A while back, Filson sold a set of ‘Carry-On’ bags, and this was among the offerings (I am not certain of all the sizes, but I know there was a large too), this is the Small Carry-On, often referred to as ‘Style 240’. It’s a hybrid bag: bit of a briefcase, a bit of a field bag.
I snagged one as I thought it was a Field Bag, but with a zipper — I was wrong. And this is why I am keeping it, even though it duplicates a lot, because it is a shame this is not sold anymore.
Size, Material, Etc
At roughly 14L, with stated measurements of 15″W x 11-1/2″H x 5″D (I found an old listing). It is primarily rugged twill, with a large brass zipper opening hidden under a fully covering flap. It’s like a messenger bag, with a zipped closed main compartment and two front pockets.
I believe it came with a bridle leather strap, but mine came with none as I bought it used. So the strap you see here is the 24/48hr cotton strap that Filson currently sells. Either way, the strap attaches to the back of the bag at two points. It can fit my iPad Pro quite nicely, and larger devices too.
When I first saw this bag in person, I was struck by how cool it looks. It’s a very rectangular shape, which was something I wasn’t entirely expecting. And my mind started racing for how I could use it.
Originally, I wanted to replace my medium Field Bag with this, so that I can make use of a bag with a zipper, which will then help to keep small items contained when being tossed around. But, the rectangular shape of this bag somehow makes it feel a little more formal than the Field Bag.
So instead, I packed it up for the office. And then I packed it on a trip. And then I started to realize that it has a really unique position — something that most bags don’t have anymore. On this listing for the old bag it is described as: “Equally at home in the bush or aboard a jetliner, these handsome bags have a surprising amount of carrying capacity.” They end that description with: “Unique and easy to carry.”
I could not agree more, that’s an apt description. It’s great to carry around as a field bag — it works perfectly. It’s also great to use as a stand in for a briefcase or messenger bag.
There’s not a lot to say about this bag, which I have not already said. It’s a blank canvas when I use it. The heavy 22oz Rugged Twill, offers more than enough protection for my iPad Pro when leaving them in the Magic Keyboard Case (spine down). The two front pockets are massive and swallow up small gear. The leather buckle straps and brass buckles are fiddly, but once you get used to them they are completely fine and offer great security.
The zipper access, instead of the smaller non-zipper opening on the Medium Field Bag, is much better for putting large items into the bag, but much more cumbersome if you are in and out of the bag a lot. This also is a little slimmer on the profile, so the main area won’t hold bulky items as well.
But it’s quite good in use. It keeps the bag trim, while still holding a lot. It blends much better in the office than a Field Bag, and much better out of the office than a Briefcase.
Isn’t This a Medium Field Bag?
Medium Field Bag on left.
Not really. This is more like the Original Briefcase, with the flap and front pockets from the Medium Field bag — so you have a hybrid. The Medium Field bag looks more casual, this Small Carry-on looks a little more prim and proper. The original briefcase looks like an office bag, this looks like an anything bag.
Left to right: Medium Field Bag, Small Carry-on, Original Briefcase.
The medium field bag is better if you are doing non-office and non-iPad/Laptop carry, but if you want something that can handle both — Small Carry-on is the bag you want. This is the reason I’ll end up keeping both: they both have their place.
This originally sold for somewhere between $265-290 depending on the time. You can snag them used in varying conditions for about that same price range. Whether you should is really going to come down to the buckles and what you want to use it for. It’s not a small bag, and it is a bit fiddly, while I like that, I know many will be bothered by it.
There’s a few other bags I am looking at which are of the same versatility and use, but this is easily my favorite I’ve tried, even with having to source them secondhand. If I were to keep one of my Filson Field/Briefcases, it would for sure be this style #240 — it’s the most versatile of the lot by a long shot.