – basically it retains a lot of unique character (full grain has not been sanded down to remove blemishes).
The Handbag measures approximately 13 inches wide x 9.5 inches tall x 2.5 inches deep on the exterior (330mm x 241mm x 64mm). The hand straps measure 9.5 inches from the top of the bag to the top of the straps. The inside is wide open to throw all your daily needs in there. I don’t line the insides of my bags for one simple reason – I use high-end leather that holds up really well over time. Typically bags are lined to hide imperfections and tears in the leather, or protect low grade leather from rubbing through.
All solid brass rivets with a nickel plating mean this bag will stay strong for a lifetime a use. Available in time for the holiday season here.
The design above is just a simple tweak on my original tote bag. I have updated all totes with a simple snap closure on the top – a much requested feature over the past year. The snap helps keep the top nicely cinched closed while you shop.
The shoulder strap is fully adjustable and cut to wear high up or lower near your waist.
Just like the handbag above, the tote is also unlined because of the high-end leather. It is extremely durable and simply does not need it. The tote measures approximately 13 inches wide x 9.5 inches tall x 2.5 inches deep on the exterior (330mm x 241mm x 64mm).
All you ladies out there, make sure to treat yourself this holiday season (and dudes, this is a very simple and well received gift if you are stumped!). You can find the Women’s Handbag here and if you are looking for the tote, just click here.
Over the past few weeks I have been working on new versions of all of my larger work bags. They now each have an alternate style with strapped exteriors. This gives more of the briefcase style of look and adds the capacity to handle even heavier loads. So, if you’re looking for an over-built workbag made to last 100 years…you should checkout my current designs in the shop.
This is the largest of the bags I make, and I currently use it myself on a daily basis. It fits my food for the day, a large water bottle, jacket, and miscellaneous supplies and packages I need to bring to the workshop. It’s available in the pictured Western Brown as well as Sun Tanned Natural and Desert Night Dark. The Tan and brown both develop rich patinas over time and the color will continue to darken.
The Men’s Duffel Bag does the trick for overnighters, and general carry. It’s a bit deeper than the large work bag, but not as tall. Of course – each come with the optional interior storage.
Finally, here’s the Men’s Work Bag. I know, I know – they all have similar names! They may change at some point too, but let’s just keep it at that for now. This bag works great for the average guy carrying his goods to work. It can be built with an optional shoulder strap as well (not pictured).
As with all of my goods int he shop, these come with my 100 Year Guarantee against defects. Basically – I will repair it if something needs it. All are handmade per order.
For seven years now I have been working with leather and creating rustic and durable leather wallets. I’ve seen what works, what doesn’t and I’m about to impart some of that information on you my friend! In the world of wallet making you should know that there are a lot of corners manufacturers can cut to save on cost, I’ll point out the most obvious ones for you here.
Type of Leather
If you follow my blog, or have read a lot of my product descriptions you will see that I push the term Full-Grain Vegetable-Tanned leather a lot. I cannot stress how important it is to buy a leather wallet that is made from this style of leather tanning. It is undoubtedly the strongest form of leather a wallet maker can use for at least two reasons.
First, Full-Grain means that the section of leather being used is the outermost layer of the cow’s hide. This is the surface layer and is extremely densely packed with fibers, so much so – that it is practically indestructible. This is the only layer of leather that will still contain original scars from the cow’s lifetime. It’s the layer that helped that cow weather storms and lay on tough ground its whole life. This is the most expensive layer of leather a maker can buy due to its toughness. A lot of manufacturers will go down a grade to ‘Top-Grain’ for two reasons: it is much cheaper, and all of those imperfections and scars have been sandblasted smooth. What the buyer should know, is that ‘Top-Grain’ leather has much looser fibers and will shed, deteriorate and wear through fairly quickly. Here’s another post I wrote on leather types.
Second, Vegetable-Tanned leather is the way in which the hide has been treated and preserved for use in leather goods. Vegetable Tanning is an ancient natural process of soaking hides in pools of water with tree barks. The natural tannins help to preserve the leather without compromising the strength of the leather fibers. That basically means that your leather product may start out slightly firmer, but will break-in very quickly and soften up as the fibers relax and stretch. Vegetable Tanning takes quite a bit longer than other chemically induced processes and as such…costs more. A lot of manufacturers will choose to use a much cheaper tanned leather instead called ‘Chrome Tanned’ or even ‘Genuine Leather’ or ‘Bonded Leather’. It’s as bad as it sounds, harsh chemicals and all! The chemicals in chrome tanning actually help to break down the fibers in the hide allowing the leather a softer supple feel from the beginning. While customers love that feeling of soft leather, what they don’t realize is that since the fibers were broken down unnaturally…the product will not last that long and tend to wear through much more quickly – as well it’s fairly bad for the environment! Plus – chrome tanned leather will not patina nicely and age with use. Genuine Leather or Bonded Leather, is basically just finely ground up scraps of leather pressed into large industrial sheets using glue. Again, it’s cheap and it’ll fall apart!
Style of Construction
The vast majority of wallets out there are stitched together. I will admit, I do like the look of a nice stitch job. There are two things to note about that though: how was it stitched, and well…stitching always wears out at some point. Most stitch wallets are manufactured using leather sewing machines and this can be a big hidden problem for the customer. Sewing machines use what is called a ‘Lock Stitch’ and without getting too technical I will just say this: if one thread breaks on a lock stitched wallet…the entire wallet will unravel quickly. Hand stitching is much better than a machine but you still have to consider the tragic flaw of thread being used on a leather item that gets heavily abused. Have you ever had a wallet where the thread broke? So have I and pretty much everyone else I have ever encountered. That’s why I started designing riveted wallets. By the time that rivet wears through… you’d probably be 450 years old! Seriously though, a wallet is the most worn and beaten up leather item a person will own. It needs to be built with materials that wont wear out. So, you decide – would you like metal or thread to hold it together?
Quality of Materials
We already touched on the types of leather, but how about where that leather came from? And how about any hardware used with it like rivets, snaps, grommets, chains, clips? Where the leather comes from plays in as a huge factor as far as quality goes. There are thousands of tanning companies across the globe…and most of them are not doing such a great job. The local cows could be malnourished and produce poor hides, local regulation might be too loose for environmentally sound tanning, the cuts of leather and coatings on it will vary drastically from batch to batch…it’s a giant crapshoot. I personally only source from one U.S. tannery that’s been in the business for more than a century now. It costs quite a bit more but they make very well tanned hides from U.S. cattle.
The hardware used on wallets is very important too. Leather does not respond well to rusting items and as such you should only choose wallets made with solid brass or stainless steel hardware. Solid brass currently is a bit pricey, but well worth it in the longrun. Many other manufacturers will cut corners there and use cheap metal alloys. It might look nice for the first few months….
Location of Construction
In general I like to always push people to support their local makers from their own country. I mean why not? The money stays in the local economy and benefits everyone. There’s another reason though and I will admit that I am a bit biased here – for most countries in the world it is hard to get their hands on American materials and hardware, which are known to cost more and be of a higher standard in general. Also – who is making that wallet anyways? In today’s world it’s easy to pass off a wallet as being made from a local maker in another country…but if you dig into their site, blog, social media…is that really the case? Large manufacturers are using marketing techniques to pass off mass produced items as being handmade by small shops, surprise surprise!
Does the maker behind the wallet you want offer a good warranty for fixing it down the road? Lots of things can happen to that wallet, and sometimes there’s a defective piece of leather or hardware – will they replace or repair it? You want to find a maker that stands behind their work and is in it for the longrun. All warranties are not created equal though – keep in mind how big or small the shop is. Some makers that are very small and treat wallet making as a hobby can give great personalized customer service in cases like this…but will they still be around 5 to 10 years from now if you need some repair work done?
Small Shops vs. Big Box Stores
Kind of a continuation of the last section, you will need to keep in mind how little or big the shop is that you are buying from. The pertains to the warranty, but also to the customer service you are likely to receive. Very large stores typically have great 30 day + return policies, but after that you are on your own. They also tend to only sell mass produced items that have many corners cut to save on cost. Buyer beware! Then you have the very little guys just making as a hobby. Again – great customer service, probably good warranties, but will they be around to help you out in the next 5 to 10 years? A small to medium sized maker will be more established to follow through on their warranty and typically they still have the time to offer great customer service.
How Minimal Can You Go
It comes down to what do you really need to carry? Over the years I have pared down the items in my wallet to only the cards I actually use, a small stack of cash and a few random receipts that tend to float around for months at a time. For me – I found that carrying too much was very uncomfortable. I used to put my old wallet in my back pocket and sit on it with lots of cards, ID cards, cash, etc.. I think chiropractors love meeting patients like that. When you slim the contents of your wallet down, you can also use a simpler wallet…and you can put that wallet in your front pocket without the bulge. Most of my wallets are designed to do this quite easily. I reduced the number of ‘pockets’ and put in card slots to help save on thickness. In the end everyone is different, but make sure to make that decision of which style you need after you have pared down your own items.
In the end there are a million manufacturers of wallets, most of them cutting corners to provide a dirt cheap piece of leather that will ultimately wear out and break on you after a year or two. Usually cheap ain’t the best option, and in the longrun it usually isn’t cheap since you tend to have to re-purchase more often. Make sure to choose a wallet from a maker who knows how to find good quality Full-Grain Vegetable-Tanned leather, solid brass hardware and a construction technique that will last through the beating a wallet takes. Find a maker who stands behind their work with a warranty for repair and make sure to find one that will be in it for the longrun. Lastly, pare down what you actually need to carry, and then you can use a better designed wallet that will be much slimmer and easier to carry.
If you need a starting point, you can take a look at my online shop here, and please feel free to ask questions in the comment section below, or email me!
It’s been several years since I first introduced the chain versions of many of my leather wallet designs, and now I am adding a new option. If you are looking for something bigger, stronger and made of stainless steel, well – I found the perfect chain for you. The original version ‘Option A’ was picked for its minimal and light nature. It serves its purpose quite well and suits the needs of most chain wallet wearers. After some time and a few special requests for another option, I found this stainless steel version. It’s slightly heavier, but includes a solid stainless steel clip at the end. I am always looking to improve my leather goods and generally add things to the shop when y’all start asking for the same things. That’s the beauty of being a small U.S. leather workshop I guess!
Above shows you the two options in action to give you a better idea of how they compare. These two options are now available on all wallets that have a chain option.
The newest design to hit the shop this past weekend: The Concealed Wallet. It’s exactly that, concealed and safe from pickpockets. Designed with a simple strap that snaps around your belt with two solid brass snaps, the wallet then drops behind your pants keeping your cash and cards safe from prying hands. The idea for this came about after I found myself traveling in different cities with a higher likelihood of being in large crowds. Another perfect use for this security travel wallet would be during a night out at the bar or concert.
The exterior of the Full-Grain Leather concealed wallet was made so that there are no edges to catch while slipping into your pants. Double brass snaps also help to secure the contents inside.
This concealed travel wallet can hold around 7 cards, or 5 to 6 with some cash.
Available in three natural colors, I also have a version without the strap if you prefer to use this just as a regular card wallet.
I do like experimenting with leather projects in my free time. Sometimes it can take a little kick in the butt for me to get a project started at home after a long day’s work in the leather workshop. What this does for me, creating things that aren’t for sale and just for fun, it gives me a bit more artistic freedom. It allows me to challenge myself with new leatherworking techniques and processes. My latest thing has been to keep creating the same leather gun holster over and over, but each time my goal is to improve some things about it.
On this holster I wanted to improve my stamping ability, as well as leather dyeing techniques, and the ageing process. I’ve made three holsters so far and each time the stamps come out just a little better than the last time. I picked a simple pattern to re-create and certainly helps a lot. When dyeing, I decided to try a spray gun technique and layer on different amounts of light dye overlapped with darker dyes. I think I still have a ways to go to get the effect I was aiming for. As for ageing, there’s a lot of fun ways to do that to a leather item. You can use hot water, sandpaper, nails, concrete, oils, and much more to make the piece look like it has had a full life. I think my next project will be an aged looking gun belt to match the holster, then…repeat!
If you’re making something out of leather at home, let me know in the comments below, and feel free to ask any questions.
It’s kinda strange writing a blog post about an interior storage option for my large bag designs, but the truth is, you gotta check it out! Not quite as easy as it first seemed to design these pockets. The challenge was really in making a version that would hold the majority of what my customers need to carry, without being too bulky, but also being able to fit in each large bag design while being removeable.
Well, I figured it out, built it, tested it, and love it. The storage addon features two pockets, each measure about 6 inches wide x 5 inches tall. One pocket has a flap with simple press stud closure, and the other is open and convenient to throw a phone in for quick access. I also attached a small keyring to the open pocket for those that need to clip your keys onto. I find it keeps them out of the way, but still easy to find at the end of a long day.
The storage addon snaps into the bag using 6 military grade snaps. The result? They wont release unless bygolly you are ready for them to. In which case, you can take the storage out when needed to fit even more bulky items. That’s about all I have to say about storage addons, so if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or email me. Cheers!
Well I’d like to tell you all about a new bag design I added to the shop. It’s now certifiably the largest leather bag in the series I recently released. After many requests to up the ante on my briefcase design, we now have the Large Leather Work Bag.
It stands taller, wider and much deeper than my original briefcase design. Measuring a handy 17.25 inches wide x 12 inches tall x 7 inches deep on the exterior. It will easily fit your laptop, books, food, notebook…and all your small items with the addon interior storage pockets.
The interior storage was built to hold your phone in an easy access open pocket, as well as any loose items in a closable flap. I also attach a small keyring to the side in case you need to clip your keys in there for easy access.
The Leather Work Bag is built just like every item in the shop…to last. It comes with my 100 Year Guarantee for any defective material or craftsmanship. The rivets are all solid brass with nickel plating, and there ain’t a stitch in sight! That means, nothing to repair or break down the road.
The main body section is one long continuous piece of leather. It’s a valuable cut for my shop, but with less seams it means it’s a stronger product overall. The buckles are all stainless steel. The shoulder strap is adjustable and can easily be unclipped from the bag for storage.
What else can I tell you really, this is now my personal choice for going to and from the workshop every day. If you have any questions about it, please feel free to email. I am usually around and can answer quickly. Or just leave a comment below so everyone can benefit.
For all the misery that a mosquito can cause, it sure can keep you in the present. Have you ever been lost in thought about the future? Or maybe a bit stuck overthinking an event in the past? My advice – go find some mosquitoes, they will make you forget all that.
Mosquitoes will limit your thoughts to only what is happening right now. You see, this little bug has an endless urge to land on any of your exposed skin and take your blood. It’s in our nature to keep that from happening, so when 100’s or even 1,000’s descend on you when you’re out in the woods – you have no choice but to fight them off. Everything else goes out the window and an intense focus ensues, you must avoid their needles. You must move, swat and sway constantly. You divert their paths, dodge them, and blow them away, but one thing you do not do is think about anything else.
That’s the conclusion I have come to while out in the Sawtooth Wilderness of central Idaho this past week – enjoying the eclipse with my girlfriend. Yep – mosquitoes do have a point in life after all, and it’s a positive one. So the next time you find yourself frustrated, annoyed and overwhelmed by their persistence… remember the subtle rejuvenating effect that they are having on you. They take you away from all worries and keep you there as long as you can stand them. It’s nature at its best and it’s how I have slowly been growing my understanding of why I love being outdoors so much. It’s the suffering as much as the views and isolation. It’s learning to appreciate nature from all angles.
While backpacking I am usually wholly involved in the route, the terrain, cooking meals, treating drinking water, setting up camp, hanging bear bags, and a lot of other simple and rewarding tasks. I’ve always loved all that for what it is, simple things that while keeping me busy are also fairly important for a successful journey. I tend to feel more human when I am out there, perhaps it’s just being in the sunlight and the wind. Maybe it’s waking up in the middle of the night and walking out under the stars. You tend to get this feeling of being more connected with the earth itself, like you belong here. That feeling was well-amplified during the eclipse this trip. It’s almost kind of weird to feel more, well – human.
That said – I am back in the shop. There was a short delay there in orders, but we should be all caught up now. In the works over the next week or so – a brand new bag design, the biggest yet! It’s kind of like a large briefcase, plenty of room to fit it all. Also – some new interior storage options for all of my bag designs. It’s an optional addon to help keep the interiors organized. Come on back towards the end of next week and I should have some more news on that end. Cheers!