Our clothes are made for more than simple vanity and fashion, oftentimes they help protect us from the various external elements that we come in contact with on a regular basis. Because of this, it’s important for you to consider the totality of your daily life experiences and the environment when choosing the clothing you decide to wear.
Although clothes can add a layer of protection for your body against the environmental factors that we interact with on a consistent basis, that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice style or a sense of your own individual personality in the process. Old fashion and modern choice have constantly been combined and refined over the years mixing the elements of new and vintage to create stunning pieces of attire that people love throughout the ages.
One of these iconic pieces is the waxed canvas jacket, waxed canvas jackets were created in the 1920s and remained popular for the better part of 30yrs primarily in parts of Scotland and England.
These jackets were originally designed for the sailors in the Scottish and English army to protect them from being bogged down by excess water retention due to the absorbent materials that are oftentimes used in standard clothing designs.
The main differentiating factor about waxed canvas jackets, as opposed to other coat options, is that the fabric itself has wax infused into the material.
This provides a nice formidable layer of waterproof capabilities and weather resistance for the individual wearing it regardless of the weather or climate conditions they’re dealing with. In previous generations, waxed canvas jackets were primarily used as a raincoat however in today’s time, many people wear them for a variety of different reasons.
To find the perfect waxed canvas coat for your needs, you’re going to have to do a little digging. That’s because there are a lot of companies out there who manufacture these types of jackets. Two of the main companies that make waxed canvas jackets are Filson and Barbour both of which are clothing producers who have an immensely rich historical and cultural impact on the industry at large.
When you decide to purchase a new coat or jacket for whatever reason, you’ll want to shop with either of these brands as they are known for their quality textile craftsmanship and design quality. Choosing which one of these brands will provide you with the best quality jacket can be difficult given all of the various factors you must consider before making your final purchase decision.
If you’re someone who has been looking for a high-quality outwear jacket to protect you against the elements during any season but has been struggling to find the right fit, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’re going to cover some of the main differences between the jackets produced by Filson and Barbour so that you can become educated about how you should approach your next jacket purchase.
To begin, let’s take a look at the history behind both of these brands and why they are so highly regarded in the fashion industry today.
Historical Impact: Filson Vs. Barbour
While many people purchase clothes based on strictly aesthetic factors, most if not all companies have a deep history and story to tell about how they got started and what still drives them today.
These core values and founding principles are oftentimes translated into the pieces of clothing items that these companies produce which is why knowing a little bit more about them can help you out a lot when deciding on who you should spend your money with.
In the following section, we’re going to take an up-close and personal look at the history behind Filson and Barbour so that you can have a better understanding of why their jackets have stood the test of time.
History Behind Filson
Filson was started by C. C. Filson who was born in 1850, he had a passion for the outdoors and an innate desire to innovate. Filson would later move to Seattle, Washington where he set up his primary location of residence, this move would prove to be very wise for Filson because in 1897 the Klondike gold rush was just beginning.
This would bring immense amounts of investment money into the Seattle area where he had set up his shop so to speak. The pioneer would open his first company in 1897 known as Filson’s Pioneer Alaska Clothing and Blanket Manufacturers, the company’s primary focus was on making clothes that were specifically designed with the miners of the gold rush in mind.
Once the gold rush started to recede in popularity and profit, Filson continued his passion for crafting reliable and high-quality outdoor clothing options. His initial company expanded into creating clothes for various industries such as timber workers, hunters, fishermen, engineers, and a lot more.
Today, these same values for crafting durable and long-lasting clothing options made out of premium materials still run through the blood of those who work for Filson.
Barbour was started in 1894 by its founder John Barbour who opened his first major retail location in 5 Market Place, South Shields. In 1908, the company released its first mail-order magazine which would evolve into a major portion of their overall business model during the time.
During this time, the company had already started to expand its business overseas by offering its items to customers in places like South Africa and Hong Kong. Barbour has always produced a wide range of clothing options however in 1934, Duncan Barbour introduced the company’s first line of motorcycle-focused apparel.
This move would prove to be very successful for the company as, throughout the years of 1936 and 1977, almost every international British team wore Barbour suits during their competitions.
Throughout this time, the company would continue elevating its brand and establishing their authority in the outdoor clothing industry being the go-to clothing option for many different branches of the government and even in the sports arena.
In 1980, the company released its first-ever lightweight riding jacket which was called the “Bedale.” The release of this jacket would be the start of Barbour’s rise to dominance in the outdoor appeal industry and they have only continued to grow until today.
Now that we’ve gone over the important points you need to know about the history behind both of these brands, it’s time to look at some of the main differences between their line of products and overall approach to textile manufacturing.
When it comes to choosing between the two brands, there are some noticeable differences that you’ll want to take into consideration before making your final purchase decision. Most of these factors relate to the type of material used for the production of these clothes and how they are created. To help you make the best purchase decision possible, we’re going to go over some of the main differences that you’ll encounter when comparing these two brands.
These variables all play a major role in helping you decide on which brand of protective outwear will be best suited for your intended use. While both companies do share a lot in common relating to their primarily waxed cotton-based production model, they do vary in other core areas which is something that will be important to keep in mind when browsing through all of these various options.
Now, it’s time to look at a more in-depth comparison between both brands to see exactly what makes them so different yet very similar at the same time.
Core Specifications: Filson vs. Barbour
In the same way that every sneaker company tries to implement the latest and greatest materials and technology into their products, outwear clothing and accessories use much of the same ideology.
Each brand wants to make sure that its product stands out against its competitors by adding unique features, materials, and design elements into its pieces. This is what we’re going to be exploring more in-depth as it relates to these two powerhouses of clothing manufacturers.
Filson takes a very unique approach to designing all of its outdoor apparel and accessories. While other companies tend to stick with one specific material type and textile fabric, Filson has no hesitancy when it comes to providing their customers with robust ways to stay protected against the elements.
Wax cotton is the primary material that all of their jackets are made from however they also combine the use of other very durable and long-lasting materials which provide added protection and comfort to the user.
The three main types of material that they offer are Mackinaw Wool, Tin Cloth, and Rugged Twill. All of these specialty materials boost the overall quality of the various line of products offered by the company. They are all different and unique in their patterning, weaving, and material archetype which is why they have reserved uses when it comes to the type of clothing items that they are integrated into.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at all of these material variants so that you can understand the level of protection that they offer.
This material is designed to be very abrasion resistant being that it was initially designed for clothing that was worn by those exploring or living in the Pacific Northwest.
It’s made by using a closely-knit duck canvas fabric which is then soaked in a liquid paraffin wax mixture that has a special oil infused with it. This process of saturation happens under high pressure and heat which embeds the wax firmly within the core of every fiber that runs through the fabric. The tin cloth can withstand extreme water, abrasions, and wind for ultimate protection against the elements.
Mackinaw wool is another fabric unique to Filson clothing, it’s a heavy 24oz. material that was designed with insulation and water-resistance in mind.
The wool is sourced from an exclusive sheep farm that produces wool that can hold up to 30% of its own weight in water without becoming too soggy. It also has great properties for retaining heat insulation even when wet. The unique textile design of mackinaw wool allows the individual fibers to be altered up to 20,000 times without breaking or becoming damaged.
Rugged twill is primarily used in the production of luggage items by the company and was designed with abrasion resistance in mind. The fabric uses industrial-strength cotton that is then tightly woven into a 3-ply or 2-ply bond in addition to being waxed which adds even more durability and water-resistance to the material composition overall.
Aside from its unique array of fabrics and materials, the company also hosts a wide range of exclusive collections and accessories designed to fit the needs of just about anyone.
Barbour has a very rich history with the British military and other large corporations around the world engaged in various different industries.
Because of this, you shouldn’t expect anything less than near-perfect craftsmanship when it comes to their line of products and once you begin shopping, you won’t be disappointed.
The primary ingredient in the production of all the company’s line of apparel is waxed cotton, while you may have never heard of this material, it has been around for years. The company is one that lives by the motto “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” which you can clearly still see being upheld in their approach to textile manufacturing today.
The early days of aquatic-specific clothing are still felt when you begin to browse their catalog, finely woven fabrics and proprietary materials are what they are all about. Paraffin wax is a special kind of wax that adds water-resistant and durability when infused with cotton.
Today, the company uses a much more refined version of the original wax that was infused into their earlier clothing options however one thing remains the same, that’s the dedication and intricacy put into every piece of clothing that comes off their production press.
Now that you know a little bit more about the various materials and textile manufacturing techniques used by both of these companies, it’s time to delve into the key factors and features that you need to look for when choosing a waxed canvas jacket of any variety.
When it comes to selecting which waxed canvas jacket brand and style will be perfect for your needs, there are some important factors that you’ll want to consider before making your final purchase decision. In the following section, we’re going to cover all of these factors in-depth so that you will be able to make an educated decision about which jacket option will be the best suited for your intended use and needs.
Make sure that you read this following section in full so that you will be able to shop for your next waxed canvas jacket with confidence.
When it comes to finding the right waxed canvas jacket, durability is the main factor that you should consider before finalizing your purchase. Waxed cotton in itself provides a very reliable layer of protection for you against external elements such as rain, wind, and other weather elements.
However, it’s important to consider the method used to infuse the wax into the materials and what sorts of protectants are coated on top of it. This will alert you of the overall construction solidity of the jacket so that you can ensure that it provides you with the level of protection and comfort you desire.
While wearing a waxed canvas jacket, comfort is just as important as durability which is why you want to make sure that your selected jacket option comes with some sort of material infusion that will reinforce the existing material layer on the jacket for protection.
Some waxed canvas jackets are stiffer than others due to the type of wax that is infused inside of the material and the overall production process.
This is something that you’ll want to consider before purchasing your selected jacket of choice to ensure that you get the best experience out of your selection. Some manufacturers incorporate different materials into their waxed canvas jackets in order to increase the overall comfort so you should read the labels of your preferred jacket option before buying it.
While style is important in terms of appearance, waxed canvas jackets are all about protection and durability. That’s why functionality comes naturally for many companies in the industry however it is not as common as you might think.
If you’re wearing your waxed canvas jacket for protection against the external elements, you will want to ensure that your selected style comes with functional design aspects which will allow you to live your life uninterrupted in terms of being able to access all of the accessories and items that you carry with you on a regular basis.
A functional design will include several pockets for storage, intuitive design aspects that allow you to adjust the fit on a whim, and materials that are able to resist a wide range of different natural elements. Functionality is a huge factor when it comes to any jacket variety so make sure that your selected option has all of the bells and whistles you need to explore without limitations.
Performance is right up there with functionality, performance in a waxed canvas jacket looks like innovative material integrations and activity-specific design elements which help enhance the user’s experience.
These sorts of implementations can take on a variety of different appearances such as unique design additions that elevate your overall experience regardless of what environment or climate that you may be adventuring in.
If you’re purchasing a waxed canvas jacket in order to traverse different climates and environments, you’ll want to make sure that your selected jacket comes with integrated performance add-ons so that you can get the most out of whatever experience you decide to partake in.
While waxed canvas jackets are primarily designed for protection against the external elements, the style in which they are designed will play an integral role in providing that level of protection and comfort that you expect.
Every clothing company designs its jacket options in a wide array of different styles and configurations all of which serve dedicated purposes in terms of the individual wearing it and their lifestyle. Take into consideration the climate in which you’re going to be exploring and all of the conditions that you will have to encounter to ensure that you select the right style for your needs.
Now that we’ve gone over all of the most important factors and elements that you need to consider when choosing the right waxed canvas jacket for your needs, it’s time to answer some of the most commonly asked questions that people have when it comes to waxed canvas jackets.
If you’re someone who has a natural passion for fashion and clothing, you understand that all materials require special cleaning and care techniques in order to maintain their quality and value over time.
Waxed cotton is the same and if you plan on purchasing a jacket made out of this material, you need to become educated on proper cleaning and care techniques so that you will be prepared to take care of your new purchase.
In the following section, we’re going to answer some of the most commonly asked questions that people have as it relates to waxed cotton care and everything else related to the material.
Q: What is the proper washing and care technique for my waxed canvas jacket?
A: the proper cleaning and care technique for your waxed canvas jacket will vary depending on the brand and stated care rules. When you buy a waxed cotton jacket, you should always read the care manual provided by the manufacturer.
Q: Can waxed cotton be repaired?
A: Yes, if your waxed cotton jacket becomes damaged over time due to use and wear, there are instances in which you can repair the material instead of having to completely replace the jacket.
Q: How long does waxed cotton material last?
A: waxed cotton can last for years or decades all dependent upon how well you take care of it and the conditions that it interacts with on a regular basis.
We’ve covered a lot of key details about both Filson and Barbour related to the overall manufacturing process and quality of their waxed cotton selections.
You’re probably wondering after reading all of this information which brand is best? Well, to make it simple, our choice is definitely Filson. This is for a few major reasons the main one being their versatile material composition and unique textile abilities in terms of integrating resilient fabrics and fibers into their specially crafted jacket options.
They also offer a lot more options as opposed to Barbour in terms of their line of accessories and lifestyle specific clothing options. Regardless of what your lifestyle consists of on a regular basis, Filson has the perfect solution for your needs.
Our Top Filson & Barbour Recommendations
Now that we’ve gone over all of the most important information you need to know about Barbour and Filson jackets, it’s time to list some of our top recommendations from both of these companies. In the following section, we’re going to list some of our top recommendations from both entities to help make your shopping and purchase decision a little bit easier.
Keep in mind, all of these recommendations will vary in terms of their overall design and functionality so you’ll want to consider your personal needs before finalizing your purchase.
The ULTRALIGHT JACKET is made out of a very lightweight yet ultra-durable ripstop nylon material that weighs about 1.5oz. The jacket also features PrimaLoft Gold insulation material that has a high compression rate and also has the ability to absorb up to 98% of Its warmth when damp or wet.
The jacket comes with an interior zippered pocket which makes it easy for you to store all of your accessories and items while out in nature. This jacket also features moleskin-lined pockets which keep your hands warm in very cold weather conditions.
The collar is also moleskin-lined for added warmth and protection for you against external climate temperatures and conditions. The jacket also features an elastic cuff and hem design for added comfort and versatility.
#2 SHERPA FLEECE JACKET
The SHERPA FLEECE JACKET is made out of Polartec Thermal Pro polyester fleece material which works great for insulating heat and keeping cold temperatures out of your jacket.
The jacket also has a zippered front closure in addition to handwarmer pockets which add another layer of comfort while on the go. This jacket is also packing four interior stow pockets in addition to a zippered security pocket which provides more than enough space for you to store all of the valuable items you’ll need while exploring or simply going through your daily activities.
The forearm design on this jacket is reinforced with a ripstop nylon material which adds another layer of resilience and durability to the jacket overall.
This jacket features a wool-blend rib-knit hem and cuff design which provides more insulating properties for you. With all of these features, the jacket is still very breathable and dries quickly after being wet which makes it very versatile.
#3 COVER CLOTH MILE MARKER COAT
The COVER CLOTH MILE MARKER COAT is made from 8oz oil finish Cover Cloth material which is a very lightweight waxed cotton fabric. The jacket also features a two-way front zipper and a snap-close storm flap to keep you protected from extremely wet conditions and climates.
This jacket has snap-flap cargo pockets in addition to a vertical zippered chest pocket which provides you with an ample amount of storage space to keep all of your items and valuable accessories protected while wearing the jacket. The jacket also comes with an interior security pocket and a moleskin-lined handwarmer pocket which adds another layer of comfort to the overall design.
The drawcord waist is adjustable and comes with snap-tab adjustable cuffs for more versatile styling options so you can adapt to any environment.
The body of the jacket is lined with feather cloth and the sleeves are made out of polyester twill which ensures that you’re protected all around. It also has a button on the hood for added versatility.
The Sapper Regular Fit Weatherproof Waxed Cotton Jacket is made out of a weatherproof Sylkoll waxed cotton material which provides all-around protection for you in any climate.
The jacket is lined with a very durable and water-resistant fabric which adds another layer of protection for you against external weather conditions and elements. You can spot clean this jacket which makes it easy to maintain the jacket over long periods of time.
The jacket has a front zip closure that is hidden and comes with an outer snap pocket for storage space. The interior of the jacket comes with a zip pocket and it has snap-tab cuffs for more comfort while wearing it. This jacket also comes with a zip chest pocket and snap-flap pockets so that you can store all of your accessories and valuable items with ease.
#2 BARBOUR CLASSIC BEDALE® WAX JACKET
The BARBOUR CLASSIC BEDALE® WAX JACKET is made out of 100% waxed cotton material and comes with a pure cotton lining for even more insulating abilities and properties. The sleeves on this jacket are lined with 100% cotton so that you can remain comfortable at all times.
The interior of the jacket also has ribbed design patterns which add functionality and performance. It also features a two-way zipper and a corduroy collar for elevated protection against external elements and climate.
The jacket has two handwarmer pockets so that your entire body can be protected from the variables that you experience while out. This jacket also comes with two large bellow pockets which makes it easy for you to store all of your accessories and items with ease.
#3 BARBOUR ASHBY® WAX JACKET
The BARBOUR ASHBY® WAX JACKET is made out of a medium-weight 6oz Barbour Sylkoil wax material that provides a high level of protection for you against the external weather conditions and climate.
The jacket also comes with a Barbour Tartan lining material which adds even more comfort and protection for you while wearing it. This jacket has an inner patch pocket and 100% polyester sleeve linings in addition to a polyamide drip strip which keeps water out of the interior of the jacket.
The interior handwarmer pockets make it easy for you to store all of your valuable items and accessories with ease without worrying about losing them or them becoming damaged. It also has a two-way zipper which makes it easy to access the function of the jacket whenever you need it.
This jacket also features studded patch pockets which add even more storage options for you. The jacket also has studded rear vents and a cord collar which makes it easy for you to tailor the fit of this jacket to your specific needs on an individual basis.
We’ve covered all of the most important factors, aspects, design elements, and features that you need to consider when looking for the right jacket selection from either Barbour or Filson. Your lifestyle will play a very important role in how long your selected jacket lasts and the level of protection that it provides for you while engaging in whatever you do.
That’s why you always want to do the proper amount of research in regards to the specific type of materials and design features of the jackets you’re interested in the offer. By doing this, you will be able to precisely choose the right material, style, patterning, and durability level that you need before finalizing your purchase on any selection.
Use this guide as a way to assist yourself during the buying and shopping process so that you can be sure you’re making the right purchase decision. As long as you take the time to read this entire guide in full and implement all of the tips we’ve included in it, you should have no problem finding the right waxed canvas jacket for your needs in no time.
Both Filson and Barbour are great brands for you to purchase your jacket from so head over to their official websites in order to explore the full scope of clothing options that they offer.
Sam Hardy is an outdoor enthusiast with a penchant for survival skills. He writes about the great outdoors and his favorite equipment here.