This beautiful piece of camping/hiking/outdoorsman history was first patented in 1882 by C.Poirier. In context, the Duluth “Poirier Pack Sack” can be seen as the Great-Great-Granddaddy of modern day backpacks…
Camille Poirier a French Canadian, (though we should not hold that against him), first moved to Duluth Minnesota in 1870. A location that should be familiar to all Fargo fans. Initially setting up a small leather workshop making straps, shoes and boots. In 1911 Camille Poirier sold off his company to the Duluth Tent & Awning Co., after which time the bags were called Duluth Packs.
The Duluth pack was designed in order to carry maximum capacity. According to the original patent filed by Poirier – patent no 268,932, he “invented a new and improved Pack-Strap for holding and packing articles of clothing, provisions, and other articles which are to be carried in a package on the back. The invention consists in a bag formed with a flap and provided with shoulder straps and head-strap for supporting and carrying the bag on the back.”
The invention of the “tumpline” strap, a strap that attached at both ends to a backpack which wrapped around the wearers forehead (see illustration), greatly reduced the weight to the wearers back. Unfortunately not found with this pack.
Monsieur Camille Poirier we salute you c’est formidable!
Each pack featured a beautiful handtooled brass oval plate declaring the patent date of Nov. 10, 1882.
Words Doug/photos Nic