Filson Tin Cloth is very popular and reliable for workwear jackets and pants, but how does it handle in the rain? Is Filson Tin Cloth waterproof?
Filson Tin Cloth is not technically “waterproof”. Filson Tin Cloth is a cotton canvas material, and cotton products cannot be completely waterproof. However, the oil-finished versions of Filson Tin Cloth garments are highly water-resistant and come about as close as you can to making a cotton canvas garment actually waterproof. This means you can expect oil-finished Filson Tin Cloth to provide water-resistant protection in moderate and even some extreme wet conditions. But, because it isn’t completely waterproof, it’s important to remember that there will be some limitations.
Here is a video of me testing the waterproofness of my Filson Oil-Finished Tin Cloth Jacket:
Consider the oil-finished version of Filson Tin Cloth as a great option for wet conditions due to the wax coating (but, again, don’t expect it to be completely waterproof). If you are working in a light to moderate rain storm, or walking through wet brush, this type of garment is perfect.
It is important to understand that Filson also offers a “Dry Tin Cloth”, which means it does not have the oil, wax finish. The Filson Dry Tin Cloth is not waterproof or water-resistant, and won’t be good for wet weather or wet brush. The benefit of dry Tin Cloth is it provides the durability of Tin Cloth but with added breathability since there is no wax finish.
Update – Filson now offers certain types of dry Tin Cloth garments that are treated with DWR finish to make them more water-repellent.
In this article let’s take a closer look at how appropriate Filson Tin Cloth workwear is for wet weather.
Is Filson Tin Cloth Good for Rain?
Filson Tin Cloth is not completely waterproof. However, the oil-finished version of Filson Tin Cloth garments are highly water-resistant. Water-resistant means the garment will repel light to moderate precipitation but is not technically completely waterproof. If you expose Filson Tin Cloth to extreme rain for an extended amount of time, it will eventually take on some water.
What is the point of Filson Tin Cloth? Traditional waterproof rain gear is usually nylon based or rubber based. The nylon garments are very lightweight and not durable for harsh terrain. The rubber based garments are not breathable and miserable to work in.
In the early 1900’s, there became a need to find a way to make a water-ready work garment that was tough enough to handle brush and harsh terrain, but still breathable enough to work in. By 1920, Filson launched a new outerwear clothing line based on this need, and called it “waterproofed khaki”.
Over time, the term Tin Cloth has taken the place of “waterproofed khaki”, and although this material isn’t technically truly waterproof, the oil-finished version is as close to being truly waterproof as you can make cotton canvas.
What Type of Filson Tin Cloth is not Water-Resistant?
Filson’s Dry Tin Cloth does not have an oil-finish, which means it is not water-resistant. The benefit of Filson Dry Tin Cloth is it provides the durability you expect with this type of material, but is more breathable and better for warm weather than oil-finished Tin Cloth.
Examples of Filson Tin Cloth Oil-Finished Garments
Here are some of the most popular types of Filson clothes that use water-resistant Tin Cloth fabric:
- Filson Tin Cloth Cruiser Jacket (click here to view)
- Filson Tin Cloth Insulated Work Vest (click here to view)
- Filson Tin Cloth Field Jacket (click here to view)
- Filson Tin Cloth Work Pants (click here to view)
- Filson Tin Cloth Bib Overalls (click here to view)
- Filson Tin Cloth Packer Hat (click here to view)
To read more about outerwear options, visit my article that discusses the different types of Filson work jackets.
How to Waterproof Filson Tin Cloth?
Some people may attempt to add waterproofing to garments by purchasing waterproofing spray. For oil-finished Filson Tin Cloth, this is not needed.
If you want to improve the protection you get in the rain or wet brush from Filson Tin Cloth, you need to make sure you purchase the oil-finished version of Tin Cloth, and re-wax it as needed (types of Filson waxed jackets). How often should you re-wax it? That depends on how much you use it, but for most people, re-waxing the garment once a year is appropriate.
However, even if you keep it properly waxed, it will never be completely waterproof (but will be water-resistant). As we have discussed throughout, water-resistant means that although the garment is not completely waterproof, it is still good at repelling light to moderate precipitation.
Does Filson Make Waterproof Clothes?
Yes, although Filson Tin Cloth is not completely waterproof, Filson does offer certain types of clothes that are rated as waterproof. Most of these garments use Filson’s Rain Cloth™ waterproof fabric, which is a three-layer fabric consisting of an extremely tough, tightly-woven nylon shell that also has a waterproof/breathable membrane laminated to the interior.
Filson describes this membrane as having “millions of microporous holes” that are too small for rain to penetrate but still allows your body heat and vapor to escape the garment. For example, here is the Filson Skagit Rain Jacket that is waterproof.
The main takeaway is you can expect Filson Oil-Finish Tin Cloth to provide water-resistance, but it won’t be completely waterproof. If you need a waterproof garment, Filson Rain Cloth™ fabric will be a better option.