The Filson name is widely known for durable clothing, accessories, and gear that can withstand the elements. From hunting and fishing to camping and workwear, Filson has covered outdoorsy folk for more than 120 years.
We decided to dig a little deeper to see why Filson stood the test of time, and if their products are as great as they claim. Read on to see what we discovered.
C.C. Filson opened the Pioneer Alaska Clothing and Blanket Manufacturers in 1897 to serve adventurers and prospectors in the Pacific Northwest. By the time the Gold Rush subsided, Filson had drawn a loyal customer base among outdoorsmen in the area.
In 1914, Filson patented the Cruiser Shirt, which remains an inspiration for many of the company’s modern designs. He built a name on honest values, customer satisfaction, and quality products for outdoorsmen around the world.
The company remained under the control of members of the Filson family until 1970 when they sold it to an Alaskan-based company. Over the next thirty years, the company changed hands a few times, with each owner leaving an imprint on the catalog.
One of the most notable ownership changes occurred in 1981 when Stan Kohls purchased the company. He expanded the catalog with designs based heavily on past products to remain authentic to the brand.
Bedrock Manufacturing currently owns and operates C.C. Filson Co. with a collection of clothing, accessories, and luggage, including modern takes on classic designs. They operate stores, catalogs, and a website, but also work with authorized dealers around the world.
C.C. Filson made a name for himself by listening to his customers and retooling his designs to match their requests. More than a century later, the company stands by his philosophy in their mission to sell comfortable, protective, and durable products.
What Makes Filson Different
A company has to have something special to survive and thrive for more than a century in the retail industry. The Seattle, Washington-based outfitter has experienced plenty of good fortune, but their philosophies about customer satisfaction kept them in business.
The Filson Guarantee
This company guarantees its products for the normal lifetime of the items. Though there are some exceptions (like animal or chemical damage), they offer pretty comprehensive coverage on everything except for Filson Restoration Bags and Old Wolf brand items.
If you purchase from them or through an authorized retailer, Filson covers your product for the failure of materials, failure of workmanship and craftsmanship, and manufacturer defects. Should you experience a fault in any of these areas, Filson’s Repair Center will fix your item.
The Repair Center
Filson truly has a dedicated space to repair items. The process is easy enough, and they walk you through it step-by-step. Of course, not every item is repairable, so their team will reach out if they can’t fix your item.
Filson is committed to doing the extra work for customers. They provide custom services to help prolong the life of your gear.
- Resole boots and shoes, relace, insert new cork insoles, and oil leather uppers
- Rewaxing jackets, vests, pants, and bibs
- Embossing and monogramming select bags and accessories
- Custom hemming on pants and bibs
- Additional upgrades, like twill or leather binding on pant hems
An Overview of Filson Products
Filson expanded their catalog over the years to include separate lines for gear, a women’s line, and luggage. Though the company modernized some of their apparel, they maintained the outdoorsy feel throughout their catalog.
Rugged, durable, and versatile describe the menswear line. From shorts to heavy jackets, Filson has you covered – literally. They even offer a massive selection of sizes, including extended and tall (long) sizes.
This line can only be described as outdoorsy with a feminine twist. The colors pay homage to nature, the materials are sturdy and durable, but the cuts and styles are unmistakably feminine. Most of their items are available up to a 2X, but they lack petite and tall sizes.
Luggage & Bags
Filson’s luggage and bags are incredibly popular for outdoor excursions and daily use. From backpacks to sportsman bags, Filson compiled a comprehensive catalog of durable, versatile pieces. Though most of their pieces are unisex, they do make handbags for women.
To be honest, the bags drew us in more than any other aspect of the catalog. We love the line of briefcases, especially the Rugged Twill Original Briefcase. This is one durable bag that holds more than you’d expect.
What good is an outdoor excursion without proper gear? Filson doesn’t fail customers on this front with a collection of hats, belts, watches, and travel accessories.
One of the coolest options in their accessories is the Field Repair Kit. For less than $40, you can have the necessary tools (including replacement buttons) to mend your clothing and gear while roughing it.
Filson handles more than apparel and accessories. Since C.C. Filson started the company, they’ve outfitted people with specialty gear and equipment to keep them safe and comfortable in the elements.
Workwear, for those committed to a life outdoors, pays tribute to the woodsmen and lumberjacks of C.C. Filson’s era.
Fishing gear, including dry bags, fishing vests, and rod cases, is durable and accounts for the needs of avid fishermen (and women).
The hunting gear line includes range bags, knives, and even dog accessories for your closest companion.
Camping (and home) gear is where you’ll find blankets, drinkware, and recreational equipment.
The Cost of Buying Filson
Quality comes at a cost, and premium products aren’t cheap. Their items are pricey, but they guarantee the majority of their products and provide the laundry list of additional services noted above.
Shirts start at $45 for men and women.
Pants are $100 and up across the board.
Briefcases range from $195 to $425 for most materials and designs.
If you purchase through their website, Filson also provides free shipping and free returns. They also run deals throughout the year, and there are several sale items at any given time, some of them at 60% off or more.
Criticism of Filson
No review is complete without shining a light on the less savory aspects of a company. There are a lot of things to like about Filson, namely their products, but nothing is perfect.
We’ve already alluded to a few downfalls with Filson. First, their lack of petite and tall sizes for women is disappointing, especially given their extensive options for men. Though they carry XS and 2X sizes, there are still some ladies left out in the cold.
Perhaps the biggest downside to Filson is their pricing. If you want a quality product, you can expect to pay for it, but several reviewers noted the markup on Filson’s items. We have to admit that it feels like you’re paying a bit more for the name, but as we said before, you get some assurance with each purchase.
We noticed one other theme as we researched the company more thoroughly. Several long-term customers commented on their disappointment about some of the apparel and bags lacking the rugged feel they’re accustomed to.
In their effort to expand and modernize their inventory, Filson may have upset some of their loyal client base. More than one person suggested they drop the “hipster lines” and focus on what Filson does best.
Filson customer service is legendary. It is one of the company’s fundamental principles and dates back to its founder. Though the company changed hands a few times over the years, they report a strong commitment to incredible customer service.
We had an excellent experience dealing with their customer service when we called to ask a few questions on some of the items discussed above. The associate we spoke with sounded friendly and answered our questions thoroughly, yet concisely.
However, when we researched other reviews and comments on the company’s customer service, we were disappointed to see so many complaints. We uncovered several reviews across multiple sites that complained about the lack of support and concern about products.
Most of the complaints involved the company refusing to back products or offering to repair them for a charge to the customer. Some reviewers noted poor service at the store level as well.
Again, we had a pleasant experience, and to be fair, there were comments from several other satisfied customers on each site. Besides, Filson is still in business and has a loyal following for a reason.
The Bottom Line on Filson
Though Filson ventured into the fashion frontier with some of their clothes and bags, they remain a purveyor of outdoor gear. The company remains tied to strong customer service and quality products to help you explore the great outdoors as long as you desire.
If you’re looking for durable gear that can withstand an extended outing and the elements, you may want to explore Filson’s extensive catalog. Be prepared to pay a premium, but you’re purchasing more than an outfit, you’re prepping for an experience.