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Care and cleaning of waxed canvas

754_LC_water_2Bring packs outdoors, they’re gonna get dirty. If you carry a bag everyday it’s going to change (for the better). Waxed canvas has been used for many years without any washing or cleaning. But if you feel you must clean your bag there’s a right and wrong way to do it. Most important is not to overdo it.

The Martexin Original Wax fabric we use is intended to be outdoors and is made to last. But it can’t be dry cleaned or washed in a machine. Those processes will strip the wax from the canvas. Just like you wouldn’t wash a pair of boots or a leather sofa, you shouldn’t wash your pack or bag.

Lightly brush off dried mud and dirt with a brush. Start with plain water for cleaning. Hose it off, gently use a scrub brush, rinse, and let it dry. Less is more. For stubborn spots or stains a mild bar soap, flake soap, or saddle soap may help clean specific areas. Test a small area first.


After several years, if you find the canvas drying out and wish to retreat it, you may re-wax your bag. We offer a wax conditioner right from Martexin, it’s their original formula and should be used sparingly. Warm up the canvas and the can of wax a little bit. Sunshine works, so does a hair dryer. Rub a little of the wax conditioner in, apply a little more heat so the wax sinks into the canvas then let it cool and dry. Repeat if necessary but don’t overdo it, a little is all you need.

The canvas will develop a patina over time; use will bring out unique character and special qualities in the fabric that no other material could offer. Use your bag for years, it will look different (better) than when it was made. Our reliable softgoods are crafted from traditional materials that have lasted through ages, all are built to be used.

The family behind Martexin Original Wax has been making canvas for seven generations. They know their stuff. Most importantly they say “DON’T baby your Martexin Original Wax, wear it often, it is weather-tough”. We couldn’t agree more.

Paddling a wood canvas canoe on the Blackfoot River outside Missoula, Mt, with the waxed canvas Frost River Old No. 7 and Woodsman Canoe Packs and Four Piece Fly Rod Case.
Paddling a wood canvas canoe on the Blackfoot River outside Missoula, Mt, with the waxed canvas Frost River Old No. 7 and Woodsman Canoe Packs and Four Piece Fly Rod Case.

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SB Lunch Bag and Shop Apron ESB

A pair of new products mark number 10 of “14 New Designs for 2014“.



First up is the SB Lunch Bag, we’ve modified the closure of our standard Lunch Bag by adding a solid brass post that works with a slotted leather strap. The combination makes a more solid closure to ensure you don’t lose your lunch during your travels.


Also new this week is the Shop Apron ESB. The Apron itself remains the same, we redesigned the straps to make it more functional. Now the weight rides on the shoulders instead of the neck.


Three snaps offer adjustment of fit at the waist. A leather square keeps the straps where they belong across the back. Both new designs are made by hand at our shop in Duluth Minnesota.

Be sure to check back for more new designs… we’ve still got 4 more to go to make “14 New Designs for 2014”. We release them each Tuesday at and on our facebook page! 

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Bike Bags – Seat Wedge and Trunk

Frost River Bike Bags working together to increase carrying capacity
Frost River Bike Bags working together to increase carrying capacity

American handcrafted quality using premium materials- Frost River’s reliable softgoods are made to be used and built to last. Two of our newest models are no exception. The Fernberg Road Wedge Bag, and the Taconite Trail Bike Trunk were released as new design number 9 of “14 new designs for 2014“. They are fresh additions our full line of Bike Bags.

All are built in our shop in Duluth Minnesota from waxed canvas, premium leather (from Red Wing Minnesota), and solid brass hardware. They have a nod to heritage styling and we work to make them as universal of a fit as possible. Reliability, it’s what separates our packs and luggage from the competition. It’s also why our bike bags deserve consideration to increase the load bearing of your bicycle.

That's a load! Bicycle camping anyone?
That’s a load! Bicycle camping anyone?


The Taconite Trail Bike Trunk works great with our Highway 1 Panniers. It’s a reliable, distinctive way to carry a bunch of stuff on two wheels. The large capacity panniers have a cinch closure at the top with room to expand, an internal stiffener panel to keep the bags off the spokes, and tie downs to keep ’em on the bike. They passed Chica Warrior’s inspection, she reviewed them on the Hub Bike Co-Op’s Blog.

Bike_PackedWaxed canvas is a great material for making bags. Tough and durable, it will last for years; water-resistant, you won’t need to worry about getting caught out in the rain or riding through puddles; distinctive, you will stand out yet blend in because of the field tan earth tone. Also, waxed canvas is sustainable and renewable… it’s repairable and will biodegrade (when its time) much better than nylon. So please, pick out something you like and give it a try on your cruiser… you’ll be happy you did.

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International Shipping from Frost River

The internet has made shipping handcrafted wares around the world easier than ever.  Languages are translated in a click, shipping estimates are calculated behind the scenes so they seem almost automatic, and credit card and Paypal payments take care of currency exchanges.

Reliable Softgoods are shipped across the world from Frost River headquarters in Duluth Minnesota, USA
Reliable Softgoods are shipped across the world from Frost River headquarters in Duluth Minnesota, USA

If you are outside the United States and are shopping for “reliable softgoods” we’d be happy to help you! The website has plug-ins for all our preferred carriers. They can get you a quote in a jiffy. Pick out something you like, proceed to checkout, plug in your country and postal code, and you can get an up to date quote on what it will cost to ship. We prefer to ship internationally using FedEx Express (they offer better tracking service) but will also ship via the US Postal Service.

Duties/Tariffs/Taxes – (a handy calculator) Be advised that many countries will charge you to import items from us in America. These charges vary from country to country, we have no control over the charges and don’t know what you will be charged when we ship your item. An export form gets filled out that states the package contents, value, weight, and origin. We will not list the value at zero or mark it as a gift because we do a considerable amount of international business and need to stay in good standing with customs officials. We need to walk the line.

We have found a handy resource to estimate charges for an international shipment. This website  offers a calculator. We realize the cost to send packages around the world is substantial. We’re sorry that governments taxes the goods we ship to you, but really have no control in the matter. 

Some things we’ve learned: –Canada has been placed at the top of countries listed, not where one may expect to find it in the C’s. –If your country doesn’t have states, try a province abbreviation, try leaving the field blank, or use an x. –FedEx International seems to work best and quickest to many areas (and is more trackable), Canadians seem to prefer USPS. 

You must weigh the costs of shipping and taxes against the benefit of having a handcrafted item made to last for years– we hope you decide to place an order soon.

Thanks for your consideration.

-The Frost River Crew