Friend to the Forester and the Rebel Alike, the Heavy Flannel is Your Never-Fail Fall Companion
Flimsy flannels get no love from us. Rather than something thin enough to double-knot around our waists, we want something that’ll bend the nail it’s been hung on. We want thick flannels, well-made flannels, flannels that can live up to their rugged reputation, something that’s robust enough for burly Bunyan.
In this guide, you’ll find a feast of heavy flannels. We’ve included thick plaids from Japanese brands we all know and love like Iron Heart, The Flat Head, 3sixteen, Samurai and UES. We’ve also scoured the well-made marketplace for other forest-ready flannels that might have slipped under your radar from brands like Momotaro, Indigofera, Warehouse, The Real McCoy’s and Freenote.
If you’ve invested in a heavy pair of selvedge jeans, nothing will pair as well with it as one of the well-made flannels below. Not only will it look great, nothing will serve you better in the great outdoors. Take our word for it. When the temperature drops, you’ll be glad you invested in the genuine article.
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Iron Heart UHF (12 oz.)
There couldn’t be a less controversial pick on this list. Since they introduced their first flannel in 2006 (a 10 oz. baby blue beauty), Iron Heart has ruled the roost in this category. Sure their Ultra Heavy Flannels cost a pretty penny, but this is heirloom menswear we’re talking about here.
We’ve never seen anybody push one of these past its breaking point. They just last forever, looking great all the while, and the double-brushed interior means you won’t have to wait for these to soften. They’re plush and perfect right out of the box.
There’s no consensus on which of Iron Heart’s UHFs is the best. They’ve got a lot of Ultra Heavy Flannels to pick from that go as high as 14 oz. Grab whichever one speaks to you.
Buy Iron Heart from these select retailers: Iron Heart International, Franklin & Poe (US), Division Road (US), Corlection (AU), Brooklyn Clothing (CA)
The Flat Head Ombre Flannel (12 oz.)
The heaviest flannels on this list might be more shirt than you need if you’ve never had to scrape ice off your windshield or shovel snow off your walk. The Flat Head’s flannels live comfortably in that enough-is-enough region. They’re not the heaviest around, but in terms of quality, they haven’t compromised a stitch.
This red and black combo, topped off with mother-of-pearl snaps, is one of the most beautiful takes on the classic buffalo plaid that you’ll find. As stylish and comfortable as they come.
The Flat Head also have flannels in Ivory/Navy and woodsy Blue/Green colourways.
The Flat Head is sold at: Redcast Heritage (ES), Corlection (AU), and Franklin & Poe (US)
UES Indigo Stripe Heavy Flannel (14.5 oz.)
It’s a neck-and-neck race between Iron Heart and UES for the heaviest flannel in the game. With some of their shirts tipping over the 15 oz. mark, UES leads by a nose. If you use weight as a quality benchmark, look no further.
This Indigo Stripe flannel is a great alternative to the ocean of plaids that covers the flannel market. If you want to pull your style away from the woods, this railroad-style wabash flannel pulls like a freight train.
UES has a range of heavy flannels, with rich colourways that will slot nicely into a wide variety of outfits and wardrobes.
Momotaro Herringbone Flannel (~11 oz.)
Momotaro are the unsung heroes of the flannel game. With Japan’s best mills at their fingertips, they have produced a jaw-dropping herringbone flannel that is irresistible to both eye and hand.
The contrasting urea buttons work beautifully with the work shirt pockets, and the triple-stitch construction along the main seams and the back yoke is a constant reminder that this shirt (as beautiful as it is) has been built to last.
Momotaro’s herringbone flannels are also available in Olive, Red, Brown, and occasionally Yellow.
Momotaro is stocked by: Brooklyn Clothing (CA), Corlection (AU), Hinoya (JP), Division Road (US)
Warehouse 3104 (11 oz.)
Warehouse is the ultimate “if you know you know” Japanese brand. They are relatively quiet, but they have an untouchable reputation. At a recent gathering of Japanese denim bosses, Warehouse emerged as the favourite maker by those who make denim.
Though they might be better known for their vintage reproductions, their 3104 Flannels are a huge drawcard for the brand. Featuring a brushed interior, chain-stitch runoff, and exposed selvedge at the gussets, they’re dripping with details.
Warehouse have a beautiful range of colourways in their 3104 flannel, each of them a winner in its own right.
You can buy Full Count from: Blue in Green (US) and Clutch Café (UK)
3sixteen Crosscut Flannel (~12 oz.)
Our first non-Japanese entry, 3sixteen’s Crosscut Flannels are immediately recognizable thanks to their trademark crossed-back yokes and diagonally cut pockets. The yokes highlight the shape of the shoulders, making this the king of the hill if you want to make an impression when coming and going.
This buffalo check is made with the aid of natural indigo, which will fade over time. The vibrant blue will become softer and more elegant the more you wear this shirt–and you’ll wear it a lot.
3sixteen’s Crosscut flannels are available in a handful of colours. Pick the plaid that fits best with your wardrobe.
Samurai Heavyweight Flannel (12 oz.)
Samurai have a nearly unmatched eye for colour. Each year, they introduce a range of flannels, and they rarely play it safe. They shock and awe with eye-catching plaids that blaze brightly across the firmament. Now you see them, now they’re gone.
This yellow concoction has been double brushed on both sides, giving it an incredible hand feel both inside and out. And it’s no gentle beauty. It features double-thickness elbow patches, a lined placket, and a triple-stitched yoke. It might not stay on the rack long, but it’ll live forever on your shelves.
Just a handful of Samurai flannels appear each year. They disappear quickly.
You can buy Samurai from all of these retailers: Franklin & Poe (US), Brooklyn Clothing (CA), Blue in Green (US), Redcast Heritage (ES), and Corlection (AU).
Indigofera Bryson (~11 oz.)
Our first stop in Europe sees us calling at Stockholm, where Indigofera has been serving global denimheads since 2009. With a range of Wool Blankets (made in Norway) that are good enough to serve as wall art, the brand knows a thing or two about staying warm and stylish during the long Scandinavian winters.
Their Bryson Flannel, assembled in Portugal, has all the makings of an heirloom piece. It’s heavy, vibrant, and exceptionally well made. Add one to your wardrobe and you may not ever need another.
Indigofera’s range of flannels is updated each year, with colours and styles to suit all styles.
Studio D’Artisan Heavyweight Flannel (12 oz.)
Though they weren’t the first Japanese denim brand, they were the first to put Osaka on the global denim map, kickstarting a denim revolution that has since reverberated around the world. They’re leaders in nearly every category related to denim style.
This indigo-dyed flannel with its pre-worn washed-out look has all the hallmarks we look for in serious winter-wear. It’s heavy, it’s chain stitched, and it’s got natural nut buttons. Few flannels will slide as effortlessly into your wardrobe as this one.
If you’re looking for something lighter and brighter, try Studio D’Artisan’s 8 oz. All Season Flannel.
You can buy Studio D’Artisan from these retailers: Redcast Heritage (ES), Brooklyn Clothing (CA), Corlection (AU), Hinoya (JP), Division Road (US)
Freenote Benson (11 oz.)
Combining the best of both worlds, Freenote’s Benson is milled in Japan but sewn in the USA. It’s a magical combination, and Freenote continues their long winning streak with its impressive collection of rugged but impeccably made pieces.
Based in San Juan, the brand captures California’s laidback yet carefully considered style like few others. The flannel may have its deepest roots in the American Northeast, but it was on California’s beaches that it first became a style essential. Freenote capture this sundowning moment in time perfectly with this piece.
Freenote’s range of flannels includes a number of all-stars.
&SONS Yukon Flannel (8.75 oz.)
The lightest entry on this list comes from the youngest brand here, but this fabric has a crisp hand-feel and enough heft to earn its inclusion next to the heavyweights. Based in the UK, &SONS began with a Kickstarter campaign in 2016, and they’ve been tearing up the asphalt ever since.
The Yukon is, for our money, the best shirt they make. It features real buffalo horn buttons that have been burned to give them a bronzed patina. They’re some of the best-looking buttons we’ve ever seen on a flannel, and they give this shirt a distinct charm that makes it unmissable.
The Yukon Flannel is also available in equally striking Blue and Green versions.
Real McCoy’s 8HU Nepped Flannel (~12 oz.)
The last of the cotton flannels goes to a brand that could have very well gone first on this list. Real McCoy’s 8-Hour Union line is brimming with vintage workwear classics, including this striking napped flannel that will be the pride of any collection it’s featured in.
The price might bring a tear to your eyes, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful execution of the woodsman’s flannel. Resist the urge to baby it. Get your money’s worth by wearing it at every opportunity.
Real McCoy’s have an impressive range of flannels, each one worth its weight in gold.
Real McCoy’s is available at these retailers: Lost & Found (CA) and Clutch Café (UK)
Relwen Hairy Buffalo Shirt Jacket (12.5 oz.)
Ohio-based Relwen started in 2007 with a military parka that announced their intention to outfit the outdoor-bound in warm, rugged, and stylish pieces. Their conventional flannels would be perfectly at home on this list, but it’s their Hairy Buffalo Shirt Jacket that is the real winter-weight stand-out in their lineup.
Though it is not flannel, and though it’s got a touch more of the jacket to it than the shirt (complete with hand-warmer pockets), the Hairy Buffalo cries out to be worn like a shirt. With the butter-soft cotton melange lining, either wear it next to the skin or throw it over a tee shirt. You’ll be ready for whatever comes.
If hairy wool isn’t your thing, try Relwen’s flannels.
Johnson Woolen Mills Long-Tail Flannel (16 oz.)
Like Relwen’s Buffalo and Filson’s Jac Shirt, this isn’t a flannel, strictly speaking. For some of us, though, cotton can’t quite cut it. Ask anybody who regularly contends with ice and snow, nothing short of animal furs can compete with wool for warmth.
Northern Vermont’s Johnson Woolen Mills opened their doors in 1842, providing wool shirting and outerwear for hunters, loggers, and fishermen. Though their website might be clunky and old-fashioned, there’s no faulting their made-in-the-USA wool shirts. They are the true original.
The Long Tail Shirt is available in about a dozen different colours and weights. Our favourite is the #49 ‘Red & Gray Plaid’ version. (Use the drop-down menu to select the colour and pattern.) Also check their Loden version of their Flannel-Lined Wool Shirt.
Filson Seattle Jac Shirt (18 oz.)
Founded in 1897 in Seattle, Filson quickly grew into one of the most dependable outfitters for Klondike-bound treasure-seekers. Much has changed with the brand since then. They’ve moved much of their production overseas, but they’re still a destination for rugged and stylish outdoorsmen.
One of their few products still produced in their Seattle factory, the Seattle Jac Shirt has been a cornerstone in Filson’s catalogue for more than 50 years. It is far and away the heaviest shirt on this list. It’ll last a lifetime (with a guarantee from Filson to match).
If you’ve got enough dark blue in your wardrobe, the Seattle Jac Shirt is also available in Dark Tan and in a nail-bending 26 oz. Mackinaw Wool.
Read More About the Flannel’s History
One of the most iconic items in the rebel’s wardrobe, the flannel has a long and complex history. If you’ve ever been curious about the origins of the flannel (particularly the red and black lumberjack’s flannel), you can find the full story in our book, The Rebel’s Wardrobe: the Untold Story of Menswear’s Renegade Past.
From Paul Bunyan to Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder, the story touches down in some places that might surprise you.