This article was produced in partnership with Filson
Filson’s Mackinaw wool is as tough as the sheep it comes from—a select North American herd that thrives on ice-crusted mountains and wind-swept plains. The wool is breathable in ways synthetics can’t match and surprisingly waterproof. It is, after all, named after the Straits of Mackinac—short waterways that connect the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron. Dependable whether you’re braving unrelenting rain, snow, or mountain air, Mackinaw wool is like a trusty steed that always has your back.
A century ago, Filson’s first waterproof jacket was made from Mackinaw wool. It proved itself so capable in all conditions that Filson continued to use the same wool. You’ll find it in its modern and heritage styles today.
The fabric is a proprietary weave that’s so tight weather can’t penetrate, yet sweat and dampness evaporate quickly. Caught out on a misty morning, doused by a spitting cloud, or tackling a train of heavy tasks, Mackinaw wool can absorb a third of its weight without losing warmth or feeling burdensome. It can also take decades of use without breaking down.
Twenty-five-year-old Alaskan veteran dog musher and guide Lauro Eklund was weaned on Filson wool. When he was a teen, Eklund’s dad gifted him a pair of Filson’s Mackinaw Wool Field Pants he’d had since the 1990s.
Eklund, who hails from the dog sledding community Two Rivers, on Alaska’s upper Chena River, says, “What I’ve learned through working is that when you’re moving, you can wear less. The body acclimates to the temperature, even at -40° F. When I’m hunting, caring for my team, or fishing, whenever it’s below 20 degrees I wear Filson’s Mackinaw Wool Field Pants with a light merino base layer underneath. I know if I get wet from sweat or I break through icy overflow, I’ll still be warm and my pants will dry fast. I’m constantly on the move. For me, there’s no better kit.”