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Leather Trimmed Wood Signs

Canal Park Tote Series

Ever thought of decorating with Frost River? We just finished building a new batch of Leather Trimmed Wood Signs and they are looking for a good home… or cabin… or shop… (man cave?). 

The signs turned out great; made heavy with leather wrapped around the perimeter and secured with brass rivets. The high quality decal has a matte finish and the leather is the same stuff we use on our packs and bags. Display your Frost River pride like a professional. 

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Sustainability – Gooseberry Tote

Frost River Zip Hoodie

The Gooseberry Tote works as a remarkable grocery bag.

Adaptable enough to handle nearly any task regulated to a big bag. The Gooseberry really shines as a big grocery bag.

Tough and durable waxed canvas won’t rip open like paper bags, you won’t have boxes and cartons punching through the side like when using plastic bags, and a Gooseberry is reusable! Plus this big voluminous tote will help haul a whole load of groceries in one trip. Say “so long!” to the landslide of disposable grocery bags piling up in the kitchen cupboard; recycle them and instill some reusability in your routine. The Gooseberry will help “green-up” your grocery run, plus it’s collapsible and foldable so you’ll have it when you need it.

The Gooseberry folds small enough to stash inside a briefcase, shoulder bag, or glovebox. Keep one close at hand then use it to cut down on your use of disposable plastic bags.

The Gooseberry works great for a stop at the superstore too. Mega rolls and jumbo packs? … No problem.

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Sustainability – Growler Pack

Aerial Lift Bridge Tote

Take a break from recycling all those bottles and cans this Earth Day. 

A Double Wide Growler Pack holds two glass, plastic, or stainless steel half gallon bottles.

Inject a little reusability in your next beer run by getting refilled. Visit a local brewery and (if legal in your area) get a growler to go. It won’t take many beer runs for you to begin coming out ahead. It also won’t take long to realize that those half gallon jugs are heavy and aren’t that easy to carry… especially if you need to tote them further than a couple blocks. Our Growler Packs can really help. Not only do they make it easier to carry those bottles but they offer padding to insulate and protect your investment. It also helps to keep you inconspicuously dignified as you stroll along carrying a bunch of beer.

Double on the left, single on the right. We make the Growler Packs in Duluth.

When not in use on a beer run, the packs can be handy as a daypack. Other than the foam padding there is little difference from our Mini or Standard Knapsack… They’ll work just fine as a daypack. And being made of waxed canvas they’ll take abuse and raging weather in stride and just keep looking good and developing their own sort of character.

So this year for Earth Day celebrate sustainability by buying locally from a brewer in your area and reusing a growler instead of recycling a bunch of bottles and cans.  

Growlers are normally filled at the same tap as the pints are filled.

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Sustainability – Lunch Bags

Cutting Board
Simple rolled top with a leather closure bag sized to carry a lunch

Frost River’s Waxed Canvas Lunchbag— This thing nearly has sustainability written all over it. Use it for lunch and so much more. It keeps right on working and can even help you out of a messy situation.

The Frost River reusable Canvas Lunch Bag is big enough across the bottom to lay a 20 bottle. The waxed canvas will help to contain a spill.

If your lunch suffers some sort of blowout, the waxed canvas will slow that spill down and help to contain your mess. We have also heard positive reports of the insulating properties of waxed canvas. The lunchbags aren’t lined or padded but the canvas is heavy, substantial and reliable. They’re even popular in Germany.

…If you plan to cook your lunch our cook pot fits inside nicely.

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Frost River Sustainability – Canvas

Canvas — It’s cotton. Our canvas is way more sustainable than anything made of nylon. The waxed canvas we get from Fairfield Textiles in New Jersey is some of the best stuff in the world. Between using that great canvas and quality of construction, we can keep your bag in service for years. Other than shipping costs, most repairs can be done quite inexpensively (free if the repair is covered under our guarantee). We have some expert bag builders here, that also means they are expert bag ripper-aparters as well. Trust us, we can keep your Frost River stuff running longer than any overseas manufacturer will keep your synthetic bag in service. Theirs are disposable. Ours are reliable– and being made of cotton rather than oil, ours are easier on the planet.

Frost River waxed cotton canvas in the color “Field Tan”. It’s what we work with, and stand behind. It is durable, sustainable, reliable.

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CarryOn Sizing

Summit Boulder Jct.

Many of today’s air travelers are carrying their bags on board the plane with them. As checked baggage fees are becoming more and more routine the overhead bins in the airplane cabin are looking more appealing to budget conscious travelers. 

A Medium Manitou and a CarryOn Valise nearly ready for takeoff

Experienced travelers know the benefits of carrying less stuff. Being free of the hinderance of a big heavy bag allows freedom as a person travels. You can be out of the airport and on the way downtown before the luggage carousel even begins turning back at the terminal. Choose your bag wisely though. It needs to be of appropriate size. We use the rule of staying inside 45 linear inches. Length plus width plus height needs to be under 45 inches. This works for most airlines and most overhead compartments. 

All the hard sided roller bags needed to be checked during this flight due to the miniature overhead bins. No match for the soft sided Valise though, it fits just fine.

We offer a CarryOn size in all the different Frost River luggage styles. They are all made from waxed canvas, all feature solid brass hardware (no plating here, and brass will bend before it breaks so the buckles and D-rings are more durable than steel plated hardware). The leather is of premium quality, it comes from Red Wing Minnesota where they make the world famous shoes.

CarryOn options in Frost River Luggage. upper Left to right– Navigator, Flight Bag, Explorer Duffel, Valise, Premium Laurentian, Standard Laurentian.

Choosing your travel luggage is a big decision. It needs to work with you and needs to be relied upon during your travels. You will appreciate the durability of a Frost River bag as it holds together during a lifetime of travel. Also you will like the character your  bag develops and the memories it accrues during a long companionship of traveling together (and it won’t look like everyone else’s luggage).

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Luggage options

A customer recently asked about reviews of Frost River luggage. We were able to round up a couple of articles, one about our Flight Bags and a feature on packs but did not find reviews for the Explorers or Laurentians. So I wrote one and decided to share it here.

Primer Magazine tried the Large Flight Bag and really liked it as a weekend bag. 

The gang over at A Continuous Lean were impressed with our “Carryalls” as they called them. That description pretty well covers our packs and bags, it suits us.

Most of the points would hold up for the Explorer line and the Laurentian line of bags as well. The Flight Bag is our base model, the Explorer is a heavier duty upgrade, the Laurentian is at the top of the line with more compartments and features. The raw materials remain the same throughout all of our luggage. We use the same waxed canvas, the same leathers, the same brass hardware and the same type of webbing in all the different designs. 

Frost River Flight Bags are versatile bags. Waxed canvas constructed, they’ll be around awhile.

The Flight Bag is great for value and economy. There is not too much, but it includes enough. The leather handles are substantial and are solidly attached thanks to brass rivets. The Flight Bag is great because you aren’t carrying anything extra; it’s simply a great bag. It’s got a good shape with a closure and a really nice shoulder strap. The CarryOn is sized for carrying onboard an airplane, it is a weekend sized bag (or suited for more if you are a packing professional)– the Medium is a little bigger, the Large is a lot bigger, the small is gym bag size.

The Explorer is a classic, solid duffel

The Explorer is robust. The strong, wide, web handles go all the way around the body of the bag. If you plan to carry a lot of weight in your duffel, the Explorer will work for you. It could be used as a tool bag, it is strong and enduring. There is one zippered pocket on one end, a grab handle on the other, and a covered pocket on the side, it closes with a leather strap and a brass post. The flap dust cover goes over the zipper and has a snapped closure. It protects the zippered opening and provides a level of weather resistance. There is a substantial feeling of quality when you grab an Explorer Duffel.


Laurentian luggage is stacked with great features

The Laurentian has the most pockets and dividers. The standard has a double canvas bottom, the premium has a leather bottom. It is our deluxe model, we make a CarryOn version sized right for carrying on a plane, the Medium and large are bigger. There can be spots for everything in a Laurentian. It is named after the Continental divide that separates the north/south water flow in our part of the country. The divide is 65 miles north of Duluth.

Overland Valise Weekender

Also be sure to notice the Valise. It is distinctive, full of heritage, has all sorts of leather, and has it’s own class. The buckles and flap cover the main zippered opening, so part of its charm adds security, protects the zipper, and locks out the weather. It will last and develop more character as it ages. The Weekender is smaller –the CarryOn is bigger. The Overland bags remind me of getting dressed in your best for a trip on a train. 

Gladstone Luggage

One of our newest pieces of Luggage is our Gladstone Luggage. We’ve made a Gladstone Toolbag for years, only recently have we redesigned and expanded it to become CarryOn travel luggage. It has great rolled leather handles, a gate  mouthed opening with a zipper, pockets along the outside perimeter of the bag, and twin D-rings. 

We have more photos on our facebook page. There is an album dedicated to Luggage.

Frost River Luggage in CarryOn size. (upper left to right) Valise, Flight Bag, Gladstone Luggage, Laurentian, Explorer Duffel

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Visit to Northland College

We were recently invited to Northland College in Ashland WI to set up a display at their Wildness Week program. Happy to have the opportunity to meet new Wisconsin friends and neighbors, we jumped at the chance and brought a load of Frost River packs and bags.

Packs and bags at Northland College in Ashland. There is a CarryOn Flight Bag on the table behind the sign, an Arrowhead Roll Top, Cliff Jacobson Signature Pack, and a Camp Cook’s Kitchen. There is a Simple Book Pack to the left of the sign, on the floor at the base of the sign is a Simple Brief, an Old No. 7, an Isle Royale Jr. Bushcraft Pack is on the chair.

There wasn’t much of a chance to catch many of the programs going on in the auditorium. But did have the opportunity to chat with several  people as they were going into and coming out of the discussions, and was pleased to chat with students as they made their way to and from class. There was also a chance to learn about some new hiking spots from the Chequamegon Chapter of the North Country Trail Association. They are doing great work building and maintaining hiking trail through the national forest of NW Wisconsin. 

Katie and Dave from Solstice Outdoors also had a table outside the auditorium. They run a really cool shop in downtown Ashland. From them I learned about what’s new with high tech materials for rain jackets and bandanas and was happy to have friendly neighbors with which to spend the day.

Northland College also hosts the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute on their campus. I was happy to have the chance to see some of the outdoor stuff that Sig used.

Sig Olson’s folding and fixed blade knife with sheath plus his Quetico Guide’s License from 1926.


Sig Olson’s hat and pack along with a snowshoe, and voyageur sash that he would wear.

Overall it was a great way to spend a Friday. 

Thanks to Northland College for the hospitality and thanks to all those who stopped by to say “Hi”.