The Pack Report

Old Tradition, New Season. A Look Into Our 139 Year Old Heritage and History

From Then to Now – Look Back at the Duluth Pack History – 139 Years of Duluth Pack

The Duluth Pack history spans 139 years and counting, a substantial amount of time. Many events have happened during these years, the United States and the world have changed in so many ways. We are incredibly proud to say our history stretches back 139 years. And though a lot has changed, we have pretty much remained the same. Duluth Pack values longevity, and our packs are artifacts that stand the test of time. We can’t help but smile when we do repairs on bags from 20, 30, 50, even 100+ years ago. It’s simple; our packs are built to last.  We wanted to share a bit of our heritage and how it intertwines with American history. From 139 years ago until now, Duluth Pack remains as strong as ever.

March 3rd, 1839, Camille Poirier is born.

Born in Montreal, Canada, Camille Poirier grew up facing many hardships and obstacles. Working on his uncle’s farm from a young age, Poirier learned the importance of hard work. When he was just a young man, he decided to pursue a career as a leather shoemaker. As time trickled on, he moved to America in search of opportunity.

1858, Minnesota becomes 32nd State.

Minnesota becomes the most northern state of the mainland states.

1865, Poirier moves to St. Paul, Minnesota.

Camille Poirier previously moved to America but only for a short while. He returned home for a handful of years and then decided to move back to the U.S., this time to St. Paul. Once in St. Paul, Poirier worked as a foreman at a shoe shop.

1860-1869, the Civil War.

1870, Poirier moves to Duluth, Minnesota.

Camille Poirier looked north of St. Paul in search of success. During this time, Duluth, Minnesota was one of the wealthiest cities in the nation due to its robust industries – timber, mining, port system, and railway. He owned a small shoe store that tragically burnt down – twice.

1878, Duluth becomes a city.

The city we know and love becomes recognized as a city of Minnesota in 1878, making it the third-largest in the state. At the time, Duluth was rugged and home to explorers and navigators who pushed through the Northland.

December 12th, 1882, Poirier patents and creates his first pack – the Poirier Pack Sack, or iconically known as the Duluth Pack.

With so many industrial workers and explorers, Camille Poirier noticed a lack of quality gear. Utilizing his leather and canvas craftsmanship, Poirier produced his first pack under the patent “C. Poirier Pack Sack.” The bag featured a Tumpline head strap, which helped transfer the pack’s load off the shoulders. The tumpline technology is still used today within Duluth Pack’s product line and has been adapted for portaging and canoeing expeditions.

1884, Poirier opens his shop selling packs and canvas goods.

Employing roughly 25 employees, the store was a successful small business that sold Poirier’s canvas and leather bags.

1886, Carl Benz patents the first car.

With this new invention, Duluth Pack would later create the “Auto-Pack.”

1903, Wright Brothers first flight.

As humans started to travel by plane, Duluth Pack would later create sturdy luggage to carry across the globe.

1905-1908, Glensheen Mansion is built.

The historic mansion still sits on the northern shores of Lake Superior. This architectural marvel was home to the prominent Congdon family.

1911, Poirier sells his business to the brothers who run Duluth Tent & Awning.

The company would later be known as Duluth Pack, the pack maker we adore today.

1910-1919, World War One.

1917 Duluth Pack manufacturers product for Abercrombie & Fitch.

We manufactured a line of rugged outdoor gear for the world-recognized company. Prior to A&F becoming a lifestyle brand, the company’s focus was on the outdoor industry.

October 1919, Poirier passes away.

Camille Poirier passes away, leaving behind a Northern legacy. The packs he designed and constructed are still made the same way. To this day, we carry the #2 Original, the original Poirier pack. We cherish his devotion to craftsmanship, and it is something we value greatly.

1930-1939, the Great Depression.

Even when times were tough, Duluth Pack stayed true and continued. At this time, Duluth Pack was doing more repairs than selling products.

1940-1949, World War Two.

1950’s, Duluth Pack begins manufacturing outdoor gear for companies like Orvis and Gokey.

1968-1979, Glensheen Mansion donated to the University of Minnesota Duluth and open for tours.

The tours showcase the eloquent 20th-century design and furnishing, featuring original and antiques and décor.

1991, Duluth Pack store opens in Canal Park

Paying homage to our Duluth roots, opened our doors in the historic neighborhood of Canal Park. We still proudly operate out of this 8,500 square foot flagship store today!

2000, Duluth Pack starts up the company website.

Here is our website today:!

Fast forward to today

We have a history dating back 139 years ago and through great wars, depressions, downfalls, and inventions. These events have shaped who we are today, and we will remain through the events to come.

Duluth Pack’s core values are Quality, Premium Product, Made in America, and Lifetime Guarantee. These core values have been with us since the beginning, and they will never change. It’s who we are and who we always will be, no matter what.

The rest is history.

Happy adventuring, friends!

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