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Flight Bags Medium vs. CarryOn

Taconite Trail Bike Trunk

We occasionally get calls to the Frost River shop asking about the difference between the Medium and CarryOn size of luggage especially the Flight Bags. Over the whole luggage line there is not that much difference between the two sizes but it really is close between the Flight Bags. We compared the two in a video Review.

Frost River Flight Bags- Medium on the left CarryOn on the right.


Dimensionally two inches in height and two inches in length separate the two. They are both soft sided and that could come in handy anytime you needed to squeeze a bag into a tight spot. If a little “wiggle room” was left inside the bag the Medium could conceivably be crammed into the carry-on box at the ticket counter.  

Comparing the bottoms… The Medium Flight Bag on the right is two inches longer than the CarryOn on the left.




When designing all of our CarryOn bags we used 45 linear inches as a standard for sizing. Airline requirements vary for permitted sizes for bags carried on the plane. We set our CarryOn size at the lowest common denominator (we encourage you double check the requirements of your airline, we make no guarantee our CarryOn will work on every airplane every time). Measuring 44″ length plus width plus height, the CarryOn Flight Bag comes in slightly under max size. The Medium Flight Bag is a little over at 48 linear inches. 

Both of these Flight bags have the same amount of stuffing to demonstrate the internal volume difference. the Medium at the top is understuffed. Traveling with a little empty space could make the difference between a Medium Flight Bag that gets carried on and one that becomes a checked bag. Notice the  D-rings for the shoulder strap are on opposing sides of the zipper? That arrangement makes the bag more balanced when carried by the strap.  Shoulder strap upgrade


The Flight Bags represent solid value and stand up well as travel luggage. There are no extra pockets or compartments inside. That keeps the weight to a minimum and keeps cost down as well. They are made of our heavyweight 18oz waxed cotton canvas at our shop in Duluth Minnesota. They are simple, built to last, and distinctive.

We are building fresh Flight Bags all the time, you can order yours here



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Shoulder Strap Upgrades

Explorer Duffel ESB

The shoulder straps we build for our “Reliable Softgoods” are some of the best in the world. The premium bridle leather on our canoe packs is combined with the dense foam padding and faced with buckskin, they are distinctive, durable, and comfortably functional.

Frost River’s Old No.3 equipped with our standard padded leather backstraps


The 2″ shoulder strap on the Frost River Flight Bag is connected by a solid snap hook and brass D-ring. There is a square piece of reinforcement leather backing the D-ring and the connection is also riveted



The web used on all the shoulder straps for our briefcases and luggage is wide, substantial, and will remain in service for years. All the hardware is solid brass.

We take pride in offering the best. We cut no corners on materials or in manufacturing.








Customers have requested we make shoulder straps for the briefcases and luggage that are like our canoe pack backstraps. It’s a great idea, we offer new options to oblige.

We now have a Bridle Leather Pad in four different sizes to be used with our shoulder bags, briefcases, or luggage. Sized from three quarter to two inches, the pads will slide over our attached hardware and can be used to spread out the weight of a bag over a wider portion of the shoulder. Also it will also do wonders to provide extra traction working to eliminate a bag slipping off the shoulder. Designed to work great on an everyday bag, it is low profile to stay out of the way, it works to improve the function and style of any shoulder strap.

A buckskin padded Strap Accessory on a Frost River Single Brief

For heavier duty applications we also have a Padded Buckskin premium version. They are built from the same recipe we’ve successfully used for years on our canoe packs we are excited to offer them for use on our other bags. Padded and faced with buckskin, it will help to take the pain out of a heavy load.  


Solid brass and cotton web, we have replacement straps ready to go

All of our replacement parts are made of the same prime materials we use on the original equipment. The snap hooks, slides, D-rings, machine rivets, posts, buckles, and button snaps are all solid brass. They won’t rust when exposed to water (like in a canoe, camping in the rain), brass will bend before it breaks (as if accidentally slammed in car door), and there is no plating to wear off. Few bag builders use solid brass hardware, most will have steel hardware plated. If you’re curious about the competition’s composition take a magnet to the hardware. Theirs will stick, ours won’t. Solid brass is more expensive to use and more difficult to source, but it is better than plated steel for use on packs and bags that are meant to last a lifetime. 

Just like Frost River– it’s the best. Reliable Softgoods. 







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Wrought Iron Wares

We have some new items available in the Cabin Accessories department. Handcrafted hangers, a dinner bell, a fire tender, and a t.p. rack. All are made of iron– forged in a smithy by Paul Webster and his apprentice blacksmiths of the Green Fire Forge and Forging Community. We’ve been working with Paul for years, offering his line of wrought iron wares in our store in Duluth, now we are able to bring an offering of these distinctive and robust items here.

Handmade by a real blacksmith, these are the real thing. Large, Medium, and Small Hooks, a “leaf” t.p. rack for the bathroom, a triangular dinner bell with clanger, and a Firetender with a hook on one end and bend for a handle.

This stuff is not novel or dainty, it is better in every way than what you could buy from mass production. The forging process creates a stronger and more robust metal than a cheap casting could create. Paul explains how he makes the items and how the heating and quenching, pounding, bending, tapering, and working the steel aligns internal structures and makes it superior to how it was before. This is real deal stuff from a real blacksmith who lives and works near our shop in Duluth. He’s got big arms from swinging hammers and his hands are well used and durable. As rough as blacksmithing can be, Paul is able to achieve surprising detail and artistic talent.

The handle of the “Clanger” for the Dinner Bell is crafted with twists and a loop. It is all done the traditional blacksmith way, heated in a forge and pounded by hand.


The “leaf” from the t.p. rack shows a surprising detail. This is old world artistry compliments of Paul the Blacksmith


Blacksmiths know their fire. This firetender has great angles, it would work great for arranging wood in a campfire or fireplace. The handle design makes a good cool grip.

You can find these items on our Frost River website under “Cabin Accessories“. We also carry handmade iron tent stakes made by Paul and his apprentices.