• Filson
  • The Balance of Trust
  • Piloting Kodiak with Willy Fulton

Jump Training

Jump Training

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Inside the Fire Lab

Inside the Fire Lab

Protectors of the Forest - #4 of 21

- Story by JAYME MOYE -

Jason Forthofer watches the small circle of flames swirl upward into a vortex twelve feet tall, a phenomenon known as a fire whirl. In the forest, the occurrence can be deadly to wildland firefighters. On July 26, 2018, during the Carr Fire near Redding, California, a fire whirl emerged with tornado-like proportions—a circumference of 1,000 feet and wind speeds of 165mph—and overran and killed a veteran firefighter. But Forthofer doesn’t appear concerned. His fire whirl is ensconced in a large glass cylinder within a four-story tall metal warehouse known as the Burn Chamber at the Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, Montana.

The U.S....

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Malheur Rappel Crew

Malheur Rappel Crew

Protectors of the Forest - #9 of 21


Lightning strikes in a remote area of the country, sparking a fire miles from any road. It may take hours for a traditional wildland fire crew to reach the location, allowing the fire to spread unchecked. The Malheur Rappel Crew springs into action. Helitack crews assemble, scramble aircraft to the fire area and rappel into the wilderness to battle the blaze. Before they descend “off the skids,” they have already scouted access and escape routes from the air.

On the ground, they create fire breaks, clear out combustible fuels, and guide air support to direct water and fire suppression chemicals to the most critical spots. After 24-48 exhau...

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Barb Whiteman

Barb Whiteman

Protectors of the Forest - #10 of 21


A life dedicated to fighting wildland fires

Barb grew up on the Crow Indian Reservation in Eastern Montana. When she was not in school, she spent untold hours roaming the Big Horn Mountains near her home hunting, fishing, or camping. So, when she decided to take a seasonal job with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) during a college break, it seemed like a natural way to make some extra money, but it would end up changing her life.

It’s been thirty-one years since that summer job, and for the last twenty-seven years she has been fighting fires for various government agencies. From her beginnings as a NFS field firefighter, to her time on a Hot Shot ...

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Phoenix Crew 1

Phoenix Crew 1

Protectors of the Forest - #3 of 21

- Story by Hudson Lindberger -


The dust thrown up from their trucks is just starting to settle as all twenty members of Phoenix Crew 1 jump out of their vehicles into the dry, parched landscape.

Their arrival has transformed this normally quiet stretch of high desert into one teeming with activity. This Type 2-IA (initial attack) fire crew is the first line of defense in a wildland fire. From the lead truck, Superintendent Jeff Gallivan is radioing information back to base about the conditions. His assistant, Clint Kelley, is headed off tow...

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Filson and the Forest Service

Filson and the Forest Service

Protectors of the Forest - #21 of 21


BECAUSE OF OUR SHARED HISTORY in the wildlands of America and mutual need for tough gear in remote places, Filson and the U.S. Forest Service have been likely partners since we were both founded (1897 and 1905, respectively). As the Klondike Gold Rush ended, Filson found new customers in the loggers and workers of the Pacific Northwest, many of whom would become or were members of the Forest Service.

Dressed in logger boots, Filson water repellant pants and jackets, woolen underwear and sox, (plenty of extra sox) we moved out.
- Excerpt from “The Ranger in Charge” by W.K. “Bill” Samsel for the U.S. Forest Service

As early as the 1920s, and continuing to this day, Filson products became accepted by workers as de facto Forest Service uniform wear because of their performance in the field. Unadorned with any official patches or insignia, Forest Service workers chose the best gear for the job—and that happened to be Filson. From the 1950s through the 1990s, Filson was contracted to produce official uniforms for Forest Service personnel.

Publish Date
July 26, 2019


75 Years of Vigilance

Celebrate this momentous anniversary with limited-edition Smokey gear.


Help Protect the Forests

Donate to the NFF

Become a Wildland Firefighter

Learn How

How to Pack your Line Gear

How to Pack your Line Gear

Protectors of the Forest - #13 of 21


When you’re on a fire line, everything that matters is on your back. You may be required to haul 70 lbs. in and out of a remote spot. How you pack is as important as what you pack. Proper pack fit is crucial—the waist belt should ride just above your beltline, with the hips bearing the majority of the load.

For a stable, balanced pack:

  • Center heaviest items closest to your back
  • Organize gear in pouches
  • Distribute weight evenly side-to-side
  • Use pack’s stabilizer straps to pull weight into the hips

Gear to include in addition to mission-specific items:

  • Canteens
  • Headlamp & spare batteries
  • Compass Rain jacket & insulating layer
  • Watch cap or b...

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History of the de Havilland Beaver

History of the de Havilland Beaver

This work-horse of an aircraft has earned a reputation as one of the most capable bush planes ever built, and it was easy to see why as we flew out over the ocean and through island valleys in the remote stretches of the Kodiak archipelago.

Willy’s grin crept out from behind his distinctively Alaskan mustache as he turned to face us, “you boys ready to go flying?” Our headsets crackled to life and we shared off-color jokes as we taxied away from dock and made plans to fly out to a distant beach on the other side of Kodiak. The engine roared and the pattern of the spray from the floats felt familiar, like the spray from the hull of an aluminum boat hung with too much motor skipping across a sm...

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Wood Shop BBQ: Seattle's Source for Craft BBQ

James Barrington (left) and Matt Davis (right) are the owners of Wood Shop BBQ in Seattle. They are both friends of Filson and have catered numerous events for us, including our upcoming Father's Day BBQ Bash. We recently went over to the Shop to swap stories and talk BBQ. 

How did you get into BBQ?

Matt: My folks owned a furniture store right next door to the local BBQ joint where I grew up in central Kansas. It was a typical rural town, not many people there. I used to scrape together money doing odd jobs as a kid so I could buy BBQ sandwiches from the restaurant, so I guess that’s where my interest began. In my former life I traveled a lot for work and was always popping into every BBQ shop...

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In Print: Alaska Aviation with Sarah Russell

For Sarah Russell, Alaska has been the answer at the end of a long search for freedom. We spent time with Sarah last summer as part of our Above Alaska trip where she let us into her world and shared a bit of her story with us. 

Where did you grow up?

I'm a military brat. My dad did two tours in Vietnam flying helicopters and then he got out of the Army and joined the Air Force where he flew B-52 bombers. He was in the service for 32 years, so I've lived everywhere, but Montana was always home. Both my parents were from Montana. I graduated from high school over in Germany. I was originally going to stay in Germany and go to college in Vienna but I got claustrophobic. We would go snowboarding ...
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