Canvas and leather pack produced by Duluth Pack. Their #4 has a "set out" and so is box-shaped.

A Duluth pack (or Poirier pack), is a traditional portage pack used in canoe travel, particularly in the Boundary Waters region of northern Minnesota and the Quetico Provincial Park of Ontario. It is a specialized type of backpack that is designed to fit in the bottom of canoes. Originally known as the "Poirier pack" or "Poirier pack-sack" (for its inventor, Camille Poirier), the pack style later became known as the "Duluth pack", as its original, eponymous manufacturing company is located in Duluth, Minnesota.


A Duluth pack is a specialized type of backpack made of heavy canvas, leather, and/or cordura nylon. The packs are a traditional portage pack which are nearly square in order to fit easily in the bottom of a canoe.[1] The simplest and most traditional Duluth pack comprises a single large envelope which is closed by straps and roller buckles. The pack is carried by two shoulder straps, and sometimes a tumpline worn over the top of the head.[2][3]

The #3 canvas and leather pack is produced by Duluth Pack and is envelope-shaped.

Their key attributes make them well adapted to wilderness canoe camping where travel is largely by water—where the packs and gear do not need to be carried—punctuated by portages—where the packs and gear need to be carried over land:

Conversely, Duluth packs lack many features and attributes of backpacks used for long-distance, and are generally not used for such.[citation needed]


The pack has its origins in an innovative nineteenth-century French-Canadian shoemaker named Camille Poirier, who made his way west to Duluth, Minnesota,[4][5] Arriving in 1870 with his "little stock of leather and tools." He began a small shoe store on the shores of Lake Superior, and quickly made a go of it in the booming frontier town.[4] Out of his small shoe shop on the waterfront, Camille began building a new style canoe pack with a tumpline, sternum strap, and umbrella holder. He patented the "C. Poirier Pack Sack" strap design in 1882.[6] In 1911, Poirier sold his business to Duluth Tent & Awning Company, which later became the Duluth Pack company.[3] It became common to refer any pack made in this style as a "Duluth pack".[7] Listings of this style of pack by other organizations often refer to them as portage packs or canoe packs.[8]


  1. ^ Canoe Packs; Callan, Kevin; retrieved July 10, 2020
  2. ^ Cave, Edward (1913). The Boy Scout's Hike Book: The First of a Series of Handy Volumes of Information and Inspiration. Doubleday.
  3. ^ a b Furtman, Michael (1992). Canoe Country Camping: Wilderness Skills for the Boundary Waters and Quetico. U of Minnesota Press. ISBN 9781452906676.
  4. ^ a b "Autobiography of Camille Poirier". Sheldon Aubut's Duluth History. Archived from the original on June 14, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  5. ^ Meyers, John (July 16, 2011). "Duluth Pack celebrates 100 years". Duluth News Tribune. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  6. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  7. ^ Miller, Warren Hastings (1921). The Sportsman's Workshop. Stewart Kidd Company. p. 46. Retrieved December 6, 2023.
  8. ^ "Build Your Own Portage Pack". Duluth Folk School. October 18, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2023.