Wax on that canvas, but never wax off.
Long before motorcycle gear became its own thing, riders reached for whatever they already had on hand. After all, traveling down dirt tracks through close foliage will very quickly teach you the importance of covering your arms and legs. Hand protection is always good, too. If you go down, you’re going to use your hands to stop yourself whether you’re on-road or off. As Justin has noted, the right footwear also makes a huge difference.
For that reason, people found that clothing from American outdoor apparel manufacturer Filson fit the bill pretty well. The company has been in the rugged outdoor wear business since 1897, and favors classic lines, materials, and aesthetics with some modern materials flourishes. If people were already using their gear for riding, Filson figured it was high time it put out a purpose-built motorcycle gear line.
Thus, we have the 2021 limited-release Alcan Collection. For those unfamiliar, Filson’s home base is in Seattle, Washington—so the ability to handle rain and rugged terrain was a must. Materials used include waxed canvas, generally reinforced with Cordura ballistic nylon in key stress areas. Additional PU coating, strategic use of storm flaps, and nice details like drop-tail hem designs on the jackets and corduroy-lined standing collars are designed to work well in multiple weather scenarios.
Filson’s Alcan Double Front Pants, tool backpack, and tool roll all feature Filson’s signature waxed Tin Cloth, which it says is “an extremely abrasion-resistant cotton duck produced by England’s historic British Millerain.” It, too, is reinforced in key spots with Cordura. The seat of the pants gets an extra layer of Tin Cloth as well, since the seats of all pants typically withstand a lot of abrasion just from regular daily use.
The backpack features adjustable shoulder straps, as well as strategically-placed foam, breathable mesh, and a waist belt and sternum straps. As you can see in the photos, it includes plenty of pockets to keep your stuff organized, all in an aesthetically pleasing and functional package. The tool kit is similarly designed with maximum visual impact in mind—but form thankfully also follows function in both pieces.
Gallery: Filson Alcan Motorcycle Collection
To complete the Alcan collection, there’s a DOT- and ECE-certified Bell MX-9 Adventure MIPS helmet with Filson graphics, as well as a pair of deerskin leather gloves made in Centralia, Washington by the JRC Glove Company. Incidentally, JRC has also been in business since 1897, so with both companies, you get the benefit of over a century’s worth of apparel manufacturing knowhow. There’s currently no footwear in the Alcan collection, although Filson does sell non-motorcycle-specific footwear for other outdoor pursuits.
Prices range from $165 for Filson’s Alcan Leather Gloves up to $495 for the Alcan Canvas Cruiser jacket, and they’re available directly from Filson online, or in select retailers. It’s worth noting that the jackets and pants do not come with any armor, nor any mention of appropriately-placed pockets so you can slip in some unobtrusive elbow or knee protection of your choosing.