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.
I love finding great pictures of Filson bags out in the real world and sharing them with you guys. Today’s picture comes from an iconic fashion retailer in Victoria, British Columbia called the Still Life Boutique. The image depicts a beautiful Filson 257 briefcase in classic tan, waiting patiently to start another day at the office.
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:)
Last week, I reviewed the Filson Carry-On (240) and I concluded that the Filson Medium Field Bag (232) would be a much better choice for those seeking to add this classic style to their collection. So, here is a quick review of the 232.
- Price: $225 USD
- Dimensions: 14″ W x 11″ H x 5″ D
- Layout: (1) main compartment with storm flap; (1) full-length back pocket; (2) exterior end-pockets (utility pockets); (2) front bellows pockets with snap closures and a double bottom.
The medium Field Bag is only one inch smaller in overall length, but shares many of its design cues with the small carry-on. In person, this bag appears a bit more compact and better proportioned than the 240.
By choosing not to use a zipper on the main compartment, Filson was able to include two exterior end-pockets that are perfect for quick access to a water bottle or cell phone. This bag also uses a double-walled bottom, making it much more durable.
You can see that the Field Bag has a wide, flat bottom, which allows it to stand on its own and also to hang closer to the wearer’s side, making it very comfortable to carry.
The oval-shaped opening to the main compartment creates small side channels that keep the contents well-contained and also provide excellent protection from rain. The only drawback to this design is that small laptops (like a 13″ MacBook Air) will not fit into the bag. As I have suggested in my other reviews, if you frequently carry large binders or a laptop, the Filson Original Briefcase (256) or the Filson Briefcase Computer Bag (257) would probably make a better choice.
The medium Field Bag (232) is a perfect daily-use bag for books, a jacket, gym clothes, a lunch and a water bottle. It would make a great carry-on bag for travel and can also be easily configured to transport camera and video equipment. The Field Bag wears very comfortably and is one of the best examples of classic Filson design.
Bottom Line: this bag is a must-have in any Filson collection.
Today, I will be reviewing the Filson 240 Small Carry-On. This bag is very similar (in both design and function) to the Filson 232 Medium Field Bag, so I will be highlighting the differences between the two in order to help you decide which is the best choice.
- Price: $265 USD
- Dimensions: 15″ W x 11 1/2″ H x 5″ D
- Layout: (1) main compartment, including storm flap with double leather buckle closure; (2) front bellows pockets with snap closures; (1) back exterior pocket and (1) small carrying handle.
The Filson 240 is a basic messenger-style bag that can be worn over the shoulder or carried cross-body. It features a spacious, main zippered compartment with no built-in organization. It also has two expandable “billows” pockets on the front of the bag (under the storm flap) that snap closed.
The leather trim on edge of the storm flap is one of my favorite design elements and it gives the bag a classic, timeless appearance. It is secured with two leather straps and two brass buckles. Another nice detail is the embossed Filson logo on the ends of the leather straps, which adds a feel of quality to the overall design.
Real World Testing
The Filson 240 is certainly a versatile bag, but it does have some potential drawbacks that would cause me to consider a couple other Filson models before purchasing this one.
1. Difficult to Access
I really like the overall look of the Filson 240 and the zipper/flap/buckle combination provides excellent security for its contents, especially in crowded environments. However, it also makes the bag very cumbersome if you need to frequently access your stuff. The three primary storage compartments each require the user to open two different fasteners to access them (Buckle/Snap or Buckle/Zipper).
2. Strap Attachment Points
On most messenger bags, the attachment points for the shoulder strap are located on the side of the bag, towards the top. On the Filson 240, the attachment points are located on the back of the bag approximately a quarter of the way down from the top.
Why does this matter? This design causes the bag to lean away from you when it is slung over the shoulder. When I carried the bag, I found that I was always fighting to pull it toward me in order to make it more comfortable. The attachment points also create an awkward carry-angle when using the small leather handle. This bag is most comfortable when it is carried cross-body.
3. Short Back Pocket
The small pocket located on the back of the 240 is much shorter than the exterior pockets found on other Filson bags. This is a function of the low attachment points for the shoulder strap. I did not feel comfortable with my iPad in the back pocket because it never quite felt secure. This pocket was not very useful due to its size and placement.
The Filson 232 is a better choice for most buyers
I was left with a lukewarm feeling about the Filson 240 after my real-world testing, but there is a silver lining. If you really like the classic style of the Filson 240, there is a much better option…the Filson 232 Medium Field Bag.
The overall style of the Field Bag is nearly identical to the Small Carry-On, featuring the large storm flap, leather trim and the front bellows pockets. However, the Filson 232 eliminates the zipper over the main compartment.
By using only the buckles, the 232 is much easier to access and by removing the zipper, Filson was able to add two functional end-pockets and a double-bottom to create a much more functional and durable bag. As an added bonus, the 232 retails for only $225, which will save you nearly $40 off the MSRP of the 240.
Choosing the perfect bag is always a function of your intended use…
In the Field: if you are working in the field and are looking for an open-concept bag to carry small equipment, notebooks and gear, then the Filson 232 Field Bag would be a fantastic choice (and would work much better than the 240).
For Travel (as a Carry-On): for short trips, when being used as a carry-on, I find the Filson 261 Zippered Tote, which features more interior volume, a double bottom and four functional exterior pockets, to be a much better choice than the 240.
For a Student or Office Worker: as a day bag for a student or city dweller to carry books, a laptop, lunch and perhaps a small jacket, the Filson 257 Briefcase Computer Bag is a much better choice than the 240.
In conclusion, the Filson 240 Carry-On is a handsome, well-made bag, but it is a bag that is functionally stuck in the middle between a multitude of other choices that are all better suited to task.