Review: Filson Lightweight Duffle 70314
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Looking forward to the 72 Hour briefcase review. Love mine.
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.
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!
Please post the following reviews!
72 hour briefcase and the comparison with the 256!
Hi, I don’t know if you keep track of this blog anymore. But as you seem very knowledeable about Filson bags: I just got the original briefcase OG today. And I noticed, after examinating the outer material, my hands got a little greasy. presumably some of the oil treatment that comes off. But I’m a little worried about this: does this go away over time (and how long)? I noticed that the inner is the same material also which left a few greasy streaks on my laptop sleeve…. I really hope this’ll even out soon as I didn’t buy a Filson bag to have all my gear covered in grease
Many people probably wouldn’t notice this,, but I’m a bit ocd about my gear and having my hands clean, so I notice 🙂
Hi Maerten…thanks for your question…many of the tin cloth bags exibit the trait you are describing and feel oily to the touch, which is why Filson lines them with a different dry cloth to protect the contents of the bag. However, you stated that your bag is an original briefcase (256) in 22oz twill which has a wax finish applied at the factory. All of the 22oz bags I have owned (quite a few) feel dry to the touch and do not rub off on clothes, or the internal contents. I am surprised to hear yours is so oily. It is definitely worth contacting customer service about it and, if at all possible, try to visit a local Filson dealer and compare your bag to some of the others. There is a chance that Filson has switched the formula of their wax finish and the newer bags feel different, but I cannot speak to that because I have never personally experienced it. Hopefully, yours is just an outlier and you can get it exchanged. I hope this helps…keep in touch!
Since posting my first comment I’ve broadened my Filson bag collection with a small field bag (otter), travel kit/ wash bag (navy) and a Rolling carry-on that will arrive soon (older model).
I’d like to know what your current relationship with Filson is, if existant .
Good to hear from you Maarten…sounds like you have a great collection so far. I still have quite a few bags…mostly 22 oz twill in the old designs. I have two of the FRD bags (256 + 261) purchased in the Seattle store, which are very unique. The most versatile bag Filson makes is the 261 Zipper Tote. I use it as a weekend “duffle” as well as a daily carry for hauling library books, etc.
One of the newest bags in my collection is the 24-Hour Briefcase in Tin Cloth. I love the lightweight of the bag, but do have some apprehension about the longevity. No problems yet, but I just don’t see it standing up to the level of abuse that the classic bags can endure.
I have not tried any of the new imported ballistic nylon pieces. I feel that Filson has lost its way a bit with those bags. They don’t really offer any of the things that make a classic Filson bag truly special. Just a low price and fairly generic design.
Thanks for checking in!
You looked like you had a bunch of content lined up for 2015 and I like what I see here.
You seem to still be around as you recently replied to a comment here – what happened? Life get busy?