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T-P and Coffee in 2015. What will Inspire 2016 New Products?

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

To us at Frost River, innovation is coming up with new gear using the tried and true premium raw materials that we’re known for, taking what we build with and figuring out new ways to use it. You hear from us all the time that we make the stuff by hand in Duluth, MN, and all of our new products are designed, prototyped, tested and produced right in our shop on West Superior Street. For our new product introductions in 2015, we released new designs every week for the first 15 weeks of the year.

What does it take to come out with new designs every week for fifteen weeks?

It starts with hours of thinking and dreaming, creating out of thin air, drawing inspiration from gear that worked and paying attention to gear that didn’t. It took those midnight ideas, those shapes and bags that pop into your head when you’re driving south on Highway 53, north on 61 to Grand Marais, or Highway 1 to Ely. It takes rolls of TP (you’d be surprised where and when inspiration hits) and endless pounds of whole, locally roasted coffee beans.

Even then, that’s just the start, it’s still just an idea.

It might be on paper, but certainly not in waxed canvas, brass and leather. Drawings, drafts, measurements, angles — they all come together before the canvas is even cut to begin building a prototype. Sometimes the prototype came out perfectly. Sometimes we had to make a couple more before we were ready to share the finished product with the world. Either way, we sewed the waxed canvas, binding, webbing and leather all together, putting in solid brass hardware to make the first finished product.

From there, our in-house marketing team set to work, photographing and writing, creating studio images and photos of the new gear out and about in the wild. We shot over a thousand photos in 15 different locations, spending over 30 hours in photoshop to make 48 gigabytes of images and graphics. Rick Kollath painted more than 15 new beautiful watercolor illustrations and we published over six thousand words in new newsletters and web copy alone. Were we busy? Heck yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

Since that cold and snowy January morning in 2015 when the 15 weeks began, we made 37 new designs in 10 different product categories. In those 15 weeks alone, we cut 35 miles of waxed canvas to make packs and gear for all our orders, spent thousands of hours on sewing machines and riveting tables, and shipped hundreds of packages far and wide.

None of that’s new, it’s what we do. We are Frost River, and we make the best waxed canvas gear you can get — every day.

Lately, We’ve been busy prototyping, testing and working with the new product introductions for 2016. This year the format will be a little different; we’ll be launching new products based on different themes around the 16th of each month in 2016. We’ll have new waxed canvas gear fit for use in every corner of the world, built for folks of all different sorts who appreciate our Reliable Softgoods. So keep a look out, because every month this year, we’ll be coming out with new stuff, starting this coming week. Watch our Facebook, Twitter, and instagram for details and sign up for our newsletter. We’ll keep you up to date with the latest!

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Last Minute Availability


Frost-River-Christmas-Banner-HC3N0147-2You’ve almost made it to Christmas. How are you doing on your shopping list? Need some help? We still have a bunch of great waxed canvas packs and bags on the shelves in the store. The Christmas delivery days are numbered, but there are still options, and help available.

You can still upgrade your order to expedited shipping to arrive by Christmas if you’re in the domestic U.S. and we’ve got it in stock. Pick from the list below, or give us a call for exact availability 1-800-FROST-84

The following list is up for grabs, once they’re gone… we’ll make more, but not likely before Christmas.

Canal Park Series of Totes – Lake Ave., Boardwalk, Aerial Lift Bridge

Arrowhead Trail Rolltop Pack

Isle Royale, Isle Royale Jr., Isle Royale Mini,

Flight Bag – Large, Medium, CarryOn, Mini

Vintage Messenger

High Falls Short-Day Pack

Frost River Cribbage Board

Growler Packs – Double Wide, Single, SlingPack, ZipUp

Carrier Brief and Premium Carrier

Crescent Lake Shoulder Bag

Shell Bag

Summit  Boulder Junction

Bottle Totes

Frost River Stocking

Accessory Bags

Timber Hauler

Shop Apron

Kadunce Messenger Bag

Manitou Shoulder Bag

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, we hope you enjoy the season with friends and family, can get some time outdoors, and know we thank you for the business and support of Frost River.

Cheers from the Frost River Crew!


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Frost River Gift Guide…. all under a hundred.



We went through our catalog and picked out some items we thought would make great gifts. They’re all made in America, all the waxed canvas stuff was made within 100 feet from where this photo was shot (on the production floor upstairs at Frost River). Take a look, pick out something you like, and give it to someone special. Cheers to gifting Frost River style.

  • High Falls -Short Day Pack – a slim and trim daypack meant to stay out of the way and be with you for years.
  • Sawbill Trail Handlebar Bag – Designed to strap to the handlebars of a bicycle but works in a lot of other spots as well. Waxed canvas keeps out the weather, mud, and road stuff. It holds a surprising amount of gear!
  • Cribbage Board – Play a game of cribbage around the Frost River waterway in the BWCA. Board is made in Minnesota and while we don’t recommend navigating in canoe country from a board game… you probably could!
  • Pom Hat – Wool hat, Frost River – Duluth, MN detailing, fun pom on top… it’s a winner for winter!
  • Beverage Mugs – Pottery mugs made in Wisconsin with a Frost River logo meant to fill your holiday (or anytime) with refreshment. We’ve got a couple different styles and colors, let us surprise you, or give us a call for details.
  • Frost River Nalgene and BWCA Insulator – Insulated waxed canvas bottle holder, ready for a shoulder strap or attachment to a pack. “Let us give you a hand with that bottle”.
  • Northern Pacific Mittens – Thinsulate lined, buckskin or waxed canvas mitts will keep your hands warm in the bitterest of wintertime weather. Give your fingers a fighting chance this season. Put ’em in a pair of our mitts.
  • Grand Marais Mail Bag – A handy shoulder bag, great for walks in the woods, errands around town, even works great as a tackle box in the canoe. Waxed canvas works great to keep the weather out.
  • Great Northern Mitts – Prevent “kid wrists” with taller than average mitts! Warm, water resistant, and made in the USA. Palms are reinforced with leather, great for cold weather work.
  • Lake Huron Tote – A no-nonsense utility tote for carrying whatever needs bringing along. Web handles are strong, waxed canvas is water (and most of whatever else you find in the world) resistant, so your bag stands a fighting chance of staying clean and neat looking as you use it. Made at Frost River.
  • RollUp Travel Kit – Carry your travel necessities all rolled up in the Frost River RollUp Travel Kit. With two zippered mesh pockets, a large snap pocket and compatibility with our XP Accessory Bags, this is one piece of travel gear thats great for anyone on your list.
  • Mini Knapsack – Traditional knapsack design, downsized for little loads or smaller frames, this is one versatile pack.
  • Padded Sleeve – Padded protection for a laptop or whatever else needs a sleeve.
  • Ima Lake Cinch Bag – A simple cinch bag that’s built to last from waxed canvas.
  • Accessory Bags – Wide at the bottom, narrow at the top, secured with a zip and available in three sizes.
  • Collapsible Dog Bowls – Offer a best friend some food or water on the go with a waxed canvas bowl, handmade in Duluth. It would also make a great desk caddy.
  • Bottle Tote – Padded protection for a bottle no matter if a fancy Pinot Noir, or apple cider, this thing will add class to any soiree.
  • Sling Growler – Schlep your suds with the insulated protection and waxed canvas camouflage of our Growler Packs. The Sling Growler has grab and go convenience of a single strap and gathered top.
  • Crescent Lake – A cool purse with multiple pockets and adjustable strap. Use it as a shoulder or handbag.
  • Gift Cards – Give the gift of reliability!
  • Travel Kit – A handy bag, sized and shaped for your traveling necessities. Toothbrush not included, but water resistant reliability is…
  • Frost River Zip Hoodie – This sweatshirt is to other sweatshirts what our packs are to other packs… the best. They’re that good, and made in the USA.
  • Waxed Canvas Cap – Tip your (American made) hat to American manufacturing!

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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.