Frequently Asked Questions
How long has Portage North existed?
Since 1980. Many people would have known us as Kondos Outdoors. Portage North and Sundog Sport are the new names of the company as of 2020 with Portage North covering all canoe and camping gear and Sundog Sport covering the dog sports.
Where is Portage North located?
We are located in Ely, Minnesota, with thousands of miles of canoeable water right on our doorstep. Specifically, we are headquartered at 145 E Chapman St in Ely.
So your product is actually made in Ely?
Yes! That is a core part of our company's identity. Stop by our retail space and you can hear a cutting machine running, sewing machines sewing, and actually meet some of the people who sew the gear. We do not send product assembly overseas because we're proud of the products we make and proud of the quality of workmanship that goes into products that we make right here.
What are your products made out of?
The majority of our products are made out of Nylon. The reason for this is because, as a synthetic material, it requires less care and maintenance during and after a trip. All of our packs are made out of 1000 Denier Cordura Nylon because we know the rigors packs go through. Many of ours are used by outfitters that send them out every day of the summer. To us, 400 Denier is perfect for lighter weight items like accessory bags, and 210 is too light for the application of rugged wilderness canoe travel. We have always used 1000 Denier for our portage packs because it is not just durable for the adventures you plan on but for the miss-adventures along the way.
How are Portage Packs different?
Portage packs differ from backpacking packs in a few major ways. First, portage packs are usually heavier. They are made out of, in our case, 1000 Denier Cordura that can get thrown around and dragged without getting torn. While backpacking packs are focused on being as light as possible, we don't have to because portaging is only a percentage of the canoe trip. Portage packs do not have an internal frame which tends to catch on pieces of a canoe hull. They are also shorter and wider bodied to allow for portaging both a pack and a canoe simultaneously.
What does it mean to continuously improve?
One of our company philosophies is the idea of continuous improvement. Just because we made a great pack ten years ago, twenty years ago, or forty years ago does not mean it was perfect. There were things to improve whether that's in the product design, the materials used, the tools we use to produce a product, or the methods we implement in creating gear. We do not want to simply change something for the sake of calling it an improvement, we want to be ingenuitive by truly thinking through a product and looking for ways to make it tougher, more reliable, and better functioning for whomever is going to be trusting it with their adventures.
Who makes your gear?
Since all of our gear is made here in Ely, it means our staff actually live in the area too and are passionate about the gear making and the activities that the gear belongs to. Our staff are canoers, kayakers, hikers, winter campers, snowshoers, skiiers, and general wilderness enthusiasts who make the gear because they love the activities.
So you're not an outfitter?
We are not. We like to say that we "outfit the outfitters." We are passionate gear manufacturers, born out of a necessity for local outfitters to have gear that can stand up to the rigors of wilderness travel season after season. With hundreds of wilderness trips and a number of guide seasons to our staff's credit, we know the wilderness areas, specifically our local BWCA, really well and love sharing what we know (see our articles.) However, we sell new gear, we don't rent. If you have taken a number of trips and are looking to get gear of your own, we're happy to advise you.