The six segment of our new “Locally Grown Series“ – and the last for this first season.
This series highlights some of our local heros: awesome people from the Duluth area, doing cool things, that happen to carry a Duluth Pack.
Read along as we meet these people and share their stories:
Chris is a professional curler who has competed at an Olympic level. He is Duluth born and raised and grew up traipsing around Lester Park. “There is everything to do here. Swimming, biking, hiking… Family get togethers. It was the place where our parents would let us bike to as a kid. It seemed a lot bigger then,” says Chris about the park. “Every season there is something cool and pretty about Lester.”
Hobbies include lots of hiking (he has nearly hiked the entire length of the Superior Hiking Trail), mountain biking, curling and snow boarding. As an outdoorsy guy, he’s known of Duluth Pack his entire life. The red canoe pack pictured above was passed down to him from his Dad. It was the pack they would take on their trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. It still goes out every once in awhile. Chris’s family is so accustomed to Duluth Pack’s, he mentioned recently finding a few of our duffels inside of a duffel in an old family shed that had been locked for years. They were dirty but he washed them up and now they’re good as new!
Some of Chris’ favorite spots on the Northshore are Bean and Bear Lake and Kadunce River: “I just love northern Minnesota. If we had mountains, we’d have to gate this place up probably.”
We’re glad to have Chris as a friend of Duluth Pack. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us!
We received an amazing letter along with a pack for repairs:
“Dear Duluth Pack Company:
Here is my beloved Duluth Pack backpack, which has been my faithful companion for more than 10 years now.
This pack and I started out together during my youth in Esko, Minnesota. It’s seen me through high school, Boy Scouting, and college… It’s seen me down the trail, up the river and through the Boundary Waters… It’s seen me down the road from coast to coast and through 8 months of Gypsy-living while we relocated our farm, veterinary practice and family across 1,000 miles to the countryside south of Nashville. I look forward to many more years with this pack.
As you can see, over the years and the many miles it’s developed a rip near the zipper towards the top of the main compartment. I had it safety-pinned together for a time, but it became evident that it needed to be sent in for repairs. I’m confident your master craftsmen will have it ship-shape in short order – and I sincerely hope so, since it’s hard to part with it, even for a time.
Nashville is my home, now, but I will always be proud of the Northland, the land of my birth and my raising, especially as long as Duluth Pack keeps up its excellent work. Thank you for continuing to hold yourself to such excellent standards of quality and customer service. I’ll always be happy to tell anyone who’ll listen that Duluth Pack is bar-none the best place to go for gear.
Thanks for being such a wonderful fan, John! We appreciate you and wish you the best of luck and happiness in Nashville!
We got this note with a Classic Carry-On for repair.
Love the bag!
It’s been to seventeen countries, and scraped along on cars, bikes, trains, trucks, buses, boats, and a host of others.
Did you know its the perfect size to carry a 24 pack of beer? A case of wine or a weeks worth of groceries, as well.
Anyway, its the metal bits that have worn out. D-Rings, snaps on handles, and clips for shoulder stap.
I hope you can fix it and get it back to me as soon as you can.
I sort of miss it already.
Thankfully those parts are guaranteed for life so Jason’s repair is free. We got it back to him ASAP. Thanks for being a fan, Jason!
Today we received a package covered in dinosaur stickers. On the inside was a loved Standard Daypack – Backpack, and this note:
“Dear Duluth Pack Craftspeople,
When this backpack was given to me as a birthday gift in 2007, I did not realize that it would become an essential life companion throughout the following 6 years! So far it has:
- Attended the U of M – Twin Cities, completing a B.S. in Ecology, Evolution & Behavior
- Lived in Hawaii for 6 months
- Traveled throughout South American and Europe
- Performed conservation research in Nebrascka (not as bad as it sounds…!), Costa Rica, The Galapagos Islands and Trinidad & Tobago.
It has been extremely well-loved and well-used! I could not have had a better bag throughout all of these experiences.
I want to thank you for crafting such an exceptional piece of equipment and for fixing this zipper so that I can continue brining my travel buddy & field assistnat on future excursions!
P.S. It likes to go rock-climbing, too!
Thanks for sharing this great story with us, Jordan! Enjoy your new zipper, and keep up with the amazing travels!
Year after year, parents spend money on brand new backpacks that might last a few months. We’ve managed to make a backpack that will last their whole school career and more. But don’t just take our word for it….here’s what a few of our satisfied customers had to say:
“I received this (in navy blue) as a gift over 10 years ago. It is still in excellent condition after being my primary book bag through both college and grad school (and a lot of traveling). It’s been through a lot but remains completely in tact and the color hasn’t faded either.” ~Kristen
“We were tired of buying new backpacks for our kids…there were always broken zippers, not big enough packs and just wearing out all the time. We took the kids to Duluth Pack and let them pick their colors and they have had them ever since. Actually we had to get a larger one as our daughter hit high school. It’s off to college with her in the fall! Thanks for a great product!” ~dkstebe
“I was sick and tired of replacing both of our kids school packs every year. Zippers were broken on all of the old style cheap ones within three months. I decided to spend a little more and get them good ones. 5 years later and they are still like new. A little cleaning now and then but like new. Bullet proof zippers, couldn’t break them if you tried. GREAT PRODUCT, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK AND MAKING THEM IN USA.” ~Tom
“I purchased this back pack for my daughter for elementary school 12 years ago. After the abuse it took on the bus, the playground, in the snow, rain and mud… it still looks good and is used almost daily. Another fantastic item from Duluth Pack.” ~lyndbrd
“12 years ago my parents became tired of purchasing a new backpack for me each school year as each became destroyed with daily use. A friend lent us the Duluth Pack catalog and we haven’t looked back since! This backpack has accompanied me from fifth grade through a Master’s degree. It’s traveled around the world and back and has only *now* developed a small tear in the canvas (which is being factory-repaired for a ridiculously small fee!). I really can’t write enough about these backpacks — This is probably the ONLY product I’ve purchased that I can UNCONDITIONALLY recommend. They’re inexpensive for their quality, even at this price. Buy one (or two!) now. I anticipate mine outlasting me.” ~Philip
Shop all backpacks here. Or, click on a backpack below for more information.
My family and I visited the BWCA every summer when I was a kid to canoe, fish, and camp. We used Duluth Packs handed down from my grandfather who had been visiting the BWCA since he was a kid. After college my mom bought me a Duluth Pack credit card wallet, which I lost the first summer I moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming where I still live. That was 6 years ago… last week a friend found my wallet in the mud outside of where I used to work. It had been there for 6 harsh Wyoming summers and winters and everything inside was still in great shape! I attached a picture of the wallet, and wanted to say thanks for making such great products. It was fun to go through the wallet and see everything was still intact, from my ID, credit cards, fishing license and even a dollar bill that was folded up inside.
Thanks again for making quality products that last generations,
From the time I could walk, my life had been spent in the outdoors with my father and I remember one of the first things he gave me was his old Duluth Pack. After that I was hooked. Every pack I had from then on was a Duluth Pack. The quality that is put into them surpasses any other pack I have come across. You can tell that your company takes pride in what you do. Up until a few years ago I had collected quite a few of your pack, but one day I was injured at work and it all changed. Through my recovery I ended up having to sell most everything that I owned to get by. I am getting better now and have started saving to make a long canoe trip and your Wanderer Pack with the All Day Lumber pack are the first things I am going to buy, just as soon as I have the money saved. Then down the road I am going to try to get everything needed for on board canoe storage. Being handicap now though it is going to take me some time to save. Again though I want to say that you make an excellent product that lasts for many years. Keep up the good work!
Thank You, Dennis M.
Thank you Dennis! We wish you a speedy recovery. I will email you about your requests.
I recently went on another trip to the Boundary Waters and was able to use my Dad’s old #4 Duluth pack. He dug the pack out of the garage from a special area separated from the usual camping gear and handed it to me. A solid look in his face told me to take care of the bag even though nothing was said. He knew that I would. Of course it worked great for everything. That’s not the focus of this review because everyone already knows how great the product is. When I returned home, I received some of his stories. These stories are what I will share. He bought the pack when he was sixteen with money earned as a paperboy. His family was poor and the bag was very expensive for him back then. In his words, “probably 20 dollars.” He used it often as he evolved into a boyscout guide and led countless trips for hundreds of young canoeists. He shared stories of canoe games on a hot summer day and raising a sail to easily pass everyone paddling feverishly to keep up. There were scary stories of heroic rescues, harsh weather and what he calls “the black mist.” He told of surprising bears on trail that quickly led to the addition of a bear bell to the pack, especially when he started bringing my mother. One rescue in particular always seemed hard to believe until I was at a graduation party for the son of one of the kids (now father) that my Dad took on a trip. This stranger to me took me aside quietly and said, “let me tell you a story about your father” The same story that I had heard before was told from a different perspective about a canoe flipped over and wedged in a rapids filling with water as a trapped canoeist underneath was beginning to drown. People around trying to lift the filled canoe unsuccessfully while another person cupped his hands around the mans mouth to block out the rising water. My Dad grabbed a large post and used it as a lever to break the back of the canoe. The canoe folded and headed downstream while the person came up choking on fresh air. The pack comes with a tradition that has been passed down. It carries food, gear, and all the stories that you can fit. It may look old and worn, but it carries a lifetime of Boundary Waters history. Over the 45 years that it has been in my father’s possession, only a small hole has worn into the bottom corner of the bag. I took it to the store in Canal Park and reluctantly removed my Mom’s bear bell and old rope in order to place it in your hands for repair. Please take good care of it. I know you will patch it up well to prepare it to hold a second generation of memories.
(Branden – Your pack is in good hands. We will take good care of it and return it post haste. Thank you for your incredible story!)
Recently I had to thank someone for doing me something special for me. What could I give him that would be perfect. It had to be something he could use during an upcoming fishing trip. I purchased some pancake mixes and the fish batter from the Duluth Store. I ordered online on Tuesday morning and it arrived Wednesday afternoon and given to him on Thursday. That’s fast! He was impressed and I was grateful to the speed of service of the Duluth Pack Company. Way to go and thank you.
I have been a fan and customer of the store for several years and my son and I visit the Duluth Pack store every time we travel up north. The store is like walking into a dream of “what I would like today.” Touching a part of the past, dreaming of trips to come, or just sitting by the fireplace and listening to others dream about their trips makes me smile. I am not alone in my travels.
Enjoy a moment and dream while you travel through the pages of the catalog if you can’t make it to the store.
(Thanks Jeffrey! Great testimonial! Can I “borrow” the phrase “touching a part of the past”? Love it!)
To Duluth Pack:
I needed a good rugged attache to carry my daily stuff and be somewhat
presentable at meetings in the GMO’s office in one of the Iron Mines in NE
Minnesota. My choice was a Duluth Pack product (see photo). Well it
bounced around in the truck for many years in the pit then one day I
accepted an assignment to a be site representative for a gold prospecting
project on the Amazon River Basin. ‘Old Reliable’ carried the project
guidelines from NE Minnesota, to Ohio, through NY, to Rio de Janeiro,
Brasilia, Belem and finally in a square stern going up the Gurupi River to
base camp in Para, Brazil. The attache made many trips from base camp to
Belem where a weekly TELEX report was sent back to Headquarters in Ohio.
It survived many dunkings in the Grupi River as well as the Amazon.
In the late ’90’s on assignment to the Para Iron Mines of Venezuela ‘Old
Reliable’ just about was confiscated by a mine manager because of its
On a trip into the Angel Falls area of Southern Venezuela I nearly lost
the bag when I missed-placed it on the DC-3 we were flying in. I was
distracted because as we sat on the tarmac preparing for take off I
noticed a stream of oil running from the engine cowl atop the shroud to
the rear of the wing and puddling on the cement. I called attention to
the leak to our German Flight Stewardess and her comment was ” we will add
oil before the return trip”. Fortunately she remembered seeing me
boarding with the bag over my shoulder and returned it to me.
I retired in 2000 from mining but the bag and I are still great friends
and generally most days it is the first thing in my hand in the mornings
going out the door. Duluth Pack probably would repair the piping no
charge to me but as the photo illustrates it would ruin its character.
Thanks Duluth Pack, I would probably purchase another one but I don’t
think I will need to.
Section Manager Mining
Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota