This is a wanigan. A wanigan is a traditional canoeing pack used since the time of the fur trading voyageurs. Its roots are likely from Native American culture in the New England area. Today these boxes have been modernized somewhat and are surprisingly comfortable to carry, even when loaded.
The intended use is that of a kitchen equipment pack. On the trips I lead, I bring two wanigans for good measure. One will contain cooking and safety equipment, the other will be loaded with food. They can survive most any trip down broiling rapids and look good doing it. When not being lovingly abused on a wilderness canoe adventure, they double as a unique end table and a beautiful place to store gear. They also make a great pack for adventures not traveled by canoe, though one should not expect a wanigan to replace a sturdy backpack, unless one is nuts.
With proper care this wanigan will last a lifetime or longer. The most important thing is to avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and excessive moisture. The finish is spar varnish, which can be reapplied if necessary. Many of the wanigans I have used saw institutional use for 15+ years, meaning thousands of miles paddled and abuse no wanigan should ever be made to suffer, and despite receiving little if any maintenance were still looking good. They were made to be used and this wanigan will not let you down.
All of the work to make this wanigan is done here in Minneapolis. The materials come from the places people make materials. The cutting, the gluing, the finishing, the sewing; that was all done by hand in our little shop or my garage. We care very much about each wanigan we make and we would love to have you share it’s stories and adventures with us at www.earthedfound.org/share.