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Heritage Black Collection Phase II

A whole new pack of bags in black

Black, it’s like field tan for the urban forest. Blending with the shadows, pavement, formal affairs, business and commerce of a modern cityscape. Our Heritage Black Collection of professional and proven packs and bags is being expanded. We have a whole new fleet of bags to offer, all handcrafted in Heritage Black waxed canvas at  our shop in Duluth, Minnesota, they’re specially designed for you and your travels, on or off the beaten path.

Integrity of materials and reliability of construction is the same in Heritage Black and Field Tan. The waxed canvas is weatherproofed by the same folks in New Jersey, the leather is from the same S.B. Foot Tannery in Red Wing, Minnesota, the hardware is still solid brass. We take an extra step with Heritage Black by adding a unique patina to knock some of the brass shine down to compliment the darker canvas. The pack designs remain the same no matter the color. To see the first phase of the collection, released in April 2017 click here. Scroll down to see what’s new for this summer some are perfect for heading back to the classroom!

North Bay Daypack with Padded Sleeve – $205

Classic daypack design that’s made to last for years. Simple, dependable, handy, and true, a North Bay is at home in the woods and wilds plus it works great for school or work duty. The size and shape is perfect for books, folders, and other scholarly things. The padded sleeve does wonders to protect a laptop, and isn’t bad to shield a back either. Capacity and organization rule this roost in this classic backpack.

Voyageur Backpack Brief $275

This crossover carryall in Heritage Black means business. Great for travel no matter if for work or pleasure. We make ‘em to be functional as a backpack first, briefcase and luggage second. The backstraps are well designed with a bit of contour and padding plus they have a web daisy chain to allow attachment of gear, badges, and whatever else needs clipping. Want to carry the bag by the handle or attach an optional shoulder strap? No problem! Just unclip the backstraps, stow ‘em in the handy sleeve at the back and you’re on your way. Pockets, dividers, compartments, a full-size padded sleeve and lash squares are all well placed and functional to keep your gear together. Inside, you’ll find brass snaps positioned to work with our Accessory Bags or Windigo Signal Bag to add more organization no matter which orientation you like to carry your bag.

Itinerant Daypack

Great going to school, down the trail, or off to work, our Itinerant Daypack will keep up with your pursuits no matter if in the woods, on the water, around town or in the wilds. With the practical, portable, design now in Heritage Black, the pack is more professional than ever. Upgrade to premium for more leather and a padded sleeve. Feel the pride of bringing your woods pack to work. Sometimes it’s the little things like that that’ll help infuse a bit of adventure in a daily grind. Made in USA at Frost River.

Sojourn PackSojourn Pack with Padded Sleeve

Classic canoe pack styling updated with a padded sleeve at the back and now available in Heritage Black. Premium leather straps feel good, work great to take a load, and add character to any bag. The box style design adds capacity to allow just the right amount of cargo space for your everyday carry items plus an extra layer or change of clothes. The padded sleeve at the back provides sanctuary for a laptop and/or padded protection for a back. Harken back to a more classic era with a Sojourn in our waxed canvas and leather backpack.

Single Brief

Rugged elegance in a workbag crafted from black waxed canvas with dark leather. Its tough materials and handcrafted construction will last for years and keep lookin’ better all the time. Exterior zipped slip pockets are great to keep paperwork (or a new Frost River catalog) ready at a moment’s notice. Cord reinforced leather handles offer security and confidence that you’ve got a steady handle on where you gotta go. Push forward into your day at work knowing you’ve got a bag that’ll keep up and leave an impression of lasting reliability with everyone you meet.

Simple BriefSimple Brief

Straightforward, clean, and true, Our Simple Brief in Heritage Black is not fancy or showy. It does it’s job so you can better do yours. Black Waxed canvas sheds weather, spots, and stains, dense cotton web provides strength and durability for the handles and shoulder strap. Inside, just as in all our briefs, you’ll find an organizer panel with spots for the utensils and instruments that a person often needs to bring along. All our briefs and bags are made right here in Duluth, Minnesota, just as they oughtta be.

Saganaga Travel SatchelBig Saganaga Travel Satchel

Straightforward, simple, and true, here’s a satchel that’s built to last and carry your stuff as you move forward in the world. There’s a three pocket organizer panel inside along with a big zippered pocket that grants access to the back of the bag as well as up inside of the top flap. Button magnets help to keep the whole works closed. A long cotton web shoulder strap permits cross-body carry if that’s what you like to do. A classic and affordable messenger bag that’s made in the USA.

RollUp Dopp KitRollUp Travel Kit

Keep your stuff together! A toothbrush and toiletries, first-aid supplies, charger cords and adapters, whatever you want to keep straight, this little ditty offers zippers and a big pleated pocket in a roll up design that’ll even hang for convenience once you get there. Heritage Black adds style points and doesn’t sacrifice performance one bit. This thing’ll last, you’ll be happy.

Field Satchel Small or Large

Vertical orientation with plenty of pockets personify the Field Satchel. A long leather shoulder strap takes a bit of training to break in, but soon it’ll learn who’s shoulder it belongs upon. Here’s a haversack that’s part purse, a bit of brief, really is reliable, and  built right in the USA.

558 Crescent Lake Shoulder Large. The Crescent Lake is a stylish purse, bag, or satchel. Available in small and large.Crescent Lake Shoulder Bag -Small/Large

One of our best purses, now available in Heritage Black. Comfortable to carry with the convenience a couple pockets. The bag boasts durability and lasting good looks of heritage black waxed canvas to go along with the can-do, go-anywhere attitude that comes with handcrafted construction. Two sizes available, both are very portable, the large is not too big, the small is not too little, either could be just right for you.

Lunch Bag SB

Sprinkle a bit of sustainability in on your lunch break with a reusable Lunch Bag in Heritage Black. Modeled after a real brown paper bag, the use and capacity are straightforward and as you’d expect. The SB model has a post that works with punched slots in the leather strap to provide a more solid closure than our standard lunch bag. Great for a lunch, it’ll also hold a cook pot, like our Mors Pot, your portable coffee kit, camp snacks – whatever!

Bazaar TotE

Large capacity, adjustable one inch wide leather handles, big and bold antiqued solid brass hardware, a hanging zip pocket, and a snapped gathered closable top— now available in Heritage Black. The Bazaar Tote is a winner. It’s a great combination of lasting good looks andenough capacity to be handy as a hauler, whether you need to carry a little or a lot. Plus, in Heritage Black it’ll elevate your ensemble to a new level of sophistication and style as you carry well.

Boardwalk Tote

Portability, security, and outboard storage hallmark this handcrafted design. We build the Boardwalk Totes right here alongside all our other packs and bags. Heritage Black waxed canvas adds professionalism to the built in utility of our Boardwalk Tote. Adjustable 3/4” leather handles, a zip top so you’re stuff is sure to stay put. It’s big for a purse, but sometimes that’s what is called for.

The Urban Field Bag is a satchel/purse from Frost River that offers multiple zippered pockets and compartments, with a cross-body cotton shoulder strap and lifetime guarantee.

Urban Field Bag

Part tote, part purse, all reliable – The Urban Field Bag is a reliable companion for your forays on and off the beaten path. From the urban 9 to 5, to backwoods trails, waxed canvas sheds spots and stains and develops unique patina with age and use like nothing else can. Invest in a bag to be by your side for a lifetime of adventure.

Vintage Messenger Bags

Our top of the line messenger bag gets an upgrade with Heritage Black. There’s a lot to like and admire with this design— Pockets, compartments, plus your choice of capacity with two different sizes. Each offer plenty of leather, quick release tabs to keep the main compartment closed. The Little Vintage is big enough to be considered a small briefcase, the full size is large enough for bigger laptops and heaviest loads that a busy person would want to carry.


A full featured folio that’s ready for a pad of paper and all your odds and ends. There’s charisma built in with the hearty raw materials and logical layout. Stays closed with a solid brass snap. Now available in Heritage Black, make a statement of handcrafted reliability without saying a word.

Shoulder Strap Accessories

We’ve got Heritage Black Accessories to round out your ensemble. Leather from the S.B. Foot Tannery in Red Wing, Minnesota along with specially antiqued solid brass hardware, supple black deerhide buckskin, cushy closed -cell foam, and premium cotton webbing, this is the good stuff to go along with a new Heritage Black bag or whatever else you gotta carry. A shoulder pad can help cushion your carry. All our briefcases and luggage include a standard shoulder strap, these are upgrades or replacements for existing bags.

Leather Shoulder Strap

Upgrade your cotton web strap with this 1” leather strap. Great for luggage or a brief, or any other bag you’ve got. Adjustable length. Comes with included pad.

Leather Shoulder Pad

Add a bit more grip and spread out the weight of a heavy bag with this shoulder pad. Wide slots will slide over our hardware so you can handle this upgrade at home.

Leather Shoulder Pad with Padded Buckskin

It starts with our Leather Shoulder Pad, then gets a layer of cushy foam padding faced with black buckskin. Premium quality goods for a more comfortable carry.




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Partnering with FedEx – Shipping, Exchanges and Returns

Normally postage isn’t something to write home about, but our new shipping labels are really something different. Exclusively available through our tried-and-true shipping partner, FedEx, these new labels take care of the normal, get-a-package-from-our-shop-to-your-spot duty—

What’s new is the dashing good looks and the handy included return label.

Now, folks ordering within the continental US will have a return/exchange label built-in to their package. What does that mean for you? It means a simplified customer service experience. Ordered the wrong size of Flight Bag? Easy, pop it back in the box, slap on the included return label and drop it off with FedEx. Soon, we’ll ship the right one to your door, and you’ll be off to your adventures! We want to get you the right gear, so we’ll pay the shipping for you on exchanges (not returns, sorry) in the continental US. Here’s the fine-ish print:

We hope you love your new gear. But if you don’t, keep it fresh, we’ll take it back as long as it’s not a custom order, has been purchased within the past 30 days, and is still new and unused. To return or exchange an item, box it back up, note on your receipt your reason for exchange/return and use the return label to ship it back to us. If you’re returning an item, we’ll deduct $10 from your refund for shipping. If you’re exchanging, the shipping is on us. If you’d prefer to ship it back to us with a different carrier, no worries, returns shipped with
a different carrier/label will not be deducted for return shipping.

In addition to helping you shop with confidence, the four foldout panels share our story of Minnesota manufacturing, and a bit about our process and materials— it’s a cool story that we’re proud of— a great blend of efficiency, precision, customer service, and history. Like the FedEx guys say, “This isn’t your father’s shipping label” (especially if the box is addressed to you!).

If you want to see one for yourself, stop by the shop or order something from, we’d be more than happy to send you one with your softgoods.

Here’s what team FedEx has to say about the program. We’re happy to hear that we’re early adopters, and are pleased to be able to make getting your gear out to you better than ever.


Not Your Father’s Shipping Label

Via Stacey K. Seering

Northern Lights District

FedEx Service Sr Account Executive

Frost River, and FedEx are now linked hand in hand with a FIRST in regards to the 6 panel E-Commerce shipping label.  Frost River became the first customer nationwide to integrate Shipmanager and the E-com label which also produces a Return Label on one of the panels.  This great accomplishment was achieved by Speed Team programmer, Keith Thomas, and local Senior Customer Technology Consultant, Bob Tchop.


Frost River sells a wide variety of outdoor products for camping, hunting, fishing, or just the cabin.  However, they specialize in their unique backpacks, luggage, and briefcases.  The 6 panel E-com label will allow Frost River to get more personal with their clientele by telling the customer their story, explaining how their products are made, what their products are made from, their guarantee on workmanship, special offers, details on making a return, and that all their products are Made in the USA.


The E-com label will aide in additional advertising, generate repeat orders, and streamline returns through automatic notification sent to Frost River when a Return label is scanned.  Frost River eventually will turn the 3rd panel on the shipping side into a packing slip which will improve efficiency when processing shipments as the shipper will not need to print the slip separately along with saving paper usage.


Small to medium customers are always looking for an edge over those large e-commerce shippers and the 6 panel E-com label does just that.  This isn’t your father’s shipping label!


Stacey K. Seering

Northern Lights District

FedEx Service Sr Account Executive

President’s Club 2012, 2015; Ambassador Club 2016



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Frost River Pack and Bag Reviews

Reviews are live on and we’d love to hear from you!

~Submit a review on any of our products at (instructions below), now through the end of the month (7/31/2017 11:59PM Central), and you’ll automatically be entered to win an e-gift certificate of $50 to use at

FYI- Each review is filtered for language, appropriateness, etc, so even if your review doesn’t display right away, you’re still entered to win if you submitted it before 7/31/17 11:59pm CDT!

There’s a lot of value in your experience, opinion and impressions. It’s important to us and to other folks who are considering Frost River gear for their daily grind, annual canoe trip, or once in a lifetime adventure. Reviews are a great way to share what you like most about a pack, or tips and tricks on how to use Summit Expedition those lash squares, or how much gear you could fit in your Flight Bag, or how to pack your Isle Royale for the most comfortable carry.

Here’s a couple great examples of reviews on some of our favorite packs and bags. And remember, like in some of the examples below, you can include a photo or video to help showcase your experience. It’s a great way to let the craftspersons who made your bag know how they’re doing, and to let other visitors know your two cents. Thanks, friends, we look forward to hearing from you!


FYI, while we work to not filter reviews, we reserve the right to reject reviews and comments for inappropriate content, language etc.


Here’s how to leave a review at

  1. Use the search bar or menus above to navigate to the piece of Frost River gear that you have experience with and want to review.
  2. Scroll down and click the brown accordion that says “Reviews” – this will expand the review section.
  3. Under “Let Us Know What You Think…” Pick the star rating you’d like to give this product. This will open up the rest of the review options.
  4. Fill out all of the review options you’d like to include. We suggest including the “Title” “Review” “Name” and “Email” and if you’ve got a good photo or video to include, feel free to add those using the links.
  5. Finish it out by clicking the red “Save Review” button to save your work and to help your neighbor with your real world experience!
  6. Cheers! As a thank you, reviews posted before 7/31/2017 11:59PM Central time will automatically be entered to win a $50 e-gift certificate to Thanks! FYI- Each review is filtered for language, appropriateness, etc, so even if your review doesn’t display right away, you’re still entered to win!




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Classic Bike Bags in Waxed Canvas – Video Review

Waxed canvas works great on a bike, and helps to kit out a classic ride (or modern one) for hauling of gear, whether that’s a picnic or a repair kit! Catch a review of several saddle bags that are all made right here at Frost River in Duluth, Minnesota USA. The Caribou Trail bag gives you a choice to mount to the seat or handlebars. The Fernberg Road Wedge Bag stays out of the way because of its streamlined size. The Echo Trail offers capacity to spare, it’ll carry a camera and more!

Caribou Trail Bike Bag No. 388 by Frost River

First up is our multifaceted Caribou Trail Bike Bag – Suited to the attaching to the handlebars or the saddle, or with an optional shoulder strap, it becomes a handy satchel. This is one versatile bag. More through the links here or in the video above..

Fernberg Road Wedge BagUp next is our Fernberg Wedge Bag – Here’s a tiny little saddle bag that hides under a seat. It’s perfect for a micro pump, tube and small set of wrenches. Just the essentials here in a no-nonsense wedge bag

Echo Trail Seat BagLast, but not least, it’s our Echo Trail Seat Bag – Like a cross between the Caribou and the Fernberg, the Echo is built for medium amounts of gear. Add a small camera, or a bag lunch to your Fernberg-sized repair set or haul a half-dozen bananas. However you use it, the Echo sits neatly under a saddle and offers a secure roller buckle closure. Nice!
Thanks to Drew for the talent in the video and the great review at his site…


You can find more made in USA Bike Bags, including more modern styles (still waxed canvas, as it should be) here.


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Made in USA Gear for Backyard Cooking

Got backyard cooking plans? We’ve got gear to help! We all know that food generally tastes better when eaten outdoors, but it’s even better yet when prepared outdoors, too— no matter if you’re in the backyard, at the campground, or seven portages into the canoe country.

Check out some of our favorite outdoor cookin’ accessories:

Shop Apron935 Shop Apron – Our waxed canvas Shop Apron is just as well suited near the barbecue as it is in the woodshop. Keep your clothes clean and grilling tools and sauces handy in the pockets. You get a choice of straps, standard issue neck and waist straps, or heavy duty web shoulder straps on the ESB Apron.


Utensil RollUtensil Roll – Keep cooking utensils handy and at the ready in your outdoor kitchen workspace with our Utensil Roll. Made right here in Duluth, Minnesota from waxed canvas, it’ll last for years, rolls up neat for stowing in a pack, and offers two grommets to allow you to hang it from a nearby tree, stump, branch… whatever you’ve got handy. The long top flap provides security of contents and offers a (mostly) clean spot to prep stuff.


Firewood SlingTimber Haulers – Follow up the grilling with a backyard fire! Our Timber Haulers cut down on trips to the woodpile and a Wood Craft Axe will help you be a kindling cutting pro. Don’t have a fire pit? We’ve got you covered with a great portable version from the folks at Stahl Firepits. Robust yet (fairly) lightweight, these beauties are made in the USA and are collapsible for portability. We’ve even got a sling to carry ‘em in.


Wrought Iron WaresWrought Iron Wares – Iron, forged from a real life blacksmith. Paul Webster has a strong right arm from years of cranking the bellows and pounding iron into wonderfully crafted (and useful) items for camp, home, and fire pit uses. The fire tender is perfectly contoured to wrangle coals and keep your campfire in order. Great for indoor fireplaces as well! There are several of his wares on our website (including tent stakes), more at our store in Duluth. Give us a call to place an order for more hanging S hooks, a firesteel, hot dog roaster, banana rack, and more.


EpicureanCutting Board – Great cutting boards made here in Duluth from recycled wood fibers that are easy on knives and are sanitary through their non-porous washability. We’ve got several sizes in the store. This one is available online and fits fine in our Canoe Seat Pad with Bag.


Wool Blanket – Backyard get-togethers could often be better with a good blanket and ours are among the best. Great for bringing outdoors because they’re made of a durable and warm wool blend! Offers a soft, dry spot to sit on the ground, is cozy across a set (or pair) of shoulders. Add a Blanket Harness to haul your blanket further from the yard.


Dog DishDog Dish – Don’t forget the dogs! Bring a collapsible bowl for a drink and snack for your best friends. Two sizes, both hold water in waxed canvas reliability.



The Frost River Carry On Flight Bag (no. 65) is a classic piece of luggage handmade in Duluth, MN USA from premium waxed canvas, premium leather and solid brass hardware. Guaranteed for life and sized just right, it will serve you in your travels forever.

Flight Bag – Traveling for your cookout? A Flight Bag will help you and your travel essentials there and back again in timeless style. Great travel luggage for great summertime escapes. Start breaking in your new favorite weekender bag now.


Lake Huron Tote

Huron Tote – A no-nonsense tote that’s like an everlasting grocery bag. Heavy duty web handles and waxed canvas, with enough space to haul a hot dish, grill tools, fruit, watermelon, you name it! All that, and a bag o’ chips. Made in USA.


Growler PacksGrowler Packs – What goes better with outdoor cooking than a bit of beer? Choose fresh craft beer from a reusable growler and keep it cool and protected in one of our Growler Packs. Having a growler handy is a great way to make friends and start a conversation around the fire. Sticking to cans? We’ve got Can Insulators and Pint Sleeves ready to insulate and keep you and your beverages cool. Cheers!



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Meet the New Designs: Clutch, Caddy, Lumbar Pack

Summer’s start brings out new designs from the Frost River shop. One offers a way to streamline your pockets- Something your shorts will appreciate! We’ve got a new handbag, it has the speed and security of a zipper, plenty of spots for cash and cards, and carries handcrafted charm. Then, it’s finally here…. we’ve got a great new lumbar pack to offer, just wait ‘till you see what we’ve done to make it among the best around.

The North Shore of Lake Superior is stunning… Rugged, raw, natural beauty where the rocky northern landscape meets the clear, cold water of Lake Superior. The shoreline is beautiful, durable and adventurous. So is our new clutch that shares its name. Handcrafted from waxed canvas and leather, our North Shore Clutch carries its own charm of good looks, resilience, functionality, and grace. The Premium brings extra class in a full-body of highest quality, full grain HH Vintage Boomer leather. Click through the links to get more details on what it can do for you and your stuff that needs to be brought along.

Summertime is here, gone are all the handy pockets that cool weather layers provide. Our new Leather Card Caddy can help you, and your pockets, transition to summer and cut a bit of pocket clutter. The new caddy holds fast to a phone (or other object, via rugged peel and stick adhesive) and provides a slick spot to stick some cards- no matter if for business, credit, or identification. You may have seen something like this around, but this one’s the pick of the litter, the top of its class, none are this nice. We make ‘em with full grain leather, a vinyl backer, and top quality double-sided adhesive for a secure cling. Lay claim to your phone, portable hard drive, glove compartment, tackle box…. whatever, and keep some cards handy!

Possibly the most exciting new arrival of the summer. We’ve been working on this new design for quite awhile and are happy and proud that it has finally come together and is ready for you. The Back Bay Lumbar Pack has several new design elements and technical features that help make it a winner. Straps are secured to the waist belt to cinch and stabilize your gear onto the hips, while load transfer straps can be routed around or behind the spacious twin side pockets.  The pockets feature drawcord tops to secure bottles or smaller items inside. The back of the bag is padded for carrying comfort. There are plenty of attachment points inside and outside to hang and attach gear. It is more technical than many of our other packs, but maintains traditional materials, no nonsense features, made in USA quality, and our lifetime guarantee. Plus, it’s built from our hardwearing and lightweight 10.10oz Waxed Canvas for a surprisingly lightweight pack. Get more details through the link in the Spec Image below.

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Field Journal: 2,000km with the Campfire Tent

In summer 2016, Ulli Mattsson and I paddled two thousand kilometres through Alaska, following the Yukon River from the US/ Canadian border to the Bering Sea.

The longest free flowing river in North America, it is one of the most remote parts of the planet. It was the first river to be travelled by Pleistocene hunters, and the last to be travelled by white explorers. The Yukon’s watershed is over 99% forest and tundra, its population less than 0.1 person per square kilometer. And it is also the longest salmon run in the world, fish travelling more than three thousand kilometres to reach the tributaries of their birth.


The purpose of the trip was to explore how the recent and rapid decline of the king salmon has been affecting the many people and the ecosystems that depend on it. I had been in Alaska several years previously, and had written about how the fishing ban had been impacting the communities around Bethel. Now I wanted to travel the whole of the Yukon River, canoeing downriver at the same time that the salmon would be running up it, to explore how entwined the fish was with the people and the places that it passed.

Frost River Campfire Tent by Adam Weymouth

It is wild country. Most villages have no road access, and except for the occasional flight the river is the highway: snowmobiles in winter, skiffs in summer, with long months in between the seasons when the ice is rotten or still forming, and travel is impossible. For the most part the population is Athabascan and Inuit, peoples who have depended on the salmon run as reliable protein for many thousands of years, and are now starting to question what it means if that run were to vanish for good.


Frost River Campfire Tent on Kings of the Yukon Trip in Alaska photo by Ulli Mattsson

But despite the villages, and the occasional cabins where individuals live remote lives in the bush, we knew that there would be weeks at a time when we would see no one. Self reliance was key; more crucial than any trip I have planned before. I knew that the tent would be at the heart of that. With Alaskan summers being notoriously volatile, we needed something that would be suitable for whatever we might come across, as well as affording us the extra comfort that we would want during several months lived on the river.

We landed on the Campfire Tent from Frost River, and it was perfect.

Its beauty was in the variation that it offered. In hot June days of 30 degrees centigrade, when the sun scarcely sets and it is dry for weeks on end – the interior of Alaska is a desert by definition– we could open all the flaps up and allow the breeze to blow through. The canvas kept us cool and shaded in a way synthetic tents cannot do. As much as we could we slept on sandbars in the middle of the river, far from where we might stumble on a bear. There was fresh water from the creeks, piles of drift to build a fire, vast space and total silence. Camped on an island, watching a 2am dusk that merges into a dawn, watching a moose swimming a channel to the far shore, we felt very lucky to be there.


As the trip went on and we approached the Arctic Ocean, we increasingly found ourselves dealing with driving rain and sleet, and battening the tent down. Our first storm came at the end of July, which is pushing autumn in the north. The cumuli had been building all day, the wind picking up the waves. By the time that we moored for the night the sky was so black it was blue. Camped on a soft mud bar, we had to weight the guy ropes down with stones, with float barrels, with anything we could find. You could hear the rain coming from miles away across the river, like horses. We lay in the tent with the rain hammering the roof, the sides taut and straining, but warm and dry inside.


Photo of the author and Ulli Mattson under the awning of the Frost River Campfire Tent on Kings of the Yukon Trip in Alaska photo by Robert Neu

It rained without cease for two days. We sat in chairs beneath the canopy, we cooked beneath it, lived beneath it. We carried a piece of corrugate that we had pulled from an old cabin, and when the weather was cold, we used it to reflect the heat of the fire into the tent, us in our sleeping bags, our wet clothes hung in the porch. Having spent many a day rain bound in tents before, and knowing the inevitable cabin fever that sets in, the luxury of the extra space to move about was something that we very much welcomed.


Drying gear on the Frost River Campfire Tent on Kings of the Yukon Trip in Alaska photo by Ulli Mattsson

The locals loved the Campfire Tent. It reminded Alaskans of the wall tents they had lived in when they built their cabins. The old-timers remembered time pre-statehood when they had packed similar designs. Camped on the beaches in the villages we passed through, it was never long before we drew a crowd, watching us set up, giving us pointers on the guy ropes. And crucially, it was protection from the bugs. Not just from the mosquitos, but from the miniscule no-see-ums which could slip through the holes in the bug nets we wore, but couldn’t make it inside the tent. I had been told that a naked man, tied down, would last four hours in Alaska. This felt unscientific, but it proves a certain point. Many evenings, the tent was the only sanctuary.


I am more accustomed to hiking, and unused to the space that a canoe provides. But having the space to carry the Campfire with us made for a completely different experience, a tent that felt more like a home, even in the remotest of locations. I’m itching for the summer and more canoe trips, and to get it out again.


– Adam Weymouth is a freelance writer who has worked for a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including The Guardian, The BBC, The Atlantic and Lacuna. He is currently at work on his first book, Kings of the Yukon, about the salmon and the canoe trip, to be published by Little, Brown in 2018. More of his work can be found at & @adamweymouth

Frost River Campfire Tent by Adam Weymouth

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Graduation Gift Ideas from Frost River

Graduation ceremonies are commencing and studious students across the land are being elevated to new roles out in the world. Don’t you think they could use a new bag to go along with new adult status? It would set them up for success and go along with all the training, preparations, enthusiasm, and exuberance amassed through a career of school, now heading onto new courses, into their new vocations out in the world. Work bags, Travel luggage, totes, purses, and accessories handcrafted here in Duluth could help them get head-and-bag-toting-shoulders above the rest. Add a monogram to make their new go-to bag super extra special.


Working in Bent Paddle Brewing Co.'s taproom with the Frost River 898 Premium Carrier Brief Messenger Bag, 826 Padfolio, and 933 Lunch Bag.Work Bags 

Our heritage quality, waxed canvas and leather briefs and messengers set a tone of lasting quality and trustworthiness to help make positive first impressions wherever they’re carried. Job interviews, first days at work, meetings, sales calls… a good bag will help a busy professional stay organized, carry what needs to be brought along, and in the case of Frost River bags, bring along an air of the outdoors. We hold all of our work bags to the same standard as our canoe packs, they’re made to hold up to hard use outside and look great while they’re at it. Waxed canvas is weather resistant and stands up to the working world’s abrasions like a seasoned professional. Experience and character stand proud on a bag that gets better with age and use. The charisma of a good patina sets a tone of honest know-how and valuable lessons learned. Set a new graduate up for longstanding success with a bag that can last through a whole career.

Travel LuggagePremium Laurentian Luggage 

Graduates are gonna need to travel… to and from college, for new jobs, and simply utilizing their new-found freedoms (hopefully vacationing with their own new-found paychecks). Our soft sided luggage, will help to get new grads there and back again in unique and trustworthy style. We craft a full line of CarryOn bags that are great for bringing on board airline flights without  the hassle of checked bags. Waxed canvas duffels are great at conforming to the confines of an airline overhead bin, an automobile trunk, hatch, or pick-up box. Rugged and trustworthy, our weekender bags are refined enough for five star hotels, easy going for cozy bed and breakfast stays, and rugged for travels to out of the way hostels.

AccessoriesFrost River Accessory Bag XP 

 Portfolios, purses, Lunch Bags, water bottle covers, wallets, totes all add to a professional appearance, promote reusability, help keep a busy person organized. Being made to the standard of the outdoors, with a function-first philosophy, Frost River bags can remind a carrier to get outside, and use their trusty work bag on fun weekend jaunts as well. All our gear is made to be outside and designed to hold up to canoe country camping trips, that means they’re at ease on more urban pursuits. No, you probably won’t bring your Padfolio or Heritage Brief on the next canoe trip… but we make ‘em tough enough, so you could!

Heritage Black Premium Carrier Brief

 Timeless styling, hardworking materials, lasting durability, all in a classic carryall – Our Carrier line blends professionalism with the easy going messenger bag. The Carrier Brief is a great base model, blending style, ease of use, and value. The Bike Messenger Bag adds a waist belt to stabilize the bag while on a bike, perfect for commuting to work. The Premium Carrier adds a padded laptop sleeve, extra leather, and two color options, Field Tan or Heritage Black. All are built to last right here in Duluth, Minnesota at Frost River.

Single BriefSingle Briefcase 

Rugged elegance with a perfect blend of waxed canvas, leather, and straightforward layout. There’s a spot for standard sized laptops on the inside and a pair of zip closed slip pockets that are perfect for papers on the outside. Reliable leather from Red Wing, Minnesota dresses up this brief, handcrafted construction at Frost River in Duluth, brings it all together, our lifetime guarantee ensures it’ll be at your side for years. 

Premium Mesabi Range DaypackMesabi Range Daypack 

A brief for your back. Dressy enough for work, rugged enough for the trail, here’s a pack that can and will do it all. There is a padded sleeve for a laptop and just the right amount of space to carry what’s needed but not overburden you on daily commutes. Feel free to upgrade the shoulder straps to padded buckskin leather… It’s a nice upgrade, built just like the straps on our canoe packs.


 A briefcase with capacity to carryover for longer stays, too. The side pockets are big enough to stow a change of clothes, rain jacket, and stuff. Part brief, part luggage, all made to last and keep you moving forward.

693 Imout Bag CarryOn. All of the get up & go of the Frost River Flight Bag, in a round duffel. Waxed canvas utility with just the right amount of class.

ImOut Duffel

 A classic round duffel made from premium materials. Our waxed canvas, leather from Red Wing, Minnesota, and solid brass hardware come together with the skilled hands of an American workforce to create a great bag ready and willing to accompany you on travels near and far. It’ll remind you of those round nylon gym bags you carried as a kid, only these are much nicer.

810 Premium Laurentian Luggage Medium. Great Luggage, premium leather bottom, lots of pockets, lots of class.Laurentian Luggage

 Premium luggage for the greatest of travels. Compartments are the rule with this design. There can be a spot for everything, and a reliable way to keep it where it belongs. Big side pockets for bulky items, a zip pocket on the front offers ready access security, magnetic snaps allow quick storage to the front pocket.

Voyageur Backpack Luggage

 Crafted as a backpack first, luggage second. The contoured backstraps are robust to comfortably carry a load, and stowable to stay out of the way when carrying it by the handle, loading into planes or with an accessory shoulder strap. The main flap opens wide for easy loading and unpacking. There are several lash points outside and Accessory XP snaps inside to allow flexibility in lashing and storage compartments. Need a size down? The Voyageur comes in briefcase-size, too for the daily grind or for service as a personal item.

826 Padfolio. A portable desk– for a lap. Made from waxed canvas and premium leather, with slots for a legal pad, papers, cards and a writing utensil.Padfolio

 Like a writing desk for your lap, there’s spots for papers, envelopes, cards, and a writing pad. Stiffening panels provide just enough structure without undue bulk. There’s a snapped leather strap to keep it all together. You’ll like the way this folio feels.

Frost River's Waxed Canvas Lunch Bags help you haul your lunch sustainably for a lifetime. Made in the USA, usable just about anywhere.

Waxed Canvas Lunch Bag

 Add a bit of sustainability to a lunch break and help promote healthier (and less expensive) lunches to a new graduate with our lunch bag, modeled after a real brown paper bag. Get the SB version if you want the security of a solid closure, the standard version has a simple strap with a friction lock. It works to keep the bag closed, but strap on the SB version doubles as a handle.

Dopp KitTravel Kit 

Moving on to the next stage of an education or the daily grind often involves travels near and far. Help a graduate bring those bits and bobs necessary for good hygiene with a Travel Kit. Heavy duty zippers keep contents secure in the large main compartment and slim front pocket, while durable double bottom, waxed canvas or leather, keep countertop spills out and bottle mishaps contained. Monograms make them personal.

Leather Bi-fold WalletWallets 

We’ve got a couple options for wallets for a new grad… Our Leather Bi-fold Wallet is classic, made to last, and laid out as you’d expect with spots for cards and cash. The Card Holder is all leather, sized to carry a couple cards on each side, and works great in a front pocket. Our Circle Tour Wallet offers the security of a zip and more capacity to carry a bit more. A Pocket Folio will keep a pocket notebook protected and does wonders to keep papers together. For those of us who still write checks, this Check Book cover is among the best around. Feel free to add a monogram to any or all of the above.

Shop the whole collection of graduation gifts in our Gifts for Grads category and find something they can carry for a lifetime.

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Prep Your Canoe for Paddling Season in 10 Steps

De-winterizing a canoe

You’ve heard about winterizing your house, or your boat, spring cleaning, pulling your fiberglass-hulled bass-hunter out of storage, swapping out snow tires for summer wheels, storing your packs properly and keeping your goods in good order…

But there isn’t too much talk about taking your canoe from hibernation to summer paddling season.

Sure, there’s no pistons, no oil, no gas, no plugs, no electronics, but it’s a tool just the same, and there are some important points to take a look at to help get your canoe ready for summer so you don’t delay your all-important secluded summer getaway to pristine canoe country (or wherever you hit the water!).

Tips for Prepping a Canoe for Paddling Season

If you put your boat into storage for the season properly, you likely won’t have an issue with any of these, but it’s still good to give your boat a good inspection; it’s a matter of pride, and it is, after all, the only thing standing between you and the water!


  1. Check for rot or mold If you store your boat outside, especially on or near the ground, there’s potential for rot and mold, typically in wood or other natural materials. Check the thwarts, yoke, gunnels and any other points that were close to the ground or any wetness. If the wood looks like it needs some attention, consider refinishing it, repairing it, or replacing it. When in doubt, check with your local shop.
  2. Check for cracks, deep scratches and holes Regardless of what material your canoe is made from, stuff happens. Keep your boat ship-shape and make sure it’s watertight. Give the whole hull a once-over, especially if there was any incident that might have caused problems, which brings us to:
  3. Think through the history Did your boat wrap around or go over any big rocks? Did the thwart crack? Did you drop it in the middle of a portage? Think through what your boat went through the past couple seasons and take a close look at affected areas, they might need some repairs, and if they don’t you’ll feel confident knowing you’re good to go!
  4. Check your registration In a lot of places, Minnesota included, canoes are considered a watercraft that requires registration. Check your local laws and make sure that your boat is legal. It’s easy, not too expensive and a lot better than a ticket.
  5. Check for stowaways Who knows what’s crawled into the cracks and crevices of your canoe during the long hard winter months. Keep those creepy-crawly feelings at bay by checking for and removing those four, six, and eight-legged stowaways before they meet you at eye level with the canoe on your shoulders or wriggle down the back of your hand on your way to the car. Nuff said.
  6. Inspect seats This is where the rubber meets the road for most canoeists, and you don’t want to have to do repairs in the field. Take a look at the seats and make sure that they’re secure, that the frame is in good working order. If you’ve got cane or webbing seats, ensure the material isn’t dry-rotted or cracking. If you run into troubles, talk to your local canoe shop, consider re-varnishing, re-finishing or repairing. If it’s all in good order, take a look at our Canoe Seat Pad.
  7. Get it shiny Your boat’s been dormant for a few months, odds are it’s gotten some dirt and dust and duff. Make it shiny and keep your khakis their original shade of tan by giving your boat the ol’ spit-shine by cleaning it. It’ll thank you for it, and you and your packs will look better in a purty boat.
  8. Canoe Seat Pad & BagMake those upgrades Remember that dream of kitting your boat out for whitewater, or that day you lost your hat because you didn’t have a bag to put it in, or a strap to tie it down? Think about those little upgrades you wished your boat had and make them happen now. Knees sore from taking the pommeling of big waves? Look at installing knee pads. Bow and stern looking a little rough? Think about skid plates. Portage Pads uncomfortable? Get some new ones! Butt sore from all-day sitting? Consider a Canoe Seat Pad!
  9. Are your portage pads installed? Don’t get to your Boundary Waters entry point and realize that you’re about to embark on a more traditional trip than you planned on… (portage pads have only recently become a mainstay of canoe travel). For whatever reason they came off of your boat, be it repairs, safe storage or upgrade, ensure that you have the pads with you. Your trapeziuses will thank you.
  10. Check your gear and transport materials What’s a canoe without a lake and without a paddle? Don’t forget to make sure your paddles are good and ready and that you can haul your boat to where you’re going to paddle it. Most of us don’t have the luxury of water on our own property, which means we’re moving the canoe from where it’s been stored or lives and bringing it to the water. There’s nothing worse than throwing your Camp Cook’s Kitchen and Thwart Bags into the trunk, getting ready to hoist the canoe to the roof, only to find you’re missing a strap or a pad. Get your gear in order, keep it organized (a zip-top tote like a Brighton Beach keeps is all in order) and put it where you can find it.

Most importantly…

…make a point to take your canoe out, dip your paddle and experience the water. Put it on your calendar, schedule your BWCA trip, grab your PFD and go canoeing. We all need a good paddling after all!

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Heritage Black Collection

Starting May of 2017, a limited selection of 15 Frost River designs will now be available in classic black waxed canvas, premium leather, and hand-antiqued solid brass hardware. Make a statement, of boldness or subtlety, with the wide selection of handmade softgoods from Duluth, MN, USA.

Field Tan. The classic, enduring color of waxed canvas is great in the field. It’s the original way to blend in, offering camouflage among earth tones, and a neutral complement to match most any color you wish to wear with a trusty pack or bag. It’s become the signature color of Frost River.

But modern travels can be a bit different. Field tan still blends in today, performing great in the field, blending in, forming a harmonious connection between a traveler, carried equipment and the natural environment. It’s a definite nod to the past, to the heritage of heirloom-quality goods, a time when each tool was precious and cared for, built right from the start and repaired again and again until all that was left was character. The Heritage Black Collection emulates a similar notion among the professional cityscape, where the earth tones turn to Pantones®. Today’s environment sometimes requires something different to blend in, to not stand out…


…there’s just no substitute for black. What Field Tan is to the natural world, black is to the urban landscape. It’s the color of space, poetry, judges, graduates, formal attire, business and success (y’know Black Friday?), limousines, elegance, bow-ties, and little black dresses, slate, darkness, space, night.

Heritage Black is built for those in suits: of silk, wool, ripstop, plainclothes, fire resistant Nomex®, nylon. You demand performance, premium materials, premium build, durability and the ability to disappear into the shadows of a crowd or stand out in the solemnity of the boardroom. Frost River Heritage Black was built on those ideals. Not straying one bit from our commitment to quality materials, premium solid brass hardware, waxed canvas, and Made-in-USA construction, design and durability, we’ve taken some of our most popular designs and crafted them from deep shadow: black waxed canvas, straps and trim, heavy-duty made-in-USA YKK nylon coil zippers, oil-tanned premium leathers from Red Wing, Minnesota, and our signature hardware in hand-finished antiqued solid brass. You can expect the same resilience, durability, character, and class that comes with everything we build in a whole new style of understated.

Frost River Heritage Black packs offer all-black and antiqued outers (with the exception of our subtle red taffeta), while the interiors offer some field tan accents for visibility where it helps. These packs are built to the same standards as the rest of our gear that only get better with age, and, just like everything we build, they’re backed by our lifetime guarantee so you can carry with confidence.

Black helps you stay out of the spotlight, and that can be a good thing.

The bags in Frost River Heritage Black represent some of that and more: Durability and function first of all- then style, outdoors, and value…Yes, value. Here are bags built to last a lifetime. They could be all you’ll ever need because they’re repairable. Add a patch, replace a rivet or zipper, we build ‘em right here so we can fix ‘em if you break something. These bags are all awful tough to begin with though.
Made for wilderness use, they will hold up in the city, allowing you to blend in, yet stand out, moving as a shadow, subtle yet attention-grabbing. It’s a bit of outlaw elegance with a stoic stance of enduring quality – classy, clean, and solid black.

Our designs remain unchanged. All three sizes of Isle Royales are available in Heritage Black. They still offer the best bushcraft-carrying utility in waxed canvas, with black buckskin padded backstraps and the signature axe sleeve dutifully on the front (have you heard we carry made-in-USA axes?). Twin 2-in-1 pockets straddle the axe sleeve and are sized for the smaller items in your kit like bottles and stoves.

The same utility can be found in the Summit Expedition, with twin high-capacity 2-in-1 side pockets, plus a zip pocket on the the front, one that hangs inside, and a zipped compartment in the lid. That’s all riveted and sewn onto a round drawstring-topped bag and is available with upgraded padded black leather backstraps. It’s a perfect pack for wandering the canyons of the city or the Grand Canyon.

The Premium Carrier Brief is pure professionalism in black. The leather will age gracefully, the canvas will stay sound for years. The durable 2” cotton web strap and bridle shoulder pad inspires confidence, while the padded sleeve ensures you can do what needs doing. A lasting bag, made for adventure at work and beyond— Reliable construction and no-nonsense design makes this a great companion for high-stakes meetings and rainy-day sessions at the local coffee shop.

Our Heritage Black Shell Bags are crafted for long-wearing function. Call ‘em cute, call ‘em rugged, it won’t matter. They’ll work just as hard no matter what you’re carrying, whether it’s your small camera stuff, your everyday, gear for seasonal exploits, or a phone and wallet for nights on the town. Black keeps it bold, yet subtle. Antiqued brass gives these Shell Bags old-school bling.

High Falls – A small pack built for big things and now available in Black. It stays out of the way but can really haul on your back on a bike, for a quick walk in the park, wherever! A Small Wood Craft Axe fits in fine, so does a growler. Great as a day pack or part of a bigger loadout, too. Padded back makes it handy for water, a small computer or tablet and a lunch.

Our Vintage Pack, like Frost River, has canoe heritage in its roots. It’s part of the essence of what we do. The Vintage is sized and built to carry a day’s load, perfect for books, a computer whatever you need. But don’t let its daypack distinction fool you, there’s room here to spare— No problem bringing a change of clothes along, or a rain jacket, your EDC, FAK, AXE, heck you could stow a case in there if required. Frost River Heritage Black brings downtown styling to the Vintage for work, school and beyond.

The get up and go of our Curtis Flight Bag in Heritage Black is perfect for the sophisticated sojourns of today’s overnighter and weekender. This is the bag to grab for your quickest gotta-get-up an go departures. A true go bag, it works great for gear or in the gym, too. The reinforced leather handles are a pleasure to carry and this bag is carry on compliant for most airline travel. The sturdy brass D-rings on each side of the zipper make for a balanced shoulder carry, while a Heritage Black Leather or Buckskin Padded strap pad are available if you desire more comfort.

Accessory Bags – What’s more to say about Accessory Bags? They’re so darn handy. The Small is cigar and charger cord size. The Medium is suited to use as a small toiletry kit. The Large holds more, acting as a possibles kit or carrying leather gloves and a scarf, extra socks, or camera accessories. All feature a zip top with a wide bottom in black waxed canvas, and our heavy duty zipper: they’re made to last and keep your stuff together.

The Frost River Heritage Black Collection brings our hard-working, made-for-the-outdoors, reliable softgoods into a new sort of light. They’re perhaps more refined in appearance, but unchanged in function. From our shop in Duluth, Minnesota to you, wherever you may roam with them, they deserve a spot on your shoulder, in your wardrobe, and among your collection.

Carry a legacy, with Frost River Heritage Black— Made by hand, and guaranteed for life.