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Frost River Makers

Some of the Frost River Makers with the "15 New Designs for 2015" that they build.

We staff a diverse and talented workforce here at Frost River. Many of the makers have been building stuff most of their lives. We’re proud of the work they do everyday and are happy to promote their efforts. This past winter we designed and produced “15 New Designs for 2015”, we released one (sometimes more) new design each week from the first week of January to the second week of April. This summer, we got all the bags together, along with some of the talented makers who build them for a “class of 2015” portrait. We’ve got a 10′ banner of the photo we can bring on the road to show our reliable softgoods and the people that make ’em.

Great job crew, thanks for your work!

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Bike Bag Sampler

Frost River waxed canvas bike bags
A beautiful morning over Duluth and Lake Superior with a load of Frost River Bike Bags.

On a quiet morning in May, a lone rider stops at the top of Hawk Ridge over Duluth and Lake Superior to marvel at the sight. A Laker makes its way into the harbor, birds skitter by, the sun just breaks the horizon to officially begin a new day. All is as it should be.

Frost River bike bags fit right in on the scene. They offer a universal fit to most any bicycle. Waxed canvas is a great material for bike travel… it’s water resistant and tough. Our leather from Red Wing Minnesota is dependable, handsome, and local. Solid brass hardware is corrosion resistant and will bend before it’ll break.

Lynn’s commuter bike is decked out with a set of Hwy 1 Panniers on the back rack, an Echo Trail Seat Bag hangs below the saddle, there’s a Growler Pack Rolltop in the frame, and a Caribou Trail Bike Bag on the front. We build them all at the Frost River shop in Duluth, Minnesota and guarantee them to last and to haul.

Happy Trails!

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Ideas for Mother’s Day

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

Moms are the original makers. They build us up from the beginning and we thank ’em! Being handcraft fans of lasting goodness ourselves, we picked out some of ideas that we thought a mom might appreciate.

Frost River waxed canvas purse, satchel, shoulder bag, haversack, foraging bag
Made for the outdoors, Frost River shoulder bags work fine indoors, or ’round town.

The Urban Field Bag at left has two handles, a zip top, and inside pockets.

The Crescent Lake Shoulder Bag on the log won’t care if it’s called a purse… it’s handy!

The Small Field Satchel offers compartments, storage, and a leather strap. Nothing new here, we’ve been making this one for years.

The Skyline Rolldown Satchel offers flexibility in capacity, it’ll carry just a little or a lot. We use two types of waxed canvas on this one, 18oz. on the bottom, 10.10 oz. on the top.

Frost River Urban Foraging Tote, made of waxed canvas in Duluth Minnesota
The Urban Foraging Tote, great for collecting as you go.

The Urban Foraging Tote is a big ‘ol floppy bag that’ll help carry a bunch of stuff yet stay out of the way. Works great for foraging, no matter in the woods for wild edibles, at the farmer’s market for organics, or running to the corner store for groceries.

Frost River Circle Tour Travel Wallet. Made in Duluth Minnesota from waxed canvas
Circle Tour Travel Wallet


Our Circle Tour Travel Wallet is new this year as part of our “15 New Designs for 2015”. It, along with the Urban Foraging Tote, Skyline Rolldown Satchel, Crescent Lake Shoulder Bag, and Urban Field Tote, came out in the first 15 weeks of the new year. The Travel Wallet offers more security and an alternate layout to our Wallabee. There are spots for cards and cash along with a removable strap.

We are able to drop ship to a Mom (or anyone else on your list). Just let us know your billing address, your recipient’s address, and when you’d like to get it there, we’ll contact you if there’s any issue.

Happy Mother’s Day! Thanks for your support.


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Pick up your BWCAW Permits Here

BWCA permits in the Frost River shop in Duluth, Minnesota


We are now a Boundary Waters permit issuing station! When you are filling out your next BWCAW permit application, select Frost River as your pick up location instead of the Forest Service office.

Stop by our shop on your way up north. We’ll have permits for you, last minute items, even grab a free cup of coffee!

You can find us in Duluth, right between 21st and 27th Avenues West on Superior Street. The shop is on the way to either end of the Boundary Waters; handy if entering the canoe country from the Gunflint Trail, the Echo Trail, or anywhere in between.

Click here to get a map to the shop and see what’s going on inside. Click here to apply online for an overnight permit.

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14 New Designs for 2014

Saganaga Travel Satchels and a RollUp garment cover by Frost River

750-px-Numbers-2014-New-Designs-pricer-ovalsNew releases from Frost River for 2014. We did 13 for 2013, we surpassed that this year, releasing a total of 26 (various sizes included) New Designs at a rate of one per week for the first 14 weeks of 2014. Some are modifications to existing patterns, like adding exterior pockets to our Flight Bag or adding backstraps to our Explorer Duffel. Others are brand new designs like the Kamloops and Seven Bridges Daypacks. What will 2015 bring…? We’re excited to tell you all about the new “Reliable Softgoods” headed your way.


14′′h x 20′′w x 10′′d.



16′′h x 22′′w x10′′d.



7′′h x 4′′d



8′′h x 10′′w x 3.25′′d



11′′h x 15′′w x 3.75′′d



13′′h x 10′′w



15′′h x 11′′w



17′′h x 12′′w






Sized Small – XL



Sized Small – XL



13′′h x 20′′w x 12′′d



13′′h x 24.5′′w x 12′′d



12.5′′h x 6′′w x 5′′d



11′′h x 7′′w x 5′′d



6′′h x 4”w x 2.25′′d



11′′d x 6′′w x 6.5′′h


18. Shop Apron ESB (not pictured)


27′′h x 26′′w



13′′h x 8′′w x 5′′d



23′′l x 10′′w (open)



44″h x 24″w



15′′h x 15′′w x 5′′d



7.5′′d x 10.5′′h



5.5′′d x 10.5′′h



18′′h x 18′′w x 6″d



13′′h x 15′′w – 5.5″d






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Warranty and Repair Work

Frost River Canoe packs in their natural environment
Frost River Canoe Packs. Reliable Softgoods… guaranteed.


We guarantee our packs, bags and luggage against defects in materials and workmanship for as long as you own your bag. Our products will most likely be in your family for years to come, and we’ll be here to service them. A significant advantage to canvas construction is that it is intended to be repairable. We will repair bags damaged by accidents or normal wear and tear at a reasonable rate (plus shipping). If for any reason you are not satisfied with your purchase and it is still new and unused, please return the merchandise for exchange or refund.”

We do what we say and we stand behind what we do. If a bag isn’t put together the way it was supposed to be built, we’ll make it right. If a piece of our hardware fails before its time, without being misused or abused, we’ll replace it… No Charge. We choose the best raw materials available to build our reliable softgoods. We put them together the best way we know how. We don’t build junk.

That being stated… we work with canvas, brass, and leather– NOT steel, kevlar, or the stuff Superman uses to make his tights. The materials we use are durable, the design and construction are thought out and built right– but they are not going last forever. Use a bag hard, it will eventually wear out. Mistreat a pack, like not letting it dry after a wet trip, it’ll break down, rot and not last. Repeated abrasion over the same area will wear a hole. But one of the great things about canvas construction over synthetic is that canvas is repairable. When a pack has been cared for and the canvas is still solid, we can take take it apart, patch it and get it back into service, working for you.

However… Some bags will not be repairable. Eventually, everything will wear out. At that point you’ll need to start making memories with another bag. The good news is that when it’s time to make that final portage back into the earth, Frost River’s reliable softgoods will go quietly, as all plant and animal matter does…. naturally. The same cannot be said for synthetic materials…. Nylon will sit in a landfill for years and years.

We work in a small, busy shop. While we turn repairs quickly, we don’t currently have a dedicated repair department, the people who fix bags also have other manufacturing duties and responsibilities. We’ll get your repair completed in a timely manner, but please allow us time to work on it.

What to do before you send in/drop off a bag for repair?

This is not what we like to see... Please clean your bag before sending it in for repair.
This is not what we like to see… Please clean your bag before sending it in for repair.

-Empty it out. We don’t want any of your stuff in the bag.

-Clean it. Turn it upside down and shake it/brush it out. We can’t repair a bag with chunks of stuff still in it. You take a shower before going to the doctor… right?

-Let us know what you want done. Tell us what’s broke and what you’d like done. (Sounds obvious but you’d be surprised)

-Give us a little history. How long have you had the bag? How do you use it? How long has it been broke?

-Include your contact information. Let us know how to reach you and where you want the bag sent when it’s repaired.

-If you broke it, sliced it, or wore it out, expect to pay for the repair. We’re nice and we work hard to keep canvas packs out in the world, but repairs take time and cost money. Help us out please?

All jobs are subject to inspection and assessment by our repair team. We will work hard to keep your canvas softgoods in working order and get them back to you as soon as possible. We just ask to please be considerate and patient. Clean your stuff up before you send it in… don’t make us clean it for you. And be good to your bags, take care of them– we’ll stand behind them, but you need to do your part, taking care of your gear, as well.


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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.

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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