Duluth Packs

Joined
Mar 31, 2018
Messages
102
Location
Delta Jct, Alaska
Although I've lived in Alaska five decades, I grew up in Northern Minnesota and still have 3 or 4 Duluth Packs stored away. They haven't been used in years.
I looked through the Duluth Pack website recently and was astounded at the cost of new ones. If there is interest among the traditionalists here, I'll make them available some time this winter as I get bored.
 
Joined
Oct 29, 2019
Messages
271
Location
southeast PA
You guys who use these traditional canvas portage packs.... I assume you line them with a plastic liner of some kind, but to avoid soaking the canvas pack itself do you typically cover with a poncho or small tarp when rain is imminent? I imagine a wet canvas pack is no fun to lug around or pack up in the morning, especially if it's a frosty morning! What about rain water or wave water that sloshes around in the bottom of the canoe? I have a floor rack that could be used in my w/c canoe to help a little but I typically don't use it for tripping because of the additional weight.
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
4,380
Location
Ontario Canada
My canoe sheds water well even in chop. Natural materials laid down to keep packs out of bilge water, and it's easy to keep rain off packs.
But despite this I've moved over to the dark untraditional side of tripping. Rubber dry bags and plastic barrels fuglify my trips these days. But on occasional fair weather days I trip traditional and easily manage to keep things dry. My canvas is not waxed and my wood wannigan isn't sealed. They fare quite well.
BTW both she and me carry a sponge to soak up the sloshing water after every wet foot reentry.
 

Glenn MacGrady

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
2,075
Location
Connecticut
You guys who use these traditional canvas portage packs.... I assume you line them with a plastic liner of some kind, but to avoid soaking the canvas pack itself do you typically cover with a poncho or small tarp when rain is imminent? I imagine a wet canvas pack is no fun to lug around or pack up in the morning, especially if it's a frosty morning! What about rain water or wave water that sloshes around in the bottom of the canoe? I have a floor rack that could be used in my w/c canoe to help a little but I typically don't use it for tripping because of the additional weight.

You definitely have to use a waterproof inside liner. Duluth pack sells them to fit their various pack sizes. Some people use garbage bags, but most of them aren't really waterproof at the seams. I use waterproof and breathable Granite Gear eVent pack liners, but I don't think they are made anymore.

No, you don't need to have an outside cover or seal a canvas pack. The canvas swells with moisture, like a canvas tent, and will block most water penetration. The canvas breathes -- gets damp when wet and dries out in the sun. Of course, you can put a poncho or tarp over the top of the pack as rain barrier, but then you have a wet poncho or tarp to dry out.

Canvas packs can be sealed with wax products like Sno-Seal, but that won't make them completely waterproof on the outside. It will make them heavier and slower to dry out.
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2012
Messages
399
Location
Altoona, Pennsylvania
when I use my canvas packs I load them up with individual dry bags and no liner. Dry bags for clothes, sleeping bag(s). I use Frost River packs which are made of waxed canvas. I don’t set them on anything in the canoe or protect them and they are always dry inside even after days of rain. I keep them in the tent vestibule if it’s raining overnight. I use my nylon bags in the exact same fashion.

barry
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2015
Messages
1,293
Location
Anchorage Alaska / Pocono Mts.
Wet bags have never been an issue, even after a dump.
I only put a liner in one bag, for my clothes and sleeping bag and pads. For my food I have a Seal Line Pack that I slid a plastic kitchen sized trash can into and I put that in a #4 Duluth and have room for my tarp, axe, chair and water repair kit ect. A lot of my stuff doesn't need to stay dry (pots, pans, tarp, axe,saw, chairs....) and for the rest of my stuff that does need to stay dry I have a smaller dry bag for my personal stuff that I stick on top of one of the Duluths.
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2011
Messages
403
Location
Ontario
Wet bags have never been an issue, even after a dump.
I only put a liner in one bag, for my clothes and sleeping bag and pads. For my food I have a Seal Line Pack that I slid a plastic kitchen sized trash can into and I put that in a #4 Duluth and have room for my tarp, axe, chair and water repair kit ect. A lot of my stuff doesn't need to stay dry (pots, pans, tarp, axe,saw, chairs....) and for the rest of my stuff that does need to stay dry I have a smaller dry bag for my personal stuff that I stick on top of one of the Duluths.
Same here- it's a lot easier to put food, clothing, and sleeping gear in their individual dry bags inside a durable canvas or ballistic nylon pack, it also means that when I need something from the pack, I'm not exposing my dry stuff to rain or water.
Not to mention that Canadian granite can be razor sharp, and easily slices through a coated nylon bag that is difficult to do a field repair on that is waterproof enough for tripping. I've wrecked 3 different "waterproof" packs over the last 30 years and invariably return to my 40+ yr old regular canoe pack.
 
Joined
Nov 22, 2019
Messages
371
I have several NRS waterproof pack style dry bags but am also just starting to sew a few canvas packs primarily based on the traditional Duluth designs.

Past experience has shown that trash compactor bags are relatively inexpensive and make pretty durable pack liners and a spare weighs very little so having one along comes in handy. My expectation is that the canvas packs will have a trash compactor bag liner if needed and then waterproof or water resistant bags inside that for further protection and organization. As already stated, a lot of stuff doesn't need the waterproofing anyway.

Still, depending on size, style and condition I might be interested in your packs if/when they become available.

Best regards,


Lance
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2018
Messages
226
Location
Brewster, New York
Depending on the trip and expected weather, I go back and forth between my EarthPak dry packs/duffle and my Granite Gear portage pack (with a compactor bag inside), thwart bag and mesh bag (both clip to the pack for carries) that I have had since the early 90s. Both work well for me.
 

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Joined
Nov 22, 2019
Messages
371
Can someone with a Duluth pack please measure the rivet head diameter and flap closing strap width? I suspect the rivet heads will be around either 3/8" (0.375") or a bit under 1/2" (0.475")

Thanks

Lance
 
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