Posted on

In a hurry to get something? CALL US!!

We do a lot of shipping at  Frost River.  Every day we ship packs and bags domestically and around the world.  Occasionally customers are in a big hurry and need something quickly. We are happy to do our best to help, but are not ALWAYS able to make every request happen.  There are times when customers want something, we don’t have it in stock, and must build it.  

If you’re in a big hurry to get something …CALL US!  It’s the quickest way to get results.

We actually make all the Frost River packs and bags here in our shop.  If we don’t have it on hand, we can likely have it ready in a couple days.  But we can’t guarantee that we will get any item anywhere under a tight deadline.  It wasn’t that long ago that we were building all items to order.  There was no sense in offering next day air service because we needed to build what you wanted before we could air mail it to you.  We have come a long way since then– but are still no match for Amazon.   

Thank you in advance for your understanding and your support,

 

-The Frost River Crew

(218) 727-1472

1-800-FROST-84 (1-800-376-7884) 

Extension -1-  for the retail store

 frostriverorders@frostriver.com

Posted on

Frost River Hats

We now have a full line of Frost River hats.  We’ve had standard cotton Frost River hats for months.  They are nice, made in the U.S.A., and come in several different colors.  We have some with a leather logo and some with an embroidered logo.  All the standard cotton hats have “Duluth Minnesota” across the back.  They work great and are cool for summer, they cost $25.

We have tried to make a waxed canvas hat.  And found that it is tough. Ebbets Field Flannels in Seattle Washington makes vintage, historically-inspired, athletic clothing (and now Frost River hats).  We have the same canvas that we use to make our packs and bags sent to them and they build hats for us.  They turned out really nice, the cost is $40. No embroidery on the waxed canvas models, just a leather patch.

A Frost River waxed canvas hat $40.

 

Waxed canvas hat, made in the USA

Posted on

Waxed Canvas or Tin Cloth– a history

Frost River Cap

Waxed canvas is the original weather-resistant fabric.  Long before laminated membranes and PVC coated synthetic fabrics came into style for outdoor gear, enthusiasts were using waxed canvas.  It was nick named “Tin Cloth” because it was so durable.   A century ago tin was some of the toughest stuff around, now “tin cloth” remains durable, reliable, and is the best stuff in the world to rely on to get your gear into, and out of, the northern canoe country.  

Our waxed canvas is dry to the touch, doesn’t smell, and is durable. The wax is stuck down deep in the fibers of the canvas.

All Frost River packs and bags are built from waxed canvas.  They are meant to be used, and guaranteed to hold up when used as they were designed.  All the components that go into our packs and bags are the best.  We put them together with a “function first” mindset and encourage you to use them as an excuse to get outside and put some memories on your reliable softgoods.

Posted on

Solid Brass

Frost River packs and bags are made from the best materials available.  They are designed and built to last for years– the raw materials used in the construction had best be up to the task as well.  We search out, and invest in, the best materials available.  The best isn’t cheap, but the cheap doesn’t usually last.  Solid brass is some of the best material with which to make buckles, slides, snaps, and D-rings.  Solid brass hardware is not easy to find.  Very few companies manufacture solid brass hardware, several make steel hardware and plate it with brass– That’s not what we use.  We seek out, pay a premium for and bring in the best.  For us, solid brass is worth the hassle of finding a steady supply and paying the extra cost, it’s that important.

Solid brass buckle and rivet on a Frost River Isle Royale Pack

Brass is made from copper and zinc– it is strong but malleable, those are valuable qualities for buckles.  They will bend before they fail and break.  Recently we were asked to repair a competitor’s pack that had brass plated steel buckles.  One of the buckles that had attached a backstrap to the packbody was slammed in a car door.  The buckle failed… it broke in half.  We replaced it with one of our solid brass buckles.  We didn’t, and won’t guarantee that it will now hold up to the wrath of a slammed door, but because it’s solid brass it will bend before it breaks so it’s got a better chance than a brass plated steel buckle.  

A competitors pack was brought to Frost River for repair. Their brass plated steel buckle failed when accidentally closed in a car door.  We happily fixed the pack using a solid brass buckle.

Brass is corrosion resistant.   We plan that our packs and bags will be around for a while.  Hopefully longer than a thin layer of plating.  When that layer wears away there is bare steel left.  Canoe packs are often around water and usually end up getting wet. Solid brass buckles are unaffected by water (ever notice that many of the water fittings in your house are brass?), brass plated buckles do fairly well… as long as the plating lasts.  But once that thin layer of plating wears off and the steel is all that’s left– you get rust.  Rust stains on your pack, rust pitting the buckle, and if it gets bad enough, the roller will quit working, the flapstraps don’t work like they should, and the steel will fail.  Solid brass is better.  It doesn’t rust, it just oxidizes.

Brass looks nice.  On luggage and briefcases, brass hardware compliments the Field Tan waxed canvas, it contrasts nicely with the browns of the leather, it all works together.  If you want to keep the brass shiny, there are several ways to polish it and keep the shine.  One of my favorite looks of brass is the patina.  As the alloy weathers from being out in the world it takes on a character of experience.  More than a tarnish, the finish of a well traveled buckle, or snap on a shoulder strap, speaks of travels and adventures that take place in a world of air and water.  Those elements can be hard on raw unprotected steel, but it doesn’t hurt brass a bit.

Brass has a nice sound.  There is a reason horns are made of brass.  There’s a resonance that only brass can provide.  True, it’s not likely the top reason to choose a pack or bag, by how it sounds, but it could be considered a side benefit.  Frost River stuff sounds good.  They aren’t loud.  Your paddling partner isn’t likely to call you out on noise pollution infringing on a wilderness experience because your buckles sound good.  You’ll still be able to sneak up on animals and travel off the beaten path remaining unnoticed with hardware that has a distinct sound.  You aren’t wearing jingle bells as you travel in the woods…. but they (the good ones anyway, the bells with a nice sound) are made of brass as well.

So, how is one to tell the difference between solid brass hardware and brass plated steel hardware?  Visually it’s tough to tell the difference when new.  Brass will sound different, but if you don’t have a sample of each to compare it can be tough to be sure.  The best way is to use a magnet.  Brass is nonferrous, a magnet is not attracted to it at all.  Brass plated steel is magnetic and you will be able to identify it on the first swipe with a magnet.    

The snap on top is solid brass, the snap on the bottom was plated with brass but has worn off in less than a year of pocket carry.

 

Posted on

FireCraft

Frost River Sweatshirt

Being able to make a fire has been vital through human history.  Fire can keep a person warm,  will cook food, and can make water safe.  Being able to make a fire can be challenging  though.  Luckily, there are some craftspeople around who can help.

We have added a new Cookstove section to frost river.com.  We currently carry three models of “hobo stoves” or “can stoves” a portable grill and a campstove.   Two of the stoves fold up and are made of stainless steel.  One is cone shaped, made of titanium, it is not foldable, it is a can stove design.  All of them will burn nearly any combustable, solid fuel– and with a proper container, will safely burn alcohol.  Wood– twigs, bark, and small chunks of split wood burn great as long as they are dry.  Charcoal works good– if you are using briquettes (like for the barbecue) cut them in half, they’ll work even better.  Solid fuel tablets (hexamine, Esbit) can be used, and  isopropyl alcohol works great as well.  There is an alcohol burn cup included with the BushCooker,  You could even use a combination of fuels.  Don Kevilus of Four Dog Stove Company says isopropyl alcohol can work like training wheels for fire building, use it as you improve your firecraft, and to get good at using your stove, then with a little practice you can be an expert with fire.  

The BushCooker is made in Minnesota by the Four Dog Stove Company.  It is shaped like a cone, has double wall construction and with well placed holes and slots will increase the function and efficiency of fuel.  It is the lightest stove we carry, 0.35 lb.  Titanium is known for being more durable to wood fire than many other materials like steel and aluminum.   

The BushCooker promotes combustion, as long as the fuel is small and dry it really burns

The Firebox is touted as being “…a multi-purpose Super Tool for fire”.  It is a square shaped, foldable stove made of stainless steel.  It folds flat and will work with a variety of fuels.  The cutouts on the sides create a unique ambiance whether at a wilderness campsite or roasting marshmallows on the back deck.

A folded Firebox stove

The Magic Flame is of Swiss design and construction.  Like the Firebox, it is a folding steel stove.  It is lighter weight and has a more refined feel.  A European rendition of the “hobo stove”.

The Magic Flame is a Swiss folding steel cookstove

The Two Dog Stove is a big cookstove, it is meant to heat a tent or other shelter, but it would work great to cook on as well.  An internal baffle or shelf prevents heat from rushing up and out of the stovepipe too fast.  The placement creates a disturbance in the airflow inside the stove that makes a hotspot on the top of the stove that is just right for cooking while you heat your tent.  The stove is made of steel in Minnesota, it weighs 43 lbs.

Steel stove made by the Four Dog Stove Company in Minnesota

Slat Grills aren’t really Cookstoves but work great as a portable grill.  Placed over a bed of coals (we’ve used charcoal on the back parking lot) Slat Grills will provide a grill wherever you want to cook.  They go together and come apart quickly and are also from a Minnesota Company.  A new modular design allows stacking and side by side configurations.  It’s a great way to grill on the go!

Brat on a Slat Grill…. looks like it’s ready.

 

Posted on

Side by Side Bottle Tote

New! Carry a pair of wine bottles with ease (and look good while you’re at it) Introducing our Side by Side Bottle Tote

Our wine totes are distinctive and classy, and now they come in a Side by Side.  A Double Wine Tote will carry two bottles of bubbly to a dinner party while wearing overcoats just as well as it will protect two fifths of Windsor on the way into the shack on four wheelers.  We still build them from waxed canvas or leather, now you have the choice of reserving space for one bottle or two.  

Posted on

One of those days

A cold morning at the Duluth Harbor. Birds undaunted by -20 near the aerial lift bridge.

Winter in Minnesota is ….. cool.  We know its coming, the deep freeze, but when it arrives it is still a shock.  Wake up in the morning, look outside and you can just tell its cold.  The frost between the storm windows is up higher than usual.  As the sun rises the light has a different quality.  There are special days where it doesn’t get above zero…. This is supposed to be one of those days.  

Forecast for Duluth

Lake Superior steams in the heavy cold. 

Steam rolls off Lake Superior at -20F

It’s not easy living in the north in the winter, it can be dangerous to people, pets, and machines.  Vehicles sometimes don’t want to work and they are usually slow to start.  It is unique though.  The cold keeps us northerners hearty and strong and there are some who like the cold.  It’s distinctive and different, and it gives us something to talk about in the mid-summer heat.  Today is one of those days.

At -20 the open water of Lake Superior sends columns of steam into the air.

Stay warm neighbors.

Posted on

Frost River Chaps

Our waxed canvas Hunting Chaps are tough.  They are built right to keep legs and pants protected.  They shield from rain and snow, brush and briars.  Chaps protect pants, they save wear and tear on workpants as well as fieldpants.  The wide leg openings have snap closures, the slits come up far enough to take off and put on the chaps over heavy, insulated boots.  18oz waxed canvas is heavy and durable but not unbearable to wear in the field.   

18oz. waxed canvas chaps are built at the Frost River shop in Duluth Minnesota are Field Tan in color. Just as they should be.

Posted on

Insulator… To America!

Hunter Orange Packs

Raise an insulated can in celebration of innovation.  For the 12th (dozenth) design of 2013 we built an Insulator.  We took some of our waxed canvas, sandwiched a layer of foam inside, added a little binding, sewed a logo on it, and attached an unspoken, and hopefully understood invitation.  We invite you to add a can of a favorite beverage and lift it in appreciation of hard working craftspeople who design and manufacture stuff that make life in a great country something to be proud of….. Cheers!  To building stuff that lasts.  To America.

Posted on

Growler Pack

Frost River Coffee

The craft brewery trade is maturing in our part of the country.  There is even one, Bent Paddle Brewing, opening across the street from our shop.  Many of these micro breweries offer their beer for sale in half gallon containers called growlers.  In order to help beer fans transport what they like and crafters distribute their wares we designed a pack to tote these growlers.  We have a Single and a Double Wide Growler Packs that protect, insulate, and make it easier to carry jugs of beer.

A standard glass growler on the left, a Frost River Double Wide Growler Pack, a pint glass from Canoecopia, a Single Growler Pack, a stainless steel Brauler is on the right.

Canal Park Brewery helped us get a hold of some stainless steel growlers.  Called Braulers they are wide mouthed, food grade steel, and should work great for carrying beer whether you are on or off the beaten path.  The jugs will hold several different liquids, just about whatever you want to drink.  The growler packs will work if you’re carrying beer or not, they’re great as a regular pack.