Near and dear to my Minnesotan heart, Duluth-based Frost River got its start crafting canoe packs for paddlers in the nearby Boundary Waters. Over 200 years later, the company makes much more than that—from bike bags to commuter backpacks. I picked up the Boardwalk tote ($145) a couple years ago, and it has become part of my everyday carry.
The Boardwalk is handmade from waxed-cotton canvas, harness leather from Red Wing, Minnesota, and solid-brass hardware. The large main compartment fits a 13-inch laptop, while a drop-in zippered pocket holds small valuables like my wallet and the five various types of lip balm I usually carry. The exterior slip pocket on the front and two smaller ones on the back are where I store my keys, small notebooks, and pens.
Mine is a limited-edition gray color, which is no longer available, but the bag generally comes in either heritage black or field tan. The leather handles have worn in beautifully with time and taken on the shape of my shoulder. They’re adjustable, which gives them a custom feel. I’ve found that the bag rests easiest against my body when the straps are fully extended.
Frost River has a lifetime guarantee on everything it makes, although I don’t think I’ll ever need it. After two years of near daily use, the Boardwalk looks just as good as the day I bought it.