The Filson Thing

I got into Filson back in the mid-2000s.  This was pre-workwear, pre-fake beards, and pre-skinny jeans and Red Wings.  I thought their bags were super cool and started digging around.

My first Filson bag was the now-retired 257 briefcase in tan, which I carried for a number of years.  I eventually gave it to my brother when I slimmed down to an otter green 256.  This was around 2015, and I’ve carried that bag since.  It’s a great briefcase and holds all I need – especially as laptops and tech have generally gotten smaller.

I have accumulated a pretty big Filson collection, and still use it all.  Maybe my collection could be another post, but the purpose of this piece is to talk about the current Filson landscape.

There was a turning point for Filson a few years ago.  After 100+ years of the same gear and bags, the company went through some leadership changes and restructuring, and with this restructuring came some changes.  Price increases and a confusing catalog of goods became the focus of online fodder.  This transition is easily identified with their new tag:

The original Filson tag became a badge of honor to a lot of Filson users…you’ll notice something on the new tag that had been proudly displayed for their lifespan: ‘Made in the USA’.  The ‘original tag’ gear was the tried and true, USA-made goods that were of the ‘old stock’.  These are some of the well-patina’ed bags that show up in Instagram feeds that we all lust over.  That’s where my focus had been with Filson, as I was a little turned off by the new direction.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago, when the new Filson catalog arrived in my mailbox.

I was blown away by the catalog.  It is an extremely cohesive collection that works perfectly together.  The modeling, product placement, and colors are all exactly what I expect from the Filson of ANY year.  The mailer catalog has again become the norm, but it wasn’t that long ago that it wasn’t a thing.  Colonel Littleton and Onward Reserve led the way back in the early 2010s, and have been innovative in their catalog approaches since.  This Filson catalog falls into that top tier category.

Now, we all know good marketing is worthless if the products don’t meet muster…but it’s safe to say that the ‘new tag’ Filson gear has been holding its own.  The price points have remained relatively high, but all things considered, Filson is a ‘cry once’ buy.  Buy one of their bags and it’ll last you 25 years.  A couple of notable observations from the catalog:

The Featherweight Down Vest is a nice addition.  Seems like it would get a lot of wear here in Atlanta:

Dry Tin 5-Pocket Pants look fantastic, especially in the Whiskey option.  I don’t think anyone carries something like that.  I’m not sure about the fit, but if I pull the trigger I’ll do a review.

The Field Flannel shirts are a great price point.  All the colors are great, and the camo is a nice alternative.

Ripping a heater:

It’s nice seeing Filson on an upward trajectory and re-establishing their place in the #menswear spectrum.  I like their new identity, albeit a bit updated and refined from earlier iterations.  What say you?  You on board?

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6 Comments

  1. Wheels
    10/21/2020 / 9:51 AM

    Nice to see you cover Filson. I’ve got plenty of bags but I’m really wanting to pull the trigger on their Mackinaw jacket since waxed jackets seem overplayed nowadays. I imagine it is of exceptional quality and a forever piece, but right now its hard to pull the trigger when I know it will reside in the closet until the country opens back up.

  2. Jonathan, MS
    10/21/2020 / 11:22 AM

    I remember for a few of the “troubled” years, every shirt had two cuts. One was for someone that might want to walk through the woods in a nice flannel shirt. The other was for someone that wanted to cross the street of Seattle from one Starbucks to another in a nice flannel shirt.

  3. Joe
    10/21/2020 / 11:31 AM

    fell in love with Filson in the early 2000s when I lived in AK. a weekend trip to the local goods store in Fairbanks was a highlight of my weeks. never pulled the trigger on a Mackinaw Cruiser, but still wear my field hat in the duck blind today.

  4. Stipe
    10/22/2020 / 8:33 AM

    If you havent had the honor to travel to one of their many stores, make it a part of a trip. Seattle is incredible, both stores and NYC will blow your mind. Masters of art design.

  5. Tanner
    10/24/2020 / 8:45 PM

    Just recently got my first filson bag. How do you get the magazine?

  6. Aaron Sporck
    10/24/2020 / 11:56 PM

    J. Press also does an excellent seasonal catalog.

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