Filson has been making rugged outerwear since the 1890’s and is known mostly for their heavyweight wool and waxed cotton garments. Based in Seattle, they were suppliers to the prospectors headed to Alaska in the gold rush days and have a reputation for legendary durability. By today’s standards this is pretty low tech stuff but it’s as wonderfully tough and durable as they claim it is. Their Double Mackinaw Cruiser is an awesome coat but heavy as a boat anchor. I have two of them and love them in deer camp and in town but they are not the best choice for the upland hunter. What is good for the upland hunter are the waxed cotton chaps and vests. These are super sturdy, again on the low tech side – no hydration system, moisture wicking or Gore-Tex membranes, but they are totally functional and wear in with a nice rustic patina.
Brand new vest . . . . .
. . . . . and after 10 hunting seasons.
Sturdy hidden zipper on the chaps to allow room to pull on over boots.
Filson’s Shelter Cloth Upland Hunting Vest Style #16024 along with their Double Tin Chaps Style #028. The waxed cotton does a very good job stopping wind and will add warmth on wet, breezy days.
Use turns the waxed cotton into slick armor, perfect for the hunting fields.
Filson’s Tin Cloth Strap Vest, style #16020. It is ideal over a coat as it is less restricting and has some nice features like the e-collar transmitter loops. This is also a good hot weather vest. The only gripe I have is that you’ve got to be pretty limber to drop birds in the back pouch. Unless you are Gumby, it is tough to reach without shoulder separation.
One Filson line that I am not so keen on is the oil finish cotton hats. These don’t breathe at all and trap the steamy sweat creating a dank and dark herpetarium on your noggin. After one morning’s strenuous hunt, I had sweat rivulets running down my neck and small crimini mushrooms growing in my matted hair. Maybe these are good in the cool rain of the Pacific Northwest.
Filson has been changing a bit over the last few years. They continue to be the purveyor of rugged outdoor wear from a bygone era, but their catalog has doubled or maybe tripled in size with much of the new stuff being imports from China or wherever. Can’t blame them wanting more market share but let’s hope they don’t go the way of Abercrombie & Fitch. A&F has degenerated from the one-time sporting outfitter to the likes of Theodore Roosevelt into a mass merchant of hip, shitty clothing for the country’s misguided youth. Have you been in an A&F lately? OMG! I get a headache just thinking about it, but that is most likely just as nature intended. I leave you with a picture from the A&F website . . . .