Duluth Pack has quite the rich American History story and is one of the few manufacturers that can tout the things they are able to. Things such as being the oldest leather/canvas bag maker in the United States of America. Offering a lifetime warranty, because the quality of all they make is so great. Not to mention, in the beginning, they made their products 100% Made In America, and they still do.
As a 139-year-old company, its operations began in Duluth Minnesota and that is where they still remain. They even work in some of the exact same buildings as they did in the beginning.
Camille Poirier the founder and creator of Duluth Pack and quite the industrious fellow came to Duluth in 1870 as he saw there was a need for shoes and boots to be made. You see, Duluth was home to the most millionaires per capita in the entire world at the time. Seems a little far-fetched as Duluth only has a population of 90,000 people today. Here is the catch, Duluth was home to four titans of industry, ones that still exist today, the railway, port (right on the Great Lakes), timber, and mining (iron-ore). With Industries such as these, blue-collar workers are needed and those workers need gear. So, Camille Poirier set up shop with a leather craft shop.
The first building that Mr. Poirier worked out of, caught fire, so he had to rebuild a block down. Well, that one burnt down as well. Being a determined industrious guy, he built again. This facility he was able to work out of until 1911 when he sold the entire business. Camille Poirier passed away six years later.
During his time with the company, he saw a need for a new style of pack. One that would combine multiple technologies, allowing people to go out into the wilderness for long periods of time. Large bags that are an “envelope style” pack, sitting low on your back enabling one to carry a canoe easier while wearing it. The pack also sat flat so when you sat in the canoe, you could be grounded and balanced, lessening the chances of tipping over in the canoe. Revolutionary technology for the time.
Duluth Pack has added a few products over the years. Basically, if customers are asking for it or a need is being noticed within the industry, they will make it. Duluth Pack likes to think their customers are the smartest people around, so if they want it and are willing to spend their hard-earned money on something made by Duluth Pack, in America, in their historic factory, they are going to make it for them. In total, they now manufacture 330 products. All are hand-made.
What Does Hand-Made Mean?
Everyone knows that there are levels of products being hand-made. So, let’s talk about what that means to Duluth Pack.
The same factory building that was in use in 1911 is still in use today. It is three floors and houses the production department. If you were to visit you would watch as they roll out canvas onto tables, hand trace the patterns with chalk, and then cut it by hand with a jig-saw.
The leather department rolls out full hides of leather onto glass tabletops and hand cuts the leather. Everything is hand-sewn by the sewing team.
Then there is the rivetting department, a department that is completely functioning without electricity, because it is all done by hand or with foot-powered tools. The rivet being securely fastened onto a bag is of the utmost importance. Duluth Pack puts them on so well, that on the occasion one is returned for repair, it will take a team member fifteen minutes just to pull the previous one out.
Lifetime Warranty on all Products
How is it that Duluth Pack can offer a lifetime warranty? Very simply, they make a product that doesn’t need to be returned.
Being Made In America is just as important to Duluth Pack as the quality of its products. They believe in supporting local people and providing jobs. Currently, they employ over one hundred people in Duluth between their retail store, marketing department, shipping and receiving department, sales, and production. Duluth Pack isn’t a huge company, but they like it that way. It gives an opportunity to give a personal touch to their customers and make sure the quality of the product stays at the highest level. What other company has their sewers sign the bag so that you then can look them up on the company website and learn about who they are and even send a thank you if you wish?