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How to Layer up for True Cold in the North

A below zero day— fahrenheit or celsius, it’s a sure sign you’re in a cold climate when the high temps don’t get above zero…

It’s a beautiful time of year— moisture hangs in the air like a frozen veil, ice crystals shimmer, vehicles are slow to start, and the snow squeaks underfoot. It’s unmistakably cold. In Duluth, towering plumes of steam rise from the much warmer water of Lake Superior. It’s gorgeous, but if you’re going to be outside, you need to be dressed for the weather. How do folks survive and enjoy cold so deep that it hurts to breathe? Good clothes, layered right, a heavy beard, and the promise of a warm bed at the end of the day all help.

Let’s take a look at the clothes, we’ll leave the other two up to you…

Layering is key

Several light and mid-weight layers are warmer and more comfortable than a single heavy layer… especially if you’re active in the cold. Big, puffy parkas are great for warmth when standing still, but as soon as you begin to move about and raise your core temperature, you’ll begin to sweat, and will soon regret being trapped in all the lofty warmth of a heavy parka.

To build a system for layering, start from the inside out. Begin with long johns, tops and bottoms. Merino wool and high quality synthetics work best— keep cotton away from your skin in the winter, it retains moisture and will make you damp and cold when you sweat. Keep layering up with more garments made from those good materials, making your way up to sweaters, fleeces, vests, and shackets (shirt/jacket), and don’t forget about your legs, a base layer plus an insulating layer, then pants. Avoid cotton here too. In deep cold you might wear several layers of clothing (five or more) on the top and several or more on the bottom.

Consider a light pair of gloves, for dexterity, coupled with a pair of mitts for warmth. Mitts are warmer than gloves because your fingers help keep each other warm. We use tried-and-true tricot-lined Thinsulate® in the mitts we make here at Frost River. And your Mom was right… wear a hat. We have a selection of great warm hats, both in the shop and online, all made in USA, that’ll keep you warm and a head above the rest.

Materials and fit

Choose your layering materials well, and be sure they fit. The wool vs. synthetics debate rages on. Wool is durable, it works even when wet, and won’t melt around a campfire. Synthetics are more lightweight, generally less expensive, and dry quicker than wool. Feel free to mix and match materials in your layering system.

It is handy, and space saving on a trip, to have all your layers fit together. Plus, you won’t need to take stuff off to put stuff on. You’ll likely need a selection of sizes as you layer out. For example, if you wear a medium base layer, you may need large insulating layers, then an XL shell. Some manufacturers account for layering in the sizing, others don’t, double check and try them on. Keep in mind that tight spots can turn into cold spots. Elbows, shoulders, and knees all need room to move. The more space you have, the more warm air you can trap to keep you warm.

Wool socks are the way to go for the feet, keep an extra pair in your pack for a quick change if you’re out all day. Be sure your boots and liners work with your socks. You’ll get cold with tight fitting shoes. Removable liners in your boots make drying so much quicker. Wool liners are the best, felt works, stay away from cotton. If you have room for a removable footbed you’re feet will stay warmer and dryer by having a bit of air between your feet and the ground.

Jackets and Overcoats

A shell is an important part of the system. Here, cotton can work well in extreme climes. In cold, dry conditions, far below freezing, cotton provides excellent breathability and wind protection. Be careful in waterproof rain jackets that you don’t sweat out in the tight, waterproof outer layer. You don’t want your insulating layers to get damp. Be on the lookout for anything that will decrease breathability, collect moisture, and make you cold. Your shell should have a good hood and a fur ruff works wonders to keep the wind off your face. A ruff even helps keep you warm when your hood is down. It breaks the wind around your neck, face, and ears. Natural furs, like coyote are some of the old standards, because it doesn’t collect ice from breath and snow.

Adjust as needed

Add and remove layers as required by activity and conditions. You won’t need as many layers to stay warm when skiing, snowshoeing, and moving about as you will while being stationary. As soon as you begin to perspire, stop and remove some clothing. When you stop for a break, add some insulation before you get chilled (a down vest works wonders). Having a pack handy will help carry extra insulation. Our Arrowhead Rolltop really shines here as it’s vertically adjustable for volume. Our Isle Royale retains the versatility and adds big buckskin straps, pockets, and a slot for an axe, handy when working a campfire. Winter camping expeditions often rely on toboggans, that’s the best spot to stash extra layers. Favor clothing with full zips, snaps, and/or buttons. You can dump a bunch of extra heat by opening up layers but keeping your shell closed against the wind.

Northern Pacific Mittens - BuckskinHead, Hands, and Toes

Wear a good hat in the cold. We’ve got great American made hats that’ll fit under a hood for extra insulation. For the hands and fingers, mitts are best. Give your digits some company to help keep ‘em warm. Our buckskin mitts allow better dexterity, the waxed canvas provides better water resistance. The Great Northern Mitts are cut to fit over cuffs.

Hydrate and Refuel

Winter is a dry time of year. Add water to yourself, and eat often to keep your energy up.

Build Your System

For staying warm in the bitter cold, you’ll often need to forego fashion and adopt function. Don’t dress like it’s recess on the middle school playground or you’ll literally be one of the cool kids. Bundle up, get out, and enjoy this “most wonderful time to the year”.

One of our favorite local makers of stuff for staying warm in the winter is Empire Wool and Canvas here in Duluth. Kevin walks the line of form and function and offers great clothing to stay “Winter Smart”. The good stuff ain’t cheap, but it’ll last for years of being worn everyday that it’s cold, and will keep you smiling through the worst weather you can imagine. We offer several of his pieces in our store here in Lincoln Park, and he also sells directly.

Happy winter travels!

A photo posted by TACKNe (@countrybreeze_tackne) on

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American Made Outdoor Gear Awards

Frost River has received a “SASSY” from the American Made Outdoor Gear Awards at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.

January 11, 2017 – Frost River has been recognized in the fifth annual American Made Outdoor Gear Awards (AMOGA) in the category of 10-50 employees for its American made, waxed canvas packs, bags, and outdoor accessories. The announcement was made on Day 2 of the 2017 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, Utah. Each year American manufacturers of outdoor gear submit applications for consideration in the national competition sponsored by Kokatat Inc. (, a fellow U.S. manufacturer based in Arcata, CA.

This year’s overall winner is Luna Sandals ( of Seattle, WA. Luna was awarded a two foot tall hand carved wooden statue of “SASSY”, a redwood Sasquatch from California. As a category winner Frost River received a miniature SASSY trophy.

Frost River congratulates Luna Sandals, thanks Kokatat, and encourages other American manufacturers to continue making great products here, along with urging customers to support domestic manufacturing and small businesses whenever possible.

Frost River takes part in the bi-annual Outdoor Retailer Market each summer and winter. It is a valuable and unique gathering of buyers, vendors, brands, and trends across an international audience.

The Frost River crew at Outdoor Retailer with a newly awarded “SASSY” statue. Pictured L-R Alex Messenger, Proprietor Chris Benson, Lynn Hopper, Dillon Malay.

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Year in Review: 2016

A lot has happened in the last 365 days.

2016 has been a big year, and we’ve been busy here at Frost River picking up old projects, working on new ones, some you’ve seen and some you’ll see soon. Always, we’ve been handcrafting reliable softgoods here in Duluth that are fit for the field and guaranteed for life. We don’t often take the time to look back and review what we’ve done, so it’s a great opportunity with the coming new year to take a chance to relive some of our favorite projects, collaborations, introductions and stories from the past year.

Frost River Buckskin Shoulder Strap Detail

Buckskin Shoulder Strap Upgrade – It’s a signature on our rugged, expedition-grade canoe packs, and one of the things that separates us from the field. Our buckskin padded backstraps are comfortable and durable. They were one of our most-requested customizations on our daypack line, and this year, we introduced just that. On most of our daypacks, you can now order our signature, premium buckskin shoulder straps to cushion your carry and haul with class.

frosted-fatty-winner-jump-img_3843In March, we hosted the first ever lift-accessed downhill fat bike race in the world at the first annual Frosted Fatty at Spirit Mountain. It was a blast, with lots of great contestants, speed, thrills and great prizes for winners from us here and from other great partners, too. This coming winter, we’ll be hosting the 2017 Frosted Fatty, too, and it’s expanding. It’ll be even bigger, with more contestants, more races and more awesome. Details here.

Frost River Canvas My State Patches showing all 50 United States. Handmade from deerhide buckskin in Duluth, MN. Available on certain new Frost River gear or as standalone patches so you can sew yer own onto whatever you'd like!

We rolled out our Canvas My State Patches in the spring to great response. We started out with twelve iconic outlines, including Minnesota, Lake Superior and the Lower 48, along with a handful of other states. People overwhelmingly wanted their own states, and we’re proud to now offer all 50 United States as buckskin patches — Hawaii was not easy, but we did it!

The Frost River Voyageur Backpack Crossovers are equally at home on a back or over a shoulder and fit in the great outdoors and the wood paneled walls of the boardroom.

We released our brand-new Voyageur Backpack Crossovers, bringing rugged versatility in a brief-sized and luggage-sized pack that is well-suited to however you like to travel. They’re highly functional, reliable softgoods that serve well in any carrying capacity.
We introduced another one of our collaboration collections with purveyors of fine men’s goods and supporters of cold winters, Askov Finlayson. askov-finlayson-fox-river-briefcaseThey’re an amazing team out of Minneapolis’ North Loop and for years, they’ve continued to bring great ideas to the table and push us to do bigger, better things, while keeping it local in the North. This year’s collaboration was featured in Gear Patrol and Gear Junkie, along with other high quality publications. It’s our gear, built right here, in an understated and bold black waxed canvas. Available through Askov Finlayson.

The Stahl/Frost River Firepit Sling collaboration brings enhanced function and portability to the Stahl Camper Firepit. Features pockets for the 5 steel and aluminum plates of the Camper, plus snaps to keep the sling shut or add a Frost River Accessory Bag. Firepit, sling, and accessory bags sold separately. Photo Alex Messenger

On the topic of collaborations, we worked closely with the good folks at Stahl Firepit out of Portland, OR to make their Camper Firepit even more portable by modifying and customizing our Firewood Sling to complement their firepit. With dedicated sleeves for each piece of the firepit, you can haul your campfire wherever you choose, with room for tinder and logs once you’re there.

Enjoying Bent Paddle Beer on Kelly Lake with Dave and Amy Freeman.

Freeman Resupply Trip – This year has been big for the Boundary Waters. Our friends Dave and Amy Freeman spent an entire year within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and we got the opportunity to bring them some food and supplies right before fishing opener. It was a great, classic BWCA trip. Read up on our resupply trip here, and updates on the Save the BWCA campaign here. Nice work Freemans!

The inside of the Leather Pocket Folio showing cards and limited edition Minnesota Field Notes Notebook in Red. The Frost River Leather Pocket Folio is built to last from premium full grain leather to hold a notebook, cards and more.

Pocket Folio, Pint Sleeve and Skyline Rolldown Backpack – A year of big little things. Whether you’re carrying your passport, Field Notes and Beer, a lot of gear, or all of the above, we’ve come out with some great accessories to pair with the daily grind or once-in-a-lifetime adventures. Check ‘em all out here.

The Frost River Limited Build Two Tone Collection in Field Tan and Olde Glory Red. September 2016

Limited Build of Old Glory Red – When we caught wind of a limited amount of classic waxed canvas made in Old Glory Red, we jumped at the opportunity and made a limited build of our own. In early September, we opened up preorders for two-tone packs built from the rare canvas for one week only. Now they’re all across the world. We’ve got a couple still remaining… Give us a call!

No.382o Sawbill Trail Handlebar Bag by Frost River. A simple bag built for bikes but great for attaching to other packs too with the included straps. Rings at the ends work to stabilize the bag to a bike or haul it by a strap. Hunter Orange body helps to stand out in a crowd, in the woods, or in the bike lane.

Orange Expansion and Two Tone – At Frost River, we’re all about function, and, while Field Tan is the original, most functional of all (more on that here), there’re times when you’d rather stand out than blend in. That’s where our Hunter Orange comes in. This fall, we expanded our Hunter Orange line to include a bunch more products to help you stay visible in the woods, on the trail and on the road. At the same time, we came out with a selection of gear in Field Tan and Hunter Orange Two-Tone for a contrasting best of both worlds. Find them all here.

What’s Next?

There’s a lot in the cards for the coming year, and we can’t wait to share them with you! We’ll be working hard, sewing rugged canvas and leather into reliable softgoods, securing it with solid brass hardware and guaranteeing it for life. What we do isn’t new, but that’s called building on a legacy. We work toward the future with knowledge and skills gained from the past and built on in the future.

Sign up for our email newsletter to be the first to know about all of our new releases, read up on our blogs and keep rugged and reliable in your inbox. We try not to take ourselves too seriously, but the work that we do is serious business. You need your pack to hold, your strap to carry, your seams to stay. It matters to you, so it matters to us.

Thanks for a great year, and cheers to more adventures in 2017!

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Frost River Holiday Greetings

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!

From our family to yours:

All of us at Frost River want to say a sincere thank you for making what we do possible. Without folks like you, people who appreciate quality, value made-in-USA goods, and see the importance of quality materials and heritage craftsmanship, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to build reliable softgoods for you.

Thanks – From the Frost River Team

However you celebrate this time of year, we hope that you are able to spend time with friends, family and loved ones and get outside. If you’re looking for inspiration to get out into the cold, on the water or on a road trip. Take a read through some of our blog posts here.

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Winter Activities for the Family

Hoot, Hoot, Hoo-hOO, to- hoo… “Dad, that was awesome!” in hushed tone. The small group stands still, quiet, skis and poles steady, breaths held for one more Great Horned Owl hoot volley. Smiles and excitement show on chilly headlamped faces. Then an amateur owl reply chorus erupts of “HOOOT Hoo—too yooouu!” and giggles as kids imitate the owl call. Poles and skis get reorganized, pointed down the trail, and we continue our night-ski. A magical exchange on a darkening evening outing.

frost-river-get-outside-with-kids-photo-david-hoole-img_3574With winter in full swing, and a precious few daylight hours available, along with the crush of busy holiday schedules, it can be difficult to carve out time to get outdoors with the family. It’s even more difficult to get out on your own without ditching a zillion other things to do. It is possible, and certainly worthwhile to spend family time outdoors… even in the dark. Planning helps, so does snow, so do headlamps.

Winter Camping – Hot tenting makes winter camping so much more habitable. And our Campfire Tent makes a cozy winter habitat indeed! Yes, it’s extreme in a way, staying out in temps well below freezing, below zero, even more so. But with the right gear and skills, a little preparation, and some confidence gained through practice, winter camping can be a blast! Hot tenting is using a wood stove to heat a tent, dry your gear, and cook upon. Set up your shelter, get the stove going with the stovepipe out through a temp-resistant panel in the wall, and let the warming and drying begin! Most winter campers in hot tents will let the fire burn out at night and sleep cold with lofty arctic sleeping bags. Then re-light the fire in the stove in the morning.

Here in the north woods, we have it easy in a way. Cross country skiing is one of the best ways to travel in the woods. We have snow on the ground much of the winter, making areas ski-able that were hardly walkable in the summer. Plus, here in Duluth, there are a lot of lighted trails, great to get out for a quick jaunt after dinner. Most ski trails are well marked, many are one way, let the kids go on ahead and ski by yourself for a bit of solitude in the woods. “Meet me at the next intersection!” Our High Falls -Short Day Pack works great to stash some gear on an evening’s ski.

frost-river-winter-hike-photo-david-hoole-img_3575A Snowy Saunter – When was the last time you just strolled in the woods at night? With snowcover on the ground it makes starlight, moonlight, and any ambient light reflect around and allow you to nearly see where you’re going at night. Be patient and let eyes adjust and feel liberated from the flashlight for an adventurous night hike. A Grand Marais Mail Bag or Little Marais Messenger Bag will provide a spot to keep a light handy… just in case.

Give a kid some credit!

Youngsters are a bunch tougher than we think. They can often stay out longer, smile easier, and be up for more adventure than we give ‘em credit for. Get a kid their own go-to pack, our Book Pack is made just like a canoe pack, shrunk way down. Perfect for woodsy outing kid stuff. With some practice, a little assurance (chocolate bars help), some confidence, and a mindset for safety, a winter camping or wandering expedition into the wilds is totally within the realm of possibility for you and your crew. Get ready, get out, and enjoy some winter weather this season.

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12 Essential Holiday Travel Tips

There’s a lot going on. The temps are dropping, climbing, dropping, you’re tracking a bunch of packages all at once, packing your bags and figuring out how to get the whole family from here to Grandmother’s house. It all gets a little hectic when you’re traveling during the holidays.That’s why we’ve put together our…

Holiday Travel Survival Guide:

Read on for heard-earned lessons from your traveling friends at Frost River, and our top tips for holiday vagabonding.


1. Give yourself extra time – The holidays are stressful enough. Don’t add to it by waiting until the last minute if you don’t have to. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but you can start with the little things. Get your gifts lined up. Get to the airport early. Get your family road trip going with plenty of extra time to deal with weather and traffic conditions. You’ll be able to be safe and take your time, take more breaks, react to changes and make those extra super-sized bathroom breaks.


2. Check the Weather before your trip – Snow, rain, sleet, high winds, bright sunshine, they all play a part in how you get somewhere, be it a positive or negative one. Take a look at what to expect and plan around it. Inclement weather + Lots of people trying to travel = increased travel time, hazards and headache. Plan for what you’ll be getting into.


flight-bag-low-res-high-color3. Use Carryon Luggage This is always a handy tip, but when there are LOTS of people traveling, it becomes even more so. During the season of flight cancellations and reroutes, overbookings and narrow connections, having a bag that you carry with you can make the difference between getting there with all your stuff and borrowing Grandma’s footed PJs until your bag arrives. Our soft-sided designs excel at fitting in darn-near anywhere, including the overhead kleenex-box-sized-bins on the regional planes if you pack it right. Here are some more tips for traveling with Carryon Luggage.


No. 652 Flight Bag by Frost River is airline carry on compliant.
No. 652 Flight Bag by Frost River is airline carry on compliant.

4. Pack by the rules – This is a followup to the previous tip for carryons. Check your airline’s luggage restrictions before you start packing. There are often rules for how big and how heavy your personal item (the smaller item under the seat in front of you) your Carryon Luggage (the larger items that should go in the overhead bins like our Flight Bags, Explorers or those goofy wheely things some people roll around the airport) and your Checked Baggage (for in the hold of the plane). Be sure to pack within the guidelines to avoid have to repack at the front of the ticketing line or have your gear


5. Plan out your personal item – That smaller item under the seat in front of you is the best place to put your books, iPad, snacks, sleeping stuff and all the things you’re going to want during the flight. Plan accordingly. If you’re reading War and Peace, just bring that, some water and your sleep stuff…You’ll be nodding off soon. Check out our Zippy Totes, Voyageur Backpack Brief, or smaller items like our Shell Bags or Skyline Rolldown Satchel for some great personal items. Accessory Bags make great organizers for your personal item.

The Frost River Voyageur Backpack Crossovers are equally at home on a back or over a shoulder and fit in the great outdoors and the wood paneled walls of the boardroom.

6. Bring Your Travel Tools – A journal, a good book, a phone (with extra battery), magazine, year-end reports, chargers, and ear plugs all go a long way toward making a trip that much smoother. Check out our Leather Journal or Leather Pocket Folio for some classic journaling accessories.


7. Organize – It can be frustrating looking for those spare keys, that little notebook, the checkbook, your passport, boarding tickets, chargers. There are so many little things to lose or misplace these days. Make it a bit easier by adding some organization to your life. Our Travel Accessories are a great start, so are our Satchels and Purses. Accessory Bags fit in with anything and hold more than you’d expect.


The inside of the Leather Pocket Folio showing cards and limited edition Minnesota Field Notes Notebook in Red. The Frost River Leather Pocket Folio is built to last from premium full grain leather to hold a notebook, cards and more.

8. Double-check your documents – This is critical for air travel, and important for other travel means as well. Make sure you have your proper identification like driver’s license or passport for air travel, and if you’re taking young ones along, extra double-check you’ve got their docs, too. Also make sure you have your boarding passes figured out (paper, digital, print at the airport). Again, check the fine print, some airlines make you pay extra to have boarding passes printed at the airport. Our Leather Pocket Folio hauls a notebook, as well as a passport, with style.


9. Get on the Same Page – Communicate with your family and friends that you’re traveling with to make sure everyone understands when and how they’re getting where. Communicate with the folks at your destination, too. It’s a bit awkward showing up early or showing up late. Get on the same page for when you’ll be arriving and if you need to bring anything (other than fruitcake, that’s a given). For extra points, bring along our Bottle Tote with your favorite beverage (if you’re flying, buy the bottle once you’re there).

Flight Bags. Simple, classic waxed canvas and leather luggage and carryon bags made by Frost River in Duluth, MN, USA (Nos. 650 651 652 653).


10. Pack Light – It’s easy to end up bringing more than you need when traveling. A good guideline is to take your gear that you’ve got ready for your trip and leave half of the clothes at home. At the same time, double the budget you have allotted to the trip. Some extra cash can come in handy when you’ve got your car up on a jack in some backwoods town. Our Flight Bags keep things simple and let you pack a little, or a lot.

11. Stay Healthy – Keep yourself well-hydrated and bring along some portable comfort items like teas, vitamin drink mixes and-the-like in a kit with you. Be sure to pack an emergency med kit with all your prescription and OTC meds like Ibuprofen & Beano. An Accessory Bag works great to keep ’em together (and out of sight).


12. Don’t sweat the small stuff – The Holidays are about coming together and remembering what’s important in life: friends, family and experiences. Don’t worry about things that you can’t change, and remember that that one Christmas you had to wear your Grandma’s footed pajamas will make for a great story down the line.


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Holiday Party Gift Guide

It’s the time of year for gatherings…

…of friends, family and colleagues to spend quality time with one-another over delicious meals, games, fun and good conversation. We’ve compiled a list of USA-made gear that’s sure to please and help make the party all-the-more warm, inviting, and waxed-canvasy. The invitations are sent (or are about to be) the menu is a work-in progress, the friends’ll come… Now’s time to get the last-minute handmade softgoods to help make the time even more enjoyable. Cheers to you and yours!

Read on for our Holiday Party favorites, or click here to shop the guide.

Bottle Tote - Single or Side by SideWine Bottle Tote – BYODSBD – Bring your own Double Shot Double Black from our neighbors in craft here in the Lincoln Park Craft Business District: Bent Paddle Brewing Co. – Whether it’s wine or specialty bombers of high quality micro-brew, our bottle totes are up to the task. Sherpa lining offers padding and insulation, while heavy duty zippers and a sturdy, comfy rolled leather handle instills confidence. Also available in double-bottle capacity for double the fun.

Shop ApronShop Apron – Working on a turkey, monitoring the Hors D’oeuvres table, or keeping watch over the grill or campfire, the Shop Apron is a proven performer. It’ll help keep you and your fancy duds clean, plus the pockets are handy for napkins, bottle openers and other tools of the holiday trade.

Cutting BoardFrost River Cutting Board – Made for us in the US from recycled materials by the good folks at Epicurean, these are some of the best cutting boards we’ve used. They’re made from wood-fiber, which means they’re nice to your nice knives. Ours is sized to fit nicely in our thwart bag, and any good little camping rig. Makes for a great cheeseboard. Nice!

Growler Packs

Growler Pack Sling Bag – Heavy duty 10.10oz waxed canvas with closed-cell foam lining, the padding kind not the beer kind, give this pack the oomph it needs to carry 64oz of crafted goodness wherever you need it to go. A grab handle and sling strap make carrying your growler a breeze. The drawstring top lets the cap poke out so you can pour without even taking the growler out – handy!

961-Growler-PackDouble Growler Pack
– Like the sling bag, but built from even-burlier 18oz waxed canvas, this growler pack hauls 132oz of craft-beer on wide web shoulder straps or the convenient grab handle. A padded divider keeps the two growlers apart, while a lid with solid brass roller-buckle closure gives the whole thing classic knapsack style while keeping it classy.

Leather TrivetLeather Trivet – Holiday parties mean good food and tasty snacks. A leather trivet helps protect a table from scuffs from ruffian pots, pans and ceramics, whether they’re hot or cold. Works great as a growler coaster!

Leather Coaster NestCoaster Nest – Like the leather trivet, but smaller, our coaster nest comes with six bridle leather coasters emblazoned with Henry the Frost River Caribou. Leather protects wood from water and glass surfaces from clanging drinkware. Comes with a handy nest for all six.

Lake Huron Tote

Huron Tote – Everybody needs a good, solid, reusable tote. This one’s made by hand in Duluth, MN and built for life. Helpful for hauling the ham and oranges, down-right handy for bringing your dish to the party itself! Cotton web handles and overbuilt construction help to keep the goods in the bag, and the bag in good shape for years.

Birch Bark Log Bag GDT No. 605 By Frost River

Timber Haulers – No party is complete without a cheery fire! Help keep the recently swept entryway clean by hauling your firewood with one of our firewood carriers. Built to the standards of expedition-grade canoe packs, these will last a lifetime. You can read more about our offering of Timber Haulers here.

The Stahl/Frost River Firepit Sling, designed to haul the Camper Firepit and compatible with Frost River XP Accessory Bags. Firepit, sling, and accessory bags sold separately.

Stahl Firepit & Firepit Sling – Bring the party outside, to the backyard, the beach, or the back 40. The Stahl Camper Firepit is a sturdy, made in USA firepit that’s designed to go anywhere, and our Sling lets you carry it, and helps you gather or haul firewood once you get there.

Wine Bottle BandoleerWine Bottle Bandoleer –  Holds and proudly displays three good bottles of your favorite bubbly, red, blush, white or bomber of beer. A stout brass ring quadruple-riveted to the premium leather and waxed canvas body of the bandoleer give you hanging options, so you can put it on your wall, or drape it from the saddle on your ride over the river and through the woods.

Can InsulatorCan Insulator – Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a normal koozie. We call this a Can Insulator for good reason: these are handbuilt from hard-wearing 10.10oz waxed canvas, and insulated with closed cell foam— They actually keep your can cold, and your hand protected from the frigid aluminum. Built by hand in Duluth, MN and guaranteed for life.

Frost River Cribbage BoardCribbage Board – Maybe not the life of the party, but a perfect companion for when things quiet down and you’re sitting around the coffee table with a few good friends. Wooden Pegs included. So beautiful you might want to hang it on the wall. Made in Minnesota.

Flight Bag No.652 CarryOn

Flight Bag – Traveling far to the party? Here’s a piece of luggage that’s just right for a well-thought-out, or decidedly-last-minute endeavor. Heavy duty construction surrounding a durable single zipper opening make packing and unpacking a breeze. No-nonsense design means it’ll work for you for years, and stay out of the way doing it. Ah, the beauty of pure function.

You can also shop this guide here.


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Gift Guide for Gearheads

You know ‘em, love ‘em, and you might be one of ‘em: gearheads.

You may have an idea of what to get them (gear)… but what’s best? What would really get a smile out of ‘em this Christmas?  We’ve got gearheads around the shop and on our lists as well and we’re here to help with a unique gift guide that includes some of our favorites. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Read on for our favorites, or go to the Gearhead Gift Guide to shop all the geary goods.


Frost River's Isle Royale Bushcraft, waxed canvas, premium leather, solid brass hardware -- American made, lifetime guaranteed, rugged perfection.Isle Royale Bushcraft Packs – Our top of the line waxed canvas packs are sought after by outdoors people near and far. The Isle Jr. is the most popular, because it’s just the right size, big enough for an overnight’s worth of stuff, but not too big for a simple day’s outing. It offers great pockets, lash points, compression and there’s even a sleeve for an axe. The full size Isle Royale is larger, the Mini is smaller. All are made at Frost River in the USA.


The Windigo Signal Bag and Sawbill Trail Bag attached to the Isle Royale Jr. to add a bit of visibility in the woods. Made in USA.Windigo Signal Bag – A slim, waxed canvas bag to add capacity and visibility to you and your gear. Hunter orange on one side, classic field tan on the other, the top zips closed, and there are rings at each corner to lash it to an existing pack or wear on its own when you make some backstraps with cord or whatever you’ve got handy. XP Accessory Bag snaps work with some of our other other items to join them together or snap inside a bag, like in the Voyageur. Anytime can be a good time to spot a traveler carrying a handcrafted bag.


The Frost River Voyageur Backpack Crossovers are equally at home on a back or over a shoulder and fit in the great outdoors and the wood paneled walls of the boardroom.Voyageur BackPack Brief or Luggage – First and foremost it’s a backpack. We had adventure travel on the mind when we came up with the crossover design. The Backpack Brief is smaller, briefcase or weekend bag size. The Backpack Luggage is larger, airline carry-on size. Both open wide with a sturdy zipper that goes 3/4 of the way around the bag. The internal zippered compartment offers a padded back that works great for a laptop. An external zip compartment allows quick access to documents and small items when you’re on the go. XP snaps inside allow our Accessory Bags or Windigo Signal Bag to be attached vertically or horizontally inside the bag for storage compartments. Made from waxed canvas and built right above the Frost River store, it’s guaranteed for life, and is a no-messin’-around adventure companion. Great for the gearhead on your list!

Mors PotMors Pot
– One of the best cockpots in the land! 1.8L size is not too big for a single meal, and works great for pairs or more. There’s a bail handle as well as handles on the sides that are handy for cooking and hanging over an open fire. The lid fits tight, the anodized aluminum is tough enough to hold up to hard use in the field, but light enough to carry in a pack. Plus, it’s already black… an open invitation to put it over a campfire and not sweat the black soot. Mors-Kochanski-approved for the bush. This cook gear is a keeper, and like all our Frost River gear is made in the USA.

Frost-River-Blanket-Buffalo-Check-DSC_7279Blanket Roll with Harness
– Who wouldn’t love a fresh, new wool blanket for Christmas? Ours are finished here at the shop in Duluth to 60” x 72” from wool milled by the good folks in Woolrich, PA. The 85% wool blend is warm and durable, even washable (hang dry of course!). A great addition to a camp kit, or kept in the car for emergencies, or just curling up on the couch by yourself or with a companion. Made in the USA, here’s a blanket that will be cherished for years. Swing by the shop to see other patterns not available online.

Growler PacksGrowler Packs
– Padded, waxed canvas bags for carrying a growler of fresh craft beer. If a favorite gearhead on your list is also a hophead (a fan of hops in their beer, lovers of IPA’s) then one of these will be making craft dreams come true this Christmas. Waxed canvas and solid closures keep the beer where it belongs during transport. The Growler SlingPack is especially portable. There’s a single strap for a shoulder, no nonsense design, plus the corded, gathered top allows growler pours without taking the whole works apart. There’s insulation, impact resistance, camouflage (it doesn’t look like a beer filled bag in town, plus is earth toned for the field), and built in waxed canvas beer-proofing (just in case of a leaky cap) all wrapped together in a handy beer carrying bag… Cheers!

Click through to our Gearhead Gift Guide category for more unique gift ideas!

Gear and accessories on the Frost River Freeman Explore resupply trip on their Year in the Wilderness 2016.
Gear and accessories on the Frost River Freeman Explore resupply trip on their Year in the Wilderness 2016.

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Frost River Firewood Haulers

Fireplaces and woodstoves are great at providing warmth and ambiance…

…to chase away winter’s chill, brighten moods at camp or keep a cabin cheery…but those fires constantly need to be fed, requiring frequent trips from the woodpile to the firebox. Our Timber Haulers are here to help! Give a gift of a solid grasp on more than an armload of wood and save some trips this Christmas. The area in front of the fire will stay cleaner when using our Timber Haulers, and so will the person carrying the wood. Duff, bark, and debris can stay in the sling. Carry the bundle with one hand, and be able to open doors with the other. Plus you’ll be able to see where you’re going without wood stacked up to your eyeballs… Handy!

Log CarrierTimber Haulers

Pure utility, a simple waxed canvas sling with sleeves for the included 3/4 inch solid oak dowel handles on each end. It’s long enough to go around a hearty armload of split firewood and rolls up for easy storage. Great for use at home or in the field, the handles are removable so you can re-purpose the sling for other uses in camp when not hauling wood. It’d make a good makeshift mini groundcloth in your winter tent!

Firewood Sling-
Log Carrier No. 615 by Frost River - Axe and logs not included
Log Carrier No. 615 by Frost River – Axe and logs not included

A waxed canvas sling with leather handles and accents— there’s a bit of luxury built in. The corded, rolled leather handles are sturdy and substantial, they feel good to carry. The sling is just the right size for portability and will stand up to as big of a load as a person would want to carry. Hand pounded harness rivets and sturdy nylon thread hold the whole works together. Consider one of our handcrafted Wrought Iron Hooks to hang the sling on between trips.

Birchbark GDT Log Bag-
Birch Bark Log Bag GDT No. 605 By Frost River
Birch Bark Log Bag GDT No. 605 By Frost River

You don’t need a rustic cabin in the woods to appreciate a well-crafted log bag. This thing works just as good for feeding an urban fireplace as it does at a backwoods pot bellied stove. The bathtub ends work really well to keep all the bark and bits where they belong as you haul wood in from the pile, plus it makes for a handy catchall in a trunk or living room when not serving the fire. Like all of our Timber Haulers, it’s made by hand in the USA!

Firepit Sling w/ Stahl Firepit
The Stahl/Frost River Firepit Sling, designed to haul the Camper Firepit and compatible with Frost River XP Accessory Bags. Firepit, sling, and accessory bags sold separately.
The Stahl/Frost River Firepit Sling, designed to haul the Camper Firepit and compatible with Frost River XP Accessory Bags. Firepit, sling, and accessory bags sold separately.

Here’s an upgraded Firewood Sling with longer handles for shoulder carry and sleeves to accommodate a portable Stahl Firepit. You don’t need the collapsible steel and aluminum pit to appreciate this sling (it works great on its own), but the whole rig sure does have a unique and fiery appeal. There are snaps inside the sling to attach an Accessory Bag XP for tinder, kindling, fire starters, or a pair of gloves, or use the snaps to help keep the sling closed. Carry the fire pit to camp, cabin, or the backyard, set it up, then use the sling to go get some wood to burn. A slick system with unique style that’s all made in the USA. Cool! … or hot, or just an awesome way to fuel a fire. Happy camping with better carrying capacity and a collapsible fire pit!

However you choose to haul your wood (or stove) may your campfires be ever-cheery and surrounded by good friends!


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Traveler’s Gift Guide

Travel is the heart of adventure.

It doesn’t matter if scanning a passport at ticketing, embarking on a canoe country expedition, undertaking a wilderness sojourn on two legs, pedaling a fat bike into the cold unknown, or striking out on an epic road trip… even a quick trip to Gramma’s for the weekend… all are great for a traveler’s soul and all-the-more enjoyable with some trusty bags. All our waxed canvas bags are made at Frost River, they’re guaranteed to last, and will get better with age and use. They carry character as well as your belongings.

Take a look through our Traveler’s Gift Guide for our top picks for the wanderer on your list.

Frost River's Isle Royale Bushcraft, waxed canvas, premium leather, solid brass hardware -- American made, lifetime guaranteed, rugged perfection.

Isle Royale Jr. – A canoe pack at heart, the Isle Royale doubles as a capable daypack as well. Overbuilt to endure heavy loads and designed to offer a spot for bushcrafting essentials, the 2-in-1 pockets straddle an axe sleeve on the front of the pack. Several lash points at the top and bottom allow exterior gear storage in addition to the main compartment and pockets of the bag. Waxed canvas construction provides weather resistance and durability. Travel like a woodsman, forget about wheeled luggage, wear your carry on bag. Made at Frost River in Duluth, Minnesota, USA.

Timber Cruiser Jr PackTimber Cruiser Jr. – A canoe pack that’s been sized down for smaller loads, the Timber Cruiser Jr., like the Isle Royale, is overbuilt to endure heavy loads. 2-in-1 side pockets offer spots for a water bottle or change of clothes, while the large main compartment can carry an entire weekend trip’s worth of gear. Soft-sided construction means it’ll scrunch down if you don’t overfill it.

397 Arrowhead 15 Eco by Frost River, a roll top day pack built by hand in Duluth, MN from waxed canvas, premium leather and solid brass hardware. Guaranteed for life.

Arrowhead RollTop ECO – Carry a little or a lot in this capable, adaptable, weather tight daypack. The rolled top allows the main compartment to expand or contract. Waxed canvas keeps the rain, snow, and weather out. The handy ECO side pockets provide spots for water bottles or small stuff with a snap top closure. Long leather flap straps, lash squares and attachment loops provide exterior cargo options.

Summit Expedition PackSummit Expedition – A full-featured rucksack with canvas padded backstraps, traveling with this pack keeps you ready for adventure at a moment’s notice. Carry on compliant with the airlines, this would make a great go-to bag for travels both on and off the beaten path. Lots of options with the Expedition.

876-voyageur-backpack_pack_smVoyageur Backpack Luggage – Here’s a crossover design that works well in the field, on the job, and traveling about. The heavy duty full zipper lets the bag open wide for loading and seeing what’s inside. Plenty of lash points on the outside, along with XP snaps on the inside, provide options for organization and storage. Carry the bag as you want, backpack straps, handles, or an optional shoulder strap let you carry it as you please. Two sizes available, the Backpack Brief is smaller, the Backpack Luggage is larger. Both stay inside carry on compliance for airline travel, carry both!

NavigatorNavigator – Luggage disguised as a briefcase. There’s capacity for both roles in the Navigator. Big side pockets provide room for a change of clothes. The large main compartment has room to spare for personal and professional belongings. Not too big to act as a regular brief either.

p-363-652-Flight-BagSMALLFlight Bag – Cram stuff in or pack neatly, it won’t matter when traveling with a Flight Bag. One large, main compartment holds more than you’d expect. The size and shape promote portability, waxed canvas construction is guaranteed to last. A great bag for weekend getaways and the unique ability to always pack a little more.

Overland Luggage – Our top shelf bags. Waxed canvas, solid brass, lots of leather, all steeped in heritage nostalgia. The Overland Valise and Garment Bag borrow from a different era, a time of more deliberate travel, and a classic sense of style. Carry well, be distinctive, and harken back to a time more golden with luggage like none other

Overland LuggageValiseWeekender or CarryOn sizes with a triple-buckled top flap covering a zip opening. Inside there’s a divider and zippered pocket. Shoulder strap and old world charm included.

Garment Bag – Forget the folding, hang your clothes and carry a first class Garment Bag! Great for suits, good for regular clothes too. Handcrafted from waxed canvas, leather, and brass instills a sense of travel worthy of a trip on the Orient Express, it’ll work wonders on your layover in Cincinnati.

Explorer Duffel BagExplorer Duffels – Durable duffel bags overbuilt for all kinds of adventures. The Explorers offer heavy duty web straps that wrap completely around the duffel body to instill confidence with heavy loads. Pockets and dust flaps help organize and protect your gear, while waxed canvas double bottom gives twice the durability. Add backpack straps with the Explorer ESBs.

850-zippy-drawingZippy Tote – The Zippy is a cross between a tote bag and luggage. A large, heavy duty zippered opening helps secure your things, while also making them easy to get to. An included shoulder strap helps to haul a heavy load, while rolled leather handles make it easy to tote. Works great as a personal item for those things you want to keep with you like your headphones, lunch and a Frost River catalog.

RollUp Dopp KitRollUp Travel Kit – A little bag that rolls up to keep your important toiletries easy to find. Hangs up from a hook, bar, or whatever you sling the snap strap around. Mesh pockets, a spacious pleated snap pocket and XP snap compatibility gives plenty of organizational options. Made in Duluth.

Frost River Accessory BagAccessory Bags – Little bags that’ll carry a lot. The triangular shape that’s wide on the bottom and narrow at the top provides more capacity than expected. From tinder to toothpaste to charging cords, you’ll find plenty of uses for a handy little waxed canvas bag.

Temperance ToteTemperance Tote – Here’s a cross between a purse and a briefcase. The Temperance is handbuilt using rich a leather bottom and accents that’ll get better with age. Handles attach using brass roller buckles to allow adjustment between making it a handbag and a shoulder bag. Organization on the inside, plus a zippered top, make this a versatile bag.

Bazaar ToteBazaar Tote – A big bag with adjustable leather handles, our Bazaar Tote is adaptable from a purse, to a carry on, to a grocery bag… whatever you need to carry, this tote can help. Interior snap tabs bring the sides together. A hanging zippered pocket is there to keep little stuff off the bottom of the bag. It’s a great size, shape, and design- here’s a worthy travel and errand-running partner.

Sawbill Trail Handlebar Bag No. 382 by Frost River

Sawbill Trail Bike Bag – Designed around the handlebars of a bike, there’s capacity to carry what needs to be brought along when traveling with a Sawbill. It also compliments a pack for exterior compartments. Leather straps offer a universal fit, brass rings on the ends are there for extra stabilization or to use it with a strap as a small shoulder bag. Waxed canvas promotes rides in the rain and puddle hopping.

Frost River CapWaxed Canvas Cap – Everyone needs a trusty cap, why not have one made in the USA from reliable and functional waxed canvas? We offer them in traditional 6 panel, and our new, lower profile 5 panel varieties. You can find both in multiple colors. Hats off to American Manufacturing!

Growler Packs

Growler Sling Pack – Bring a growler along! Life could be better when traveling with a bit of craft beer and a Growler Pack can help. Insulated, padded, carry handle equipped for wherever you need to go. Be welcomed more warmly at your travel destination when you arrive with a round of refreshments. Cheers to the holidays!