In the last few months, Filson has been quite busy releasing a bunch of great new luggage pieces. There are three trends that I have noticed:
1. Use of Tin Cloth
The company is starting to incorporate their iconic Tin Cloth into many of their classic designs (like the Tin Cloth Original Briefcase #70016 for example).
2. Two-Tone Variations and Accents
They are also adding a lot of bold new two-tone color variations (and accent colors/patterns) to existing designs. This is apparent in the addition of Navy as a new base color (Spring 2013), as well as in the use of plaid, wool and orange accent pieces.
3. Retro Minimalist Designs
Filson is bringing back some classic/minimalist designs (the Game Bag Messenger #70077 for example) to fill gaps in their existing product line to accommodate many different types of end user.
One new bag that has really caught my eye is the Filson Original Sportsman Bag (#70073). Interestingly enough, it reflects all three of the trends that I have just discussed.
This bag is a streamlined, minimalist version of the iconic Filson Sportsman Bag #266. It utilizes the same basic structure as the full-zipper Sportsman, but it replaces the large, more bulbous exterior side pockets with trimmer (flap-style) pockets. This entire outer layer of pockets is constructed from a contrasting color Tin-Cloth to give the bag additional weather resistance and, in my opinion, provides a fantastic two-tone look. Finally, the main compartment flap is trimmed in bright orange for a pop of color.
Another important change is that the bridle leather strap has been replaced by a great looking nylon webbing, which I am a huge fan of for a couple reasons. First, the strap is lighter than the traditional bridle leather. Second, it is wider so it distributes weight more evenly across the shoulder (and there is no need to break in those finicky stiff leather shoulder pads). Finally, the strap is impervious to the elements and really matches the character of the weather-resistant tin cloth.
My one complaint about the other Sportsman (Filson 266) was that when fully loaded, the exterior pocket worn closest to the body caused the bag’s center of gravity to sit far away from you and made it a bit more awkward to carry. This new “Original” Sportsman appears to have remedied this problem.
Filson has recently announced that some of their most classic (and iconic) styles will begin shipping in a fourth color…Rugged Navy Twill. The underlying fabric is the same 22oz 100% cotton oil-finish twill that we all love and the bags will be trimmed in dark brown bridle leather.
The following styles are currently listed on the Filson site:
(NOTE: some are backordered through mid-May)
- 222 Duffle Bag (Medium)
- 256 Original Briefcase
- 258 Padded Computer Bag
- 246 Travel Bag (Medium)
The obvious omission from this list is the 257 Briefcase Computer Bag. I am curious why all of the other briefcases (256 and 258) will be offered in Navy, but the 257 will not. Perhaps, this is a subtle clue regarding the relative demand for the 257. If the new color is a success, I am confident that Filson will roll it out to other styles as production increases.
In the past, if you wanted any Filson bag in navy blue, you had to pay a premium and settle for a slightly thinner (and less durable) fabric by ordering a special edition. The demand for this color appears to have been so great that Filson has decided to add it to their standard lineup…and I am very excited about it.
Stay tuned for a review and more pictures when my Navy Rugged Twill test piece arrives next month…
The Filson Sportsman’s Bag 266 is a well-thought-out design that makes a great choice for travelers and sportsman alike. It is loaded with Filson’s classic style, but more importantly, it really delivers on function.
Price: $295 USD
Dimensions: 18″ W x 11″ H x 12″ D
Layout: (1) main compartment with (2) snap dividers; (2) large exterior compartments with zipper closures and organizational pockets/sleeves; (2) large end pockets; and (2) full-length stow pockets.
This bag includes two twill dividers (with three snaps on each side) that can be configured in a number of different ways. I typically only use one divider in the main compartment to seperate shoes from clothes or dirty clothes from clean. I like being able to quickly change the layout of the bag to suit my travel needs.
2. POCKETS AND SLEEVES
Inside one of the exterior zippered compartments is a set of four pockets with stitched bottoms. In the other compartment, you will find four sleeves with open bottoms. This sleeve construction was also used in the Filson 257 computer briefcase, but has recently been changed (due to customer demand) to closed-bottom pockets. I am not sure whether Filson intends to also change the layout of the Sportsman’s Bag, but my particular bag has the sleeve/pocket configuration, which certainly provides more options.
3. GENEROUS END POCKETS
Located on each end of the Sportsman’s Bag, there are two generously sized pockets that will transport 1-liter water bottles with ease.
The intended use for this bag, is as a case to haul hunting/camping/fishing gear and it is at this task that it excels. There are as many ways to seperate and store your gear as there are potential users for this bag. Zippers, pockets and sleeves are literally everywhere and it makes finding exactly what you need fast and efficient.
The Sportsman’s bag also makes a great carry-on for certain travelers. In general, I stick to my recommendation that the Filson Medium Travel Bag 246 is the best all-around carry-on, but if you would prefer to trade some space in the main compartment for better organization, than the Sportsman’s bag would be a great alternative. Keep in mind that the exterior dimensions of the two cases are very similar when full, so it is personal preference which style you choose.
HANDLE CARE IS A MUST
There is one drawback to the Sportsman’s Bag that I want you to be aware of. The zippers are very rugged and can be quite sharp when the bag is left open. If you are not careful, the zippers from the side compartments can chew up the bridle leather handles a bit.
The easiest solution is to flip the front handle down and roll the lid if you plan to leave the bag open in order to prevent this type of wear/damage to the handle material.
AT FULL CAPACITY
I find this case to be very comfortable to carry over the shoulder, with one caveat…try not to stuff the compartment closest to your body to maximum capacity. I tend to put softer items in this compartment to prevent the case from standing off my hip too much. I also keep computer chargers, my cell phone and any other non-clothing items in pocket furthest from my body. At full capacity, I still find the Medium Travel Bag 246 to carry a little better.
The Sportsman’s Bag is one of the most unique pieces that Filson makes, because it can be configured to suit many intended uses with the internal divider system and its plethora of pockets and sleeves. If you want a great carry-on for short weekend trips, but need more integrated organization than the Filson Travel Bag 246, the Sportsman’s case makes a great option.
Bottom Line: the Filson 266 keeps your stuff well-organized and ready for action. I highly recommend adding it to your collection.
Hello everyone! I apologize for not posting as often as usual in the past week. I have been doing some traveling and enjoying time with family during the holiday season. I just wanted to let you know what to expect in the coming weeks.
1. Review: Filson Sportsman’s Bag 266
The Filson Sportsman’s bag 266 is a very unique bag and I have never seen so many zippers (or pockets) in one place. Where does this bag excel? Where does it fall short? Is it the right bag for you? Stay tuned…
2. Filson 257 an Alternate Use?
We all know that the Filson 257 is a great briefcase option for students or for those days when the 256 Original Briefcase just doesn’t cut it. But I have been using it in a different way and I think you may be surprised how versatile this bag truly is.
3. First Look: Filson Small Duffle Bag 220
I will also be posting a First Look mini-review for the Filson Small Duffle Bag 220. This bag seems like it would make the perfect weekender. Find out what I think after putting it through its paces and find out which models may be better for your particular needs.
So that is where we are headed by the end of the year. I will also continue posting more iconic Filson images and offering my advice. Which reminds me, answering your questions (and responding to comments) is one of my favorite parts of FilsonFan, so please keep them coming.
I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy new year!
Today’s iconic Filson image comes from Midwestyle. The guys over there have posted a fantastic review of the 260 Tote Bag ($110) that I want to share with my readers.
My wife owns this bag in classic Tan and uses it every single day. From hauling yoga gear, to transporting binders and documents to court, this bag can literally do it all. In addition, at only $110, it is one of the most affordable Filson pieces, so it is a great way to introduce newcomers to the brand.