May 04, 2018 3 min read


GoreTex. H2No. Call it what you will, modern waterproof technologies are certainly effective, but they lack a bit of soul. They keep weather out, but they don’t weather well at all. When they age, they often break or simply stop being waterproof. You buy it, use it, and replace it — you don’t hand it down. It’s temporary; a thing designed to be effective but replaced.

No so with products from Filson, made from heavy duty Tin Cloth, an oil finished cotton. It’s the kind of product that, when you get it, looks natural and tough. And then, over the years, worn and weathered, it comes to look even better.

This past season I used Filson’s Tin Cloth Fishing Pack for all of my Atlantic salmon and trout fishing. I was drawn to it for a few reasons — its material, aesthetic, manufacturing origin.

Based in Seattle, Filson is known for making their products in the United States. Their products, and the company, are known for their rugged quality and for a kind of honesty. They have an excellent guarantee — something that I have yet to take advantage of due to the remarkably high quality of the craftsmanship.

One question people often have about Tin Cloth is whether it is weatherproof. I’ve been wading with it during a couple of rain storms, running the gamut from light storms to a real downpour, and I can say that it did what I wanted it to do.

That’s not to say that it’s completely waterproof — it’s not. I’ve waded too deep with it and got water in the bag. I’ve also been in bone soaking rain storms, and it doesn’t keep everything dry in those, either. But I do think that the advent of dry bags and GoreTex wading jackets had lead to a kind of obsession with all products now being completely dry. While everyone has their own opinion and preferences, I don’t think that 100% waterproof is always necessary — unless, of course, you’re packing your TP in your wading bag, which no one should do. Trust me.

I’ve had a number of waterproof bags, and they most often fail at the zipper. This Filson wading bag, with proper care, will easily outlast many of those other more modern “technical” bags. It costs the same, does much the same, and will outlive those other products. For me, it’s a better investment.

The bag itself has ample interior room for a day of fishing. As a kind of test, I’ve crammed as many fly boxes into as I possibly could and found it help more than I needed for a day on the river. It has a number of smaller interior pockets to hold things like tippet and floatant, and has a helpful font pocket with a snap closure where I hold my leader material for easy access. It also has a fold-down front flap with a velcro-attached fly pad. I have not used this, as I think flies get scrunched in it, but the space is useful for resting a fly box on, or tools, when changing leaders or flies.

In the end, this is now my go-to bag for Atlantic salmon and trout. It simply feels and looks more authentic — like something I’ll have and bring with me for years to come.

  • Nylon-webbing waist strap adjustable on both sides for added length and carrying options
  • Nylon-webbing grab handle
  • Side pockets hold bottles of water or a sunglasses case
  • Heavy-duty nylon coil zippers with Filson sliders and leather pulls
  • Front unzips and folds down to create a work surface

Dimensions: 11″L x 5″W x 8″H

Product Weight: 2 lbs 5 oz

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