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.

Filson Small Duffle Bag 70220 Review

Filson Small Duffle Bag next to a Vermilyea Pelle 20″ Weekender Bag

Here are some pictures of my Filson Small Duffle Bag 220 (or 70220 with Filson’s new numbering system) in Otter Green and a brief review of it. After purchasing my Filson Zippered Tote, I wanted another Filson bag that I could use on short trips and also as a gym bag. 

Most carry on requirements limit your total linear inches to no more than 45 inches. After some research, these were the Filson options that fit the requirements at the time:

-Sportsman Bag 266

-Small Duffle Bag 220

-Medium Travel Bag 246

-Large Travel Bag 248

At that time in 2014, Filson had already discontinued the 246/248 which in my opinion were really well designed bags. The Travel Bags had 4 outer pockets (2 lengthwise and 2 widthwise) and one large empty compartment.

Between the Sportsman and Small Duffle, I decided on the Duffle because of the simpler design and lesser price. I was able to get the bag on sale.

I’ve had the small Duffle since 2014, and have used it primarily as a gym bag for about 2 of those years since 2014. Therefore, the bag has roughed up on the floor quite often! The color started out as a dark forest green and lightened up to a a grey likely from sunlight and rain.

The bag was very stiff and rigid to start with. Early on, I took the empty bag, essentially crumpled it up into a ball, and repeated multiple times. I also applied Obenauf’s Leather Oil to the bridle leather. The oil was not needed for conditioning purposes, but in hopes that it would soften the leather, and it did!

One of the reasons it’s an attractive bag is that it meets carry on restrictions, and of course it looks nice. It is large enough to hold about a weekend’s worth of clothes.

18″ x 11″ x 10″ = 39 total linear inches, meets most carry on restrictions which is typically less than or equal to 45 inches.

The duffle is shaped like a trapezoid, tapering slightly as you go up. I think the duffle bag looks great when filled up, but not so great when near empty. The major gripe I have with this bag is the single layer twill cotton bottom. All of my other Filson bags including the briefcases, totes, field bags, sportsman have a two layer bottom. 

Filson Small Duffle Bag next to Vermilyea Pelle’s Weekender Duffle Bag. Slight curvature in the VP bag opening makes it easier to access.
The duffle design has no exterior pockets.
Storm flap to prevent the elements from getting your stuff wet!
A snag on the side that was sewn up by my Mom. This repair is similar to how bags come back repaired from Filson’s Restoration Department.
The storm flap is the only part of the bag that is two layers of twill thick.
The bag flipped upside down.
Filson’s double bridle leather stitched in parallel to the zipper.
Bag turned inside out. One of the interior end pockets in Tin Cloth and the manufacturing date label. Also, the interior seams are bound with tin cloth for extra protection against the elements.
This particular bag was manufactured January 2013, and I purchased it in 2014.
The other interior end pocket in Tin Cloth when the bag is turned inside out. I don’t use these pockets because they’re too far in when the bag is filled.
The bottom bridle leather has held up well to scuffs. The twill, however, needed some more sewing repairs. I spot waxed the particular areas with Filson’s Original Wax for more durability.
The bag when empty essentially lacks any structure. It is due to both the cotton twill softening and also that the bag is only one layer throughout (except for the storm flap).
The bridle leather zipper pull that comes with the bag makes it very easy to blindlessly grab.
The Filson Small Duffle packed about 3/4th full carried on the shoulder strap.
A reference for the bag’s size. I am 5’10” and holding the duffle by its handles. It’s neither overly big or small.
Filson uses bar tacks at stress points such as the edges of this storm flap.
How the D rings are attached to the bag.
Indigo rub off from your denim is likely the first sign of patina you’ll see!

Schott x 3sixteen Perfecto Arabica Cowhide Review

Updated 5/1/2018 with new pics at the bottom
Last year, 3sixteen collaborated with Schott NYC to create a monochrome Perfecto. Two great brands that I love came together to design a limited piece that would embody aesthetics from both brands. When last year’s collaboration was announced, I had already owned a Schott NYC 519 Perfecto in Black. The monochrome detail and removal of the belt did not attract me. I initially purchased my Schott 519 because it included contrasting buttons, one star shoulder epaulets, and a flashy belt. To me, that was the epitome of a Perfecto. You buy a Perfecto because you want the Perfecto details. I was able to try on last year’s collab at Schott NYC at the Americana in a size L (I wear a size M in the 519), and wasn’t impressed with it. The details from the 3sixteen aesthetic included a chambray lining and perhaps the removal of the belt for a cleaner silhouette. The leather appeared very matte, and I was pretty content with my 519 purchase earlier that year.

A few months ago 3sixteen revealed that they were collaborating with Schott NYC for the second time. I was pretty surprised myself as I thought last year’s was a one time only thing. I found news of this information on 3sixteen’s instagram with a closeup shot of a brass button and dark brown leather. Again this year, Milo Ventimiglia modeled the jacket, and 3sixteen revealed in that post that Horween leather was used in this year’s collaboration. I was drawn towards the detail that this leather was “custom tanned” for this collaboration and had a “sugary surface” that would chip off with time. Y’all know that I love things that “get better with age”.

The price this year was at a premium of $1100 USD instead of the previous year’s $950. The extra 150$ was likely due to adding in another company, Horween leather, a term that most fanboys, including myself, would drool to.  The snap cap this year was still produced by Good Art HLYWD, but in an aged brass. Because this leather was custom tanned, no one knew anything how it would age/patina!

I was drawn to this year’s version because the piece was in a dark brown, and would actually develop a patina instead of last year’s black, which essentially stays black. I love that aged brass hardware this year was used instead of black, which complimented the dark brown leather.

I took attention to what retailers were stocking this piece on the day of release, December 20th, and prepared my game plan. I had called Schott NYC LA in Los Angeles a few days earlier asking about the anticipated release. Dandee, one of the store co-managers, told me that they were receiving only one of each size from S-XL and was emphasized by Jason Schott and 3sixteen that no phone orders or reservations this year would be taken and for it. The jackets were to be sold in store only starting at 11AM PST on Dec 20th.

From my past interactions, the Schott NYC LA team has great customer service, they are chill dudes that are down to earth, and they don’t pressure you to buy anything if you visit their store. My girlfriend and I had long beforehand planned a roadtrip to Sequoia National Park on the same day, but I told her that I really wanted to pick this limited piece up.

I arrived at Schott NYC on La Brea at about 10:50am on 12/20 Wednesday. The two employees were already inside, but the outer gates were still locked. At 11:00am, they opened the security gates and welcomed me in. Five of the Perfectos were hanging on the front rack – one of each from a size XS, S, M, L, and XL. I was pretty confident that M was my size, tried it on. The phones were already ringing non-stop about the jacket. One phone call I overhead was a guy wanting to buy the jacket, but wouldn’t be able to pick it up in person for 2 weeks. Pretty shady stuff haha. The brass snap button was initially wrapped in one of the hand warmer zipped pockets, and the guys recommended I place it on the jacket so I wouldn’t lose it. A couple minutes later, I walked out with a new jacket.

The overwhelming leather scent is hard to describe. It’s not a typical leather smell I’m familiar with.  It’s neither pleasant nor unpleasant… it just smells of “Horween leather”. It wasn’t until a few days later when I returned from Sequoia National Park that I was able to really try on the jacket. It was super heavyweight and stiff, arms and body length a bit longer than my 519. I felt that the aged brass really complimented the dark brown color well.

In my attempt to break the jacket in, I wore it whenever I was in my room. The arm and body creases started to form, and once that happened, the sleeve and body length became perfect. The major differences from the Schott 519 in Pebbled Cowhide is that it’s a heavier weight, no belt (I like this because the belt often flailed around) and epaulets, a deep pistol pocket (great for sunglasses and my phone), and a lightweight, breathable chambray lining instead of quilted polyfill.

It’s been just under 4 weeks since I purchased this jacket, and it has become much softer and cozier. The leather has lightened up in some areas such as the elbows and back. I look forward to how the unique leather will age!

May 2018 Update

After 5 months or so, the Perfecto still has a strong smell to it after purposely leaving it in the backseat of my car for several weeks.

Two major areas on the jacket have changed colors – the elbows and the near front placket.

The elbows have lightened up from a dark brown to a lighter brown from abrasion on surfaces. This will likely be the color the jacket will lighten up to after many more years of wear.

Oddly, areas on the front placket and especially the collar have become polychromatic when viewed in direct lighting. At first, the rainbow sheen appeared around the collar so I thought it was from my sunscreen. However, shortly after the irregularity spread further down the placket in random areas. I think the cause of this color change is the pigment breaking down from age. It’s not very noticable unless viewed in direct lighting from the sun. Also, the color change doesn’t seem to be accelerated by sunlight/UV light as they appear irregularly on the jacket.

 

As the weather warms up in Southern California towards late spring and the start of summer, I find myself not wearing the jacket as much.


Viberg Natural Chromexcel Service Boot Review (3 years)

Viberg Natural Chromexecel Service Boot at 3 years
Viberg Natural Chromexcel Service Boot at 3 years

My absolute favorite leather from Horween is Chromexcel – specifically Natural Chromexcel. I love the color depth and variation when the leather ages. I’ll show a before and after conditioning of my 3-year old pair of Viberg Service Boots in Natural Chromexcel. Horween’s other leather/tannages such as Cordovan, Chromepak, and Dublin all come really close as my runner-up favorites!

Here is a tannage chart taken directly from Horween’s website. Out of the 51 leather types listed, I narrowed the list down to 8 of the more commonly used tannages for leather goods. I highlighted what I feel are the key characteristics that makes Chromexcel unique, and I’ll briefly go over each.

Horween Tannage Chart
Horween Tannage Chart

Because Chromexcel is a tanning process and not a leather type, you can have both cowhide and horsehide. It is also known as the “original pull-up leather”.

  • Combination tanned: Chromexcel is both chrome tanned and vegetable tanned which brings in qualities of both processes! Tanning is the process of permanently altering the structure of animal skin. Chrome tanning is a faster method using chromium and makes the leather soft and water-resistant. Vegetable tanning uses organic tannins from trees and other plants along with other oils/waxes and creates a very durable leather. Veg tanned leather is not water-resistant, so water may stain.
  • Hot stuffed: Chromexcel is heavily nourished with oils and waxes that creates the pull-up effect and water resistance.
  • Air dried: Chromexcel is naturally air dried for about a week such that the leather shrinks to its original size.
  • Aniline finished: The leather is saturated with soluble dyes such that the texture/irregularities of the leather is left untouched which is ideal for a raw enthusiast like me!

My Natural Chromexcel Leather Goods:

These are a few of my other small goods in Natural Chromexcel. The most wears are probably seen on the One Star Leather Park Sloper and Hollows Leather Rail Belt as they were worn/used nearly every day. Both these are at about 3 years plus of age. If you don’t want excessive stretching on a belt, I’d shy away from CXL as it initially stretches significantly!

One Star Leather Park Sloper and Hollows Leather Witherward Belt Loop both in Horween Natural Chromexcel
One Star Leather Park Sloper and Hollows Leather Witherward Belt Loop both in Horween Natural Chromexcel

The leathers of both pieces started off as a light brown oak color. The leather color darkened quite quickly within the first few months to a rich brown by oils, dirt, and abrasion. I noticed that direct sunlight also sped up the darkening process. The leather also picked up significant indigo dye from my raw denim. After the initial and drastic color change, the color becomes quite saturated and will not darken all that more.

Hollows Leather Rail Belt in Horween Natural Chromexcel
Hollows Leather Rail Belt in Horween Natural Chromexcel
Teranishi x 3sixteen Travel Coffee Kit in Horween Natural Chromexcel

I have not felt the need to condition the leather, and they both still display a lot of pull-up. With the amount of oils/waxes in the leather, most superficial scuffs/nicks have been easy to rub away with my fingers.

Viberg Natural Chromexcel Service Boots:

  • Natural Chromexcel
  • Captoe
  • 7 Brass eyelets
  • Dainite sole
  • Stitchdown construction
  • Partial structured toe
  • Made in Canada
  • Price: $720 USD
Natural Chromexcel, Partially structured toe, 7 brass eyelets, straight captoe
Natural Chromexcel, Partially structured toe, 7 brass eyelets, straight captoe

When I purchased this pair, there weren’t too many pics of Natural CXL Vibergs online. There has been at least one similar spec MTO arranged by Styleforum around 2014-2015 but with an unstructured toe.

I purchased this pair of Vibergs from Mr Porter back in mid 2015. I believe it was the second restock of this makeup on Mr Porter. When I received it a few days later, I was blown away by how thick the Natural Chromexcel was. The leather arrived with a significant sheen to it. It took quite a while for any visible crease to form (in contrast to my Viberg Color 8 CXL pair). For the price of $720 USD, I’m glad Viberg used high quality hides!

Fairly scuffed heel counter
Fairly scuffed heel counter

The boots arrived with a small, adorable 1oz jar of Venetian Shoe Cream, a pair of flat waxed cotton laces, and a spare pair of brown rawhide leather laces in the box. I initially kept the flat waxed laces as I wanted the laces to accentuate the sleek, narrow 2030 last. Yet, I had a hard time deciding which laces suited the boots best. I eventually switched over to the leather laces after a few months. The flat laces reminded me much of the laces used on Alden’s boots (although this Viberg pair of laces were thicker and sturdier), and I feel that the leather laces fits the rugged Viberg brand aesthetic well.

I like the pairing of brass eyelets with this leather. They seem to make the rich brown tones “pop”.

The toe box is partially structured and is further reinforced by the thick Chromexcel leather. While the right boot’s toe area has flattened a bit, the toe box is still quite firm to the touch on both boots.

The boot tongue is also made of a thinner, softer Natural CXL which was different than my color 8 CXL pair that had a black contrasting oil tanned tongue. The black oil tanned leather is the standard go-to tongue for Viberg boots. I feel the CXL tongue fits this boot better than a contrasting one would. The leather used here is very much pliable, soft, and shows creases from the laces well.

Soft leather tongue
Soft leather tongue

Conditioning/Care:

For conditioning/care, I’ve kept to a simple regimen of applying Venetian Shoe Cream every 6 months or so. I apply it onto the palms of my hands (minimizes loss from using a rag) and rub the cream onto the boot. I let the cream dry for a couple of minutes, I brush them down with a horsehair brush. Initially, the cream darkens the leather and provide a glossy sheen. The color lightens back near to its original after some time outdoors. Every few wears, I wipe the boots down with a damp rag and brush away any dirt with a Horsehair Brush.

The cool thing about CXL is that you can rub away most scuffs/scratches because of the oils/waxes embedded in the leather. Down below is an example of superficial scuffs that went away after some VSC and brushing. I used a polished deer bone in circular motions in the area to create friction so the cream penetrates.

Before conditioning
Post conditioning/brushing
Post conditioning/brushing

 

Here’s a rear heel counter shot of a few pairs. You can see that the natural chromexcel pair on the left has minimal creasing compared to the color 8 CXL and Olive Chromepak.

Natural CXL, Color 8 CXL, Olive Chromepak, Color 8 Cordovan

Compared to the other 3 pairs, the captoe on this makeup seems a bit shorter, but I hardly notice it when it’s not next to my other pairs.

In conclusion, I think that Natural Chromexcel is an easy to care for, interesting, and beautiful leather. The selection of hides that Viberg uses on their boots is second to none. If I were to only own one pair of Vibergs, this pair of boots would be it! Although this exact makeup isn’t readily available, a handful of retailers such as Lost & Found, Brooklyn Clothing, and the Viberg.com site recently have stocked a Service Boot with this leather.

Alden Color 8 Shell Cordovan Patina and Aging

Three pairs of Alden in Horween Color 8 Shell Cordovan
Three pairs of Alden in Horween Color 8 Shell Cordovan

Ever since I have owned my first Alden pair of shoes in Color #8 Horween Shell Cordovan, I’ve noticed the color patina to a lighter shade over time. I’ve observed it happens most prominently with Alden’s Color #8 Shell Cordovan because the color starts very dark. I believe that Alden treats their Shell Cordovan (from Horween) with their own glaze that provides sheen and glossiness. On the other hand, their color 8 chromexcel brightens up much more quickly.

Details:

These are three Alden shoe pairs pictured and their dates purchased:

  • Alden x JCrew Color #8 Shell Cordovan Captoe Boot (10/06/2013)
  • Alden x The Bureau Belfast Color #8 Shell Cordovan Longwing Blucher (12/28/2015)
  • Alden x Epaulet NYC Color #8 Shell Cordovan Tanker Boot (11/30/2016)
Alden x JCrew Color 8 Shell Cordovan Captoe Boot
Alden x JCrew Color 8 Shell Cordovan Captoe Boot
Alden x The Bureau Belfast Color 8 Shell Cordovan Longwing
Alden x The Bureau Belfast Color 8 Shell Cordovan Longwing
Alden x Epaulet Color 8 Shell Cordovan Tanker Boot
Alden x Epaulet Color 8 Shell Cordovan Tanker Boot

My shoe care routine for these three pairs of Shell Cordovan have been the same:

1. Wipe down with damp microfiber cloth after every so number of wears
2. Brush with a Horsehair Shoe Brush

Every 6-12 months, apply some Venetian Shoe Cream to the cordovan sparingly, letting it dry, wipe down any excess cream, then back to brushing.
 
For any scuffs, I apply a small drop of Venetian Shoe Cream in the area and then use a Polished Deer Bone to rub circularly with light pressure. I’ve tried the Deer Bone without any cream and noticed it doesn’t do much. You can also use the back of a metal spoon to achieve similar results.

I’ve yet to need to apply any wax based polish to the shoes.

Color depth variance on color 8 shell cordovan
Color depth variance on color 8 shell cordovan

Recently, I feel that Alden’s Color 8 batches have been much darker than I remember. The color looks almost black unless in direct sunlight. I believe much of the reason Alden re-dyes their Color 8 is to minimize any blemishes/scars the leather may have.

I’ve yet to determine what causes the lightening of color in the Color 8 Shell Cordovan. It might be pigments naturally degrading with age or even direct sunlight playing a role. Either way, we each have our own perceptions of what Color 8 Shell Cordovan should look like – whether a very dark burgundy or a deep, vibrant red, Color 8 will always be king.

Oldest pair of Color 8 shell cordovan from the top
Oldest pair of Color 8 shell cordovan from the top
As color 8 shell cordovan lightens, the leather shows great character.
As color 8 shell cordovan lightens, the leather shows great character.

Railcar Fine Goods Chore Coat in Camel Review


Written by Mallory

Railcar Fine Goods Chore Coat in Camel

I purchased the Railcar Fine Goods Chore Coat on November 25th, 2017, after seeing fit pics of Taylor (of Railcar) on her Instagram.  After asking Aun for other chore coat recommendations, I chose this chore coat because of their petite (XS) size and “not so boyish” look.  I was in between the Apolis Chore Coat (Aun’s review here), but decided that I could always borrow his coat.  Railcar Fine Goods is an extremely local business to myself and Aun, which made this product even more appealing when deciding which item to purchase.

This unisex Duck Canvas chore coat is made from 12 oz. American canvas fabric, cut and sewn at Railcar Fine Good’s workshop in Monrovia, CA.  According to Railcar Fine Goods, each button and rivet was hand sewn at their workshop.  There are four pockets, two breast pockets and two hip pockets.  The two hip pockets are great for holding your phone and loose change.  My first grade students also like sticking rocks, bracelets, and notes into those pockets.  The left breast pocket appeared, in photos, to be sewn to hold pencils and other small objects , similar to my Ginew Heritage Coat.  The pocket is not divided into two compartments, giving you three full pockets and one buttoned flap pocket.

Railcar Fine Goods also has flight trousers made from the same duck canvas material, which Aun states is equally as breathable.

Impressions

My intial worry was that the coat would be too manly and the color too “out there” for me.  I thought of different tops I could pair this jacket with to reflect various vibes.  Some days I want to show a women’s workwear vibe, while others I want to be cute and girly.  I have paired this chore coat with dresses and with raw denim and tops ranging from dark collared flannels and off the shoulder ruffle blouses.  This makes the coat incredibly versatile.

Duck canvas begins with stiff and rigid, but becomes softer with each wear.  The jacket shrunk a bit upon doing a cold wash and hang dry.  The 12 oz. fabric is very breathable and suitable as an all year jacket here in warm Southern California.  Over time, the fabric will show signs of fading, as my jacket is showing signs of fading around the arms.  Also, this jacket is well-made and durable.  The seams are triple stitched.

Conclusion

The Railcar Fine Goods Chore Coat is a great, staple jacket for those of you looking for a year round jacket and a #buyitforlife item.  For women, you can wear this jacket to complement any style you wish, it doesn’t only have to be a “workwear” jacket.  The caramel color is a great spring and summer color, and the added pop of color needed for the darker fall and winter hues.  Railcar makes this jacket on-site, which is an added bonus!

Red Wing 8085 Copper Rough & Tough Iron Ranger Review vs Viberg 2030 Last

I recently purchased Red Wing 8085 Iron Ranger in Copper Rough & Tough leather, worn them in for about 10 days before taking these pics. It took quite a bit of peer pressure jokingly from members of the LA Denim Hangs to persuade me to get these at Freenote Cloth flagship in Highland Park.

Here are a couple reasons why I purchased this specific pair:

  • Copper Rough & Tough has been my favorite leather from Red Wing/SB Tannery for quite a while. I’ve seen pictures of the leather patina and it’s quite amazing! The leather has a pullup quality similar to Chromexcel. The leather starts as a reddish tan that darkens over time. I like things that get better with age.
  • The price was discounted about $100 dollars off retail (subtly disclosed in person) because the store was trying to make space on their shelves for upcoming Truman Boots. I’ve noticed online that Red Wings go on sale very often, and even Red Wing seconds only have defects that I consider minor/cosmetic.

  • The Iron Ranger boot is a style I’ve wanted and it has speed hooks for easy on/easy off. The only previous pair of Red Wings I owned was a pair of Red Wing 9011 Black Cherry Featherstone Beckman sometime in 2012. I’ve never had a break in period that tough with any other boot ever since. The Beckmans scraped my heels and made my ankles bleed the first couple of times. On the numerous occasions I went to San Francisco, I saw a total of at least a dozen Iron Rangers on people’s feet. The reason I sold the Beckmans not too long after I started purchasing Aldens and Vibergs.
  • I felt the Iron Ranger design was most suited for my current aesthetic. It is a captoe boot with speed hooks in a lighter tan colored leather. I think that the Red Wing moc toe’s ventured too far into work wear than I’d like to be. I tend to like sleeker boots. I’ve experienced that Alden’s speed hooks are much harder to lace. Alden boots typically have 4 narrow speed hooks bunched together. It’s common that I miss a hook lacing up.  The Iron Rangers have three speed hooks spaced decently spaced apart.
  • Red Wing shifted their typical soles on the Iron Ranger from a nitrile cork sole to a mini vibram lug sole which provides additional traction. I don’t live at all in an area where I need that grip, but I’d like the flexibility, and I’ve heard many people slipping on snow/ice with the cork sole.

Impressions:

Red Wing is the American heritage boot company. I very well respect what quality footwear Red Wing can offer at such a reasonable price. I consider them the best bang for the buck footwear you can get. You can wear only Red Wings for the rest of your life and you’d be content. Once you move up into higher priced footwear, you’re paying premium mostly for the style rather than the construction/quality.

The quality of the boot is solid. No missed stitches or extra threads hanging around. Red Wing is one of the best companies in quality control.

The Red Wing 8085 Iron Rangers took about a half dozen wears to break in comfortably. I sized them the same as I did with the Beckmans – a 9D. The part of the shoe that was most constricting initially was the width. I sped this process up by stuffing shoe trees wrapped with thick wool socks into boots every night.

The Copper Rough & Tough leather developed character very quickly. I wore them during my day-to-day tasks which primarily consisted of walking.

It was about a week and a half until I took the first pictures of them (maybe 9-10 wears) and I decided to compare them to my girlfriend’s growing collection of Red Wings and also my Viberg x 3sixteen Olive Chromepak unstructured service boots on the 2030 last. As far as I know, Viberg currently is not producing boots with an unstructured toe, so this comparison won’t be too practical. You can see the other toe structure comparisons in my other post along with my sizing.

Red Wing 8085 Iron Ranger: Size 9D
Viberg Olive Chromepak Service Boot on 2030 last: Size 9
Alden Trubalance Last: Size 9D
Alden Barrie Last: Size 9D
Wolverine 1K Mile: Size 9D
Crockett & Jones 365 Last: Size 8.5UK

Bleu de Chauffe Postman Eclair Bag Review

Intro:

The last bag in my collection is the Bleu de Chauffe Eclair M in a “navy blue/pain brûlé” colorway. I’ve seen a handful of these Bleu de Chauffe bags from my fellow friends on Instagram, and they look absolutely gorgeous! Bleu de Chauffe uses full vegetable tanned leather instead of chrome tanned. Some of the primary differences between the two types of leather is that veg tan will acquire a distinct patina, is not water resistant, and may crack to prolonged exposure to heat or dryness. Chrome tanned leather remains fairly uniform in color, is softer and suppler, and do not show as much fiber variation due to the tannage. Bleu de Chauffe takes its inspiration from late 19th and early 20th century design.

Info:

Brand: Bleu de Chauffe
Style: Postman Bag Eclair M
Color: Navy Blue/Pain Brûlé
Price: $449.17 USD

Besides the plastic wrap, the bag included the previous mentioned cards and also a cotton material Dust Bag that was folded in the interior of the bag.

Here are the specs taken from the offical website:

-Shoulder strap bag made of vegetable tanned leather.
-Very convenient thanks to its quick openning system, the Eclair bag can be either hand or shoulder carried.
-The leather strap can be removed if needed.
-Three outside pockets including. Integrated felt sleeve for 13 inches laptops.
-The Bleu de Chauffe label, signed and dated by the artisan, is sewn on an inside zipped pocket.
-Handmade in France.

Materials:

Today, more than 90% of leathers in the world are tanned by chrome tanning and heavy chemical components. Bleu de Chauffe’s approach is different. Our leathers are vegetable tanned which ensure a better quality and sustainability of the leather, a soft natural touch, and a patina which gets nicer years over years.

– Full grained leather. Vegetable tanned and water resistant.
– Natural and soft touch finish.  Handmade patina.
– Backside leather  with ‘velvet’ finishing.
– Removable leather strap and comfortable leather shoulder pad lined with natural felt.
– Leather handle for comfortable hand carriage.
– Inside removable zipped cotton pockegnature.

Size:

– Size: 38 cm x 28 cm x 10 cm (15 in x 11 in x 4 in)
– Suitable for 13 inches laptop.

Initial Impression:

When I received the shipping notification, the bag took 10 business days via USPS from France to arrive. Upon opening the box, the bag was fit almost perfectly into the dimensions of the box and was wrapped with a clear plastic. There was a small flip booklet attached to the handle by string. The booklet described the history of the company, its values, and the construction details.

Upon opening the bag, the leather didn’t smell like Chromexcel or other leather I’ve handled before. It took me a couple days to figure out that the smell reminded me of a rubber handball or rubber kitchen gloves. It’s neither a repulsive nor attractive smell, but is quite interesting.

The bag’s construction is stitched so essentially all the seams are on the inside of the bag, providing a clean look.

I haven’t had a full leather bag since I sold my Saddleback Leather Dark Coffee Brown Large Briefcase because it was too heavy. The Eclair’s material is completely vegetable tanned leather except for two places – the removable zippered canvas-like pouch and the center compartment’s felt sleeve. I suppose then it isn’t truly a full leather bag!

This bag is flawless in construction. I searched everywhere on the bag to find any missed stitches or extra thread dangling, but found none! It’s a remarkably constructed bag, and I’m amazed at how reasonably priced the bag is. The pain brule leather used on the straps and closure is very thick and exhibits pull-up leather properties. The navy blue leather has a scotch grain appearance and the other side of the leather exhibits a smooth navy suede.

My 15 inch Dell laptop does not fit in any of the compartments including the felted laptop sleeve. The laptop felt is so soft and is slightly thicker than the laptop sleeve in my Tanner Goods Wilderness Rucksack. On the top of the laptop sleeve is a snap leather closure to secure your laptop. This leather piece has two punched holes which is like the front closures but only is cosmetic to the design.

The bag has a total of 3 separate compartments (not including the laptop compartment), 1 laptop compartment in the middle, and one removable zippered pouch that is located in the innermost compartment to store smaller items. Although the description mentions 3 outer pockets, the only two outer pockets are the two quite narrow water bottle pockets. On one of these water bottle pockets is a brass cap that has the company’s logo – a small, neat addition! The last pocket is actually the outermost underneath the flap. Therefore, the bag’s flap essentially must be opened to access any interior items.

I like the bag’s closure because I can close and open the flaps with one hand. The leather closure has three potential lengths to cinch or loosen up the closure as needed. This design reminds me of Billingham camera bags which also have a one stud closure with an adjustable length closure. One issue that I have is that the flap leather closures hide behind the buckle straps so I have to make sure I’m grabbing the leather closure below to close the bag.

The Postman Eclair bag falls within the “Messenger bag” category of the brand’s website. The colorway I selected is called “navy blue/pain brûlé” in a size Medium. The other 4 colorways available were Indigo, Pain Brûlé (Tan leather with Brown closures), Peat (Dark Brown), and Black. All of these other colorways have a monochrome leather for the whole bag. The colorway I chose was the only one that provided a significant color contrast between the bag’s leather and the closure leather.

I initially wanted the Postman Eclair bag in a size Large because that bag additionally can be worn as a backpack with the additional straps. However, I was told that the Large design was soon changing. Additionally, the larger bag design compromises a traditional messenger bag because it most similarly resembles a square bag (34cm H x 36cm L). However, the size L bag description mentions it can store a 15 in laptop.

On each side of the bag, there is an adjustable leather strap that has two holes. One is to tighten the width for a smaller load and the other hole is for a larger load. Personally, even with the bag stuffed full, the “width” typically isn’t the limiting factor, but just the volume space.

The shoulder strap is removable and comes with some sort of wool felted shoulder pad. The maximum strap length is fairly short compared to a Filson bag. The length likely suggests that the bag is to be carried primarily on one shoulder side rather than cross body.

There is also a removable zippered cotton pouch in the innermost compartment that is held to the bag by two button snaps. The pouch can be removed and snapped to the front compartment where there are also snaps. The pouch is quite small at about 9 inches x 6 inches. Looks like a great spot for your keys. Also sewn to this pouch is the company’s only written logo (besides the logo cap snap on the exterior). The tag also has a handwritten date manufactured and also the artisan’s name. My bag was manufactured on 02-08-2018 and by “Charazad” (?).

Conclusion:

The Postman Eclair bag design is a combination of minimalism and authenticity. The quality of this bag is second to none, and as much as I would love to describe it, I think pictures do the bag more justice. I’m looking forward to how the bag will age and soften with time. The leather straps are already softening! While I wish the bag could fit my 15 inch laptop, I prefer the proportions of the Medium size to the Large. This is a bag that is timeless and exudes a refined look in contrast to my rugged Filson and Vermilyea Pelle bags!

 

Freenote Cloth Indigo/Indigo Rider’s Jacket Initial Impressions Review

Within the last week, Freenote Cloth released a new spring jacket – a Indigo/Indigo 14.75oz Denim Rider’s Jacket in a very subtle manner. No Instagram or other social media posts accompanied the new product in their online store. I stopped by their flagship store in Highland Park a few days ago in the afternoon, and saw this jacket on the racks.

The jacket had a dark indigo color with hues of burgundy. The liner was a cotton paisley pattern Greg (@denimhound) agreed with me that this was our favorite version of the Rider’s Jacket thus far. When I first started learning about Freenote Cloth in late 2014, I had recently missed out on their limited release Raw Flecked 14oz Rider’s Jacket.

Since then, I would say that Freenote’s Rider’s Jackets, specifically the waxed canvas versions, became their staple product. Quite similar to 3sixteen’s Shadow Selvedge Type 3s Jacket (link to my review). There was perhaps one other denim Rider’s Jacket in Cone Mills denim sometime in between.

What’s cool about the Rider Jacket is that it carries features of a Type II denim jacket with the front pleats, but also adds practicality with handwarmer  pockets. In my experience, Indigo/Indigo denim tends to fade in a very fast and pleasing manner with high contrasting fades.

In terms of sizing, this version runs slightly larger than their past waxed canvas Rider’s Jackets. I went with the same size as my previous Freenote Cloth Rider Jackets – a size Large. It’s roomy enough to layer a thick flannel or a sweatshirt underneath and still have much mobility. With my initial measurements to my waxed Rider jacket, this version most noticably runs 1.5 inches longer in the sleeves and at least 1 inch longer in the body length. Perhaps the difference may be attributed to the waxed cotton shrinking in wet weather. For now, I’ve decided to cuff the sleeves once upon themselves for a shorter length. In the future when I do wash it, I plan on a hot soak to shrink the fabric in all areas..

The cotton paisley lining is a wonderful pattern that I think Freenote hasn’t used before (?). Most of their Rider Jacket linings have been Chambray (for the Spring edition) or some sort of Jacquard Wool Blend (Fall/Winter). For it being a “Spring” jacket here in LA, it’s pretty darn warm compared to say the 3sixteen Type 3s Shadow Selvedge, likely because of the fabric weight plus a liner.

A couple small but major tweaks that I have noticed. The chest pockets are both longer and wider which allows me to safely stash my phone (iPhone X). The front pleats are also slightly wider in diameter. The handwarmer pockets are also denim inside which increases the pockets’ durability.

One major change I noticed was the large price increase. When the Raw Fleck Indigo Rider’s Jacket was released in late 2014, the price was $330. Even considering some inflation, this jacket is priced at $450 which makes it their priciest Rider Jacket to date. Many of Freenote’s products are limited edition because they use custom fabrics from Japan, and I can confidently say (after handling many other brands) that the price reflects the quality well.

The measurements of my three Freenote Cloth Rider Jackets are listed here (in inches). The increased body length and sleeve length of the Indigo/Indigo line up with my experience. I’m surprised that the chest “only” measures 44 inches total but that does line up with the website’s measurements!

Here’s a handful of pics and fit pics for now. If you have any questions about sizing, my opinion, or anything else, feel free to shoot me a DM on Instagram (@imaunit) or leave a comment below!

 

Filson Otter Green vs Tan Aging and Patina

Should I get a Filson bag in Otter Green or Tan?

Both of these Filson bags are Otter Green. Yes, you read that correctly! The right one started the same color as the left.

Filson’s first original colors were Otter Green and Tan. If you search for pics of some of the oldest, most worn, tattered Filson bags on Google, they were likely originally Otter Green and not Tan. Take a look at the picture above.

The associates who work at a Filson retail store will typically estimate they sell twice as many Tan bags as they do Otter Green bags. And sure enough, there are quite a number of convincing reasons why they do!

Tan Filson 230 Small Field Bag
Tan Filson 230 Small Field Bag

Tan is the classic Filson color and is likely how people recognize a Filson bag. The contrasting brown bridle leather against the tan canvas really makes a bag “pop”. Also note that the bridle leather is always brown regardless of the canvas color bag you choose (black is an exception – it uses black bridle leather). The contrast of Tan and the rich brown bridle leather is what makes a Filson bag iconic!

As of now I’m at about a dozen plus Filson bags (I’m a bagoholic!). I guesstimate the distribution of colors is about 6 Otter Green, 5 Tan, 1 Black, and 1 Brown. I’m biased towards olive because it is also my favorite color for menswear. For further pics, check out my review on the Filson Zippered Tote.

The way that Tan patinas is that it picks up dirt, indigo dye, and easily darkens. Especially if the bag is carried by your side rubbing against a pair of raw denim. I think Tan is a solid color that won’t go wrong. In the long run, Tan gets darker in most areas of abrasion.

In contrast, the aging of Otter is an unusual phenomenon. Otter Green tends to hide stains very well such as dirt, spilled coffee, or indigo dye. I’ve noticed that the color lightens up over the years to a grayish color. The fading doesn’t happen uniformly on the bag – areas exposed to the sun tend to fade faster. Personally, I love how Otter Green fades over the years.

These are some of my Filson Otter Green bags over the years compared to a Filson Tan Zippered Tote Bag. The colors of the bags are quite accurate to how they are in person.