I’ve tried a lot of Filson bags over the years, and this is one (though the name has changed a couple of times if memory serves, so you might see it listed as ‘Padded Computer Bag’ or ‘Padded Briefcase’) — this one I have had the most mixed feelings about this one. I find most Filson bags pretty aesthetically pleasing, but the Rugged Twill Computer Bag ($625) always looked a little — meh to me.
I managed to pick this one up second hand, and once I unboxed it my feelings on the looks changed. It looks not great in product photos, but in person it has the solid Filson looks I have come to know and love.
So the really big thing here is: this is a seriously big briefcase. It carries a ton…
Materials & Size
As I mentioned, this is a large bag, but there’s a little more going on here. If the complaint about most Filson gear is the lack of organization, this bag offers all sorts of spots and areas to organize. At 22L in capacity, it can carry a ton in the 16 ½”L x 7 ½”W x 14″H size.
For a briefcase, this bag is huge. There’s no way around it. And it weighs a lot. In fact before I opened the box this came in, I thought I was being scammed with a box of phone books, as the weight was completely unexpected for the size of the box.
The thing is, it holds a bunch in that frame, and it does something interesting. Instead of there being a padded laptop sleeve, the entirety of the main body of this bag is padded — so anything you stuff in there has a layer of padded protection. That’s in addition to the Rugged Twill and Cover Cloth which makes up the structure of the bag — both of which are beefy. It’s a beast, with excellent protection and tons of space.
As I mentioned, the photos online can make the front pocket on this bag look a little weird. But in person the front pocket sits a little slouchier, which lends the bag to look much better. It’s not a stiff bag by any means.
And speaking of that front pocket — it’s massive. It has significant depth to it, and tons of organizational pouches within the pocket. It’s easy to get open, and offers a great area to work out of the bag if needed. It’s one of the best pockets I’ve seen on a Filson bag, and up among the best for a briefcase in general. Not only is there a lot of organization areas inside, but even if you stuff those areas, there is extra volume for adding more gear.
Maybe that’s the slogan of this bag: bring more gear.
Behind that front pocket is a full width open top pocket, and another on the rear of the bag. As I mentioned above, the main section is fully padded on the bottom and sides (not the top, but there’s a lot of material there). It is covered with the classic zipper flap Filson uses, beefy brass zippers which come down the sides further than the other Filson Briefcases. Inside, you’ll find an almost confusing array of full width organizational sections. All of which don’t have dedicated space, so you can arrange how you like by pushing them out of the way, or filling them up.
24hr Briefcase on left.
On this bag there’s two side pockets that are open top below the end of the zippers. These technically exist on other Filson bags like the Original Briefcase, except on this bag, these pockets are pretty useable and easy to get into and out of given the size increase. They are great stash areas.
What I found using this bag is that the large padded compartment meant that I could freely fill the bag with any manner of gear, while still keeping it all protected. Whether that was my camera, iPads, MacBook, or any other thing I tossed in there. I also found working out of the bag, using it as a mobile office, was much easier than any other shoulder bag I own. The depth means this bag readily sits upright without spilling over, and is rather easy to get stuff in and out of the large front pocket.
At the same time, it’s hard to ignore how large and heavy the bag is. It’s not small. It doesn’t feel small. It doesn’t look small. And it doesn’t carry small. It does at least carry a lot, so it’s not an optical illusion.
That’s a 12.9” iPad Pro
I find it hard to fault a bag like this for all of that. It’s stated to be 22L, but my gut said it might feel more like it can swallow 24L gear. It carries everything I carry in my work backpack without issue, and with room to spare. It’s kind of hard to make something with this much carrying capacity look small, so I am happy it carries as much as it looks like it could.
The handle wrap on the carry handles is really comfortable and something this bag greatly benefits from. As it does the slightly longer/lower opening with the zippers. There’s a lot of nice touches I would love to see on the smaller briefcases for sure.
I actually like this bag — right off the bat this bag clicked with me. While it is easy to overpack (trust me, I have) I figured this bag out quickly, and it was very easy to use day to day. I actually have no reasons for me to not use this bag, other than my preference to use a backpack when you get to this size, as I prefer my shoulder bags to be smaller and more trim feeling.
Where I think this bag fits best is as the briefcase you pick because you can’t, or won’t, carry a backpack but you need or want the capacity. With a packing cube, you could easily get a change or two of clothes in this bag. I know a lot of people who don’t like backpacks, but whose still carry a lot — this would be top of my list for that use.
It’s also a great setup for anyone wanting a bag they can work out of at coworking spaces or coffee shops — as it sits up nicely and wouldn’t require you laying your gear out on a table for easy access. It would also make a stellar bag for people who want to carry more fragile gear like camera equipment and such.
It’s quite good. But yeah, quite big. I’m a fan, but it’s not something I think I’ll use given my other options — it’s a bit too heavy for me and pushes me towards a backpack for this size of gear hauler.