Gray’s Best Awards 2015

APPAREL: Filson Dakota Down Jacket

There are few names in hunting apparel that rival C.C. Filson’s. Launched in 1897 to meet the demands of prospectors surging through Seattle on their way to the Great Klondike Gold Rush, Filson has been making rugged outdoor wear for well more than a century. Most Filson pants or jackets are available as individual pieces, but the new Dakota System features three garments that can work individually or in layers. They include a fleece liner, a down jacket, and a shell that will accept either of the first two. The Dakota Down Jacket ($285) wins this year’s Gray’s Best for its Made-in-the-USA durability and because it is the perfect weight for the widest range of conditions. Snap the down jacket into the Dakota companion shell, and increase that range considerably. On its own, the Dakota Down Jacket is a midweight barrier stuffed with 550-fill European goose down, featuring a moleskin-lined collar and hand-warmer pockets, water-repellent shooting-patch reinforcements at both shoulders, and a zippered front. Two additional pockets feature a snap closure and are deep enough to secure valuables or extra shells. The fabric is an 8-ounce water-resistant waxed cotton available in hunter green with gunmetal-color pockets and shoulder reinforcements. I wore this jacket daily during a cold November whitetail hunt and stayed very comfortable for long and productive stands in the deer woods.