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The start of a new school semester seemed like the ideal time to spring for a new backpack. I knew I wanted something worthy of Indiana Jones in both style and durability. While I am rarely chased by Nazis, angry natives, or giant boulders, I still like the idea of a leather bag that is built to last and can handle a good adventure or two.

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Etsy is my go-to site when I’m in the market for something unique, and I have yet to be disappointed by what other artists bring to the table. In no time, I found the bag of my dreams, ethically made in the desert region of India by artisans carrying on an age old tradition, and not in some sweatshop somewhere. The story of these bags was just as dreamy as the designs and fantastic oil-rubbed patina. It took me a few days to settle on the design to get, but I eventually decided on this tall rucksack design.

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I had my bag custom-made without the front zipper, and it arrived within 3-4 weeks. In person, the bag was even more of a head turner. The leather was soft and pliable, the stitching strong, and the straps were nicely padded.  Like many descriptions for these sun-cured bags will state, they do smell like sweat hay. But after a few months of use, it’s begun to fade away.

People stop me all the time to ask about my bag or just to compliment me on it. I love telling them it’s from Rajastan, India, and explaining how they cure the goat leather. It’s surprising how many people seem put off by the simple fact that it is made of goat leather. I think this is just a western thing, we don’t eat a lot of goat here. Being handcrafted, it’s truly one-of-a kind and it has this wonderful Old World feel to it. I mean, just look at some of the designs available on Etsy: this beauty demands attention and screams class… Forget those throw away plastic backpacks!

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Unfortunately, the particular shop I bought my bag from is no longer on Etsy, but there are several others from Rajastan offering these sun-cured leather bags in a variety of styles and affordable prices that make choosing just one very difficult. Here is one such shop that I came across: https://www.etsy.com/shop/rajasthaniart110

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