Today I’m taking a look at Filson’s Aberdeen jacket, the surprisingly lightweight jacket that they’ve re-released for their 125th anniversary.
The Aberdeen was last seen on the shelves in 2018 and sold well as an all-weather jacket that’s well suited to, say, a Pacific Northwest summer night, or some other kind of imagery that this brand is really good at evoking. Filson is, of course, unmatched in their stellar branding and product development in the niche of heritage workwear. These guys make stupendous apparel and bags made to last, and made the old fashioned way with materials like wool, leather, twill, and what we’ve got with this jacket: waxed canvas.
This company was started 125 years ago to help outfit lumberjacks and gold rushers in the Pacific Northwest and has stayed in business, changing hands once or twice, by staying true to this philosophy of making very hard-wearing gear the old fashioned way.
For a brand known for their super thick twill and super thick wool and really tough vegetable-tanned leather, it’s pretty nice to have a lightweight jacket to play with that’s still made from durable, heritage materials.
Filson Aberdeen Jacket: Materials
- Lightweight, 8 oz waxed canvas
- Nice dry hand, not sticky
- Cotton lined body, polyester lined sleeves
- Moleskin handwarmer pockets
So how is this different from Filson’s other popular canvas jackets like the Tin Cloth Cruiser Short Jacket?
It’s lightweight. The Tin Cloth Cruiser is 14 ounces per square yard but the Aberdeen is 8 ounces, much lighter than the lightest weight jeans you’ll find — but it’s still canvas, a densely woven cotton that offers a good amount of protection from tears and abrasion. Less so than the thicker stuff, sure, but it’s very rare to find this balance of durable and lightweight.
It’s a really dry finish wax too. The Aberdeen doesn’t feel sopping wet like some of the waxed canvas out there, which I love. Sticky, wet waxed canvas gets pretty old pretty soon — wax transfer is a pain in the butt and feels icky.
Another reason this doesn’t feel wet and sticky on your skin is that unlike a lot of Filson waxed jackets, this is fully lined. The body is lined with ultralight 3 oz cotton and the sleeves are lined with polyester, because that’s a bit easier to layer and it’s less likely to catch your sleeves. Obviously, polyester is also cheaper than having it 100% cotton lined, but I’m a big fan of the fact that the body is lined with cotton and there’s even moleskin cotton lining in the hidden handwarmer pockets. (Moleskin, for those unaware, is cotton too. It’s densely woven cotton with a brushed surface, so it looks and feels a little like suede.)
So it’s very soft, it’s lightweight, but it’s still dense and hard-wearing. This is a jacket that you can wear when it’s not freezing out but you need a layer, if nothing else, to protect you from wind and rain. Waxed canvas withstands water and abrasions very well and it can be a terrific layer just to wear because it’s raining out.
Filson Aberdeen Jacket: Design
- Good number of pockets
- Horizontal entry zippered chest pocket
- Internal pockets
Design-wise, let’s talk pockets.
There are two snap pockets on the front, hidden hand warmers underneath them, a super functional zippered internal pocket (another bonus of the lining),and a pretty unusual side entry zippered pocket on the left chest. The chest pocket is surprisingly deep, plunging all the way to the armpit.
If you like Filson because they’re simple, classic-looking garments that usually aren’t loaded with pockets all over the place, you might find the zipperiness and asymmetry of that chest pocket off putting. Maybe. But if what you like with your workwear is functionality and handy pockets, then you’ll love it, especially because this pocket is crazy deep.
Filson Aberdeen Jacket: Fit & Sizing
- Cut short for mobility
- Roomy, “classic” fit
- Adjustable parachute cords to cinch waist
As for the fit, this is a fairly short and wide jacket to makes it easier to work in.
A lot of guys like to size down with Filson, depending on how you like to wear it. I’m normally a Large, this is a Medium, and even when sized down in a way that fits my shoulders pretty well there’s still a lot of room around the waist because Filson leans more in the “classic” fit direction and less in the slim, more fashion-focused fits.
This is a jacket you’re meant to be able to work in, after all, and being able to layer seems a priority here too. Plus it’s meant to fit the average American dude, not just skinny city boys like me.
What I really love though is that the waist is adjustable, so if you want to cinch it in you’ve got parachute cords on the sides to help you do that. It’ll wrinkle a bit, sure — it’s not quite as clean as a button tab there — but this really elevates the jacket for me. When I first put it on, I distinctly remember thinking to myself, ‘man, a waist cinch would make me so much happier with the fit.’ Then it turned out it had one, so I like that.
Filson Aberdeen Price
If you’re familiar with Filson , you’re probably thinking that’s not a crazy price for these guys. It’s not cheap, but for a waxed canvas Filson jacket, especially one that’s lined, you’re probably thinking that’s about what you’d expect.
But: this isn’t made in America, it’s made in Vietnam. A lot of Filson’s stuff has been outsourced of late to help them limit the effects of inflation on their prices, and this jacket is one of the models that is now made overseas. There are zero quality control complaints from me, no loose threads or missing stitches, but if the Vietnam origin bugs you, it’ll bug you.
- Roomy enough to layer
- Unusually lightweight for canvas
- Adjustable waist
- Soft lining
To summarize this jacket with some pros and cons, this is actually pretty versatile. With the adjustable hems and rib-knit cuffs and shorter length, it’s basically a bomber jacket made of lightweight waxed canvas.
I can see someone wearing this with like a white oxford and slim chinos if they wanted to. Or, with grubby jeans on a tugboat like this guy. In all seriousness, if you’re doing work in cold-ish wet conditions, this is a great layer to help brave foul weather.
If you need a layer that offers protection from tears and abrasion when it’s not super cold out, it does the job and the fit is good for layering as well, so this could be your next all-weather shell that you just adjust the layering for depending on the temperature.
I’m a huge fan of the adjustable waist for guys that want a more fitted look and heavier guys will be happy with the extra room this is cut with. The drawcord also helps it to be more wind resistant as well by helping you get a tighter seal around the body.
I love that the body is lined with cotton and that it allows for an internal pocket, and it’s got plenty of pockets too. It’s very functional and the extra touch of moleskin-lined hand warmers is great for if it does get a bit chilly out.
- Asymmetrical chest pocket may challenge guys who like simple clean lines
- Unlined collar
- Only comes in one color
- Not a modern fit
- Made in Vietnam
If you happen to be a guy who likes Filson strictly for fashion and aesthetics, the asymmetrical chest pocket might bother you.
I’ve also heard some complaints about the collar not being made of corduroy or something that’s warmer on the skin. The waxed canvas can get a bit cold and some find that uncomfortable, although personally, I prefer the canvas collar over the contrasting corduroy.
Many dislike the made-in-Vietnam factor, I don’t have much of a problem with that, I acknowledge that the brand is making a nice profit, but inflation has also gotten to a point where they wouldn’t be able to make it in America for this price anymore.
My main gripe, personally, is the boxy fit. It’s great for work and great for heavier dudes, and you do have the drawcords to cinch in, but if you like slimmer jackets, this isn’t for you.
[Related: The 7 Best Waxed Jackets for Men]
This is a pretty neat jacket in the Filson pantheon: it’s waxed canvas but it’s lightweight. It’s a work jacket but it’s also a stylish bomber. It’s minimalist, but actually bristling with pockets. If what you want is a work jacket that’s lightweight and durable and ideal for warmer months and won’t have you sweating buckets at 80 degrees, get the Aberdeen Jacket.
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