I’ve wanted a Filson 24hr Tin Cloth Briefcase for a very long time, but there was always two things which held me back: the first is that I already had a Filson Original Briefcase so this one seemed redundant; and the second was/is the price tag on the bag.
When I saw this 24hr Briefcase at a really solid second-hand price, I snagged it right away. And like the 48hr Duffle, this bag gives me all sorts of happy vibes, which makes talking about it objectively a lot harder. It’s a very good bag, but most certainly not something that everyone will love, or even like.
Size & Specs
This bag holds a lot more than the 16″L x 4″W x 12″H frame of it would lead you to believe. Filson rates the bag at 18L, and for those wondering it rates the Original Briefcase at 13L while stating nearly identical dimensions. And I agree with Filson here, the Tin Cloth Briefcase does hold substantially more gear than the Original Briefcase, though I would rate it closer to 16L. And it certainly is a deeper/thicker bag than the Original Briefcase.
Filson lists the current generation bag as being made from: “14-oz. 100% cotton Tin Cloth + 6-oz. dry finish Cover Cloth + Bridle Leather + nylon webbing”. The Cover Cloth is the interior lining, the Tin Cloth is the exterior, and the bridle is all the leather spots. The strap feels like cotton webbing to me, not nylon so I am not sure what is going on there, or if this is a more recent change.
Like with the 48hr, which shares this same overall design, the two front pockets are where all the extra volume lives. They are cavernous and amazing. All in all, this is one of those bags that looks deceptively simple, and yet has very high end feeling materials for the overall rugged vibe it gives.
Use & Carry
As I mentioned, this bag was used when I got it. And the color shown is Dark Tan — the bag looks dirty up close. This is a feature, or rather the nature, of this Oil Finished Tin Cloth — you cannot really clean it, should not clean it — it darkens, stains, and dirties over time. You are either fine with this to the point where you desire it, or you absolutely hate the idea of it. If you are in the latter camp, you should move along now, because you’ll be fighting a losing battle.
Up close, this bag looked way dirtier than I expected, and I honestly hate looking at it up close. But, when I pull back a foot or more, the bag starts looking more and more amazing. It looks fantastic at even a slight distance, while kind of gross up close. It’s an odd juxtaposition — something I’ve never before experienced with a bag of any kind and I don’t know what to make of this overall.
The next issue I ran into is the shoulder strap. I have this same strap on my 48hr, and while I like it there, I found it to be less than stellar here. I swapped this out for Filson’s Bridle Leather Shoulder Strap — this is a great upgrade for the bag and something I’d plan on doing if you are thinking of buying this bag. Unfortunately that only adds to an already very high price on the bag. The tan colored strap that mine came with was quite dirty looking, and did not easily come clean when I tried some gentle cleaning methods.
Now that you spent even more money on this very expensive Briefcase, we can talk about using it more day to day, but with that leather strap.
In short: this briefcase impresses me. It’s rather floppy, and doesn’t hold its shape well, but it swallows up my gear, and keeps it all neatly in place. You need to utilize the front pockets and fill them up, but if you do that the bag really starts to make an impression on you. It’s very easy to overload the weight on this, but it is still small enough that you won’t get into too much weight trouble if you are not paying attention.
My daily load is about the max I would want to carry. In the bag, anything more and a backpack is a far better choice for me.
Inside the main area is an actual padded laptop pocket, and a divided set of open top pockets, which are ideal. These pockets perfectly fit both my A5 sized notebook, and my Evergoods CAP1. This is a large departure from the Original Briefcase, and a welcomed one.
One of the things I love on this bag, which is a bit of a sleeper feature, is the two open top pockets that sit right behind the large front zippered pockets. These rather thin and deep pockets are fantastic in practice. You can stash quick access items like tissues in them, or stash something you need to temporarily and quickly ditch from your hands, like your iPhone. Most days I end up slipping my iPhone into those pockets on my walk in and out of the office, and since doing this doesn’t disturb anything else in the bag, it feels magical. I love these two pockets here.
Whenever I grab my Original Briefcase, or any other briefcase, I feel a bit fancier right out of the gate. They feel like they are dressing things up a touch. But I don’t get that same feeling with this bag, instead it feels just as relaxed as my backpacks. That’s a hard trick to pull off, but Filson did it well here.
This is not a grungy looking bag to take into an office, but it is a bag which exudes character, and wear. It’s like the difference between someone walking in with a fresh pair of selvedge denim jeans in a deep indigo — you can tell they are new, they are crisp, and you’re not entirely sure they are any more casual than the chinos everyone else is wearing — to me that’s the Original Briefcase. This 24hr briefcase is more like someone rolling in with their favorite pair of broken in, medium wash, jeans on — there’s no holes and there’s nothing sloppy about them, but you can tell they are comfortable — that’s the 24hr.
I am a huge fan of this bag so far, and really enjoy using it. I bought it as something to take a look at, write about, and likely sell. But after spending some time with this, I highly doubt I’ll sell this bag — it’s really nice to use, very simple, and well executed. The price is painful, but it’s not like anything else I’ve used either.
The aesthetic is really the trick with this bag. If you like the looks, and it feels like you, then you’re not likely to find a better briefcase out there. It’s almost the briefcase for someone who loathes the notion of carrying one. But at the same time, it has this rugged outdoors vibe to the design, which makes you wonder who would use a briefcase outdoors? Either way, it’s absolutely stellar looking, and the entire feel of the bag is fantastic.
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