Filson’s Tin Cloth is a 14-15oz duck canvas hat that is pumped full of oils and liquified paraffin wax. The result is an abrasion and water-resistant fabric that will patina nicely as you wear it. Named for its toughness, Tin Cloth has been a staple in outerwear and workwear for decades.
The Packer hat is made in the USA out of imported materials, similar to their other Tin Cloth items. (The canvas is imported from British Millerain in the UK.) They currently retail for $75 and come in three colours: Black, Olive and the colour I purchased, Dark Tan. This is the same popular color you’ll find on their Tin Cloth Cruisers, Field jacket, and Journeyman.
The Packer is a 360-degree brimmed hat. The crown is unstructured but the brim is stiff enough to retain its shape after being packed away for a couple days. The brim is 2 ¼ inches wide, which gives you enough coverage to keep the sun off your face and neck, as well as keep the rain from running down your shirt. Complementing the brim is a strip of Filson’s bridle leather that helps break up the silhouette.
The hat also has a set of 4 grommets on each side for ventilation, but don’t expect these to offer enough air movement to cool you too much on a hot day. That said, given how unbreathable waxed canvas is, I’d still consider them necessary.
[Related: Filson’s Tin Cloth Backpack Review]
Sizing is key with these hats. Filson suggests that you size up if you are between sizes, but you may wish to size up regardless. Tin Cloth has nearly no stretch in it, so if your hat is tight, it will likely stay tight. The staff at Filson also advised that if the hat is left in a hot place, such in your vehicle or in the sun, it can even shrink as the wax and oil dry up.
I wear a 7 ⅜ ball cap and the Large fits me perfectly. The cotton band on the inside is very comfortable on your forehead and helps wick away sweat.
[Related: The Stetson Open Road Hat review]
Living with it
This hat is not a warm weather hat. It is best enjoyed from October-May. The ventilation grommets, which do vent warm air out, do not bring much relief from the heat. It will keep the sun off your neck, but that’s where the warm weather relief ends. This is not a fault of Filson however, as they do not brand this as a beach hat by any means. If this is a deal breaker, look to their Summer Packer Hat, which is made with a much lighter 9oz dry finish Shelter Cloth.
Not to keep on this point too much, but if you do sweat a lot in the hat, the Tin Cloth takes on a slightly translucent quality which tells everyone around you, “This guy is sweating a lot in here.”
[Related: The 7 Best Waxed Jackets for Men]
Apart from that, though, the hat looks fantastic. It has the Filson build quality you’ve come to expect. The stitching and Quality Control is on point. The Tin Cloth has held up through everything I’ve thrown at it. My only worry is the potential for the leather accent to get snagged on a branch if you are really putting it through its paces, but it’s not a major concern 99% of the time.
The hat has been packed in a backpack during a canoe trip and did not suffer when it was taken out. Filson does warn, however, to keep the Tin Cloth clear of light colored fabrics, especially in the heat, as the oils might run if they are packed together.
For $75 this is as close to a bargain as a Filson item gets. With proper care, including a re-wax if necessary, this should be well into the ‘fraction of a penny’ per wear territory. My only point of contention is how hot the hat can get on warmer days, but again, that’s a misuse on the part of the user, not a design flaw from Filson.
More Filson Reviews
- Journeyman Backpack
- Dryden Backpack
- Leather Briefcase
- Rugged Twill Duffle
- Rugged Twill Rucksack
- Mackinaw Cruiser
- Lined Packer Coat