True grit: Filson’s enduring American legacy

For more than 125 years, Filson has been crafting the kind of rugged outdoor gear that trailblazers can bet their lives on.

Few American heritage brands have achieved the kind of legendary reputation for craftsmanship and rugged dependability that Filson has. Ever since it was founded as an outfitter for the early pioneers of the 1897 Yukon Gold Rush, Filson has remained true to its core legacy, providing the highest-quality outdoor gear to all those who answer the call of the wild.

Over the years, the Seattle-based brand has equipped backcountry explorers, loggers, miners, mariners, anglers, hunters, ranchers, forest rangers, and sportspeople of all kinds. And in the process, Filson has earned the trust of generations of outdoor enthusiasts who rely on well-made provisions for their very survival.

Materials matter

When you’re constructing clothing and gear that can withstand the most punishing conditions on earth, materials matter. That’s one of the reasons the brand is famous for textiles like its signature, tightly woven Mackinaw Wool. Filson describes it as “the finest example of nature’s oldest and most-trusted cold-weather clothing.” In fact, as an expert on the subject for more than a century, the company produces some of the finest 100% virgin wool in the world.

That uncompromising attention to detail also applies to Filson’s iconic waxed cottons, which have been keeping woodsmen warm and dry in the storm-soaked Pacific Northwest for the better part of a century. And Filson has only continued to perfect its exceptionally tough, oil-finish Tin Cloth, an all-natural waterproof cotton that stands up to the thorny rigors of outdoor life in ways that thin, synthetic materials often can’t.

As anyone who has ever owned a Filson bag can attest, they’re built to last forever. That’s thanks to the brand’s vegetable-tanned Bridle Leather, which is made by Wickett & Craig in Pennsylvania, one of the last remaining vegetable tanneries in America. They’ve been perfecting their craft since 1867, and the result is a premium leather that’s firm and strong enough to thrive in the harshest environments.

Filson bags also owe their incredible strength and durability to the brand’s Rugged Twill. The fabric is woven in a 2-by-2 pattern that optimizes the density of yarns while maintaining superior tear strength. And more recently, Filson’s collection of military-grade ripstop nylon bags offers the same unmatched reliability — with less bulk and more flexibility.

The latest chapter in the brand’s long history of impeccably sourced materials is Filson Denim. By manufacturing limited runs in the American West from fine selvage denim, the company is now producing jeans to the same exacting standards it sets for all of its heritage fabrics.

Built for the long haul

It should come as no surprise that all Filson products come with a lifetime guarantee. The company stands behind its materials, manufacturing, and workmanship. And an expert team of skilled craftspeople is always on hand to perform repairs on Filson products to prolong their life. Those same values extend to Filson’s approach to stewardship.

In addition to manufacturing with natural, sustainable materials like wool and cotton, Filson only uses goose down that is responsibly processed in Bluesign-approved facilities. And it has maximized its use of recycled content in its synthetic fabrics and fills.

The company also supports conservation organizations like the National Forest Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, the Conservation Alliance, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, among others.

Tried and true apparel

From thick flannels and wools to ultralight Feather Cloth and knits, there’s a Filson shirt engineered for every situation and climate. Introduced 50 years ago, Filson’s Jac-Shirt is an outdoor staple renowned for its versatility and performance.

“One long-time Filson employee recalls his father packing his favorite Jac-Shirt on each and every hiking, camping, and canoeing trip taken with his Boy Scout troop throughout the 1980s,” the brand writes. “Dad still wears that same Jac-Shirt, a few Filson repairs later.”

Sewn in the brand’s Seattle factory, the original Jac-Shirt provides superior warmth with 18-ounce wool. Crafted with a tight weave, it delivers breathability, durability, and wind resistance, with a unique wool structure that makes it naturally water-resistant, moisture-wicking, and insulating, even when wet. Filson’s Jac-Shirt is also notable for its clean lines, with a straight hem that looks great untucked and a roomy cut that offers plenty of range of motion when you’re working. The chest pocket buttons are hidden, so they don’t show when the pockets are unbuttoned — and you always have easy access to your stuff.

Sueded for a soft, comfortable feel, the Moleskin Jac-Shirt serves beautifully as an all-purpose midweight layer, overshirt, or light jacket. And the Lightweight Down Jac-Shirt works like a warm parka, with a 2-ounce nylon shell over large clusters of soft under-plumage goose down.

Filson has your bottom half covered, too, with instant classics like their sturdy Glacier Bay Trunks and Rail-Splitter Selvedge Jeans, built for serious endurance in the U.S. from stout 15-ounce Japanese selvage denim. And their reinforced Oil-Finish Double Tin Cloth Bibs are made for working the toughest, wettest, muddiest jobs, with cargo and utility pockets for all your tools and shoulder straps that fasten with long-lasting bridle leather tabs.

For hunting and fishing — or any other outdoor pursuit — Filson’s signature Mackinaw Wool Cruiser Jacket has been prized since 1914 for offering stylish protection from the rain and cold. And with tear-resistant, sueded Moleskin overlays, Filson’s Lightweight Shooting Vest can turn you into an exceedingly sharp shooter.

The very best bags and gear

When it comes to accessories, Filson has the market cornered on rugged utility and timeless cool. The exceptional fur-felt Stetson Wolf Canyon Hat is the result of a partnership between Filson and Stetson that traces back more than a century. Filson’s Logger Suspenders will keep all your cargo in place with an X-cross design and riveted leather tabs. And the special-edition waterproof 6” Xtratuf Legacy Lace Boots combine triple-dipped rubber lowers with soles engineered for traction on wet, hard surfaces. There’s also the collapsible, waterproof Dog Bowl, a favorite among campers, and the warm, soft, naturally water-repellent Mackinaw Wool Blanket, a favorite among pretty much anyone who loves cozying up in front of a fire.

But perhaps most iconic of all, Filson’s enduring line of bags and luggage, from the travel packs and briefcases to the backpacks and duffles, have proven their worth as some of the finest, most functional, and most thoughtfully constructed travel companions on earth. They never go out of style — and they only seem to get better with age.

Filson’s bestselling Journeyman backpack combines the best of the brand’s signature materials, including tough-as-nails, oil-finish Tin Cloth, tightly woven Rugged Twill, soft Moleskin, and vegetable-tanned Bridle Leather, to form what might be the perfect backpack. Simple and uncluttered without any unnecessary embellishments — like everything else Filson makes — it does its job quietly and admirably. And it’s guaranteed to keep on doing it for life.

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