The world gets a lot simpler when you are out in the wilderness or nature’s open spaces. Sonoma, California resident Oscar Lopez knows this very well as he has been making all-natural leather bags and cases for more than 15 years. “It’s comes from my experience out fishing, hunting and exploring,” he said.
When Lopez isn’t working in construction and handyman odds and ends, around town, he is off in the great outdoors.“Most of my designs for leather bags, cases & pouches come from imagining what it must have been like for the outdoorsmen of the 19th Century,” said Lopez. “They had to make things; no machinery or stores around,” he added.
“All my leather goods are made with no lining or anything synthetic,” Lopez said as he uses only local and American sourced leather.
“This one here is beautiful and is as soft as butter,” said longtime Sonoma resident, Jude Cameron. She caressed the courier size bag gently. It is made of 100 percent buckskin. Oscar brought an array of his inventory to Cameron, converting the back of his pickup truck into a makeshift vendor booth.
“Look at the stitching, said Cameron, so intricate, evenly sewn, beautiful!” As she admired Lopez’ work, the variety of handiwork, caught a neighbor’s eye. “This is fine work,” said Jim Martin. He walked across the street to the pickup truck to view the leather goods more closely.
Lopez explained to Martin just as he did to Cameron and a few passersby that stopped to view his work. “I just wanted to make something sturdy, simple and able to carry the things that an outdoorsman would need.”
“I also kept in mind that a leather bag must be durable but easy and lightweight to carry,” said Lopez. It’s vital when out in the open wilderness. As much as he loves Sonoma and California and the Pacific Southwest, places like Canada and Alaska beckon to him.
“My son treated me to a vacation in Alaska and I felt right at home there, hunting, fishing and who knows, maybe I might find gold,” he said with a laugh. Perhaps like Levi Strauss of old, Lopez could sell his leather bags to all those eager to venture, just as those 1849-er prospectors did over 170 years ago. The selling of goods and equipment for the frontier was how Levi Strauss made his fortune.
And, it might be that Lopez is onto something. Because, as Straits Research points out, the leather goods sector is expected to expand to over $720 billion dollars in the coming year of 2023. This anticipated growth at 6.2 percent, according to Straits reflects The leather luggage and goods market. This growing demand is due to factors such as rising disposable income, increased domestic and international travel, and rising living standards.
Straits also noted that according to the data collected, overall, people like leather goods that are easy to handle. This is especially so when extensive travel is involved. Travel necessitates leather luggage that can withstand rough handling at any time. As a result, the practical need for more convenient travel items consumers tend to choose premium and higher-quality leather luggage.
Yet for Lopez it’s more about the sense of adventure and discovering the beauty of nature while “living off grid” as the saying goes. This in essence is what Lopez’ leather goods aim to embody. Even for the people who ‘glamp’ and prefer to stay closer to an urban dwelling, Lopez’ goods are designed and made to last. His commitment to quality and workmanship is dedicated as he said, “I can even build you a house! I have the skills.”
And, with that extensive dedication to quality & craftsmanship his high-quality leather and craftsmanship is exceptional. Buying one of his works, as Cameron exclaimed, “it’s a good investment!” To learn more about Oscar Lopez and his quality, all-leather products, visit his bearcanyonbushcraft page on Instagram. He can be reached by email at [email protected]. Or call, 707-775-5411.