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Field Tested: Filson Duffle Pack

Like all good things, Filson products do not come cheaply. Don’t read that to suggest they are a poor value. Far from it, all of their bags are capable of serving several generations of users, making even their most expensive items a flat-out bargain—but the entry point can be too steep for some. To open the door to those would-be buyers, Filson has a line of bags offered at lower asking prices, but without compromising any of the style, function, and brawn the Filson name is known for.

Made of 600-denier ballistic nylon instead of more expensive heavy canvas, the new Filson Duffle Pack clocks in at just $245. Small hints of bridle leather are used in the handle and zipper pulls with the overall aesthetic remaining true to the rest of the Filson catalog. The first thing I noticed about the new bag is the suppleness of the nylon and the surprisingly low weight of the total package.

A highly versatile and unique design, the 40-liter hauler melds the better attributes of a small travel duffle with those of a traditional field pack. Modern additions include a padded laptop compartment accessible from the outside, and a somewhat unusual nylon expander pocket. That pouch, made of waterproof fabric, can be used within the bag’s main compartment to separate wet or dirty items from the rest of the duffle’s contents. It can also be inverted outside the side pocket to increase storage volume by roughly 6 liters. In that configuration, it’s a little awkward, but I can see the benefit and added versatility.

Inside the back panel is a zippered pocket with two retractable backpack straps. Nicely padded and contoured, they make for a comfortable carry. When stowed away, an included nylon shoulder strap and two heavy webbing handles provide additional grab and carry options. A large gauge nylon zipper with metal sliders accesses the interior of the main compartment via a circular aperture that affords an easy reach into the bag’s contents.

For those of us looking for a convenient daily tote and a lightweight carry-on solution, the Duffle Pack is tough to beat. It easily slips under an airplane seat and the pack straps keep my hands free for other tasks like holding my omnipresent cup of coffee. The nylon doesn’t exude the same sense of timelessness as canvas, nor does it accrue the same patina with prolonged use, but after several weeks and a few hard knocks, it looks brand new.

If you have a Filson itch you need to scratch, but don’t want to fork over the big bucks for the traditional canvas bags, the new line of nylon haulers is a nice option. And like all things wearing the Filson name, they’ll very likely outlive you, for better or worse. – CN

www.filson.com

Vents in the side pocket with the waterproof liner help expel moist air in transit.

 

Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.

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