First Look: Filson Zippered Tote 261

Last weekend, I picked up a new Filson Zipper Tote (261) and I wanted to share my first impressions of this extremely versatile daily-use bag.

CC Filson canvas tote bag-best carry on luggage review


  • Price: $140 USD
  • Dimensions: 15″ W x 14″ H x 7″ D
  • Layout: (1) main compartment; (2) full-length exterior pockets; (2) exterior end-pockets (utility pockets) and a double bottom.

At first glance, this is one of the simplest bags that Filson makes, but it is also one of the most versatile. It is basically one large, zippered compartment with two long strap handles that allow the bag to be hand-carried or easily slipped over the shoulder. The bottom of the bag (and the sides) are all double-walled, which gives this bag a very rugged feel and provides structural rigidity.

The Filson 261 does not taper at the bottom like many other tote bags, which gives it a more masculine look and maximizes its carrying capacity. The utility pockets on the ends of the bag are large enough to hold 1 Liter water bottles and the full-length side pockets are perfect for an iPad, a newspaper or some reading material.

Filson Tote 2

I was pleasantly surprised how much this tote bag holds. The 261 would make a perfect gym bag (or daily use bag) and would also make a great travel companion for a 2-3 day weekend getaway (using packing cubes).

I will post my follow up impressions in a month or so, but I can already tell that this bag will become a personal favorite.



  1. ray

    Thanks for your thoughts on all the Filson bags! What are your impressions of the Rugged Twill Bucket Bag? It’s on sale on Filson site and seems like a great alternative to other totes. Have you had experience with that model?

    • Charles H. Page

      Hello, Ray…thanks for visiting the site. I have had the opportunity to play with the bucket bag on a few occasions and at the current sale price of $99 it is a great value. The things I really like about it are the full leather bottom, the overall shape and the versatility of the bag. My favorite tote is still the 261 Zipper Tote because I like the boxier form factor; however, the bucket bag is a great choice. Just be aware that it is slightly wider and will sit a bit further from your body when it is carried over the shoulder.

  2. Gylfi

    I have the bag (got it for about $60 believe it or not) but what annoyed me a little bit was not having a shoulder strap. It gets tiring if you travel with it which I do quite a bit. What I ended up doing actually was having one fitted, hooks and all. I still need to get a nice vegetable tanned strap but it´s finally usable for all situations now.
    One question though. What´s your thought on waxing the bag (mine´s navy blue)?

    • Charles Page

      Congratulations on your new Filson tote…it sounds like you got a great deal on it. I have never really found the lack of a shoulder strap to be a problem because the shoulder drop is just long enough on the handles for me to carry the bag that way. However, it sounds like you have found a very creative solution by adding a shoulder strap. I would love to see some pics of your modification!

      As far as waxing is concerned, I don’t really think it is necessary and I typically don’t recommend it. The treatment from the factory is more than up to the task of daily use and I find that home wax treatments significantly alter the appearance of the bag. I would say just use the bag and allow it to develop its own unique patina over time.

      Thanks for your comment.

  3. kevin

    Hey Charles, thank you so much for posting your opinion on the Filson products, and providing generous replies on the comments. I notice that this post is almost two years old, which means you may have gotten some good use for the Filson Zippered Tote ( Otter ). Just wondering if you can share some images of the possible well worn bag. thanks. ( i’m inches away from picking one up, just trying to decide on colour )


    • Charles Page

      Hi Kevin, thanks for the comment and for visiting the site. I plan to do an photo update of my current collection very soon. As for the 261 Zipper Tote in Otter Green, I use it at least once per week and it still looks brand new; these bags wear incredibly well. I wish I could post some pics of an deep, well-worn patina, but I am starting to come to terms with the fact that that type of patina may take a decade or two to fully develop. That is part of what makes these bags so special. They slowly, but surely become a part of your daily life. Stay tuned for the update!

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