Frost River vs. Duluth Canoe Packs?

Greetings - does anyone have any experience with Frost River canoe packs? I am considering a few different canoe packs but these compare closer to Duluth Packs. Both are made of canvas. Thanks! - John

Ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby
Duluth Packs. There is only one. All the others are just cheap imitatiions. You can handle any trip with these bad boys. You can fit a small mammal inside, if necessary. Utterly bomb-proof. Chicks dig 'em, too.

No true!!!
I’ve actually met some of the people who work for Frost River. I own two Frost River packs and have seen and used about a dozen different Duluth packs over the years. Frost River packs made from untreated canvas are absolutely identical to Duluth Packs, and I’d wager a sizeable bet with anyone who thinks otherwise. There is no patent on the Duluth designs that I’m aware of, and the founder of Frost River worked for Duluth Pack for a really long time before deciding to go into business for himself doing exactly the same thing. The canvas of one of my Frost River packs has an excellent wax impregnation job that I don’t think is available from Duluth Pack, and in that respect, it could be argued that some Frost River packs are better than the “original”. In any case, Frost River is NOT a “cheap imitation”.

not sure
I have used Duluth Packs since 1967. One of my packs is 35 years old and still used hard. I understand that Frost River has some very talented folks, some of which worked for Duluth Pack at one time.

The one thing that they don’t tell you in the catalog or website is the weight of the canvas used in their packs. I have asked politely several times and get no response.

I think the workmanship will be excellent, but the materials are still a mystery.

I own both
I own some both brands. I bought the Duluth Packs when the Frost River folks worked there. After meeting them, the people over at Frost River, and using their products I wouldn’t buy another Duluth Pack. As for the materials, I think the Frost River packs are every bit the equal, if not superior.

Test Driving Both Packs
Thanks for your replies - I appreciate it!

I ordered both the Duluth and Frost River canoe packs in order to check these similar products out for myself. Although new to canoeing, I have been backpacking for 25 years and am a gear reviewer; writer and moderator for a lightweight backpacking site. Being a self proclaimed gear addict, getting into canoeing is making my wife a bit edgy…

At first sight, both packs are very well made. Ironically, I have not weighed either pack, something I do habitually with backpacking gear. I must say, there are lighter alternatives but as advised, canoe packs mainly sit in a boat and not on our backs. Frost River canvas material appears to have a much more oiled feel to it. I suspect this might be better to repel water but we will see. On our upcoming trip, my nephew will use the Duluth Pack and I will test drive the Frost River #3. I think the #2 would provide more than enough room if I stick to my lightweight hiking methods and gear. Anyway, more to follow…

Thanks again! - John

Frost River Packs vs. Duluth Packs
I’ve used both and the waxed canvas by far has more initial water resistance and still breathes. The Frost River packs are made of 18 ounce waxed canvas, not any heavier than the Duluth Packs.

Duluth vs Frost River
I just noticed that Duluth and Frost River packs have the same mailing address at 1610 W Superior in Duluth. Are they now essentially the same company? The overlap in the product lines would suggest it as well.

Enquirin’ minds …