Tagged: Filson Bags

Filson 257 Images

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.

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:)

Review: Filson Field Bag 232

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.

Filson reviews of Filson bags by CC Filson

QUICK STATS

  • 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.

Filson reviews of Filson bags by CC Filson

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.

Filson reviews of Filson bags by CC Filson

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.

Filson reviews of Filson bags by CC Filson

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.

Review: Filson Carry-On 240

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.

Filson-Luggage-1

QUICK STATS

  • 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.

Filson-Luggage-2

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.

Filson-Luggage-3

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.

Filson-Luggage-4

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

First Look: Filson Zippered Tote 261

Last weekend, I picked up a new Filson Zipper Tote (261) and I wanted to share my first impressions of this extremely versatile daily-use bag.

CC Filson canvas tote bag-best carry on luggage review

QUICK STATS

  • Price: $140 USD
  • Dimensions: 15″ W x 14″ H x 7″ D
  • Layout: (1) main compartment; (2) full-length exterior pockets; (2) exterior end-pockets (utility pockets) and a double bottom.

At first glance, this is one of the simplest bags that Filson makes, but it is also one of the most versatile. It is basically one large, zippered compartment with two long strap handles that allow the bag to be hand-carried or easily slipped over the shoulder. The bottom of the bag (and the sides) are all double-walled, which gives this bag a very rugged feel and provides structural rigidity.

The Filson 261 does not taper at the bottom like many other tote bags, which gives it a more masculine look and maximizes its carrying capacity. The utility pockets on the ends of the bag are large enough to hold 1 Liter water bottles and the full-length side pockets are perfect for an iPad, a newspaper or some reading material.

Filson Tote 2

I was pleasantly surprised how much this tote bag holds. The 261 would make a perfect gym bag (or daily use bag) and would also make a great travel companion for a 2-3 day weekend getaway (using packing cubes).

I will post my follow up impressions in a month or so, but I can already tell that this bag will become a personal favorite.