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The Timeless Quality Of Filson’s Oil Finish Tin Cloth

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Established in Seattle in 1897, Filson is the leading outfitter and manufacturer of unfailing goods and apparel. Built upon a reputation for reliability, Filson has been trusted by generations of anglers and hunters, engineers and explorers, mariners and ranchers, and anyone who refuses to stay indoors.

Clinton C. Filson established his company to outfit prospectors driven to strike gold regardless of environmental obstacles. These miners were soon joined by hunters, anglers, engineers, and explorers. The hardiness of Filson Mackinaw Coats and Wool Field Pants made them unrivaled for keeping comfortable and staying alive in the wilderness.

Part of what makes Filson so unique, is the consistent use of the best materials available. These materials have made truly revolutionary clothing over the years because they are so unique and distinct. Below we are some of the signature materials that have made such an impact today.

Legendary Waxed Cotton, Tin Cloth

Born from the need to protect against thorns and briars in the rain-soaked Pacific Northwest, Filson’s oil finish Tin Cloth is relied on by loggers, foresters, sportsmen and tradesmen. Timeless quality garment that develops a natural patina over time.

From the beginning, the popularity of the cruiser shirt was undeniable, given its widespread demand by those seeking their fortunes in Alaska and the Yukon goldfields. Photo by Filson.

For every person who struck gold in the Klondike, thousands more fled back to Seattle with pennies or debt. Broke and desperate, many of these once gold searchers turned to the timber industry. It soon became a booming industry. This was not only great for the workers who were desperate for employment, but it was also a huge pivotal moment for Filson. He knew exactly what clothing and gear loggers needed and he had the materials to make it.

This pivotal moment is when he designed and made the first Filson Cruiser. It received a U.S. Patent. It had trademarked pockets to accommodate surveyor tools and the Cruiser quickly became the standard piece for the forests. More than a century later, the 1914 Filson Cruiser is almost identical to today’s version. All clothes with a tin cloth finish are abrasion-resistant and rain repellent. This fabric has been proven to work for over 100 years. You can get almost any outdoor apparel with a tin cloth finish, like a baseball cap, chaps, a backpack, and much more.

When 15th-century mariners oiled their sails for greater efficiency, it also made them highly water-resistant. The oiled cloth also served as rainwear and was the predecessor to waxed canvas, the paraffin-treated fabric that provides durability unmatched by lightweight synthetic raingear.

Born from the need to protect against thorns and briars in the rain-soaked Pacific Northwest. Photo by Filson.

C.C. Filson pioneered production of waxed-cotton clothing for Northwest foresters and outdoorsmen with the “Waterproof Khakis” listed in their 1922 catalog, now known Tin Cloth. Traders brought the fabric to North America from the British mills that developed the waxing process.

While lightweight synthetic fabrics used for rain gear have benefits, none can equal Tin Cloth’s strength and resistance to punctures, tears, and abrasion. If renewable materials are a priority, waxed cotton is the natural choice. Filson waxed-cotton products can be relaxed and repaired to keep them in service for decades.

To create their iconic fabric, a tightly woven canvas duck fabric is saturated with a liquefied paraffin wax and oil mixture under heat and high pressure, forcing the wax into the core of the all-natural cotton fibers. Filson’s toughest waxed cotton fabric, oil finish Tin Cloth resists tears, punctures, water and wind for heavy-duty reliability.

Here are a few of my favorite items from Filson’s iconic Tin Cloth Collection.


Photo by Filson.

Filson’s classic Cruiser has provided tough-as-nails protection to workers on jobsites ranging from forestry to construction for well over a century. It’s lined Tin Cloth version adds a comfortable lining for added versatility. Built with tough, water-resistant Tin Cloth, the jacket is reinforced with double layers of Tin Cloth in the sleeves and a double layer in the back with a full-width reach-through pocket. Four front cargo pockets allow the wearer to carry the belongings they need with them wherever they go. The jacket is compatible with optional Filson button-on hoods for extra warmth, sold separately.

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Durable pants for work or field built with iconic oil finish Tin Cloth. Photo by Filson.

Durable field pants, specifically built for active jobs and fieldwork, with a simple, iconic design. Filson’s Oil Finish Single Tin Pants are some of the most durable pants on the market. A full mixture of oil and water-resistant wax saturates the canvas fabric, making it resistant to briars and brush as well as water, helping keep you dry in even the harshest climates. The tight weave of the cloth helps resist abrasions and other damage, so you can wear it long-term without worrying about it falling apart easily.

The cut is loose and roomy for ease of movement, with seven belts loops to help ensure that your pants will not sag. Metal buttons on both the front and back use wreath designs to allow for easy closure while keeping your stomach covered, while suspender buttons are also included to give you more options when wearing these work clothes. Built to be durable even in the toughest conditions, Filson’s Oil Finish Single Tin Pants are an excellent choice of work clothes.

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Hip-length protection from weather and abrasion. Photo by Filson.

Filson’s Tin Cloth Jacket is a time-proven, weather-resistant shell that provides outstanding protection from abrasion and brush. It’s constructed from our iconic waxed canvas that’s shielded workers from Pacific Northwest rain and snow for a century. For unparalleled ease of motion, it features our “action back”–dual rear pleats that run from shoulder to hem. The cut is hip length to minimize riding up when seated, and the hem features adjustment tabs for a custom fit.

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Photo by Filson.

The weather resistant Tin Cloth Pants combine the fabric’s field-proven durability and weather resistance with quilted insulation for dependable warmth and protection in cold, wet weather. On the job or wading through heavy brush, the Tin Cloth stands up to punctures and tears while you remain comfortable and protected. The insulation is lightweight, insulates if wet, and dries quickly.

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Skyblue Featured Video: The Route North: The Inside Passage

In honoring Filson’s 125-year legacy, they voyaged along the ancient coastal route of the Pacific Northwest’s Inside Passage. Learn more about the significance of this historic marine highway on The Filson Journal.

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