Why the Filson Tin Cloth Cruiser is the Ultimate Jacket for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Filson Tin Cloth Cruiser History

The Filson Tin Cloth Cruiser jacket has been around for almost a century, and it’s still one of the best options for outdoor enthusiasts, workers and adventurers. In this review, we’ll take a closer look at the features, benefits and drawbacks of this legendary jacket, and help you decide if it’s worth the investment.

What is Tin Cloth?

Tin cloth is a waxed cotton fabric that was introduced by British Millerain, a mill in Lancashire that claims to be the original manufacturer of waxed cotton worldwide. Filson adopted this fabric in the 1920s and used it to make waterproof khaki shirts and jackets for timber cruisers, loggers who worked in the rain-soaked forests of the Pacific Northwest. Tin cloth earned its name and reputation for being exceptionally tough, resistant to water, abrasion, thorns and briars, and able to withstand constant wear and tear.

Tin cloth is made by impregnating cotton canvas with a blend of oils and waxes that create a barrier against moisture and dirt. The fabric is then treated with heat and pressure to seal the wax into the fibers and give it a smooth and uniform finish. The result is a fabric that is durable, water-resistant, breathable and comfortable to wear.

What is the Tin Cloth Cruiser?

The Tin Cloth Cruiser is Filson’s signature jacket that combines the durability and protection of tin cloth with the functionality and versatility of a cruiser design. A cruiser is a type of jacket that features multiple pockets for carrying tools and essentials, a double-layer back for extra warmth and comfort. The Tin Cloth Cruiser has four front cargo pockets, a full-width reach-through pocket on the back, reinforced sleeves and shoulder fronts with a second layer of tin cloth, and snaps for attaching an optional hood.

The Tin Cloth Cruiser is inspired by Filson’s wool cruiser shirt that was patented in 1914. The original cruiser was designed for surveyors who needed a jacket that could accommodate their maps, compasses, pencils and other tools. The cruiser became popular among loggers, hunters, fishermen and other outdoor workers who appreciated its practicality and durability. The Tin Cloth Cruiser is an updated version of this classic jacket that uses tin cloth instead of wool or cotton as the main material.

Why Opt for the Filson Tin Cloth Cruiser?

Water Repellency:

Its waxed cotton makeup fends off rain and snow, ensuring you remain dry even when it pours. Say goodbye to that uncomfortable sweaty feeling inside, thanks to tin cloth’s unique ability to let out body warmth and moisture while stopping rain from seeping in. Plus, to sustain this water-repellent quality, simply re-wax your jacket occasionally.


Built for endurance, the tin cloth stands up to rigorous wear and potential scuffs, ensuring no easy tears or frays. It’s also safeguarded against mildew and bugs, which may harm other materials. As time passes, this cloth matures beautifully, gaining a unique character mirroring your journeys.

Evergreen Style:

This jacket boasts a universally appealing, timeless design. Whether it’s a laid-back or formal setting, it fits right in. The rich hue and texture of the tin cloth make it stand out. I purchased two colors – tan (unlined) and otter green (lined).


Whatever the weather, this jacket has you covered. On warmer days, throw it over a tee or shirt; when it’s chilly, pair it with a sweater or fleece. Want to add your personal touch? Think about attaching an optional hood or other extras to its collar or cuffs.

Practicality at its Best:

Designed keeping utility in mind, the jacket houses multiple pockets for your essentials. There’s even a special pocket on the back to reach your inner layers. Robust snaps and modifiable cuffs ensure both durability and freedom of movement.

What are the Drawbacks of the Tin Cloth Cruiser?

Of course, no jacket is perfect, and the Tin Cloth Cruiser has some drawbacks that you should be aware of before buying it.

It’s hard to find.

The Filson Tin Cloth Cruiser seems to have been discontinued and the current short lined cruiser offerings are no longer made in the US. You can also consider it as an investment that will last you for years and pay off in the long run.

It’s heavy.

The Filson Tin Cloth Cruiser is a little heavier than the short lined cruiser because of its size. However, this also means that it’s sturdy and warm. You might not notice the weight once you wear it, but you might feel it if you have to carry it around or pack it in a bag.

It’s stiff.

The tin cloth is not very flexible or soft when new, and it might take some time to break in and mold to your body shape. However, this also means that it holds its shape well and doesn’t wrinkle easily. You can speed up the break-in process by wearing the jacket often, bending the elbows and shoulders.

It’s linty.

The jacket tends to attract lint and dust, which can make it look dirty or dull. However, you can easily brush it off or wipe it with a damp cloth. You can also avoid wearing lint-prone clothing in or around your jacket to prevent lint transfer.

It’s tricky to fit.

Filson short lined cruiser

The Short lined cruiser and Tin cloth cruiser have completely different fits and may be difficult to find the ideal size or layer comfortably. You might have to size up or down depending on your preference or body type. The sleeves also run short when you lift your hands over your head, which might expose your wrists or lower arms. You can check the size chart on Filson’s website or try the jacket on in person before buying it.

How to Care for the Filson Tin Cloth Cruiser?

The Filson Tin Cloth Cruiser is not a low-maintenance jacket, and it requires some care and attention to keep it in good condition.

Do not wash or dry clean it.

Washing or dry cleaning will remove the wax coating and ruin the water-resistance of the fabric. It will also shrink and distort the shape of the jacket. Spot clean it with cold water and mild soap. If the jacket gets dirty or stained, use a damp cloth or sponge with some mild soap to gently wipe off the dirt or stain. Do not scrub or rub too hard, as this might damage the fabric or the wax coating.

Re-wax it periodically.

Over time, the wax coating will wear off due to friction or exposure to heat or sunlight. You can re-wax the jacket using Filson’s Oil Finish Wax or other similar products following the instructions on the label. You will need a hair dryer, a cloth and some wax to apply and distribute evenly over the fabric. You can also find my previous blog on how to rewax the tin cloth fabric.

Hang it or fold it loosely.

Do not store the jacket in a tight or compressed space, as this might damage the fabric or the wax coating. Hang it on a hanger or fold it loosely and store it in a cool and dry place. Avoid direct sunlight, heat sources or damp areas that might affect the color or condition of the jacket.


The Filson Tin Cloth Cruiser is more than just a jacket; it’s a testament to resilience, weather protection, flair, and practicality, ideal for year-round wear. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a hard worker, or someone who values fine craftsmanship, this jacket might just be your match. But it’s not without its downsides – it’s on the pricier side, can be hefty, a tad rigid, and tends to attract lint. Yet, if you’re up for the commitment of maintaining it, it’s an investment that promises longevity and dependable performance through the years.

Considering getting one? Head over to Filson’s official website or other online shops. And if you’re intrigued by Filson’s craftsmanship, explore their range of tin cloth items here.

We trust this overview provided clarity. If there’s anything more you’d like to know about the Tin Cloth Cruiser or Filson’s offerings in general, don’t hesitate to drop your thoughts or queries below.

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Stan is an adventure enthusiast with a love for the outdoors and American heritage brands like Red Wing and Filson. With a background in environmental science, Stan combines his outdoor experiences with a commitment to sustainability. His reviews go beyond functionality, exploring the brand ethos and craftsmanship. Stan inspires readers to choose gear that's durable, environmentally responsible, and true to American craftsmanship, making his advice indispensable for outdoor aficionados.

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