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Burly Water-Repellant Work Pants You’ll Never Wash: Filson Oil Finish Tin Cloth Pant Review

Filson's Oil Finish Tin Cloth Pants bring over 125 years of style, versatility, and pure functionality into a single pair of pants.

filson oil finish single tin cloth pant review(Photo/Nick LeFort)
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Few people think about heritage when they’re fixing up the house on a crisp fall day. But, if you’ve ever owned a pair of work pants, a vest, or jacket from Filson — your drip is dripping in outdoor apparel history.

Since 1897, Filson has been a premium outfitter for outdoor enthusiasts. From clothing and accessories to luggage, Filson is known for distinctively durable products that cost a little more than you might be used to. But, as the old saying goes: “You get what you pay for.”

I was turned on to Filson’s Oil Finish Single Tin Cloth Pants back in college. One of my nature writing professors had a pair, and they perfectly fit the beatnik class vibe.

At the time, I couldn’t swing $195 for my own pair. But a few years later — when my best friend asked me to be the best man at his wedding, and wanted all of us groomsmen to be fitted head to toe in Filson — I didn’t think twice about it.

Sadly, his future Mrs. had a different idea about how we were going to look on their Big Day. But I still bought a pair of the Tin Cloth Pants. It was the best $195 I ever spent on clothes.

In short: Filson’s Oil Finish Single Tin Cloth Pants is a garment you never wash and that stays fresh, comfortable, and ready to work. They have a water-repellant wax finish, suspender buttons, and deep pockets. To keep them clean you simply brush them down. These pants have over 125 years of outdoorwear heritage behind them — and if you care for them well, they might just last you that long.

Filson Oil Finish Single Tin Cloth Pant

Specs

  • Fabric 100% 14 oz. cotton tin cloth
  • Utility pockets Deep front pockets, covered rear pockets
  • Water resistance Yes, oil wax finish
  • Superpower Suspender buttons
  • Fit Classic
  • Price $195

Pros

  • The oil wax finish
  • Large pockets
  • Overall fit
  • Those suspender buttons

Cons

  • The wax can stain light-colored clothing from prolonged contact

Filson Oil Finish Single Tin Cloth Pant Review

filson oil finish single tin cloth pants lint magnet
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

Character of Tin Cloth

Filson’s Oil Finish Single Tin Cloth Pants are made from 14-ounce cotton tin cloth, a treated water-resistant cotton fabric. If you’ve never experienced tin cloth, it’s best to start with Filson. The execution here is fantastic. In fact, Filson does it so well that when you start wearing the pants, your legs will be as smooth as a baby’s bottom for about a week.

You’ll also be a magnet for hair and lint, but you’ll get used to it once you start brushing your pants regularly.

waterproof filson oil finish single tin cloth pants
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

You see, you don’t wash tin cloth clothes like these pants or Filson’s Tin Cloth Chaps. The oil wax treatment waterproofs the fabric inside and out. Washing the pants can negatively affect the water repellancy of the oil wax treatment.

So, instead of washing them, brush the pants if they get soiled. Liquids can’t seep into the fabric, so they rarely stain, and dirt and debris are taken care of during the brushing process.

The oil wax treatment also makes the pants more abrasion-resistant. The trade-off to that is that the pants will show wrinkles and creases. If they’re folded and stored with that crease for an extended period of time, it will be there forever. However, creases and wrinkles in pants like this add character.

First Impressions

working in filson single tin cloth pants
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

You might expect the Single Tin Cloth pants to have some kind of oil wax odor, but they don’t. You might also assume that they’re heavy because they look wet, but they aren’t. In fact, they’re really lightweight.

That said, if I had to pick a single word to describe a fresh pair of these pants, it would be “supple.” The finish makes your hands waxy soft when you handle them. This softness transfers to every part of your body that the pants touch. But you don’t need to worry about it transferring to other fabric.

However, Filson warns that prolonged exposure to the treatment can stain light-colored clothing. I wear flannel shirts with pants like this, so even if there was a color transfer, I couldn’t tell.

cuffed filson single tin cloth pants
Cuffed Filson Single Tin Cloth pants; (photo/Nick LeFort)

Fit

These pants are not fitted. Yes, the cuff has a slight taper, but they are straight, wide-leg pants. Overall, I wouldn’t consider them baggy. The waist and seat are very comfortable and fit your form. The legs are full, which aids in their flexibility.

If you’re into modern-fitting clothing, these pants won’t provide that. But they do look great with a pair of chunky work boots.

These pants are great for cuffing and I find that once they’re cuffed for a while, the cuff stays in place nicely. Plus, cuffing adds an extra layer at the bottom of the pant leg. That acts as a reinforced barrier against abrasion.

In the Field

Like my first pair of Filsons, which were double-layered (and with a button fly), the Tin Cloth Pants took a few days to break in. It’s not to say that they’re uncomfortable right off the shelf; they just need to get used to you, your body, and how you move.

This might sound strange unless you’ve experienced it, but these pants start forming to your body. You can take them off at the end of the day, and they stand up.

man wearing filson oil finish single tin cloth pants on a straddle
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

Never once did I feel like these pants were restricting. Even out hiking, the thigh had ample room for flexing and stretching.

I purposely waited for these pants to arrive to do a bunch of work around the house. When they arrived, I was up and down the ladder all day and was totally comfortable. I’ve fallen off enough ladders in my time, and it was usually due to not having enough room to move in the pants or shorts I was wearing. That’s not an issue in these Oil Finish Single Tin Cloth Pants.

Even working under the truck, I wasn’t worried about sliding under and out from underneath. The pants got a little marked up from the driveway, but that brushes out or fades away.

pockets on filson oil finish single tin cloth pants
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

Pockets & Suspender Buttons

The Tin Cloth Pants have front pockets and rear pockets, and that is it. I’m happy to report that was never an issue. Although I like extra pockets to store more tools and such, I never felt like I had to leave something behind to carry something else.

That said if you find that you need to carry a hammer, screws, a right angle, or anything of those other carpentry-related items, you should bring a tool belt.

My only regret about wearing and testing these pants is that I am not at the stage in my life where I am ready to wear suspenders, so I haven’t yet used the suspender buttons.

Treatment & Retreatment

Although Filson sells an Oil Finish Wax to retreat any of its tin cloth clothing, you won’t need it for some time. In the 3 months I’ve worn my Single Tin Cloth pants, the texture has changed slightly as the pants have broken in and brushed. But its water repellency is still just as effective as on day one.

My old double-layered Filsons had only been retreated once in 5 years. So, as my old man would say, “Don’t rush the process.”

man holding filson single tin cloth pants gardner's nail brush
Gardener’s nail brush; (photo/Nick LeFort)

To brush soil and debris off the pants, get yourself a standard gardener’s nail brush. These brushes have short, tough bristles for removing grit and grime from your hands and nails after working in the dirt. They’re perfect for light brushing, and because they’re smaller in size, they are easy to get around the pants. I recommend brushing them off while you’re wearing them.

In Conclusion

the filson oil finish single tin cloth pant
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

Over the years, these Oil Finish Tin Cloth pants have been used on countless worksites. They’ve been used on camping and fishing trips, and life in the great outdoors. They almost became part of my outfit for my best friend’s wedding.

Though GearJunkie named the Oil Finish Single Tin Cloth Pants one of the Best Work Pants for 2024, they’re really a lot more. I’m the kind of person who has his dressy pair of Carhartts in his closet next to his work pair. But with these tin cloth pants, my work and dress pairs are one and the same. When they get grimy, you just brush them off.

You could even do it in the truck on your way from the lumberyard to the steakhouse for a night out. I’ve done it.

That said, I can’t just recommend these pants to the blue-collar worker or the guy going out fishing with his friends. These pants are for everyone. Sure, $195 is a lot of clams, but considering that these pants could last a lifetime of outdoor use and work, it’s well worth the investment.

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