Filson’s Lined Packer Coat May Be the Most Epic Wool Coat on Earth

The Filson Lined Wool Packer Coat is one of the boldest statements in rugged wear today. When you first put it on, it seems to wear you. Then you go through a break-in period when you and this coat compete for dominance, over who will be noticed first.

Then, you get comfortable with it; its size, its blanket-like weight, and proportions. The fabric starts to conform to you, to drape. It embraces you. You begin to appreciate that this coat has a lot of presence — the trick is to the let your character emerge so you have even more.

[It’s rarely available, but you may be able to shop the coat here]

filson packer coat snow

Filson Lined Wool Packer Coat Pros and Cons

Got somewhere to be? Here’s a quick list of the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Made in USA
  • Quality materials and craftsmanship
  • Indestructible performance and dependability
  • Distinctive style
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy
  • Some might not like the button closure; it takes longer to close than a zip
  • Aesthetic

filson packer coat lumberjack

How to Approach the Filson Lined Wool Packer Coat

There are ways to conceal yourself in this world, to blend in with everyone else: chinos, a polo shirt, and fleece vest, maybe a nondescript puffer coat over this when it gets cold. Like this, you will fit in everywhere; at the subway station, at Whole Foods. If this in any way appeals to you then the Filson Lined Mackinaw Wool Packer Coat may not be for you. This coat is not for fitting in; it’s for standing out, and standing out in the elements at that.

You will not go unnoticed in this coat. When you wear it, there will be comments and most of them will be complimentary, although some people may feel threatened by its epic proportions. 

Go with it. 

You’re an individual now. The main character in your life’s story. If you don’t already have swagger, this coat will give you a healthy dose. It is a coat designed for those who want to stand out, for adventurers, or those with an adventurous spirit.

[Related: The Original Filson Mackinaw Cruiser Review!]

filson mackinaw cruiser jacket wool

Filson’s Wool

  • 26 oz North American wool
  • Double layered
  • Made in USA

It is perhaps Filson’s warmest traditional wool coat; made from two layers of 26 oz. virgin Mackinaw wool. The wool is woven and supplied by Pendleton Woolen Mills exclusively for it, so there is that history, legacy, and exclusivity as well. It is also made in the USA.

This wool is dense and heavy compared to most wools you are likely to encounter nowadays, and you are wearing a double layer of it around your shoulders, arms, and front, so that is a lot of wool. It is a twill construction and comes from sheep raised in the Pacific Northwest who were exposed to the same type of weather this coat is designed to shield you from. The weave is tight enough to stop the wind from penetrating, especially since it is double-layered along with a cotton lining. It is finished smoothly without any pilling showing in the three years I have had mine. The wool is smooth enough to be comfortable when your skin encounters it, which is rare since it is fully lined with the company’s 8 oz. Alaskan Guide Flannel, the same fabric used in the company’s mainstay shirts. You feel as if you are wearing a blanket, and doubled up at that.

The wool takes its name from those worn in the Mackinaw region of Michigan in the early 1800s, although its current iteration has been available for the last 30 years. It is now produced in limited quantities that come out in a single color each autumn and sell out long before Christmas. In 2018 it was offered in traditional Buffalo Plaid, 2019 was a red gray multi-plaid of mostly gray, and 2020 was a red green dark brown plaid of mostly red. All colors look rugged, beautiful, and very traditional, especially if you are familiar with Pendleton Blankets. If you want this coat, set a reminder for the middle of October and check the website frequently. The women’s version sells out even faster.

filson lined packer coat collar
Note the collar can be buttoned up around the ears to protect the face in harsh winds/temperatures

Filson Packer Coat Collar

  • New Zealand sheepskin shearling
  • Can be latched up to your ears and shield your face
  • Not removable

One of the most striking features of this coat is the thick mane of New Zealand sheepskin shearling collar. It can be latched up to your ears to keep out the snow and wind. It is quite striking and dramatic. To some, it is polarizing. You either like the look or you don’t. But there is no denying its utility and if you doubt that, you won’t once you are caught in a winter storm with that pillowy dense shearling shielding your face.

It may be preferable to some that this shearling collar was removable. I have found that most removable collars either get lost or attach in unreliable and unwieldy ways. If you would honestly prefer this coat without it then I would refer you to the Double Mackinaw Wool Cruiser. It is essentially this coat’s wooly cousin.

filson packer coat cotton lining
Unlike the more popular Mackinaw Coat, the Packer coat is lined — with cotton.

Filson Packer Coat Insulation

  • Not insulated
  • Comprised of two layers of wool and soft cotton lining

The coat is not insulated, but with the double layers of wool and soft cotton lining, you will never notice. I have worn this coat for hours in the coldest of New England Winters without a single shiver. It can be comfortably worn from well below zero with a sweater beneath to 45 degrees Fahrenheit over a simple shirt.

filson packer coat outdoors

Filson Packer Coat Water Resistance/Performance

  • Naturally water resistant
  • Can absorb 30% of its weight before getting damp
  • Incredibly breathable

The wool makes it naturally water and snow resistant. Even accumulating frost does not soak through. The wool is known to absorb 30% of its own weight without becoming damp and still maintains a majority of its insulation even when soaked through. This is what makes wool so valuable in outdoor applications. The Filson Lined Wool Packer Coat was built for the worst weather.

It is also incredibly breathable. I have never sweated in this coat. I have always felt warm without being clammy, since wool is a natural wicking fabric.

filson lined packer coat pockets
Note the “game pocket” on the rear of the coat, built to fit a map.

Filson Packer Coat Construction

  • Still looks new after 3 years
  • Covered in pockets

The coat is very well finished with all of the stitches being tight and sound. In the three years of heavy use that I have subjected it to, it hasn’t lost a button, split a seam, had a loose thread, or become smelly, although the wool’s natural antimicrobial and antibacterial quality helps with this. In fact, it still looks brand new. It is no wonder these are considered heirloom coats to be passed down to future generations.

This coat is covered in pockets. Those in front include two large cargos with a snap close, two handwarmer pockets for your hands to slide in behind them, and two utility pockets under the front storm flap. These close with a snap. 

Beneath the flap on the right, there is a discrete slot for three pens (or rounds, if you lead a much more adventurous lifestyle than I do).  It has a rear map pocket similar to the game pockets in Barbours or Filson’s more discrete Mackinaw Cruiser. This one secures with snaps. It is perfect for small books and documents. I have stowed scarves in there and light gloves.

filson lined packer coat sizing
The 6’2″, 205lb author in a Large

Filson Packer Coat Fit and Sizing

  • Loose fit
  • You can size down for more tailored fit — but you shouldn’t

This coat is not tailored. It is designed to be roomy and to drape you in a heroic blanket of wool. I am 6’2” and 205 lbs with a 44” chest and 36” arms and I wear the Large comfortably with room enough for a sweater or thick wool shirt beneath. 

The sleeves come down to the knuckle of my thumb and I have ample room to move in the chest and shoulders. There is no pulling at the buttons. You might want to try sizing down for a more body hugging fit, but in my opinion, you will be missing a bit of the point of this coat. This coat has a sense of the wild, a feel as if you had just rode in on horseback from the mountains of Alaska. Too tight a fit might throw off the aesthetic. 

It is available in XS – 3XL, so there is a size that will work. It runs slightly large and has a generous fit.

Filson Packer Coat Price

In 2020, the coat was priced at $795.00. The 2021 version has not been released yet and will likely be more, considering Filson’s recent price hikes across the board. 

Is it worth it? Value is something that everyone needs to decide for themselves. It is a lot of money. However, I believe this coat’s life will be measured in decades, and not years. Considering longevity and considering this coat’s distinctive styling, it is most definitely worth it, at least for me.

filson lined mackinaw wool packer coat
Images via Filson

Maintenance

  • Dry clean when soiled
  • Wool’s natural properties mean it practically never needs cleaning

The coat is meant to be dry cleaned when soiled. I find that most liquids simply bead up and roll off. You can thank the wool’s lanolin for that, and believe me, my four-year-old has propelled a variety of liquids at it over the years. Usually a good brushing with a soft clothes brush will keep it fresh and dirt free without damaging the fibers and any sort of staining can be handled with a damp wash cloth.

filson packer coat hat

The Conclusion

In summation, this coat is a statement piece with a big presence. I live in Massachusetts and often wear a Stetson with it and people notice the coat first. It has a theatrical drape as if you are some sort of Yukon Explorer or a backcountry rancher that has somehow ridden off track. Regardless, the coat is bold enough to be styled by most people looking for something distinctive, warm, and epic. As a purely functional piece of kit, no other heritage outerwear comes close to providing the same level of warmth and protection.

Beard not included.

Love Filson? Check out our reviews of their classic bags:

The Filson Duffle

Leather Briefcase

Journeyman Backpack

Dryden Backpack

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Timothy Steiner

Tim Steiner has written about Mens Fashion and travel in “Classic Style” and other publications. He has a collection of Barbour jackets, Tweed suits, and Filson coats. His interest range from travel, fountain pens, watches, to manual typewriters. He is a banker by day and writes fiction and articles by night. He lives in Acton, MA at the edge of the woods with his wife and daughter.

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