These Aren’t Your Grandma’s Sewing Machines

Or are they?

Our team of sewers meticulously bring the Frost River packs to life using a multitude of different machines. Some of the machines look very much like what you would find in your grandmother’s attic, while others are state-of-the-art to maximize speed and efficiency. 

The standard table top sewing machine used at Frost River is the most commonly used apparatus in the shop. Using T-92 thread, these machines are the bones of the entire manufacturing operation and can sew almost any material. The talented sewing specialists put together dozens of different packs per day using these machines. The simple bags can take as little as a few minutes, while the more complex packs can take upwards of an hour. 

Another useful machine is the automated digital tacker machine. This powerful sewing machine specializes in attaching some of our premium leather pieces to the waxed canvas of your favorite pack. This machine saves our sewing team hours of attaching the small leather components, and can typically finish a piece in a matter of seconds. For leather additions and other standard attachments, these machines can’t be beat.

The most exciting of the machines are all of the specialty sewing devices that are used throughout the manufacturing center. From glove liners, to monogram attachments, nearly every pack the Frost River carries uses these special machines at some point. For packs with customized monograms and state patches, a bandsaw-like machine is used. This allows the sewer to work around the machine, while still being able to consistently stitch the fabric. For glove liners, a machine that performs surge stitching is used to increase durability on the lighter material. There are machines for heavy materials, light materials, and everything in between.

Frost River Technician crafting a pack. Photo Credit: Henry Elholm 

Frost River Sewer stitching on a USA patch. Photo Credit: Henry Elholm 

The incredible sewers are able to create dozens of bags per day, depending on the bag. If the staff were to just create Isle Royale packs, for example, they could produce about 50 per day. Each pack goes through a tedious process before it makes its way onto the shelves. First, the waxed canvas is cut. The skeleton of the pack is then assembled using riveters, sewers, and riveters again, before making its way into quality inspection. Each pack goes through this process before finding its way home.

Between the durable thread and the expertise of the sewers, Frost River packs are built to last. Whether it be the Boundary Waters, Voyageurs National Park, or Lake Superior’s North Shore, your favorite Frost River pack will be at your side through it all, thanks to the amazing sewers!

Here's some stitching that satisfies:

Photo from National Park Service / Johnson-Bice

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