Filson 257 Briefcase Model Then and Now

New Filson 257 Briefcase next to an older one.

This Filson 257 in navy was as a gift from my mother for my Christmas 2018. She didn’t know I already had the same model (I’ve been told I’m a person hard to find gifts for!). I didn’t feel the need to tell her as I was quite astonished she managed to score a deal that I hadn’t seen! I really, really eventually wanted to have a navy Filson bag for myself – the only previous navy bag was a 261 zippered tote that I purchased as a gift to my former girlfriend. I myself am a stickler for the original Filson colors (tan and otter green!).

I gladly handed it over to my girlfriend to use as her work bag. She is a teacher at an elementary school, so nothing out of the normal is expected to happen to the bag. After several months primarily as her shotgun seat companion, I decided to re-examine the briefcase. I asked her opinion on the bag, and these were her comments:

  • Spacious
  • Heavy
  • Navy color is nice
  • Complimented by others
  • Outside pockets useful
  • Too large for [her] size

Differences

This newer 257 briefcase in Navy was manufactured September 2017 (according to the tag) compared to my tan briefcase in February 2002 – so a 15 year difference.

I can’t say for sure that these changes are applied for the 258 Padded Computer Briefcase. Although the 257 Computer Briefcase is discontinued, I thought I’d point on some things.

The most outstanding change is the bridle leather, a much darker brown (dark chocolate burgundy) versus the older leather that is well known to patina/fade to a chestnut brown. The underside of the leather is overall smoother, but does still show piling.

Taken in direct sunlight to identify the different bridle leathers.

The zippers now are “Filson” logo’d instead of “YKK”, but are still robust and smooth to slide. From my understanding they are just rebranded version of YKK zippers.

The shoulder pad is now made of two separate leather pieces (one thin and one thick) stitched together with a foam insert in between. The older model shoulder pad is one single piece of leather. I’ve had my experience with both types of shoulder pads, and I do prefer the single piece one.

The new pad starts off really stiff and doesn’t contour well to your shoulder initially in my experience. The pad often “slips”, leaving the thin strap digging into your shoulder. The two pieces of leather do eventually break in/soften up, but I don’t think the foam insert does as much. Although the dimensions of both new and old shoulder pads are the same, the necessary stitching to hold the two pieces together reduces the foam area coverage. So there’s essentially a few cm border around the whole pad that doesn’t have foam. One purpose of a shoulder pad is to spread the bag’s weight evenly over the pad area.

But at the end of the day, the new pad is by no means bad, and there are methods to quickly break in the pad. The first is to fill the briefcase up with heavy items such as textbooks, attach the strap, and leave the shoulder pad hanging on a doorknob for a few days to form a good curvature. Because the new pads bottom side tend to be smooth, the second method is to take some fine grit sandpaper and lightly sand the bottom of the pad. Avoid the stitching on the outside. A rougher texture allows the pad to “grip” your shoulder more easily.

Filson Shoulder Pad Sanded on the 258 Briefcase
Purposefully sanded shoulder pad for additional grip.

*The changes below have already been applied to the 258 Padded Computer Briefcase for many years already. I have a 258 model manufactured in 2002 which had these new modifications even though it was made in the same year as my 257. Just extra information for the enthusiasts or if you’re considering purchasing a vintage 257 from eBay!*

A short, green cotton webbing with a brass clip is permanently affixed to the inside of one outer pocket. The intended use is to attach and find your keys easily instead of loosely throwing it the whole pocket (which I do on my tan one). A welcome and practical addition if you ask me!

The material for the pockets on the inside are now a lighter weight canvas compared to the previous (likely?) identical twill used on the whole bag. The canvas material seems to be the same as the canvas used to bind the inner seams of the bag. The outer two dividers are still made of twill. In addition, the bottom of the three pockets have a closed bottom. I like both of these changes. The open bottom pockets prevented me from confidently placing smaller items inside.

 

Ebbets Field Flannels Vintage Ballcaps

Able Brewing Co Ebbets Cap in Travel Grey Flannel

For the longest time since I forayed into clothing and style, I’ve purposely stayed away from wearing hats. The casual vibe distracted me from the outfit as a whole. However, my opinion on hats have much changed over the years as I got older, understanding that dressing better was not the same as dressing up.

I’m referring about baseball caps. You know, the hats Americans are known for sporting their favorite team logos at games, on vacations, and anywhere else really. I love an adjustable strap, well-worn cap with a slightly curved brim.

My first baseball cap purchase, ever, was several years ago online in 2014. It was this Ebbets Field Flannels navy wool ballcap from Independence Chicago. The hat was a nice, neutral navy color with a green satin underbrim and made of a soft wool flannel. A subtle, cream colored “I” for Independence Chicago felt stitched to the front of the brim, an adjustable leather strap at the back, and most gladly made here by Ebbets Field Flannels in Seattle, WA.

There have been several iterations of this makeup from Independence over the years. Some of them with a different font, a Horween shell cordovan strap, a different color button top, or even another material.

What I love about Ebbets Field Flannels is that the company pays homage to vintage teams and reproduce their attire. They have a variety of ready-made hats to choose from. Some of the popular hats include the SF Seals, the NY Knickerbockers, the LA Angels, and many more. Also, they have done several custom group made-to-orders with Reddit, Superfuture, Styleforum, and menswear retailers. The hats are reasonably priced at around 49 USD from the webstore or a few dollars more from places with their own makeup. From the several Ebbets caps I own, these caps are made with consistent and outstanding quality.

The leather strap included on the adjustable caps, however, does vary much in quality depending on the leather used. The more recent Ebbets caps I’ve purchased have a plastic looking finish and are thinner compared to the ones of Ebbets x Independence Chicago and Ebbets x Viberg (Horween Shell Cordovan strap). It’s quite a hit or miss, and you can identify the leather qualities of a specific cap run from its stock pictures. Regardless, a leather strap is a cool upgrade from the plastic or velcro straps on other cap brands.

Various leather straps. Third and fifth ones are my favorite.

Loyal Stricklin Edison Travel Notebook Wallet Review

This is my review and thoughts on Loyal Stricklin’s Edison Wallet, a Field Notes sized wallet, in the Honey colorway.

Loyal Stricklin is a American made small company that started with its owner Michael Stricklin. Loyal Stricklin’s most iconic product is their Aviator Mug, a leather sleeve with a handle made to fit perfectly over a mason jar. The Aviator Mug is available in many different leathers including Horween Chromexcel, Dublin, and various bridle leathers. It acts as coozie for taking your beverage on the go including hot coffee, iced coffee, or tea. The Aviator Mug was my first purchase from the company back in 2014. While my sleeve has taken on several water stains, it has many more years of life even if the mason jar were to fall and break.

Loyal Stricklin Edison Wallet Honey Front
The honey bridle leather takes on a patina easily and maintains a sheen.

Let’s move onto the Edison Wallet, which I would also say is one of their better known products. The Edison Wallet is a Field Notes style sized wallet designed to carry a pen, a notebook, cards, and a handful of cash. It also has enough room to stuff receipts in its pockets. The item listing also includes a Loyal Stricklin branded twist pen and one blank Field Notes book to get you started. The Edison Wallet fits notebooks sized 3.5in x 5.5in (9cm x 14cm).

I wanted to switch things up from a typical pull-up type leather such as Horween Chromexcel/Dublin, so I went with the honey color after scouring the web for some pictures of how the leather would age. The honey leather is a harness leather that starts off as a bright chestnut-like color. The leather is really smooth and consistently keeps a sheen without any conditioning so far. The wallet’s edges are burnished very well, and the stitching is altogether great without any missed holes.

Loyal Stricklin Edison Wallet
The area where the pen is held on the interior is most visibly darkened.

During my first outing with the Edison wallet placed in my rear pocket, I noticed the leather near the bottom spine creasing in an undesired manner. I figured it was because the length of the pen I slotted didn’t reach near the full length of the wallet. I attempted to purposely push the pen down before closing the wallet, but that didn’t help much. It’s not something that bothers me anymore because the creasing worsen much after that.

There are two notable differences from my One Star Leather Park Sloper Senior Wallet (my review), a similar sized Field Notes style wallet designed to carry similar items (pen, cards, cash, receipts).

The first difference is that Loyal Stricklin’s pen slot is stitched on the inside to sit the pen at the wallet’s spine when closed. In terms of volume, this does make the wallet a few centimeters narrower in width at a cost of making the spine area bulge when equipped with a pen. This can be a positive if One Star Leather’s Park Sloper Senior is too wide to fit in a desired pocket such as the rear. My Park Sloper Senior does snugly fit in some of my rear pant pockets and not at all in others – it depends on the brand of the pant. However, One Star Leather does make a “no pen slot” version if width is an issue.

The second difference is that the Edison Wallet’s card sleeve slots are vertically slotted in a set of three. The slots stack upon each other. Three slots is great especially if you place the frequently used cards at the front. However, if you have too many cards, they will stack upon each other and make the Edison Wallet very bulky.

Schott x 3sixteen Arabica Cowhide @ 19 Months

I haven’t worn this piece much since my last update 05/2018 Schott x 3sixteen Perfecto Arabica Cowhide Review, but leather still ages hanging on a clothing rack!

I was reminded of my leather jackets after talking with some old friends who have retired interest in clothing from the Styleforum days before Instagram. Back before I found a comfortable style, I did partake in the whole Temple of Jawnz (TOJ) leather jacket fiasco in 2012/2013. There’s a good summary on what happened over here.

People got too crazy obsessing over 1cm measurements with a MTM offering especially being behind a monitor on the internet. With MTM, the resale value really diminishes, and people don’t measure used garments to a consistent standard. I’m glad I fit in an “off-the-rack” size.

The Schott x 3sixteen Perfecto really encapsulates my more recent way of purchases. Nice stuff made from people I can hang with. It just so happened a few before this iteration jacket was released, both Schott NYC and 3sixteen opened stores in LA.

I took these handful of pics inside the bedroom messing around with my somewhat recently acquired Godox AD200 flash and Glow EZ Lock Deep Parabolic Softbox (28 in). Man.. this pairing of such a workhorse. The soft box is really easy to setup and really amazing for the price. From my past pics, I emphasized using natural light and “working with what ya got” but I figured I tried something different especially in a controlled environment.

Anyways, it’s getting too hot over here to wear nice clothes. Hope to be more active on my blog soon!

Filson Otter Green Zippered Tote Bag 261 After Cleaning

Within the first year of use after I purchased my Filson Otter Green Zippered Tote in back 2013, I noticed a stain on the bottom exterior panels of the bag. The stain was brown/tan-like in color and had a distinct outline of its edges. I initially thought it was a coffee or beverage stain spilling on the inside, but then noticed it appeared only on the outside panels of the bag – no stains were present on the interior.

Here’s a gallery of the before images of the Otter Green Tote over several years (I tried to color balance the images to look somewhat consistent). The “stain” is towards at the bottom of the bag

I felt it was due time to really try and get the stain out or at least reduced. I used a mixture of water and a few drops of laundry detergent and then vigorously scrubbed whole bag in the bathtub using a soft plastic bristle brush. The brownish water that constantly came out after each wringing deceived me into thinking that the bag was still dirty. It was actually dye coming out from the bridle leather handle straps.

I let the bag dry inside out in my patio for a few days. The primary change I noticed after it dried was that the canvas portions of the bag lightened a few shades. The bridle leather also started to crack on one strap, but it was only on the surface. I applied a few coats of Obenauf’s Leather Oil to all leather areas which was much needed. The oil didn’t noticably darken the color as the straps were dark to begin with.

After all was said and done, I think the stain appears less noticable. Looking back, I would have somehow covered the leather straps or at least let the bag hang on on something while I scrubbed just the canvas. Getting the leather completely soaked with water was a bad idea.

Here are the after images of the Otter Green zippered tote by itself and also compared with a Tan zippered tote.

Crescent Down Works Italian Vest Review

Crescent Down Works x Freeman Quilted Diagonal Italian Vest

A few weeks ago my girlfriend and I had planned a trip up to Yosemite in December for a few days. Both of us have great experiences with Uniqlo’s HEATTECH collection, and they recently even released an Extra Warm HEATTECH. Uniqlo is quite popular for their down jackets and vests among their other casual clothes. Their clothes are so universal that they even have clothing vending machines various locations!

The Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Vest was on sale and I eventually reasoned with myself to purchase one. The design is quite simple and practical – there are two hand warmer pockets in the front that can be zipped to prevent items from falling out. On the interior, there are additional vertical pockets behind the front pockets. A single zipper on the front. The vest doesn’t restrict my arms and it is very lightweight. I went with my standard size of a large at a 43 inch (109 cm) chest. I can roll it into a small cylinder shape the size of maybe two fists and place it into the pouch it additionally comes with. The vest worked great at Yosemite and was warm enough to even wear by itself only!

Design difference between the Crescent Down Works Quilted Italian Vest and Classic Italian Vest

I never was a down outerwear kind of guy, but after my great experience with the Uniqlo one at Yosemite, I decided to look further into another one. I first learned of Crescent Down Works in 2012 visiting Standard & Strange in Oakland, CA. CDW is a small company that produces down outerwear in Seattle, Washington. Not much further away is also Freeman Seattle which makes great raincoats! Seattle (which includes Filson) is definitely prepared for the elements! CDW does a lot of collaborations with other brands such as Freeman, Lost & Found, Brooklyn Clothing, and recently, 3sixteen.

My girlfriend and I mutually decided to buy each other CDW vests as Christmas presents, agreeing on the specs beforehand. AFAIK, CDW makes garments that are unisex so the measurements are what matters most. For mine, I wanted a somewhat neutral color vest with a ribbed collar instead of the standard collar. It’s a nice extra touch that I think makes it stand out from the other down jackets out there.

Ribbed collar and smooth two way zipper (other zip not shown)

Details

  • Water-resistant 60/40 cotton-nylon shell.
  • 100% nylon ribbed collar and streakfree liner.
  • 5.5 oz. premium, 700-fill European goose down.
  • Front placket with two-way zipper and leather-backed snaps.
  • Down-filled front pockets.
  • Elasticized waist.
  • Made in Seattle.
The Classic Italian Vest has an additional inner velcro’d pocket

I ended up purchasing an older stock, unused previous year’s collaboration CDW x Freeman Quilted Down Vest off of eBay. The quilted pattern was used to streamline the bulkier Italian Vest down into a sleeker look. The main difference between the Classic Italian Vest and this Quilted Diagonal Italian Vest is the pattern and how much down is within each stitched area. The quilted design purposely has less fill. The collars are different in that mine has a ribbed collar long enough that folds upon itself once (some versions ribbed but no fold). I haven’t felt any significant difference in warmth regarding the collar types. The ribbed collar does feel cozier on the neck, however. After looking over several online measurements, especially the chest width of 23 inches, I went with my typical size which was a large.

Standard collar on the Crescent Down Works Classic Italian Vest

My girlfriend had received her Italian Down Vest a few days earlier so I was able to compare the two vests. The amounccount for the size proportion difference (XS vs L), but the pockets on mine were very generous, measuring about 9 inches x 11 inches (23cm x 28cm). Both of our pockets were angled similarly, but another difference is that her pockets had more down on the exterior which I’d say would keep your hands warmer.

Ribbed collar on the Crescent Down Works Quilted Diagonal Italian Vest

The quality and specs are definite on point. The front buttons are backed with a circular leather piece to prevent ripping through the material while unsnapping. The bottom of the jacket has a bit of ribbing to accomodate some generosity and retain snugness. I like that the vest has a buttoned front placket over the zipper that prevents any breeze from coming through. I typically wear the vest unzipped or completely buttoned and zipped if it’s chilly. There’s a two way zipper also which might be useful for when sitting down but I haven’t used it yet.

Buttons backed by leather detail for durability

Fit

The length of the vest was longer than I expected. It’s my fault for overlooking the body length measurements for jackets, I typically look at just shoulders and chest (I think I have average proportions). I imagined a vest would be shorter to provide more mobility (such as a well-fitted waistcoat of a suit). The extra two to three inches on the body length exaggerates the classic straight fit. The outerwear, of course, is designed in mind for all weather use and not fashion.

CDW and other sites list the fit as “classic”, so I’d recommend sizing down one if you want a slimmer fit. Stay true to size if you’d like some flexibility to layer underneath.

Rear view of the jacket with elastic ribbing

Function

If you haven’t tried on or own a down jacket, the material really works. I can wear the vest over a henley or flannel comfortably down to mid 50 degrees Fahrenheit or so. If I need extra warmth, I’ll throw on a jacket over everything so the vest acts as a midlayer. The exterior material (60/40 cotton/nylon) is a blend popularized in Mountain Parkas in the 1970s and is tightly woven, so the material is wind and bristle-resistant.

I managed to put my arms through my my girlfriend’s XS Classic Italian Vest unzipped, and I definitely felt the down capturing the warmth faster. Due to more down filling per jacket area in the Classic Italian Vest, the Classic Italian Vest > Quilted Diagonal Italian Vest in terms of warmth.

I’m loving the size of the handwarmer pockets – they fit a bunch of goods comfortably like my phone, keys, wallet even on one side.

YKK two way zippers

Conclusion

Crescent Down Works’ outerwear is made by hand in Seattle factory, and the stitching, quality, and attention to detail was present. At about $295, the price isn’t chump change, but I think it’s justified. The Italian Down Vest is a staple piece on their website

The Real McCoy’s, 3sixteen, and Reigning Champ Crewneck Sweatshirt Comparison Review

Crewneck sweatshirts from top to bottom: The Real McCoy's Joe McCoy Ball Park Sweatshirt, Reigning Champ Midweight Terry Sweatshirt, Uniqlo Sweatshirt Crewneck sweatshirts from top to bottom: The Real McCoy’s Joe McCoy Ball Park Sweatshirt, Reigning Champ Midweight Terry Sweatshirt, Uniqlo Sweatshirt

I never thought I’d come to speak enthusiastically about sweatshirts this much! I visited Standard & Strange in Oakland, CA, initially interested in purchasing the restocked Red Wing 2966 Black Klondike Engineer Boots. Brandon (who is now with 3sixteen!) was very patient with me and helped me select out a Real McCoy’s Joe McCoy Ball Park Crewneck Sweatshirt in Navy. S&S is a stockist in the USA that carries a great selection of RMCs. The Real McCoy’s sweats along with their other pieces have the reputation of being the best of the best. In this post, I’ll give some of my thoughts about the Ball Park Crewneck and compare it to the few other brand sweatshirts that I own.

The crewneck sweatshirt is a classic piece in American history. Naturally, the design comes from sportswear for the sweatshirt was used as an alternative to itchy football jerseys. The grey sweat has been worn by many American icons such as John F. Kennedy, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Steve McQueen, and many more. I’d even go as far to say that it’s as famous as the Blue Oxford cloth button down shirt in American history.

Terminology

  • V ribbed placket: Below the front collar Functioned to help absorb excess sweat and to maintain shape of the collar
  • Raglan shoulder sleeves (one continuous fabric from collar underarm) vs set inshoulder sleeves: Raglan sleeves provide more arm room, providing a wider range of movement than set-in sleeves
    • Set-in sleeves have a clean, tailored look
  • Flatlocked stitched seams vs overlock seams: Final stitches which are flat, providing comfort by reducing abrasion against your skin
    • Flatlocked seams are strong, flat, locked, thin, and also elastic seams
  • Loopwheeled: The sweatshirt body is one solid piece without seams
    • This process is done with tubular knitting machines that are in only two locations in the world – Loopwheeler in Japan and Merz Schwanen in Germany

Added information from Standard and Strange: The main difference between a sinker weave and a loopwheel is that the sinker weave has more needles and knits at a higher tension.  Sinker weave knitting machines are still slow and expensive, but not as slow and expensive as a loopwheel machine.  Loopwheel knits stretch out a lot, then shrink back down with a wash, similar to raw denim.  Standard and Strange suggests that if you purchase an item made from a loopwheel machine, that you have it fit more snug as it will stretch out over time.

Uniqlo Crewneck Sweatshirt

  • $20 USD
  • Body 100% Cotton*, Ribbing 84% Cotton/16% Polyester*
  • +Raglan Sleeves
  • +V Neck Placket Detail
  • +Flatlock Seam

My budget, readily available sweatshirt option. I’d say this is the best you can get at this price range. The body length is notoriously short. *Uniqlo often changes their fabric composition and thickness every season (Sometime the blend can be more polyester than cotton – you just have to be sure to read the material tag label).

It’s quite thin and the terry cotton on the inside is much coarser/rougher than the Reigning Champ’s

Reigning Champ Midweight Terry Crewneck Sweatshirt

  • Price: $120 USD
  • 100% French Terry Cotton

Reigning Champ is made in Canada, and they’re nicknamed the “king of fleece”. Their Midweight French Terry Cotton is a year-round soft fabric and is woven in a way that one side feels like a soft cotton towel (interior) while the other is smooth (exterior). The purpose of the looped side is so that sweat can be easily absorbed. The midweight is a year round option for mildly cooler places like San Francisco, but likely won’t be warm enough for winter. 

While the price from a $20 Uniqlo sweatshirt to a $120 RC is quite large, I think RC is the best bang for the buck. The midweight french terry cotton isn’t too thick/warm, so it’s great here in California. 

Reigning Champ also has side gussets beneath the underarm that extend nearly all the way down the body. This extra feature provides comfortable mobility with your arms, while also maintaining a slim fit that is usually not seen with sweatshirts.

Reigning Champ also stocks a heavyweight, tiger terry, and tiger fleece versions of their sweatshirts. The heavyweight comes in at 500gsm (their midweight is 400gsm), has a courser feel against the skin from the start and softens/molds to you after many wears like a pair of raw denim. It fits slimmer than the midweight so you will likely have to size up one from your normal size. 

The Real McCoy’s Joe McCoy Ball Park Sweatshirt

  • $160 USD

The sinker weave neither stretches nor shrinks (with a cold wash) very much and provides a more stable fabric. The interior fabric is somewhat courser than the Reigning Champ French Terry Cotton, but I still find it to be quite soft and comfortable for a sweatshirt. The Real McCoys states that this their heaviest sweatshirt fabric (at 12oz), but they do also have a ligher weight version at 10oz. The fit is boxier than Reigning Champs’s fit.

The ribbing on the sweatshirt is very thick and doesn’t stretch easily. I also like the V-placket detail on this sweatshirt because it works better to maintain the collar shape than the Uniqlo’s.

This sweatshirt is tubular knitted but not loopwheeled. A common misconception is that a tubular constructed fabric makes it loopwheeled.

3sixteen Heavyweight Crewneck Sweatshirt

  • $165 USD
  • 95% cotton/5% polyester

3sixteen’s fabric is a heavyweight 500gsm fleece from Canada. It’s very warm and has two hidden hand pockets on the front like a hoodie. The pockets do not connect with each other, however. The interior is fleece. The fabric is a hefty 15oz cotton.

The interior fleece was quite fluffy and soft initially, but after the first cold wash and hang dry, the softness has never quite returned. Some of the fleece shed off after, but eventually stopped. The neck opening is wider than the other sweatshirts and stretches easily. 

Ribbing on the sleeves of the sweatshirts Ribbing on the sleeves of the sweatshirts


Vermilyea Pelle Day Bag Review

If you want a bag between a briefcase and a backpack in formality, a tote bag might just fit the bill for you. One of Vermilyea Pelle’s staple products in their catalog is the Day Bag. This will be my third review of a VP bag with previous two being the briefcase and the weekender bag. Their Day Bag is a bit of a hidden gem product in their catalog as most guys stumble upon VP because of their briefcases.

When I’m heading out to do some errands, a briefcase might be a bit much in formality especially if I’m not bringing my laptop. You might have seen women carrying their ubiquitous nylon tote bags in a multitude of colors. Likewise, I too want a casual bag that I can throw everything into.

The design of the day bag is quite simple – a one compartment tote shaped bag with a zippered opening. On the exterior is one small pocket. Even though the design is simple, the superb quality of materials and craftsmanship into the bag is what I’ll be focusing about.

Details

  • Price: $275 USD
  • Dimensions: 12″ x 14″ x 6″
  • Materials: Snuff Mohawk Leather from C.F. Stead
    • 37oz Heavy Waxed Olive Canvas
    • Glove Tanned Deerhide Inner Bottom lining
  • Leather backed brass rivets at stress points
  • Heavy duty brass YKK zipper with a leather

Ordering

I ordered this bag from Dustin in June 2016. At the time this specific makeup wasn’t listed on his site. He posted a picture of this bag on Instagram, and I asked him if he could also construct one with the same specs for me. It took around 2 months for the bag to be shipped which was a bit more than the typical few weeks lead time. 

The only other regularly stocked Day Bag makeups I had seen available were an unwaxed Duck Canvas/Chromexcel or Ranger Tan Waxed Canvas/Chromexcel.

Two months prior to ordering this bag, I purchased a Day Bag made for North and South Knives (the sold listing is surprisingly still up!). I contacted NSK and was told that the particular bag was a one-off made for them.

One connection I can make is that after I received my first VP bag, the briefcase, every next purchase from VP after had one material in common. In this example, the Day Bag from NSK also was made of Ranger Tan Waxed Canvas like my briefcase, but with a Mohawk Snuff Suede leather instead. 

I liked the style of the day bag, and when I found out an olive 37oz waxed canvas one was potentially available, I knew I had to get that one! (Olive is my favorite color). The Ranger Tan Day Bag eventually was given to my now ex-girlfriend.

  • The Ranger Tan Waxed Canvas/Snuff Mohawk Day Bag a few days after I received it.

For VP’s all leather bags, they offer rolled handles instead of the regular flat handles which is more comfortable (that’s why many women handbags have them!), but you lose the option of the added handgrip. The Day Bag is the only style that does not come with an attached handgrip even though it has flat handles, but I think it fits the design well. The handles are short and unlike female styled tote bags that can be carried over the shoulder, these ones are only long enough to be carried by hand.

The day bag is completely unstructured and tends to collapse if it is empty. The waxed 37oz canvas started off quite rigid but softened up quickly as the wax wore off. On VP’s brand new bags made in the 37oz Heavy Olive Waxed Canvas, you can see that the material is so thoroughly waxed that the canvas shows creasing. The wax on mine has definitely worn off to reveal a lighter olive color underneath!

The Snuff Mohawk leather is my first experience CF Stead’s Tannery which is based in England. CF Stead is known for their suede leather and is used today in well known shoe companies such as Clark’s Originals, Truman Boots, Allen Edmonds, and Wolverine. From other pics of their leather I’ve seen online, their suede isn’t a typical soft consistent suede. They embrace the hide’s marks, scratches, and scars, and they are definitely renowned for that. 

On my Day Bag, the Snuff Mohawk is used as the bottom exterior, the side pocket, the handles, and the strap. The Snuff Mohawk is definitely reminds me of roughout leather in terms of its durability and water resilience. It feels a bit waxy and thick. Unlike the VP briefcase whose zipper opening is supported by two parallel, robust leather strips, the day bag does not have that feature. Instead, the zipper is surrounded by just canvas. This tends to make the bag open flop it a bit.

The coolest and my favorite feature on the bag is at the ends of the zipper where there is a Snuff Mohawk leather pull tab reinforced by 4 brass rivets. You can grab onto this tab with your other hand to help stabilize the zipper movement with your other hand. I like this detail of the bag and wished the briefcase had longer pull tabs.

One one side of the bag, there is a midsized pocket leather pocket attached to the canvas. The corners are reinforced by brass rivets. I can’t seem to find much use for this pocket as it’s too small to put documents in and too unsecured to place my phone in. I either wish the pocket was both longer and deeper, had a zippered closure, and/or was on the interior instead.

The interior bottom is lined with soft deerhide leather. I’ve spilled so many forms of liquid in this bag such as water and coffee, and the only the deer lining is still going strong. You can see stains of the liquid but it is only cosmetic. I’ve once spilled nearly a whole liter of water, and none of it penetrated through to the exterior bottom Snuff Mohawk Leather. That shows how well the Snuff Mohawk leather handles water!

The strap attaches to the bag with a D ring on the opposite sides of the bag. What I noticed immediately is that the strap length is much longer than the briefcases’s even at its shortest hole length. I think the longer strap provides you the option of carrying it cross body.

Horween Waxed Flesh, Roughout, and Reverse Chamois Leather

Horween's diversity of resilient leather

Horween Waxed Flesh, Roughout, and Reverse Chamois

The three Horween leathers with such resilience that they will accompany you to even the world’s end: waxed flesh, roughout, and reverse chamois. These leathers won’t need any conditioning for a long time. The wax makes the roughout very resilient to rain, scuffs, and other elements.

Heel counters of roughout and waxed flesh boots

Heel counters of roughout and waxed flesh boots

Scuffing of toeboxes on reverse chamois, waxed flesh, and roughout

I did, however, decide to apply 100% Pure Neatsfoot Oil to my pair of Aldens in Reverse Hunting Green Chamois. Neatsfoot oil is a yellowish oil made from the shin bones of cows and is typically used to soften leather such as breaking in a baseball glove. The color of the boots out of the box seemed a bit too light for my liking. Neatsfoot is known to darken leather and it definitely darkened it to a deep forest green. The reverse chamois leather feels “damp” and cold to the touch, and surprisingly, it’s really, really supple compared to a roughout leather.

Horween's Reverse Hunting Green Chamois before applying Neatsfoot Oil
Reverse Hunting Green Chamois before applying Neatsfoot Oil

Post application of Neatsfoot Oil on Reverse Chamois
Post Neatsfoot Oil and a couple of days of drying

The brown and black waxed flesh arrived with their nap completely waxed (brand new black waxed flesh pic below). Waxed flesh when new feels both smooth and rough. You can see in pictures now that some parts of the boots still remain smooth.

Viberg x Palmer Trading Co "Bad Seed" Waxed Flesh brand new before wearing.
My Viberg x Palmer Trading Co “Bad Seed” Waxed Flesh Service Boots brand new before wearing in 2015.

What happens over time is that the wax comes off with wear, kicking objects, or even computer chairs rubbing against the heels. The brown pair (which started off a very dark brown) has areas lightened up to a medium brown with the nap/texture revealing itself. The black waxed flesh has revealed shades of grey underneath.

Roughout and waxed flesh are turned “inside out”

Water Resistance

To test out the water resistance of every pair, I poured water on all of them. I wasn’t too thorough in scientifically testing them because in hindsight I would have weighed each boot before and after pouring an equal amount of water on them. That way, I’d be able to figure out which boot absorbed the most and which repelled the most.

From observation, the reverse chamois had the greatest water resistance. But it was likely because that boot was recently oiled. If all the boots were brand new, I’d say the order would go from Waxed Flesh > Reverse Chamois > Roughout in water resistance. Of course, all these leathers innately have high water resilience so the difference is negligible.

I wouldn’t hesitate to bring any of these pairs in rain, snow, or slush. Just be sure to dry them thoroughly afterwards!

Close Up Shots

Close up view of a Viberg Brown Waxed Flesh pair of boots

Filson Tin Cloth vs Rugged Twill

Filson luggage tag in Tin Cloth. The top one has at least a year of use while the bottom one is essentially brand new.

Introduction

In the past few years, Filson has expanded their use of their more than 100-year-old “Tin Cloth” to their bags (which originally used rugged twill). Tin cloth is a waxed canvas nicknamed “tin” by the forest workers. They they felt the garments were like armor protecting them from the harsh rain, wind, and brushes during the Klondike Gold Rush.

Filson Tri Fold Wallet. When the tin cloth is brand new (or freshly waxed), it is very dark and looks “wet”.

Filson’s original line of luggage used 22oz rugged twill as the primary exterior material. And while many bags from that line still utilize the twill, Filson has released newly designed bags that have integrated their renowned Tin Cloth into their construction. Some bags use a combination of both materials such as my Photographer’s Backpack, while other bags use solely Tin Cloth.

Filson Photographer’s Backpack (same outer design as the Journeyman Backpack) uses a combination of tin cloth and rugged twill.

I really like the designs of the newer bags such as the 24 hour briefcase and the 48 hour duffle bag. Another change I’ve noticed with these bags is that they use a Nylon Webbed Shoulder Strap instead of the Bridle Leather Shoulder Strap.  The nylon strap seems lighter in weight and appears to distribute the weight over a larger area. I haven’t tried out the nylon strap, but I prefer the look of the bridle leather strap!

If you are in the market for one of Filsons Tin Cloth bags, it would be beneficial for you to know some of the key differences between the Tin Cloth and Rugged Twill.

If you already have one of Filson’s rugged twill bags, the interior seams should be bound with Tin Cloth for durability. You will likely see that the tin cloth seams have darkened/patina faster than the twill around it.

Tin cloth bound seams for extra durability.

Rugged Twill

  • Comes with a water repellant finish that will wear off over time
  • Material is quite stiff and takes a long time to soften up
  • The first areas to fray are typically the edges of bags where they receive the most rubbing
  • Twill’s diagonal weave (the weave used on denim) makes it more resilient than canvas to clean tears

Tin Cloth

  • Lighter in weight (Filson typically uses about 15oz) than the rugged twill
  • Requires periodic rewaxing (Filson Original Oil Finish Wax recommended)
  • Provides less structure when the bag is empty
  • Repels water better than the rugged twill because of the coating and tightness of the weave
  • Consequently, this tight weave and wax makes the material not very breathable
  • Attracts dirt/debris more quickly than the twill
  • Has a cold, clammy feel especially when newly rewaxed
  • Seems prone to “tearing” especially at areas that are creased
  • Shrinks a bit more than the twill especially on outerwear that is repeatedly wet and then dry

Thoughts

Tin cloth seems to darken (or patina) easily. I speculate that the waxed finish helps attract dirt to its surface. The change in color on Tan tin cloth is more distinct than on the Otter Green tin cloth. In addition, rewaxing tin cloth with Filson’s Original’s Wax Finish darkens the material even more. The color will lighten up slightly again when the wax wears off. Tin Cloth is most well-known in the Filsons’s Tan color, while Otter Green comes as a second. Occasionally, black or navy tin cloth is used on bags/outerwear, and I suspect these colors won’t show dirt as easily.

Here’s are some older pics of my Levi’s x Filson Oil Finish Tin Cloth Trucker that was a limited release in 2011/2012.

The tin cloth fabric both darkens and smooths out on areas of high abrasion (elbows, cuffs)
The tin cloth fabric both darkens and smooths out on areas of high abrasion (elbows, cuffs)

Filson recommends a stiff bristled brush to clean the material and spot cleaning. Tin Cloth should not be put in the washer. Personally, I take a damp rag and wipe the areas down.

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The Tin Cloth that Filson uses is 15oz compared to Barbour’s waxed cotton jackets which is 6oz or less. Between the two, Barbour’s jackets are soft, while Filson’s Tin Cloth jackets remain quite stiff throughout its lifetime.

While Tin Cloth repels water better than the rugged twill, the fabric is very unbreathable because it is tightly woven. If you’re wearing an unlined jacket with this material, expect to be soaked with your own sweat! Barbour’s outerwear typically comes with a cotton lining to help with this.

Unlined tin cloth on the Filson x Levi's Trucker jacket. Notice the color difference between the waxed exterior and unwaxed interior!
Unlined tin cloth on the Filson x Levi’s Trucker jacket. Notice the color difference between the waxed exterior and unwaxed interior!

Conclusion

Tin cloth is an older formula than Filson’s rugged twill because it was used on their garments first. The extra water resilience that the fabric has requires periodic rewaxing to maintain it.

Most of the newer bags that have tin cloth come with a Nylon Webbing Shoulder Strap instead of a Bridle Leather Shoulder Strap (priced at $85 on their website!)

I suppose if you want the best of both worlds, you can take Filson’s Oil Finish Original Wax and apply it on a rugged twill bag. You’ll likely need more than one tin worth to cover the whole bag. In doing so, you get the water repellancy from the original wax and also the thickness of the twill. To prevent fraying or reduce additional fraying on my older Filson twill bags, I have taken a dab of the wax and apply it on the areas that receive the most wear (typically the bottom edges of the bag).

Pockets on a Filson Sportsman Bag likely made of unwaxed tin cloth.
Pockets on a Filson Sportsman Bag likely made of unwaxed tin cloth.

Keep a close eye and be sure to rewax highly creased areas like this one.
Keep a close eye and be sure to rewax highly creased areas like this one.

Tin cloth backpack shoulder straps darkening.
Tin cloth backpack shoulder straps darkening.