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minnesota

The Lowdown

TRAVEL BUDDIES

January 5, 2015
flying

It’s that time of year, when some of us (I sure know I do) get antsy and need to thaw out from the frigid Northern cold that blows off of Lake Superior.  It is when you need to chime into your animal spirits ways, become a bird, and fly south for the winter. Wouldn’t that be nice? Well, it’s almost that easy and Duluth Pack is here to help you out!

Our Duluth Pack Daypacks, Totes, Shell Bags, Duffles, Portfolios, and Scout Packs are sure to help the travel process be more happy and less hectic. Can you say, “Hello, best carry on of my life!”. Duluth Packs are handcrafted to take on that extra TLC or also known as travel beatings. With our stylish seams, tough as nails rivets, durable fabrics, and time tested way, you just can’t beat a Duluth Pack as your new and improved travel buddy. Take note, we like pretzels over peanuts.

Pictured is a Duluth Pack fan traveling home over the holidays in style. Her Roll-Top Scout Pack in Olive Drab Canvas is a sure knockout. This product is available both in our retail store in Canal Park, Duluth, Minnesota and at duluthpack.com!

From your friends at Duluth Pack!

Gear Talk

New Product: the Port City Sling

April 10, 2014

port-city-sling-lifestyle

The Port City Sling is inspired by the Frisbee players and sun tanners at Park Point beach in the middle of this city on a port. Whether seated on the bus, or in line for lunch, twist this pack from your back to your lap and easily access all of your gear. The Port City Sling is your one-strap backpack solution with comfort in mind.

• Hand constructed 15 oz. canvas for durable quality and heritage “better-with-age” aesthetic.
• Outside pocket for easily accessing important items.
• Flexible cotton strap provides durable comfort.
• Securable elastic cording for holding items such as a light coat.
• Tough YKK zippers for quick access to secured items.

Guaranteed for life on craftsmanship and hardware. Made in the USA.

Dimensions:
17“H x 11“W x 3“D (measured at widest perpendiculars)

Shop it here!

The Lowdown

Our Founder Came to Duluth 144 Year Ago Today

February 12, 2014
Our Founder, Camille Poirer, in Duluth, MN

Our Founder, Camille Poirer, in Duluth, MN. Photo via Duluth Public Library.

Camille Poirer created the first Duluth Pack in 1882. Twelve years before that, he set off to Duluth, MN (our flagship location) from St Paul, MN to start a new life. The trip took him four days “of very cold and suffering,” he wrote, starting Feb. 10th, 1870 and ending on Feb. 13th, 1870. 144 years ago today, he would have been on the 3rd day of his trek.

Via Google Maps

Via Google Maps

Poirer walked from St Paul to Hinckley, MN (a 76.6 mile, 25 hour walk) even though in 1856, he injured his leg in a wood-chopping accident, and it never fully recovered. From Hinckley onward, he rode up to Duluth via stagecoach.

Once he made it to Duluth, Poirer started a shoe shop on Lake Avenue and Superior Street.

In 1882, he was inspired by the voyageurs of the northland, and created a new style of “packsack” which would later be called the Duluth Pack.

Poirer died on October 17, 1919 in Duluth.

Read more about this event, and Camille Poirer here.

The Lowdown

Biggest Outdoor Adventure Stories of 2011; Part 1

December 12, 2011
Courtesy of the Toledo Blade

The end of 2011 draws closer and the popular thing to do is put out lists summarizing the year previous. Well, here I am sucked into the trend, hand-picking and choosing the stories that stick out in my mind as memorable ones. Please enjoy the first four of my eight biggest, outdoor adventure stories of 2011.

8. Surfing the World’s Tallest Wave • Rumor has it that Garrett McNamara has surfed a 90-foot wave off of Portugal during the ZON North Canyon show of 2011. Buddies surfing with him confirm they all rode waves in the 60+ range. Then McNamara got on a wave that was reported by his surfing partners as 30 feet larger. We will keep you updated as we confirm this amazing ride.

7. Minnesotan Attempts to Solo Climb Denali • In January of 2011 Lonnie Dupre, winner of the Rolex Award for Enterprise attempted a solo summit of Denali. Dupre, from Grand Marais, Minnesota was hoping to be the first to reach the top of Denali solo in January. He reached the height of 17,200 feet before being pinned down for six days by a storm bearing 100 mph winds. In addition to the storm an earthquake of 5.4 magnitude just 30 miles away. Rumor has it that he will try the solo summit again in the January of 2012.

6. 881-Pound Tuna Seized by Federal Authorities • While I realize a very similar story was reported in 2010, these giant fish stories fascinate me. Seems Carlos Rafael and his crew were fishing off Massachusetts and snagged the massive fish in their nets. Only problem is: tuna are only legally caught on rod and reel so the Feds took control of the giant Bluefin, and left Mr. Rafael high and dry.

5. Hudson Bay Bound • Two recent graduates of St. Olaf College are the first women to trace the 2250 mile route made famous by Eric Severeid in the book Canoeing with the Cree. Ann Raiho and Natalie Warren left Fort Snelling on June 2nd and arrived at York Factory on Hudson Bay 85 days later, one week ahead of schedule.

There you have it, part one of the biggest outdoor adventure stories of 2011. What have I missed? What was the biggest story of the year in your memory? Maybe your story will make part two of my list, or leave me a comment below and tell me what you think.

The Lowdown

Duluth Pack at the Minnesota State Fair

August 25, 2011
The Gopher welcomes everyone to the Minnesota State Fair

It’s that time of year again; the Minnesota State Fair starts today, and runs through Labor Day. Almost two million of our closest friends will visit the fair during the 12 day run. Duluth Pack will be there in the Dairy Building with the “World’s Largest Duluth Pack” to be a part of the action and take it all in.

Food is the first thing I think of when somebody mentions the Minnesota State Fair. What else is there? My favorites are mini-donuts, cheese curds, and gator on a stick, but during my four-day visit to the fair I will not limit my menu. Thinking I am going to have to swing through the North Woods area on Cooper Street and check out the Campfire Grill. The name alone is right up our alley.

One stop at the fair you might want to think about is the National Park Service in the Education Building on Cosgrove Street. We are so lucky here in our state to have all this wonderful water and woods in which to go play. In Minnesota we have one National Park, two National Forests, two National Monuments, a Scenic River Way, a National Recreation Area, and a Wilderness Area. Can you name any of them for me?

No trip to the state fair is complete without a stop in the animal buildings at the southwest corner of the fairgrounds. Every animal from horses to cows to chickens to sheep and maybe even a llama or two can be found. And of course the granddaddy of them all the “Super-Boar” in the swine building must be seen.

The DNR building just south of the grandstand on Carnes Street has always been one of my favorites. It is fun to see all the animals native to our state and learn about what is going on in regards to our natural resources. But for me the fish pond out back is the real draw, all those Minnesota fish in one place makes an angler drool. However, a conservation officer has warned me that noodling for paddlefish will not be allowed.

Come see us in the Dairy Building, at the corner of Underwood and Judson, we will be there every day from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. We love to talk canoe packs, backpacks, and the BWCAW, but no subject is out of bounds. Our experts have a broad base of knowledge and really enjoy sharing stories and adventures with everyone.

 

The Lowdown, Trip Planning

Northern Minnesota Bike Trails

August 23, 2011
Railroad bridge over the St. Louis River

While summer might be winding down, and you could be thinking: “hang up the canoe packs,” there is still some great bicycling weather yet to come. Riding the bike through the Minnesota woods in fall is one of my favorite activities, and a very scenic time to enjoy our state. Let me share with you five trails that I think are worth rolling over.

The Willard Munger State Trail goes from Hinckley to Duluth for a total of 63 miles. If you just like downhill let me recommend starting in Carlton just behind the Wells Fargo Bank. Take the trail through Jay Cooke State Park and then downhill all the way to Duluth.  You will peddle right through the State Forest and when you pop out of the woods a very scenic vista of the St. Louis River and Lake Superior will lie before you. Park a second car in Canal Park, hit the Duluth Pack store, grab something to eat and drink, and shuttle back to the top.

The Heartland State trail runs from Park Rapids east to Walker, 29 miles, and then north to Cass Lake for another 20 miles. The prettiest part of this trail is cut through the trees on an old railroad grade from Akeley to Walker. As you ride the Heartland check out Long Lake, Lake May, and big, old Leech Lake at the end of the trail. A stop at the Historic Chase Hotel in Walker might suit a thirsty rider as well.

The Paul Bunyan State Trail runs from Brainerd to Bemidji for a distance of 110 miles. The portion of the trail I recommend is from Backus to north of Portage Lake, for a nice ride of about 15 miles one way. The linking “C” trail to the Heartland is something to see.

The “C” Trail links the Paul Bunyan State Trail and the Heartland State Trail. The first thing you will notice about this trail is that is doesn’t follow an old railroad grade. The trail is up and down from just north of Portage Lake to just north east of Akeley, but paved for the entire 12-mile length. In my opinion this is the most scenic trail in Minnesota and really should be experienced in late September with leaves in full color.

The North Shore State Trail, also known as the C.J. Ramstad Trail runs from Duluth along the north shore of Lake Superior to Finland for a total of 146 miles. Along this trail you are going to see some of the most beautifully rugged scenery Minnesota has to offer. This ride will have you passing by or through multiple state parks including Gooseberry, Tettegouche, and Cascade River. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention what has to be the most iconic landmark in the state; Splitrock Lighthouse.

This is by no means an all-inclusive list so for more information and more trails check out the link here; Minnesota Bike Trails, and enjoy.

Strap on your panniers, sling the messenger bag over your shoulder, and revel in those fall colors, which are sure to be brilliant this season.

 

The Lowdown, Trip Planning

Superior Hiking Trail experts at Duluth Pack

July 11, 2011
A hiker takes a lunch break while hiking the SHT

The Duluth, Minnesota area has several crown jewels of recreation. The lakes, the rivers, the state & national parks, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, to name just a few, are priceless. One of these up and coming masterpieces in our own backyard is the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT).

When fully complete, the Superior Hiking Trail will be a 277-mile footpath in northern Minnesota. Created in 1986, the trail follows a rocky ridgeline that roughly parallels the north shore of Lake Superior. As the SHT climbs and descends you can’t help but be awed by the many magnificent vistas and overlooks.

The trail begins south of Duluth near the town of Carlton, and winds its way north toward Canada. The trail ends with a link to the Border Route Trail north of Hovland, MN near the U.S. and Canadian border. The Border Route trail continues to the west linking with the Kekakabic trail and ending near Ely, MN.

Along the way you will find 82 wilderness campsites and a trailhead about every five to 10 miles. Hikers may enjoy adventures all the way from a variety of day-hikes to complete trail through-hikes with everything in between. Neither permits nor reservations are required on the SHT, and dogs are allowed on leash only.

The trail was built with blood, sweat and volunteers. They are the ones who originally cut the trail and the ones that keep it open. Present volunteer opportunities can be found up and down the trail, including work to close a gap in the Duluth area. If you or your hiking group would like to help on the trail check into the Superior Hiking Trail’s Association website at SHTA.org.

The Duluth Pack store at 365 Canal Park Dr. is the go-to source for all information pertaining to the SHT. Not only are there experts on staff to help you learn more, but many have hiked the trail around Duluth and up the North Shore. They can also help you find trailheads in the city and ones nearest the store. The SHT Association sells a complete set of maps and the book “Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail.” All the above, in addition to special edition t-shirts, can be found at the Duluth Pack Store.

And the most important thing to remember is that the Superior Hiking Trail is open for business. While the Minnesota State Parks are shut down during the budget impasse, the SHT remains open.

Go grab your Wanderer or your Rambler pack and get out on the trail!

Hike me on back to DuluthPack.com

Gear Talk

Superior Hiking Trail and the new Bushcrafter Pack

July 16, 2010

Bean Lake Overlook

The Superior Hiking Trail is a trail modeled after the Appalachian Trail and follows the ridge-line along Lake Superior from Duluth to the Canadian Border. For this hike, we chose a popular and scenic section, called the Twin Lakes Trail outside of Silver Bay, MN.

 

Trailhead

This section is a rugged up and down but the vista’s are beautiful.  After a hot hike, with plenty of mosquitoes, the two highlights were a much needed refreshing swim in Bear Lake and the luscious ripe June berries and Blueberries to snack on.  A warning, that in the Summer and Fall, this section is extremely popular, so if you plan on getting a campsite, get there early.

Swim in Bear Lake

Another unexpected pleasure was running into a couple on the trail out for a day hike. They noticed the new Bushcrafter pack and asked how it was holding up on the hiking trail. It was comfortable and carried all our gear. After they swapped stories about the history of all their Duluth Packs in the family it made me realize, when you buy a Duluth Pack, you become part of a community that supports the local economy and appreciates handmade lifetime gear. Thanks Scott and Cindy! It was great to meet new DP fans!

The Lowdown

A Brief History of our “Zenith” City

April 27, 2009

 

In 1886, Duluth, Minnesota was called the Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas. A fitting name to all who have visited or live here. The home of the Original Duluth Pack has a rich history. A brief synopsis follows.

Our most famous landmark: the Aerial Lift Bridge

Originally this land was inhabited by the Sioux and Ojibway tribes when they were pushed further east by settlers. The 1600’s brought the French Voyaguers here for the fur trading. In 1855 when the Sault Ste. Marie canal opened it made Duluth the only port able to access both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. By 1869 Duluth was the fastest growing city in the nation. The stock market crash of 1873 put a stop to our rapid growth, we peaked about 100,000 people.

With the area’s abundance of lumber and mining coupled with a vibrant shipping and railroad industries, by the early 1900 Duluth boasted more millionaires per capita than any other city in the country.

Today you can still revisit the past with our many historical buildings still preserved today.

Our flagship store in Canal Park (365 Canal Park Drive) is a block from the historic Aerial Lift Bridge, come by and tour our remarkable Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas. If you do, be sure to stop in at our factory and take a tour of our shop, it’s a pretty cool place!