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Despite a wide range of technical, synthetic outerwear available to those who work outside in cold and rugged conditions, traditional fabrics such as heavy-duty cotton and thick wool are still hard to beat, mainly because they can take a beating better than their man-made counterparts and still function well. Putting those fabrics together in a classic work vest such as Filson’s Antique Tin Cloth Reversible Cruiser Vest yields a garment that’s suitable for field, ranch, or virtually any cold environment where you need full range of motion for arms and upper body. This Filson vest is big on fit, price, and functionality.
- Exterior: 12.3 oz. 100% cotton Antique Tin Cloth
- Interior: 24-oz. 100% virgin Mackinaw wool
- 5-snap front closure
- Exterior side pockets: 2 lower utility pockets with snap flap closures; 2 upper open pockets (one slotted for tools).
- Interior side pockets: 2 hand warmer pockets
- Lifetime Guarantee
- Price $185
Filson’s slogan, “Might as Well Have the Best,” may sound presumptuous but in fact is mostly borne out in its products. Filson’s 12.3-ounce, heavyweight, ultradurable cotton (“Tin Cloth”) and 24-ounce wool (“Mackinaw Wool”) have provided legendary ruggedness and warmth in its outdoor products since 1897. The combination of these materials in the Antique Tin Cloth Reversible Cruiser Vest is no exception. The Tin Cloth exterior is extremely durable and, combined with Mackinaw Wool, moderately flexible. The Mackinaw Wool interior provides outstanding warmth. Pockets are well-constructed and gladly hold tools with no fear of tearing. Snaps are robust and provide a very secure connection.
The Filson Antique Tin Cloth Reversible Cruiser Vest I tested came in a medium size, equivalent to a size 40-42 jacket, per the Filson website. Normally a medium and normally wearing a size 40 jacket, the fit of the Filson on me was quite generous. I figured the extra material and large cut meant the vest was to be the last layer put on over a couple of other layers. With just a long-sleeved shirt underneath, the vest’s fit was loose and, as such, I lost some of the warming benefit of the Mackinaw Wool lining. Conversely, the vest provided ample room and a full range of motion for my arms. So I could engage in chopping or hauling wood without feeling restrained.
The Tin Cloth exterior easily handled any abuse I threw at it and served well as a layer of protection—as long as it wasn’t raining. Ironically, if it were raining, and since the vest is reversible, I might wear it with the wool side out—only because the wool would handle the moisture better than the untreated Tin Cloth. Anything more than light precipitation, however, would require some other form of outerwear.
Wearing the wool side out would significantly reduce the warming abilities (unless I wore the vest under an all weather shell of some kind) and probably be less comfortable. Moreover, all those great pockets, except two handwarmer pockets sewn onto the Mackinaw Wool side, would end up on the inside and not nearly as accessible.
Although not mentioned on the Filson website, the Antique Tin Cloth Reversible Cruiser Vest has a rear pocket that runs the full width of the vest. Similar to a “map pocket” or “game pocket” on a hunting jacket or vest and secured with two snaps (one on either side), this is one of the most handy pockets to have and arguably the vest’s best feature.
At $185, the Filson Antique Tin Cloth Reversible Cruiser Vest is big on price. As such, I would consider it a lifetime purchase for the avid outdoorsperson who needs colder weather gear that can protect, warm, and still provide a significant range of motion. Just make sure you order the correct size. On the rare possibility that something on this vest fails, Filson backs up their products with a lifetime guarantee.
While a good-looking garment in its own right, the Filson Antique Tin Cloth Reversible Cruiser Vest is primarily a functional garment. It’s rugged, durable, and warm and very practical for colder weather activities that really involve activity. With its generous cut and multitude of pockets, it’s meant for serious outdoor work and will easily last a lifetime. Even though it’s not meant for rain and is big on price, virtually every part of the design suggests that it will be the only outdoor vest you may ever need.
Image by Mark Kakkuri