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#37854 - 02/21/05 06:39 AM Filson #61 Tin Packer Coat

So after reading all the Filson posts here, I decided that I would try some of their products. I bought an unlined, Tin Packer Coat from the factory about a month ago. My wife hated the smell of the Tin Cloth so much that I had to keep the thing in the garage. I have two other garments from Filson, a Double Mac and a Tin Waterfowl/Upland Coat. The Double Mac is a really nice and warm coat. I wear the Waterfowl/Upland coat all the time as I like the way the pockets are laid out. There is something about the armor feel of the Tin Cloth that I like. All three coats are heavy.

Today, I went on a walk with my new Filson Tin Packer coat. I had worn it about 4 times before, always with an umbrella and the coat performed as expected. Today the wind was blowing about 12 to 15 miles per hour with a steady rain, temps in the low to mid-50's. I was wearing jeans and a long-sleeve cotton shirt. On my head was my black OR sombrero rain hat.

I went out on a moderate hike for about 2 hours. I knew I would be perspiring, so I didn't want to add any more layers. The coat was unlined. The first hour was mostly uphill. I stated to sweat so I vented the top of the coat. On the return trip, the wind picked up so I button up. I started to feel clammy and I thought that my perspiration was the cause. I remained warm but was concerned that I was continuing to build up heat and moisture inside the coat. I discovered that Tin Cloth doesn't breath in the traditional sense. However, if I put my hands in the pockets, I could lift the coat off my shoulder and cause some air movement which helped to control my temperature and moisture.

By the time I got home, I took off the Packer and noticed that my shirt in the shoulders and entire back was wet. I know I sweat, but not that much. Upon closer inspection, it appears that the coat gets wet on the inside. Water doesn't leak in but remains consistently damp throughout the inside of the coat. The part of my shirt that had the most direct contact with the coat, soaked up the water. Had the temperature dropped or had the hike been longer, I suspect that I might have gotten cold or chilled.

I hindsight, I guess I should have worn some polypro shirt that would wick the moisture away from me and/or worn some wool as another layer. I knew that I was going to get hot during the hike, so I didn't want to wear any more layers. I like the Tin Cloth for its durability, but I am not sold on it's water repelling qualities. I didn't think that it was supposed to get wet on the inside. Something about that bothers me. I'm not sure that I trust it yet. I need to figure out how to manage the moisture on the inside. Maybe I need to always wear wool? I'm not sure. I bought the Packer solely for use as heavy duty rain coat. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the weather doesn't get that cold but it does rain a fair amount. I need to be able to wear the coat without having to think about additional layers to deal with the moisture on inside the coat. Right now I'm not sure if it's going to do the job.YMMV.


#37855 - 02/21/05 08:03 AM Re: Filson #61 Tin Packer Coat
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
Theres an old story about a cowboy caught in a blizzard with just his fish slicker for protection ( the long raincoats coloured a dull yellow from the linseed oil used for proofing in all those Charlie Russel paintings.) Our cowboy also managed to build up a sweat and swore if he had been wearing TWO slickers he'd have froze to death. All those Filson ads show manly men doing manly things. What they need to show are those fellas taking periodic breaks, shaking out their gear, adding or removing a few layers. You need to do the same. I suggest Hermanns deli across from the French Hospital and the buddha in the Tea Garden. <img src="/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

#37856 - 02/21/05 08:08 PM Re: Filson #61 Tin Packer Coat
Schwert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 905
Loc: Seattle, Washington
I have always had good luck with the packer design. Mine is a shelter cloth not tin, but I would suggest a recoat of the shoulder layer with filson wax. I have found that if I wax the cape on my packer early in the season and then again in the spring it keeps me dry. I generally wear a wool vest under it which does tend to keep the coat from hanging directly on my shoulders and back but my well-waxed coat seems to turn more of the rain than absorb it as your seems to.

Get a big can of wax, smear it on with your hands then turn the coat inside out, button it up and put it in the dryer for a few minutes. Do not reveal this to the significant other <img src="/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

Take it out warm and put it on and let it cool to form fit.

As an additional note: I generally carry a silicon nylon poncho for wear over my coat when it is really coming down. The waxed cotton does well enough usually, but long duration rain and moderate temperatures generally has me looking to the poncho.

Last time I was out to the Olympic rainforest, I wore my #66 Hunters coat which is double layer tin in the body and single in the arms...I slipped my poncho over it as I knew I would need the extra if I expected to remain dry.

This is my wife in the Hoh rainforest with her poncho over her coat...

Edited by Schwert (02/21/05 09:00 PM)

#37857 - 02/21/05 11:25 PM Re: Filson #61 Tin Packer Coat
joblot Offline

Registered: 02/21/03
Posts: 258
Loc: Scotland
I'm not taking the micky here, but why would anyone want to buy a coat that requires so much effort and preparation to wear? It sounds like its only useful if your standing still in a rain storm, and even then for only short periods of time.
Confused <img src="/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />

#37858 - 02/22/05 06:13 PM Re: Filson #61 Tin Packer Coat

Schwert, you live near a place like that?! . . . what a fantastic place . . . you lucky people.


#37859 - 02/22/05 06:42 PM Re: Filson #61 Tin Packer Coat
Schwert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 905
Loc: Seattle, Washington
The Hoh rainforest is on the coast, so about 100 miles from Seattle. It is a magical place. Many feet of rain a year, with incredible old growth forest. It is like walking through time. Most of the old growth was logged off over the last 100 years, but pieces were kept in the Olympic National Park.

A Filson coat is much more than a rain coat...it is a timeless classic of design and function. It will require some care...waxing...but they are a piece of gear that is frequently handed down from father to son to grandson. Not at all like the plastic coats people spend so much on and discard so rapidly. Waxed cotton coats like this are not the penultimate rain coat, but a working coat that serves a multiplicity of purposes.

Big Leaf Maple, Hoh Rainforest

I think it is interesting to note that the generations of loggers who cut these forests down....many of them wore Filson clothes. Filson clothing was designed for outdoor work.

Edited by Schwert (02/22/05 06:48 PM)

#37860 - 02/22/05 08:02 PM Re: Filson #61 Tin Packer Coat
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
Along with the loggers, biologists and well healed treehuggers wear Filsons too <img src="/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> I became the de facto diplomat many times. Loggers seeing me in a Filson, shagged jeans and fresh haircut would A. let me speak and B. not always liking what they heard think twice about punching a TINCOAT <img src="/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> Filsons are like jazz music and must be experienced and not explained.

#37861 - 02/22/05 08:45 PM Re: Filson #61 Tin Packer Coat
Schwert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 905
Loc: Seattle, Washington
Filsons are like jazz music and must be experienced and not explained.


#37862 - 02/23/05 05:39 PM Re: Filson #61 Tin Packer Coat
adam Offline

Registered: 04/07/03
Posts: 256
Loc: Long Island, NY
I was wearing jeans and a long-sleeve cotton shirt

I think this is the start of your problems. Your base layer is the wrong material. Cotton is going to soak up sweet and will loose all its insulation value. Try the same hike with some appropriate type of base layer.


PS I’ve often been amazed at the photo’s I see on the internet of people practicing survival technique’s but yet they have the worst type of clothing on to be in the outdoors. I became interested in survival techniques because of my hiking/backpacking hobbies. Clothing was the most important thing to learn about but seems to be a none issue with most survival type people, they seem more interested in a back pack full of knives instead of a good set of cloths and a sleeping bag.

#37863 - 02/24/05 03:50 AM Re: Filson #61 Tin Packer Coat
Be_Prepared Offline

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 530
Loc: Massachusetts
I have noticed the same problem when working with Scouts and their Dads in winter conditions. They will spend hundreds of dollars on the latest Columbia or North Face parkas. Two hours into a winter hike, when you stop for a few minutes, they find themselves shivering because under that $300+ parka, they have a thick cotton sweatshirt over a cotton t-shirt. Both are soaked with sweat. Once soaked, they don't dry very quickly either. I think that a good outer layer is obviously important, but, spending a few bucks on a couple of decent wicking insulating layers is well worth the investment. In fact, with good layering, you can get by with a lesser outer layer. People want that nice looking expedition parka, but, the layer of polypro and fleece that they really need under that is neglected.

I have always felt that more thin layers of quick drying polypro or even good old wool, would work better than one heavy parka. I typically don't wear a heavy insulated parka. I use multiple insulating layers of poly and fleece, and then top that with a breathable waterproof shell. US Special Forces contracted for a layering system referred to as Extended Cold Weather Clothing System, (ECWCS) that is basically a layering system of various combinations of wicking base layers and fleece insulating layers topped with waterproof shell tops and pants. Civilian versions are available from places like Cabela's.

- Ron

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