Archival News: Frost River

7/26/2010 Editor’s note: this post was originally written in 2008. Since that time, a new ownership group has purchased Frost River and brought back its line of waxed cotton canoe packs and shoulder bags.

The new site can be found here:


I’m leaving the original post up as a historical marker of outdoor bag manufacturing in the U.S. I am editing title so folks do not confuse current customers searching on Google for Frost River goods.

After a post about Frost River a month or so ago, I received email inquiries about whether FR was still in business. A quick check on their site directed me to this link. Since FR is such a small shop, I figured that they might have gone on an August long canoe trip and forgotten to renew their site license. However, recent emails to the company have bounced back to me and I just saw a notice on the Northwest Woodsman site announcing the closure of FR. I’m trying to collect additional info on the matter (why, closeout sales, future product developments, recommended vendors) so please post any news to the blog (or contact me directly if you work for Frost River and can place a “Vintage” model pack on reserve for me).

Of course, the FR closure furthers my buy-now-because-the-product-may-not-be available-next-Fall-or-next-Month approach to purchasing decisions. I know that Duluth pack offers a comparable style/type of canoe pack (w/a dry canvas finish) but I’m not aware of any company other than CC Filson manufacturing the style of super sturdy waxed canvas and leather rucksack sold by FR (as if I needed four more super sturdy rucksacks before the apocalypse approaches).

13 thoughts on “Archival News: Frost River”

  1. Sad news. I own a few FR items (panniers, Woodsman pack), which are attractive, bomb proof, and were reasonably priced. But at least from the retail side, the business was poorly run: after ordering from the internet, items shipped weeks later without any notification and they never responded to email. Nonetheless, the stuff came eventually, and I would have bought more things from them in the future. Also, I recall the company had a falling out with Rivendell a few years back. I suspect my VO saddle bag is made by them.

    I hope I can find a few more of their items in inventory of third parties, but I think one of their problems may have actually been maintaining sufficient inventory, so this may be difficult.

    David L.

  2. It is a pity. I have FR cycling saddle bag and have planed to by another one. I knew that their site has lied, but did not know why. It is fortune, that i find answer on it question at your blog.

    Vyacheslav Besedin, Russia

  3. Hi. I have some frost river panniers that have never made it out of the box. sadly they’re not the right fit for my bike and I’d love to sell them. anyone have any info or selling these, and/or want to buy them? i can be reached at twosweaters@gmail.com

  4. You might post them on the Rivendell group on google or maybe through craigslist.

    Also, the internet-bob list is a good resource for selling waxed cotton type bike gear.

    There’s definitely a lot of activity around Frost River right now.

  5. Hi there,

    I have been getting a lot of inquiries into the panniers I listed on here as for sale. I sold them a few weeks back. Hopefully there are still some out there for sale for those still looking!


  6. Very sad news. I was about to make my annual Frost River purchase… something from their catalog once a year as a treat for me (and a family heirloom for the kids). This year, it was going to be a big ol’ Lake Superior tote bag, something to take to the farmers market.

    If anyone knows where I might find one still for sale, please notify me at cmriness@mwt.net

    What a bummer. Such great product.

  7. Frost River started when Duluth Pack was sold and some of the former employees didn’t like the direction DP took and went out on their own. Duluth Pack seems the same to me. DP dabbled in waxed cotton a couple years ago and gave it up. Don’t know why. Frost River went out of business and I heard is in bankruptcy but if you look on e-Bay under Frost River there are a few items and an explanation that they were bought out and the new owner is planning on starting operations. My advice would be to buy up what you can if you like the product. Duluth Pack is just as good and since they used to do waxed if you call the factory (look up on internet) they might do something in waxed cotton they will will do special orders.

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