Preview: Filson Briefcase Showdown 256 vs 257

I just wanted to wish everyone in the US a Happy Thanksgiving and to give a quick blog update…I finally had the chance to put the finishing touches on my briefcase showdown review and I will be posting it this weekend.

This review will hopefully help to answer the most frequently asked question in the Filson universe…which briefcase should I buy?

Filson Original Briefcase 256 vs Filson Briefcase Computer Bag 257

The answer may be more clear cut than you think so stay tuned:)



    • Charles H. Page

      Sorry for the confusion:) The 256 Original Briefcase is the thinner, green bag on the right and the 257 Computer Briefcase is the thicker, tan bag on the left. Stay tuned for the full review and welcome aboard.

  1. apokryptein

    Can’t wait to read your review. I am thinking about getting 256 or 257 for myself – I am a girl! Do you think it will suit a girl? I am a photographer, love classic style, am a bit of a tomboy, but wear long hair. Help! And i want to get a green one.

    • Charles H. Page

      Thanks for visiting the site! My wife is an attorney and frequently “borrows” my tan 257 to hold all of her court stuff. It looks great on her, as do a lot of my Filson bags. I think most of Filson’s products are unisex and I would have no problem at all recommending them to you highly. If you are a photographer and carry a lot of equipment, you may also want to consider the 232 Field Bag. I know a lot of photographers that put aftermarket padded inserts inside for lenses and camera bodies and it works brilliantly. Stay tuned for the review and if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask:)

  2. Timothy

    I was just planning on buying the 232 but now this teaser has me thinking, “I need a 256/257 too!” Will your review be out within the next week? I ask because I’ve found a few places doing sales and would love to know which bag would better suit my needs before the sales end.

    • Charles H. Page

      Good evening, Timothy. Yes, I plan to post the review tomorrow (Sunday) evening so you will have plenty of time to make your decision. 20% off currently at Joe’s is a great deal with free shipping. I was lucky enough to pick up a few bags a couple weeks ago for 25% off at Glen’s and they were drop shipped directly from Filson. What are your intended uses for the bag? Perhaps I can help steer you in the right direction. Let me know:)

      • Timothy

        Too bad I missed the 25% deal but Joe’s sale is still quite good. I honestly don’t have an intended use in mind for the briefcase just yet. I’m getting the 232 as an everyday carry for a wallet, keys, water bottle, small notebook and maybe a few other small items. I saw a 230 in person and actually realized that it would hold all my everyday carry items sufficiently but I figure I would get a larger size in case I need more room for other things. Now that I think about it maybe getting a 230 and a briefcase would be better than getting a 232 and a briefcase. Well, at least I’ve decided on some colours: green for the field bag and tan for the briefcase.

  3. Gentleman

    Hello. I just purchased a tan 256 as well and am really looking forward to it. I was thinking about whether or not to have the hand grip installed although this could take a few weeks. I plan to mostly carry it using the handles rather than using the shoulder strap. I normally don’t carry a laptop, mostly a binder and some books, etc. Do you think it looks better with the original handles or with a hand grip installed? Thanks!

    • Charles H. Page

      Thanks for visiting the site! Congratulations on the new 256; it is a fantastic bag. The hand grip question is a very subjective thing. It seems that most people do prefer it, but I happen to be in the minority that prefers the 256 with bare handles. The hand grip does allow the bag to handle slightly heavier loads and also keeps the two handles together when you set the bag down or are carrying on the shoulder. However, if you aren’t weighing the bag down too much, I find the bare handles to allow quicker access and to carry very comfortably. On the 257, the handle is a nice feature simply due to the fact that the bag is quite a bit larger and I tend to pack it heavier. My recommendation would be to use your new 256 for a few weeks with your normal load out and then assess whether you think the handle would be a good fit for you.

  4. Gentleman

    Thanks for the information.

    Is it ready to use right out of the bag or do I have to treat the leather?

    I do have some neutral shoe wax/polish for my leather shoes.

    How often do you have to treat the leather if you use the bag everyday for work?

    • Charles H. Page

      I tend to treat the leather right out of the box. It can be a bit stiff at first, so I definitely recommend it. The two products that I recommend are 1) Chamberlain’s Leather Milk #1 or 2) Obenauf’s Leather Oil. Another tip…I usually run a little fine grit sandpaper under the shoulder pad (avoid the stitches) which makes it stay on the shoulder better. I hope this helps:)

      • Gentleman

        Thanks for the tips. However, I live abroad so it will be hard to find those products specifically. I’ll probably have to use some of the shoe wax, perhaps a little bit at first to see how it is. It has a strong mink oil smell though.
        I managed to get a great Black Friday deal on the Filson page. 30% off the Original Briefcase. I purchased it for $157. I think I may have gotten lucky because I think the offer extends to selected items only. I asked them directly though and they applied the discount towards the briefcase too. Needless to say, I was ecstatic!

  5. Paul

    Hi Charles,

    As I am new to the Filson name this review really helped me. I was looking on the Brooks Brothers site and noticed they sell Filson briefcases. I contacted Brooks Brothers to see if the models they sell are identical to the 256/257 on the Filson site since Brooks Brothers uses different item numbers. They actually could not give me an answer. Do you have any idea if they are the same or have they been altered for Brooks Brothers? Thank you.

    • Charles H. Page

      Thanks for visiting the site…yes, the models currently being offered by Brooks Brothers are the exact same as the 256/257 that you would buy directly from Filson. Unless you have a gift card for Brooks Brothers, or are buying it as part of a larger Brooks Brothers order (to consolidate shipping costs) or unless Brooks Brothers is offering a sale, I order directly from Filson. My logic is that on the off chance you find something wrong with your bag upon arrival, it is much easier to deal directly with Filson for exchanges or warranty work, than it would be to deal with a third party.

      I hope this helps:)

  6. Sunhakid

    Hello, I’m a new fan of filson original briefcase and really love to have the 257. But sadly I’ve heard from the seller that 257 is no longer sell anymore. Do you have any suggestions where should I get them?

    Thank you very much

    • Charles Page

      Hello…thanks for your message! Other than eBay or buying a re-built FRD bag from the flagship store in Seattle, I don’t know of any other good sources for the 257. It is a shame that it has been discontinued. The 258 is quite large and the 257 was a great middle-ground between the slim 256 and the massive 258. I am such a minimal packer, I can basically use a 258 as a weekend duffle bag.

      Let me know if you find one!

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