It's no secret that Seattle-based Filson makes very nice stuff. The company, which was founded in 1897 to sell provisions to Klondike-bound gold miners, has evolved into one of the Pacific Northwest's best makers of stylish but rugged outdoor gear, from fly fishing vests to computer bags.
So I high expectations for the Neoshell Reliance Jacket ($395). The actual jacket, which I got in the olive drab that you see everywhere now, easily met those expectations. In fact, I'm hard-pressed to think of a way to improve this jacket—at least for the purposes of your average Portlander.
The foundation of the Reliance Jacket is a three-layer waterproof, breathable fabric. The seams are fully taped and the zippers are also waterproof. Unlike the plasticky Gore-Tex 1.0 jackets of yore, the fabric has a light stretch that offers a nice clean cut but also a wide range of of motion. It's lined with a soft, warm brushed tricot backer that will keep you warm enough to walk the dog without a third layer. And if you're hiking up a mountain, it has pit zips to allow venting. Those pit zips are well placed and not noticeable until you need them.
The Reliance jacket's understated design—the only visible branding is a stitched Filson logo in the same olive shade as the jacket itself—means you can probably get away with using it in the most formal situations Portland has to offer. And because it has lots of well-placed pockets you can go all day without thinking about it.
At close to $400, it's not cheap. But for minimalists and "fewer, better things" people it's also possibly the perfect jacket. I'd definitely go to the Shnitz or a dive bar in it. I'd probably be willing to zip the hood into the collar and ski in it. I have taken many walks in the driving rain in it.
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