Review: Filson Lightweight Duffle 70314

Filson Nylon DuffleFilson Nylon Duffle

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Filson Lightweight Duffle (70314) is basically a lighter, thinner version of the classic Filson 220 Small Duffle. The dimensions (18″ x 10″ x 11″), handles and pocket layout are exactly the same. If you like the small duffle in classic twill, you will like this bag; however, if you are not a fan of the minimalist design of the classic duffle, then this bag will not change your mind.

Filson Small Duffles

I happen to love the classic twill duffle and find it to be an excellent travel piece, so when Filson released a much lighter nylon version I placed my order immediately.

BUILD QUALITY

When I first unpacked this bag, I thought “wow, this thing is even lighter and thinner than I expected.” But is that a good thing?

If you look closely, the attention to detail in the stitching and the quality of the leather is top notch. There are no loose threads to trim (as there typically are on the twill bags), high stress areas are bar tacked and the fit-and-finish is very precise.

Filson Nylon DuffleFilson Nylon Duffle

The fabric is a 12 oz. water-resistant nylon and has a very nice semi-matte textured finish on the outside. The underside of the fabric (as you can see in the photo of the rain flap) is softer to the touch and lighter in appearance.

Filson Nylon DuffleFilson Nylon Duffle

While, the nylon feels very nice to the touch, and the bag is considerably lighter than its twill counterpart, I am curious why Filson did not source its fabric from a well-known nylon manufacturer, like Cordura. As nice as this fabric is, it does feel a bit under-matched to the heavy leather bridle trim, causing the bag to feel very floppy when empty.

In these pictures you can see just how thin the nylon (green) is, compared to the classic twill (tan)…

Filson Nylon DuffleFilson Nylon Duffle

Filson stands behind its products, so I would not be overly concerned about the longevity of the bag; however, this is an entirely new fabric for Filson and the long-term wearability has yet to be fully proven.

This bag also comes with Filson’s leather trimmed nylon shoulder strap, which I actually prefer to the bridle leather. It does not need to be broken in and it distributes the weight very well across your shoulder. In fact, I use this strap on my other Filson bags now and I highly recommend it.

Filson Nylon Duffle

SHOULD YOU BUY NYLON OR TWILL?

This is a fantastic bag with excellent build quality. It is a great option for city dwellers that want the Filson aesthetic without all the additional weight of the classic twill; it would also make a great travel bag for weekend car trips.

However, as good as this bag is, I prefer (and would recommend) the 22oz. twill version. For airline travel, outdoor adventures and rougher handling, the 22oz. rugged twill is much better suited to the task. In addition, the twill bags will acquire a wonderful patina over time that this bag simply will not.

Another thing to keep in mind…the rugged twill duffle only costs $20 more than the nylon version and (in my opinion) offers a lot more value for the money.

BOTTOM LINE

If you are looking for a modern interpretation of a Filson classic for lighter tasks, then this bag may fit the bill. However, if you are looking for a Filson bag that better embodies the rugged, adventurer spirit that the brand is known for, stick with the classic twill.

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6 comments

  1. Ash

    Thank you for a great review. While the traditional Filson styling is retained, my feeling is once you build a nylon bag, you are now in another market space where there are quite a few new companies making wonderful US made bags like Topo or Owen&Fred at reasonable prices with some heritage styling (albeit more 1970s than 1870s) and using Cordura and other performance fabrics. So I feel Filson loses much of their unique selling proposition with this nylon bag. Reminds me somewhat of Rolex where there quartz watches were always poor sellers. I also had a small twill duffle and gave it away as i way always hugely disappointed how misshapen and flat it looked with anything less than a full load. I am curious if the nylon bag has the same problem.

    • Charles Page

      Thanks for your comment, Ash! I agree with you completely…Filson should stick with their core competency. I also own a few bags by Topo Design, Tom Bihn and GoRuck and there are a lot of other great competitors in the nylon market space as well. To answer your question…yes, the nylon bag exhibits this same tendency, except it is even more pronounced because the nylon is so thin…it looks very deflated when it is partially full and the bridle leather “overwhelms” it a bit. I really do like the color and the texture, though…I would like to see this bag under $220 to further differentiate itself from the classic twill version. Stay tuned for the 72-hour Briefcase review coming next Friday!

  2. Marcus

    Hi Charles, i really like your review on the lightweight material filson introduced. I’m looking forward to your 72-hour briefcase review because i’m undecided on the nylon or the tin cloth version. Which would you choose? Given that the tin cloth and the nylon are both similar in thickness.

    • Charles Page

      Hi Marcus…thanks for your question! The 72-Hour Briefcase is one of my favorite Filson pieces of all time. The answer to your question is easy…definitely go with the Tin Cloth. In my opinion the nylon is much better suited to a duffle bag (rather than a briefcase) because the things you tend to carry in a briefcase have harder edges. The Tin Cloth is a perfect lightweight material for the 72-Hour Briefcase and it gives the bag a fantastic well-worn retro look right out of the box. I hope this helps!

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